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Best Online Master’s Degrees in: Quality Engineering

Editor’s Picks: Online Schools for Quality Engineering

Value
The University of Florida was awarded the title of best online master’s degree in quality engineering for value. This public four-year university located in Gainesville was ranked 58th on U.S. News & World Report‘s 2012 rankings of the best universities in the country. Strong financial aid packages and high-quality online degree programs also make the University of Florida a great value. In fact, according to PayScale.com’s Return on Investment Rankings, in-state graduates can expect a return on investment of 11.8% when financial aid is considered. Out-of-state students can also expect a strong ROI of 8.2%, despite higher tuition rates.

Flexibility
Arizona State University’s online master’s degree in quality, reliability and statistical engineering earns top marks for the flexibility of their distance learning curriculum. Online students will have access to assignments, readings, discussion boards, instructor feedback, and other learning activities via the school’s virtual platform, LearningStudio, from any location they have internet access. Document management and student collaboration also include the use of Google Docs, which can easily be updated and shared with classmates. Both asynchronous and synchronous interaction with peers and instructors helps students get the most out of their educational activities while still providing ultimate flexibility for working adults and those trying to balance family responsibilities.

Career Support
The award for the best online master’s degree in quality engineering for career support goes to the University of Florida. The university’s Career Resource Center has a full-time staff dedicated to helping graduates succeed in their chosen career path. Available services include career road maps, major advising, internship placement assistance, online job postings, resume editing, recruiting services, and career planning appointments via phone or Skype for distance learners. Graduate students can also take advantage of assistance with specialized job search skills, workshops, and mock interviews. The school was recognized as the university with the best career services by the Princeton Review in 2011 as well.

Financial Support
Individuals enrolled at the University of Florida can benefit not only from the school’s strong academic reputation, but their track record of providing excellent financial support to their students. The National Center for Education Statistics reports that 99% of students received some form of financial aid for the 2010-2011 school year. Of students who were awarded aid, 98% received grant or scholarship aid. In addition, the university has a relatively low percentage of students who took out loans to finance their education at 25%. The student default rate on loans for UF graduates was also very low at 1.9%. Considering these factors, the University of Florida was the winner for the best online master’s degree in quality engineering for financial support.

Student Engagement
Arizona State University, located in Tempe, just outside of Phoenix, is the largest university in the country with an enrollment of more than 72,000 students. With such a large student body, there are hundreds of student organizations, communities, and networking opportunities, even for online students. ASU also offers a number of social media applications and a community orientation page to help distance learners connect with their peers. As for their curriculum, U.S. News & World Report ranked ASU’s online graduate engineering programs among the top 20 for student engagement and accreditation. With all this in mind, we awarded Arizona State the title of best online master’s degree in quality engineering for student engagement.

Library and Research Support
In addition to a strong academic reputation and expansive online offerings, Arizona State University also has an impressive array of electronic resources, earning them the award for the best online master’s degree in quality engineering for library and research support. ASU Libraries offers services such as electronic catalogs, e-books, journals, streaming media, tutorials, and research databases and guides. A unique feature is the school’s “Ask a Librarian” service, available 24/7 when students need to chat online about research techniques or the library’s resources.

Learning Support
The University of Central Florida is a public four-year institution in Orlando, ranked 4th on U.S. News & World Report‘s list of the top up-and-coming schools. In recent years, the university has expanded their online course offerings at both the undergraduate and graduate level, including a Master of Science in Quality Systems Engineering. Available resources for students include writing center appointments with shared screen interaction available, electronic thesis support, and a specially focused academic resource center for veterans. These services place the University of Central Florida at the top of the list for best online master’s degree in quality engineering for learning support.

Faculty Credentials
The best online master’s degree in quality engineering for faculty credentials is Arizona State University. U.S. News & World Report ranked the school’s online graduate programs in engineering 17th for faculty credentials and training. The average experience teaching in an online environment for instructors of ASU’s online engineering programs is seven years. In addition, the school seeks out professors with a wealth of industry experience in order to provide students with insight on real-world applications of the theoretical concepts they learn.

Faculty Accessibility
The University of Michigan – Dearborn is a public four-year institution located just west of Detroit. The school was ranked 6th on U.S. News & World Report‘s list of the nation’s top public schools. Their dedication to high-quality online education offerings, small class sizes, and personalized instruction place them at the top of the list for best online master’s degree in quality engineering for faculty accessibility. According to the National Center for Education Statistics, the university has a student-to-faculty ratio of 16 to 1. Their cutting-edge virtual learning environment also facilitates easy access to professors via e-mail, chat, or discussion boards.

Alumni Engagement
There are more than 330,000 University of Florida alumni, located in all 50 states and more than 135 countries. The school’s alumni association is among the top 15 in terms of the number of members and offers many benefits and services to help graduates stay connected. These include access to athletic events, alumni reunions, seminars, networking opportunities, and club events. Graduates who are members of the alumni association also maintain access to the school’s award-winning career services department to help them with career advancement, job placement, and recruiting. For these reasons, the University of Florida was chosen as the best online master’s degree in quality engineering for alumni engagement.

New Online Student Orientation
New students enrolled with ASU Online will benefit from step-by-step video tutorials on how to navigate the virtual learning space and make the most of the available resources. Prospective students can also preview this information before committing to the program. In addition, ASU provides 24/7 technical support for students adjusting to learning in an online environment. In terms of community, there are a number of social media applications the school has developed to help new online students connect with their peers. These factors have all contributed to ASU’s position at the top of our list for best online master’s degree in quality engineering for new online student orientation.

Explore a Master’s Degree in Quality Engineering

An online master’s degree in quality engineering is a good option for students who want to pursue a career in engineering management or in quality control. Depending on the institution, students may need to have a bachelor’s degree in a specific field, such as in engineering, meet a basic mathematics requirement, and have proficiency with C++, Visual BASIC, and Java. A typical master’s degree program in quality engineering may take at least 30 credit hours to complete, although the time it takes to complete the program may vary by academic institution.

Class Curriculum

An online master’s degree program in quality engineering helps train professional engineers to have the knowledge and skills needed to analyze, plan, and manage quality improvement programs within an organization. As such, a student may be required to take courses such as engineering statistics, project engineering, systems engineering, quality management, and quality design and control. These courses may examine the principles of organizational transformation, leadership, quality management, quality control strategies, and more. Read on for a closer look at three quality engineering courses:

  • Reliability Engineering. A reliability engineering course covers reliability theory and modeling approaches, types of failures, and various aspects of system effectiveness. Topics covered in this class may include failure data analysis, reliability in design, software reliability, and electronic systems reliability.
  • Quality Management. In this course, students will learn how to develop, implement, and maintain quality practices that assure the acceptance of products and services. This includes the study in the philosophy and concepts of quality management, organization for quality, cost, audits, and corrective actions, as well as techniques for improvement.
  • Quality Design and Control. A quality design and control course examines the history, economics, and measurement of quality control. It also looks at quality considerations in design, data presentation techniques, the use of process engineering techniques in implementing quality plans, reliability analysis and prediction, and design for quality improvement.

Students of an online quality engineering master’s degree program may have to complete reading assignments, short writing assignments that test their understanding of the course material, quizzes, exams, research projects, and case studies. Some courses may include a laboratory element in which students must apply their knowledge from the classroom to exercises or experiments.

Building a Career

Graduates of a master’s degree program in quality engineering will have the analytical, planning, and management skills needed to elevate their careers. Quality engineers design organizational processes and management systems, propose and implement alternative solutions to new problems that new technologies bring about, and pursue continuous development by utilizing engineering concepts, tools, and methods. As such, an individual with a quality engineering master’s degree may qualify for employment as an engineering manager.

Engineering managers make detailed plans to reach technical goals, manage research and development teams that are developing new products, verify technical accuracy, hire staff, and coordinate with other levels of management. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), engineering managers earned a median annual salary of $119,260 in 2010. Employment of engineering managers is expected to increase by 9%, which is slower than average for all occupations, between 2010 and 2020. Job growth is expected to be slow because companies are outsourcing research and development to outside engineering firms, according to the BLS. However, these statistics are no guarantee of actual salary or employment opportunity, which is more likely to be determined by the condition of the economy, location, and employer.

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