The Masters of Engineering Management program at Ohio University was founded in 2011, but it has a long history. David Koonce, Associate Dean of the Graduate College, shared his insights into what makes a strong Masters of Engineering program.
The Ohio University program is somewhat unique in that it is 100% online. Ohio University had previously offered distance learning courses in which a professor would teach a class using two-way video technology.
But that approach required all the students to assemble in the same place(s) at the same time to attend a video lecture. That's simply not feasible for many working professionals.
Improving on that experience led the Ohio Masters of Engineering Management (MEM) program to become 100% online. It now uses the Blackboard Learning Management System to deliver an asynchronous learning experience so students can study and participate on their own schedules.
The course work is divided into modules, each typically one week long. Course materials include textbooks, video, assignments, discussions and even presentations.
School: Russ College of Engineering and Technology at Ohio University
Where is it: 100% online (Ohio University main campus is in Athens Ohio)
Degree you get: Masters of Engineering Management
Size of the program: 106 students
Number of credit hours: 34 hours / 10 courses
How long will that take: 5 semesters at 2 courses per semester (a little under 2 years)
When does it run: Asynchronously, starting 3 times per year
Fees: [$26,000] for non-residents of Ohio
Minimum Admission Requirements : For engineering, science of math undergrads – 3.0 GPA; For others, GRE score of 155 in Quantitative Reasoning, work experience and calculus
Who should take it: Ambitious engineers who want to take on a leadership role in a technical work environment.
Claim to Fame:
Russ College received a $124M endowment, which is the largest charitable gift to any public U.S. engineering college, or any engineering college in the state of Ohio.
Since all instructions are provided in text or via recordings, students do not have to attend any sessions. Even presentations and exams can be taken on the student’s schedule during a prescribed time window.
The inspiration for launching the Masters of Engineering Management program stemmed from management-track courses offered in other Masters of Engineering programs at Ohio University in the late 1990’s.
These proved popular and valuable, particularly to students who have been in the workforce for a while.
The Ohio University MEM program is targeted to ambitious engineers in a technical environment. “After a couple of promotions, their job doesn’t require so much technical skill anymore,” according to Dr. Koonce. “Instead, they need new skills to help them successfully lead and manage technical teams.”
This learning objective is reflected in the make-up of the student body. Every student is employed at the time he or she begins the program, in jobs ranging from entry and mid-level engineers to managers and directors of engineering teams.
If you decide to go to Ohio University, you can expect that your classmates will typically be in their 30’s and highly driven. For those students who might receive a promotion while enrolled, or who might need to scale back for other reasons, Ohio University offers flexibility to reduce the course load to one class per semester, or even skip a semester.
The 10 courses required for a degree include the 4 core courses of Information Systems, Engineering Writing, Management Foundations and Statistics. After that, the students can take courses like 6Sigma, Quality Control, Project Management, or Law to round out their skills. All students are required to take a project oriented capstone course that typically involves solving a problem in their own company.
Prospective students often ask what sort of progress they can expect in their career or in their compensation after earning a Master’s degree. Ohio University doesn’t yet have statistics, but Dr. Koonce reports that many students earn a promotion during their time in the program. Others switch employers within a few years of graduation to pursue that higher paying or more fulfilling job.
Dr. Koonce notes that one of the great benefits of having an experienced peer group is that the students learn from each other, and that the online environment enables that learning. “Because the discussions are asynchronous and on the student’s own time, the quality of the discussion is superior to what you can achieve in a normal classroom setting,” he said. Ohio University goes out of its way to create an online community of students for each class, leading to a surprisingly collegial experience.
Like many Master’s program, the school prides itself on offering tenure-track professors to lead these courses. The online environment requires that the instructors spend more one-on-one time with their students, either via email or telephone, but that does not seem to deter recruiting strong faculty.
The online program has proven so popular that Ohio University plans to offer their Masters of Science in Civil and Electrical Engineering programs online beginning in the fall of 2013.
So why wouldn’t you take this program?
- You prefer a physical environment to being 100% online
- The specific courses you want may not be offered