Graduate Certificate Programs in Engineering Management - Online and Campus
Updated: February 25, 2022
Graduate certificate programs in engineering management offer qualified engineering professionals who hold at least a bachelor’s degree from an accredited college or university with a more affordable and less time-intensive alternative to pursuing a master’s degree in management. Students in an engineering management graduate certificate program cultivate business and management skills that have direct and practical applications in technology and engineering fields by taking a small cluster of master’s-level courses in topics like finance, budgeting, quality control, decision making, and communication for engineers.
From start to finish, an engineering management graduate certificate can take less than one year, which is roughly half the time that most master’s programs require. In addition, while graduate certificate programs are designed to prepare students for immediate career advancement, these programs can also be used as a steppingstone to a master’s degree in engineering management if, and when, a student opts to pursue further graduate studies in the field.
Engineering Management Explained
Engineering management involves the application of business management principles, practices, and strategies to business ventures and other commercial enterprises in engineering and technology fields, tech sector and government-funded research and development projects, and industries in which engineering is integral. Managing projects, people, budgets, and operations in the engineering and tech sectors requires a combination of administrative leadership skills and technical knowledge. As a result, successful engineering management professionals typically have strong technical skills as well as proficiencies in areas like organizational communication, financial planning, sales and marketing, and human resource management. They are thus able to make evidence-based decisions about allocations of personnel and resources, use data to estimate costs and project returns on investments, and facilitate communication between engineering teams and the non-technical side of business operations.
Identifying and Classifying Engineering Management Graduate Certificate Programs
Engineering management graduate certificate programs are generally designated as such, although they may have names like engineering leadership, engineering project management, and technology management graduate certificate programs. By definition, these programs require applicants to hold a minimum of a bachelor’s degree, and some programs may have additional requirements, such as a bachelor’s degree in engineering or another technical field. There are also post-master’s graduate certificate programs, which require applicants to hold a master’s degree.
Graduate certificate programs are generally comprised of a small cluster of courses that focus narrowly on knowledge and skills that have direct and immediate real-world applications. This is true of engineering management graduate certificate programs, which typically require students to complete four, five, or six courses in core areas of management for engineering professionals. These courses are graduate-level courses and often overlap with required and/or elective coursework in one or more master’s programs offered by a school, such as a master’s in engineering management program or a master’s in management program with a specialization or concentration in engineering and technology management.
Engineering Management Graduate Certificate Coursework
While the names of courses and the content of those courses vary by school and by program, most graduate certificate programs in engineering management focus on key managerial functions in engineering, including finance and budgeting, personnel and project management, and organizational leadership and decision making. Students in these programs also commonly receive training in the software and computer-based management tools that are used to track progress, monitor quality and safety, and improve efficiency in engineering operations and projects. Finally, some engineering management programs may offer one or two courses that are specific to specializations within engineering, such as systems engineering, industrial engineering, and civil engineering.
The list below provides a representative overview of the types of courses that are typically offered as requirements and/or electives in engineering management graduate certificate programs.
- Analysis of Organizational Systems
- Economic Evaluation & Analysis in Engineering
- Engineering Decision Making Under Uncertainty
- Engineering Management Communications
- Engineering Project Management
- Operations Research Methods
- Quality Systems Design
- Technical Sales & Marketing
Online Graduate Certificate in Engineering Management
Online graduate certificate programs leverage advances in distance learning technologies and online teaching methods to extend their reach to students outside commuting range of a school’s campus and to students who want the convenience and flexibility of being able to take courses without having to commute to campus on a weekly basis. Online graduate certificate programs in engineering management offer training and instruction in the principles and practices of management for engineers. These programs provide students with coursework and instruction that is equivalent to a traditional campus-based graduate certificate curriculum in engineering management, but they do so via online instructional tools and technologies.
There are two primary modes of online instruction that are helpful to be familiar with when considering an online program. Synchronous instruction is online instruction that takes place in real time, much like a regularly scheduled campus-based class. Live streamed lectures and live streamed virtual classes are examples of synchronous instruction. Asynchronous instruction is online instruction that does not have a real-time component, such as pre-recorded lectures and interactive learning modules that can be accessed by students at their convenience from anywhere with a secure internet connection. While all online programs utilize asynchronous instruction, not all programs incorporate live synchronous sessions into their curriculum.
The advantage of synchronous instruction is that it provides more structure than asynchronous instruction and it simulates the experience of attending a campus-based class. However, synchronous instruction offers less scheduling flexibility than asynchronous instruction as students must be free to attend live classes, which are often scheduled in the evening at least once a week. Asynchronous instruction has the advantage of being more convenient than synchronous instruction; however, it requires students to be self-motivated and disciplined in order to manage coursework and complete assignment on time in the absence of weekly scheduled classes.
Another factor to consider when exploring online certificate options is campus visits. While many engineering management graduate certificate programs are 100% online and do not require campus visits, some programs hold campus-based orientation sessions, workshops, and/or seminars that students are required to attend. GraduateCertificate.com classifies programs that require up to three campus visits per year as online programs. Programs that require more than three campus visits are classified as blended or hybrid programs. A blended/hybrid program can be advantageous for students who live within commuting range of the school offering the program. However, for students who do not live or work near a school’s campus, a blended or hybrid program may not be practical.
Examples of Online Graduate Certificate Programs in Engineering Management
The programs detailed below are examples of graduate certificate programs in engineering management that are offered in an online format by accredited colleges and universities.
The University of Arizona offers an online Graduate Certificate in Engineering Management through its College of Engineering. The 12-credit program is offered entirely online and consists of three required courses and one elective. The program’s curriculum focuses on leadership skills for technology-based organizations, financial modeling for engineering projects, and the software tools for engineering management. The program is designed for students who hold a bachelor’s degree in engineering or a related field, such as mathematics or physics. For more information on the program, visit the University of Arizona’s College of Engineering at online.engineering.arizona.edu.
Old Dominion University (ODU) in Virginia offers an online Engineering Management Certificate through its Batten College of Engineering & Technology and its Department of Engineering Management & Systems Engineering. The program is a graduate program that requires applicants to hold a Bachelor of Science (BS) in Engineering or the equivalent from an accredited college or university. Students in the program complete four graduate courses for a total of 12 credits that can be applied toward ODU’s Master of Engineering Management degree program if and when a student opts to pursue further graduate studies. The certificate program is 100% online and does not require any campus visits. For more information on the program, visit ODU at online.odu.edu.
Drexel University in Pennsylvania offers an online Graduate Certificate in Engineering Management through its College of Engineering. The 15-credit program consists of four required courses and one elective, all of which can be completed entirely online without having to attend any campus visits. Credits earned in the certificate program are eligible for transfer to Drexel’s Master of Science (MS) in Engineering Management program by students who opt to pursue a master’s degree in the future. Drexel requires applicants to the certificate program to hold a bachelor’s degree in engineering or the sciences from an undergraduate program accredited by the Accreditation Board for Engineering & Technology (ABET). For more information on the program, visit Drexel University at www.online.drexel.edu.
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