WEST LAFAYETTE — Purdue University is at the forefront of postgraduate learning with a new online education offering.

The schools of Civil Engineering, Electrical and Computer Engineering, and Mechanical Engineering are planning to offer affordable online master’s programs through edX with support from Kaplan Higher Education. This is the first comprehensive engineering postgraduate curricula provided online at less than $25,000 for master’s degrees. Purdue is ranked among the top 10 engineering programs and top five online engineering graduate programs in the U.S.

“We were intrigued when edX approached us with an opportunity to serve potentially thousands of new engineering students who could never come to Purdue’s campus to earn these degrees,” said Gerry McCartney, executive vice president for Purdue Online. “This is an important milestone for online education at Purdue University.”

“This powerful offering will provide the highest-quality online master’s degrees for working professionals in engineering, at the highest value,” said Mung Chiang, Purdue’s John A. Edwardson Dean of the College of Engineering.

The School of Electrical and Computer Engineering will offer the first of these master’s degrees starting in January 2020. The program is now accepting applications, with a priority deadline of Nov. 1. It is the same degree earned by students on Purdue’s campus, but requiring only one to one and half years for a full-time student to earn the degree, or up to four years for a part-time student. Each plan of study can be customized to include a number of unique one-credit-hour courses that will help students gain the desired range within their chosen technical field. In all, the Master of Science in Electrical and Computer Engineering requires 30 credit hours of coursework.

“We are delighted to launch advanced programs through this novel partnership,” said Dimitrios (Dimitri) Peroulis, the Michael and Katherine Birck Head of the School of Electrical and Computer Engineering and special advisor to the dean of engineering for Online Learning. “Purdue ECE world-class faculty have teamed up with online learning experts to produce a thorough and flexible master’s program. By completing their desired combination of rigorous one- and three-credit-hour courses, ECE online students will be able to gain both the depth and breadth they need to lead engineering teams worldwide.”

As part of this online master’s degree in ECE, Purdue will offer Advanced Electronics through the edX MicroMasters® program. The program is a series of graduate-level courses designed to provide deep learning in a career field. They are recognized for their job relevance and can be used to pursue an accelerated and less expensive master’s degree. Completion of Advanced Electronics in the MicroMasters program could count toward the degree if a student is accepted into the full master’s degree program. Additional MicroMasters programs in different Electrical and Computer Engineering areas are planned for 2020.

The affordable online master’s in ECE is the first step, with master’s degrees in mechanical engineering and civil engineering being planned for next year. “At its core, civil engineering continually strives to move the world forward through advancements in both research and in education, and we believe this partnership will do just that for our school,” said Rao S. Govindaraju, the Bowen Engineering Head of Civil Engineering and Christopher B. and Susan S. Burke Professor of Civil Engineering. “With this new partnership, we intend to provide greater ease access to higher education to qualified students all around the world.”

Purdue Online and Purdue Engineering have been working on a number of online pedagogical innovations, such as virtual labs and assessment strategies. These are expected to benefit the planned affordable online master’s degrees.