Distance Ed

Penn State Opens First Online Bachelor's in Engineering

Penn State World Campus

Pennsylvania State University has added a software engineering degree to World Campus offerings. The online division of the institution has already begun accepting applications for the bachelor's degree program, which starts in August. The university already offers a master's degree in software engineering.

Courses that make up the degree cover discrete mathematics, probability and statistics, computer programming, object-oriented methodology, software design, software validation and verification, software security and computer networks. In their senior year students will finish a capstone project that includes working with fellow students in designing, planning, managing and implementing a software system for an industry partner.

The online classes will be taught by the faculty from the university's school of engineering, which also offers a face-to-face version at the campus in Erie and is accredited by the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology.

Program planners anticipate that students earning their degrees will go after such jobs as software developers, computer systems analysts or video game designers.

For students who have 59 or fewer credits, the cost is $542 per credit hour if they're taking fewer than 12 credits during the semester. If they're taking 12 or more credits, the tuition is a flat $6,587. The price is slightly higher for students who already have 60 or more credits. Every semester they'll also pay an IT fee of between $86 and $252, depending on how many credits they're pursuing.

"For adult learners who want a Penn State engineering degree but don't live near one of our campuses, they now have an option that can help them advance their careers," said Sonya Leitzell, director of academic affairs at Penn State's World Campus, in a prepared statement.

"Software has tremendously reshaped our world and our everyday lives," added Xiaocong Fan, associate professor of computer science and software engineering and lead faculty member of the program. "Whether it's small devices or gigantic spaceships, office automation or social networking, online education or e-commerce, software engineers empower things with intangible but innovative applications to make them smarter, faster and better."

About the Author

Dian Schaffhauser is a senior contributing editor for 1105 Media's education publications THE Journal and Campus Technology. She can be reached at dian@dischaffhauser.com or on Twitter @schaffhauser.

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