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Penn State Online Degree Will Prepare Engineers For Management Roles

In today's global work environment, workers no longer have to be in the same building or even the same country to work together on a project. That's especially true for engineering corporations with teams in multiple locations. Penn State's new online master of engineering management program aims to help by preparing experienced engineers with the business and technical skills they need to be effective managers of complex engineering projects.

"Engineering students generally do not learn about business in undergraduate programs," said James A. Nemes, D.Sc., division head and professor of mechanical engineering at Penn State Great Valley School of Graduate Professional Studies. "Engineers can pick up some business skills through their work experiences, but if they want to advance their career into engineering management, they will need a graduate degree."

Penn State Great Valley's Engineering Division is partnering with Penn State Harrisburg's School of Business Administration and School of Science, Engineering and Technology to offer the program, which is being delivered online through Penn State's World Campus. The 33-credit program is designed for working engineers and can be completed in two years. Students will progress together through the 12 courses, which run in continuous five- or seven-week terms.

Stephen Schappe, Ph.D., director of the School of Business Administration at Penn State Harrisburg, said, "There is a growing need in corporate America for interdisciplinary programs like this online engineering management degree. Our courses integrate both engineering and management issues. Engineers, like all good managers, need to learn foundational knowledge about management and critical thinking skills to be successful."

Penn State Harrisburg's School of Business Administration faculty members will conduct three courses focusing on the topics of negotiation, communication, teamwork, management, organization, problem solving, and organizational learning.

Penn State Great Valley is offering the program online to reach more engineers who want to become managers. As Nemes pointed out, "The vast majority of engineers who want a graduate degree are already working and have families and other responsibilities. They need the flexibility an online degree offers."

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