Penn State opens its first online bachelor’s degree in engineering

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — For the first time, students will be able to get a bachelor’s degree in engineering online from Penn State.

Long a leader in engineering education, Penn State is leveraging its expertise in the field to offer a bachelor of science in software engineering, available online through Penn State World Campus. The software engineering courses will be taught by the faculty from Penn State Behrend’s School of Engineering, which also offers the degree program at the campus in Erie and is accredited by the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology.

Applications are being accepted, and the first classes will begin at the start of Penn State’s fall semester in August.

The new degree program comes at a time of increased demand for software engineering jobs. According to the U.S. Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics, the number of jobs is projected to increase 17 percent through 2024, a rate that is much faster than the average for all jobs in the country. The bureau attributes the rapid growth forecast to the increasing demand for computer software, including applications on mobile devices and tablets.

“Software has tremendously reshaped our world and our everyday lives,” said Xiaocong Fan, associate professor of 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.”

Students will learn software engineering topics such as software construction principles, computing skills and project leadership through hands-on projects. Students will study computer programming, software design, validation and verification, software security and computer networking.

The new degree can help prepare students to become a software developer, computer systems analyst and video game designer, among other jobs.

“We’re very proud to add our first bachelor’s degree in engineering to the high-quality degree programs that we offer online,” said Sonya Leitzell, director of academic affairs at Penn State World Campus. “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.”

Penn State World Campus is Penn State’s top-ranked online school and has been offering degrees online since 1998. Students at the World Campus have access to academic services such as tutoring and career counseling. The services include a free, optional online course called Transitions that eases students into online learning while increasing computer, study and research skills. 

Visit the Penn State World Campus website to learn more about the new software engineering degree.

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Mike Dawson

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408 The 329 Building, University Park, PA 16802

Last Updated February 16, 2017