Does Curriculum Practical Training Affect Engineers’ Workplace Outcomes? Evidence from an Engineer Survey in China

Jing Li, Yu Zhang, Mun Tsang, Manli Li


With the increasing attention to STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math), hands-on Curriculum Practical Training (CPT) has been expanding rapidly worldwide as a requirement of the undergraduate engineering education. In China, a typical CPT for undergraduate engineering students requires several weeks of hands-on training in the industry.

So far the evidence on the effect of CPT is inconclusive for education researchers and policy makers. Employing a dataset collected from China in 2013, this study endeavors to identify the effect of CPT on engineering students’ career development in China. This research uses two outcome variables to gauge work place outcomes: earnings and productivity.

With the Propensity Score Matching approach, this study shows several results: 1) most engineers benefit from their CPT and value this hands-on training experience; 2) without matching, CPT has a statistically significant positive contribution to future earnings. However, the significant effect vanishes after matching; 3) CPT was a significant positive determinant of productivity with and without matching; and 4) the effect of CPT was heterogeneous depending on personal characteristics.

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International Journal of Higher Education
ISSN 1927-6044 (Print) ISSN 1927-6052 (Online) Email:

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