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Graduate Certificates As Recruiting And Entry Vehicles

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2007 Annual Conference & Exposition


Honolulu, Hawaii

Publication Date

June 24, 2007

Start Date

June 24, 2007

End Date

June 27, 2007



Conference Session

EMD Recruitment and Certification

Tagged Division

Engineering Management

Page Count


Page Numbers

12.789.1 - 12.789.7



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Paper Authors


William Daughton University of Missouri

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Dr. William Daughton is professor and chair of the Engineering Management and Systems Engineering department at the University of Missouri-Rolla. He has significant industrial management experience in the semiconductor industry and over 15 years of teaching experience.

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NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

Graduate Certificates as Recruiting and Entry Vehicles For the MSEM Degree Abstract

The Engineering Management and Systems Engineering department at the University of Missouri – Rolla has introduced a group of 12-hour graduate certificates primarily focused at working engineers and technical professionals. These certificates are of a practical nature and provide these individuals the opportunity to obtain focused continuing graduate education in areas of interest to them while at the same time providing them the option of using the certificate as an entry point for future study for the MSEM degree. The types of certificates offered, the mechanism for entry into the MSEM program, and success of these certificates in serving their stated purpose is discussed.


The Engineering Management and Systems Engineering (EMSE) department at the University of Missouri-Rolla (UMR) is one of the top producers of MS graduates in the United States.1 A significant number of the MS student population represents working engineers who are taking advantage of the non-thesis distance education option to obtain their degrees. The number of students in this group continues to grow, and in the last academic year, there were 200 students enrolled in graduate study through distance education in the department. In the last few years, enrollment in the MS program in Engineering Management by distance students has been virtually flat while there has been growth in the enrollment in the MS program in Systems Engineering. In the latter case, this growth is due to a relationship between UMR and the Boeing Corporation to provide graduate study in this field. However, even in this situation many students still follow the certificate route. The certificates are made up of four-course bundles of interconnected courses. The obvious reason for growth due to these certificates is a pent- up demand for specialized continuing professional education by working engineers, but there are two less obvious, but nonetheless important side benefits of these certificates. Interaction with potential students at education fairs, company visits, and through electronic inquiries has revealed a potential barrier that the certificates remove. Normal admission to the MS degree program requires the submission of recent GRE scores that meet certain score standards in the three areas of the exam. However, many potential applicants have been out of school for 3-5 years or more, and the prospect of preparing for and taking the GRE is daunting. One particular group of students strongly affected by this requirement is the Corp of Engineer Army Captains at Fort Leonard Wood.2 These individuals, if they meet admission requirements, are able to complete the MSEM degree while they are at the fort for career training. Many of these individuals are now coming to this program straight from war zones in Iraq or Afghanistan, making it very difficult to prepare for and take the GRE. Overall, some potential students have simply said they would not take the exam and planned to look elsewhere for their graduate education. These individuals are often indignant that as successful professional engineers, they would be required to take the GRE. The introduction of graduate certificates has provided a path to bypass the GRE for these working adults while at the same time providing them

Daughton, W. (2007, June), Graduate Certificates As Recruiting And Entry Vehicles Paper presented at 2007 Annual Conference & Exposition, Honolulu, Hawaii. 10.18260/1-2--1530

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