The Story so Far............
Ten of the leading UK universities have
come together forming a consortium to develop an imaginative, modular,
multi-disciplinary, part-time postgraduate MSc Programme in 'Advanced
Silicon Processing and Manufacturing Technologies'. The Programme is
designed for professional engineers, physicists, mathematicians and
chemists employed within the semiconductor industry as Process, Production,
Equipment, Test, Quality Assurance, Device or Materials Engineers; thus
it is a part-time, taught modular course. The consortium recognises
the 'skills shortage' and 'skills mismatch' within the industry and,
in developing this Programme, has worked in partnership with the UK
National Microelectronics Institute [NMI] and its member companies including
multi-national Silicon Houses and equipment vendors.
The aims of the Programme are to make
available the combined strengths and expertise of the ten Partner Universities
to support flexible learning within a 'state-of-the-art' Programme of
the highest academic and international quality and to provide registered
applicants ['Delegates'] with academic awards [MSc, Postgraduate Diploma,
Postgraduate Certificate or Single Module]. The learning outcome for
successful Delegates will be an 'in-depth' knowledge of production management,
enabling technologies, physics of devices, software tools and an awareness
of the management skills required for high volume production of advanced
When fully developed the Programme will
have up to 16 taught modules [one obligatory and 15 elective], each
being self-contained with a similar balance of qualitative and quantitative
content, a similar structure, and each carrying 15 academic credits
at level M. Delegates working for the degree of MSc will be required
to successfully complete 8 modules and undertake a Project carrying
60 academic credits at level M. Delegates will be able to select the
combination of modules, consistent with academic guidance, and the topic
of their Project, which normally will be undertaken at the Institution
holding the Delegate's registration.
The Programme is jointly owned by the
ten Partner Universities but awards will be in the name of the individual
Universities holding the Delegate's registration. Delegates will have
the options of deferred or transferred registration and it will be possible
to undertake individual modules. The development of the Programme is
funded under an EPSRC Integrated Graduate Development Scheme [IGDS]
contract [£435,000] and is administered from the IGDS Office at the
University of Surrey [the co-ordinating partner]. The Programme is self-funding,
in the steady state, with income from fees, usually paid by the Delegates
employer, currently set at £1200 for each component [modules and projects].
As the principal beneficiaries, the NMI member companies are contractually
and financially bound to this Programme, which has been designed for
not more than 20 Delegates attending each module.
Modules have a similar structure being
typically of 2 to 3 months duration, and include direct contact teaching
and extensive distance learning activities, and end with a supervised
written examination. The core of a module is a residential taught week,
at the University, which develops and delivers that particular module.
It consists of lectures, problem solving, case studies, tutorials, experiments/demonstrations
and workstation sessions. The non-residential learning uses printed
material and the Internet, it will demand further reading, problem solving,
tutorials, assessed assignments and a critical report. New teaching
and learning material has been developed specifically for each module,
by academic staff within the Partner Universities, working closely with
technical advisors from industry, and invited internationally recognised
specialist lecturers from industry and academia in the UK and from overseas.
The entry requirements are a Bachelor's
degree [Hons, normally 2 or above] or an equivalent award from a
recognised institution, or a qualification accepted as equivalent by
the consortium and professional bodies, or extensive relevant experience.
The study period for the degree of MSc is normally not less than 24
months and not more than 60 months. A typical Delegate undertaking an
MSc will only be absent from his/her place of work for a total of 10
to 11 weeks during the 2 to 5 years of study. This aspect and also the
discounted fees that are available to Delegates supported by NMI member
companies, are very attractive to the participating companies.
The Programme was successfully launched
on the 6 March 2000 with the first module being delivered by the University
of Edinburgh, receiving congratulations from delegates and lecturers
alike. There are two further modules running during 2000, for full details
please contact the IGDS Programme Co-ordinator, Sandy Peace in the IGDS