The Current State and Future Needs of Systems Engineering: A Proposed Curriculum; The Promotion of Online Education in U.S. Universities

Author: ORCID icon
Varghese, Mia, School of Engineering and Applied Science, University of Virginia
Scherer, William, EN-SIE, University of Virginia
Norton, Peter, EN-Engineering and Society, University of Virginia

Over the last two decades, distance learning has grown rapidly, especially due to the COVID-19 pandemic. While technology can support online education far better than it could just five years ago, technical feasibility is not the sole consideration. Because social groups are divided about what education is for and what good access to educational opportunities means, they are also divided about the optimal extent and applications of online education. To advance their diverse perspectives on online learning, these groups offer open membership, provide online statements and resources, and engage in social media discussions and blogs. Among professional associations, nonprofits, tech vendors, students, and educators, disagreements about the potential of online education are attributable to differences in educational values.
To diversify access to graduate engineering programs at the University of Virginia (UVA) specifically, the project team designed a one-year, hybrid Accelerated Master’s in Systems Engineering Program. The program began in May 2023. To develop a model suited to UVA, the team conducted market research on similar graduate programs in Northern Virginia and proposed course sequences, marketing ideas, and admission requirements for the new rollout.
Overall, proposals to supplement or replace in-person classrooms with online education platforms are controversial. This paper seeks to understand if online higher education programs approximate conventional programs in educational quality.

BS (Bachelor of Science)
online education, systems engineering design, master's degree

School of Engineering and Applied Science
Bachelor of Science in Systems Engineering
Technical Advisor: William T. Scherer
STS Advisor: Peter Norton
Technical Team Members: TJ Gwilliam, Salem Keleta, Maggie Salomonsky, Vinay Vangala

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