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Purdue offers new online master’s degree in engineering education

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. — Purdue University’s School of Engineering Education is expanding its graduate degree program, already well known for its doctoral degree, with a new master’s degree in engineering education that students can earn entirely online.

Purdue’s online engineering education master’s degree is designed to allow students to explore both the theory and applications of engineering education and to enhance their skills without disrupting their careers or current studies.

The online engineering education master’s courses are taught by the same faculty who teach on Purdue’s campus and are as rigorous as courses offered on campus – albeit redesigned specifically for online learning. The online master’s degree is offered through  Purdue Online, College of Engineering.

 Purdue’s online graduate engineering programs are ranked among the top three in the country by U.S. News & World Report. Purdue’s School of Engineering Education was the first of its kind in the nation and is the recognized leader in the field.

“This new degree couples the convenience of online with the excellence of Purdue’s School of Engineering Education to produce a unique program for those interested in the practice of engineering education as well as the underlying theory,” said Mark Lundstrom, acting dean of engineering and the Don and Carol Scifres Distinguished Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering.

Purdue has been getting requests for a master’s program in engineering education for some time. The interest came in large part from people who might not have been interested in the research aspects of a doctorate at the moment, but who were interested in the practical application of engineering education theories and techniques in their work, said Audeen Fentiman, Purdue’s Crowley Family Professor in Engineering Education.

“We identified a group of people we thought might be well served by an online master’s degree in engineering education,” Fentiman said. “They have all the technical skills, but in many cases, they have had no formal instruction in how to teach engineering.”

Those people generally were not free to come to the Purdue campus for a master’s – they were working engineers or pursuing a doctorate in engineering elsewhere – so it made sense to develop an online program for them.

Among others, Purdue’s online master’s in engineering education is aimed at:

  • Doctoral students in engineering or another STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) field who are preparing for a faculty career.
  • Current engineering faculty who want to become more effective teachers.
  • Mid-career engineers and scientists thinking about a second career in education.
  • Industry professionals and consultants seeking professional development and additional qualifications to support technical training.

“The College of Engineering’s online master’s in engineering education is a great example of what Purdue sees as a vital function of online education – making professional development and lifelong learning, which are so important today, readily accessible for people with commitments who need versatility in where and when they learn,” said Gerry McCartney, executive vice president for Purdue Online.

The master’s courses provide multiple opportunities for online students to interact with and receive feedback from both faculty members and other students. While no thesis is required, graduates complete a portfolio demonstrating facility in engineering skills, teaching engineering, critical thinking and communications, along with other important competencies.

Students taking the 30-hour curriculum complete 15 hours of required coursework and 15 hours of electives. Academic advisors work with students to create a plan of study best fitting a student’s educational needs and career goals.

Purdue also offers an online graduate certificate titled “Teaching and Learning in Engineering.” The four courses in the certification program can count toward the master’s degree if a student decides to pursue one. Most master’s courses also can count toward a doctorate.

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Writer: Greg Kline, 765-494-8167, 

Sources: Mark Lundstrom, 

Audeen Fentiman, 

Gerry McCartney,