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The knowledge, skills and attitudes required of an engineer in the 21st century far exceed those demanded of 20th century engineers, but the time available within an undergraduate engineering program to develop these attributes has substantially diminished over the last 30 to 40 years.

A 21st-century engineer is not only expected to be competent in engineering and science but also able to deal with the political, economic, social and environmental context in which the engineering must be carried out.