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Enrollment Grows in Online Master’s Degree in Civil Engineering Programs

Press Release: May 25, 2011

FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. (May 25, 2011) – Universities offering online master’s degrees in civil engineering are reporting record increases in enrollment, in large part because of technology improvements and the sluggish economy, writes Theresa M. Casey, FSMPS, CPSM, in an article titled “Master’s degree: For here or to go?” in the June issue of CE News magazine.

Enrollment in all online degree programs rose by 1 million students in 2010, a 21-percent increase from the previous year, according to the eighth annual report of The Sloan Survey of Online Learning. It was the largest one-year increase since the survey’s inception and is much greater than the 2-percent growth reported for traditional classroom programs.

“We’ve seen enrollment in the MS, civil engineering program double since its inception in 2003,” said Sean O’Donnell, director of e-learning and graduate marketing, Villanova University College of Engineering. “We currently have five distance education classrooms, and we’re in the process of building three more.”

Likewise, the New Jersey Institute of Technology (NJIT) has seen an increase in enrollment. “The number of enrolled students in the graduate civil engineering program has increased 32 percent from 2007 to 2010,” said Taha F. Marhaba, Ph.D, P.E., professor and chairman, NJIT, Department of Civil & Environmental Engineering.

As is typical in a slow economy, the unemployed and employed, alike, look to improve their education to stay competitive, Casey writes. Now, with advanced technology using both live and recorded classes and high-speed Internet connections offering the means to transmit the information cost effectively, online courses have become very attractive.

With increasing numbers of graduates and with most programs offering access to the same instructors and courses as their traditional programs, there has been a marked increase in those who perceive the online program to be as valuable as the bricks and mortar version. According to Villanova’s O’Donnell: “The stats show that grade point averages of our online students are equal to those of our in-class students. Anecdotally, our professors report that online students tend to be very motivated, more mature, and more experienced, providing a very rich contribution to online course discussions and assignments.” 

For more information and a listing of colleges and universities that offer online master’s degrees in civil engineering and related disciplines, please visit www.cenews.com.

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