Keep Your Job, Earn a Master’s in Engineering – and Perhaps a Promotion

The School of Engineering’s online graduate programs allows people with engineering backgrounds to earn a master’s degree without leaving their jobs.

The University of Virginia School of Engineering and Applied Science’s online graduate engineering program has been named one of the 15 best in the country, according to U.S. News & World Report’s 2017 rankings of online higher education programs, released Tuesday.

The news that the Online Professional Master’s of Engineering Degrees program is ranked No. 15 nationally follows a sharp upward trajectory in the rankings. The program has moved up 39 places in U.S. News & World Report’s rankings since 2014; it was ranked 22nd last year.

“Our online program provides individuals with engineering backgrounds the opportunity to pursue their master’s degrees without leaving their jobs,” William H. Guilford, the Engineering School’s director of educational innovation, said. “This is an outstanding steppingstone for advancing their careers and for bringing advanced technologies and skills to the Commonwealth of Virginia. Two-thirds of our online students receive a raise or a promotion within six months of graduating.”

The program is designed to adapt to students’ needs. Most courses are delivered in a real-time, interactive format, with online students participating alongside on-Grounds students. Online students may take the classes by watching recordings when their busy schedules require. Students can earn up to half of their credits at one of four partner universities in Virginia: George Mason University, Virginia Tech, Old Dominion University or Virginia Commonwealth University.

“UVA excels at this because of its outstanding faculty, the dedicated staff in the Engineering School’s Office of Educational Innovation, and our unusually strong culture of student advising,” Guilford said. “We also excel because we are part of an alliance – the Commonwealth Graduate Engineering Program, a long-standing partnership between UVA and other state schools. As part of this unique alliance, students are able to take classes from UVA and our partner schools and complete their degrees with as much flexibility as possible, as quickly as possible.”

UVA Engineering began offering a distance learning program in 1983, and continued to expand as technology progressed. Students now can earn online master’s degrees in:

  • Chemical engineering
  • Civil and environmental engineering
  • Electrical engineering
  • Materials science and engineering
  • Mechanical and aerospace engineering
  • Systems engineering

“In the future, we plan to bring more classrooms online, and introduce new technologies for offering a higher-quality online experience,” Guilford said.

The Engineering School also offers an effective and popular online Accelerated Master’s Program in systems engineering, which allows professionals to earn a graduate degree in one year while still working. The program has a strong following among current and former military members.

“We are committed to offering excellent graduate education opportunities to talented engineers, wherever they live and work, because we know they will lead the way in solving the global and technological challenges of the future,” UVA Engineering Dean Craig Benson said. “I am proud that our online program continues to improve its national ranking. It’s an indicator of the value we provide for graduate engineering students, for Virginia and for the country.”

Media Contact

Elizabeth Thiel Mather

Director of Communications School of Engineering and Applied Science