Thanks to its own success, the George R. Brown School of Engineering’s Professional Master’s Program (EPMP) at Rice University has separated from its School of Natural Sciences counterpart and, as of April 1, become a discrete program.
“Every year we have had more applications, more admissions, more accepted students. We are succeeding even better than we ever thought we would in so short a period of time,” said Agustina Fernandez-Moya, director of the engineering program and formerly program manager of the combined office. Dagmar Beck will remain director of the natural sciences program.
“A professional master’s degree from Rice is viewed as a high-value item. The program’s years of growth have resulted in a big cohort of enthusiastic students across all the engineering departments,” said Edwin L. “Ned” Thomas, the William and Stephanie Sick Dean of the George R. Brown School of Engineering, adding:
“In recognition of her hard work, Tina Fernandez-Moya is promoted to director of EPMP. Dagmar Beck, who has been instrumental in the success of both programs, will continue as director for natural sciences. We particularly want to recognize her dedication to the program over the years.”
Since 1974, Rice has offered professional master’s degrees, many tailored to students who already have experience in the working world and wish to further their education and improve their marketability. The nine departments in the engineering school offer 10 professional master’s degrees.
In fall 2013, applications to the program totaled 873, with 257 admissions. By fall 2016, the numbers had grown to 1,668 and 521, respectively. Fernandez-Moya attributes much of the program’s success to her office’s publicity efforts, including online and print advertising, attendance at education conferences and job fairs, the EPMP Seminar Series, corporate outreach and other events.
“Of course, our students are the best marketing tool we have to promote our program,” said Fernandez-Moya, noting that roughly 70 percent of the students now enrolled in EPMP are international.
The program also offers a fifth-year master’s degree for Rice undergraduates.
“We are getting not only more student applications but better quality students, with higher GPA’s. And we are also getting more women,” she said.