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Bridge Program Speeds Prep for Non-Engineer STEM Masters Studies

Frequently, people entering master's programs must first complete years' worth of courses in fundamentals to pursue the topic they ultimately want to study. The Tandon School of Engineering at New York University is trying a new tack to woo non-STEM students into STEM degree programs.

The "Bridge Program to NYU Tandon" has been developed for people with non-engineering backgrounds but with some college-level math to get the basics they need to jump into graduate-level study in bioinformatics, computer engineering, computer science and cybersecurity. The program costs $1,500 and is offered over a 26-week part-time effort or as a one-quarter, 17-week full-time pursuit.

Students who maintain a grade of B-plus or better and who meet all other NYU Tandon admission requirements will be admitted to a qualifying master's program. As an option (and an extra fee) they can also receive a certificate related to the coursework they've completed.

Studies aren't easy. Topics include system hardware, number systems, compilation and execution process, data types and expressions, branching and iterative statements, propositional logic, predicate logic, introduction to algorithm analysis, arrays and strings, trees and binary search trees, computer organization, assembly language basics, intro to operating-system concepts and memory management.

However, those who have shown interest "are coming from all backgrounds: humanities, management, arts and physics," said Nasir Memon, associate dean of online learning and a professor in the Department of Computer Science and Engineering, who conceived the program, in a prepared statement. Many of these students are enrolling because of the high demand in engineering and the high earnings those jobs can generate, he added.

He noted that the program has proven especially popular among women, who made up nearly half of enrollees in the pilot in computer science. While the percentage of women studying CS at the post-secondary level has fallen to about 18 percent, women make up 40 percent of Bridge participants.

The Bridge to NYU Tandon program runs on a quarterly academic calendar, with a November 5, 2017 application deadline for the winter quarter, which begins in January 2018.

About the Author

Dian Schaffhauser is a former senior contributing editor for 1105 Media's education publications THE Journal, Campus Technology and Spaces4Learning.

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