The need for a professional who deals with the appropriate and specific materials for a particular part or equipment was one of the main reasons for the creation of the Materials Engineering Program, in March 1999. A special feature of the program is its “cooperative curriculum”, in which companies collaborate to the students’ training by offering curricular internships.
The first group of students graduated in February 2004, with the recognition of the Regional Council of Engineering, Architecture and Agriculture of the state of Santa Catarina (Crea-SC), and the partnership of companies from the state of Santa Catarina, the cities of Caxias do Sul (RS), Curitiba (PR), Jundiaí (SP), and of international companies and institutes from countries such as Germany, France and Portugal.
Before graduation, students are required to engage in six internships of 15 weeks each, all of them paid. The companies offer positions in the three major areas of Materials Engineering (ceramics, metals and polymers) and the student must take at least one internship in each of these areas. During the internship experience, s/he receives two visits from a professor and has the supervision of an industry employee, who will evaluate his or her performance.
This practice does not damagethe academic training nor does it impact on the length of the five-year program. The academic year starts in the first week of February and ends in the third year of December – this allows for a three-term calendar of 14 weeks each, instead of the regular two-semester system. This model was implemented in 1957 in the University of Waterloo, Canadá, and was adopted in Brazil in 1989 in the Polytechnic School of the University of São Paulo. German technology centers also use a similar system.
At UFSC, the Materials Engineering student spends the first four trimesters in the university, and, from the fifth term on, s/he alternates one semester in an industry and the other at UFSC, until graduation. This early contact with the job market provides students with an experience equivalent to two years of work. Besides learning the tasks s/he will perform in the future career, the student gains knowledge on work relationships, discipline, hierarchy and on how to behave in a job interview.
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