Northern Arizona University recently partnered with the Chongqing University of Posts and Telecommunications in China to offer an undergraduate dual degree in electrical engineering.

The program was developed by the Chinese Ministry of Education as a way to provide western educational opportunities for Chinese students at affordable rates.

“NAU’s efforts in global education are preparing our students to thrive in cross-cultural and international settings,” Provost Laura Huenneke said. “Chongqing University is one of China’s most advanced institutions in electrical engineering and digital technologies, and like us, they realize that they need to prepare students to work effectively in other languages and cultures.”

A total of 86 students are currently enrolled as part of the first cohort of students in the program. Students must meet both NAU and Chongqing’s admission requirements to be accepted.

All students will take their first three years of coursework at Chongqing, which comprises approximately one-third of the required total coursework. They also are required to participate in academic programing at NAU’s Flagstaff campus, such as a single semester or summer session. Most students are expected to spend the entire final year of the program at NAU.

“Having this dual degree program, where students are receiving instruction from NAU faculty members in China as well as in their fourth year here in Flagstaff, is an innovative way of establishing a strong presence in China without actually constructing and operating our own campus facilities,” Huenneke said. “It’s an approach we hope can expand into other degree programs over the next few years.”

NAU faculty will teach 10 electrical engineering related courses at Chongqing. Faculty will be hired for the program and drawn from NAU engineering faculty to teach in China for one or two semesters.

Philip Mlsna, associate professor of electrical engineering and computer science, already has been named the first director of the program based in China at Chongqing and will begin his term in the spring.

Chongqing has assigned office space, meeting rooms, classrooms and on-campus accommodations for NAU faculty. In addition, Chongqing will hire an English as a Second Language faculty member to teach students English for engineering purposes.