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Press Release for Friday, July 6, 2007

UNF Builds Three New Engineering Master's Degree Programs

Contact: Joanna Norris, Assistant Director
Department of Media Relations and Events
(904) 620-2102

The University of North Florida’s Board of Trustees recently approved the School of Engineering adding three new master’s degree programs in engineering to its graduate course offerings. The Master of Science in Civil Engineering, Master of Science in Electrical Engineering and the Master of Science in Mechanical Engineering will all meet a need for advanced engineering education for a growing Northeast Florida economy.

“Based on a growing need for technical depth in the engineering profession and an expected growth in the job market, these new master’s degree programs in engineering will allow UNF graduates to enhance their professional skills and increase their abilities to serve the Jacksonville community,” said UNF President John A. Delaney.

The University anticipates enrolling 10 students in the first year of the Civil Engineering master’s degree program and within five years expects to increase to about 65 students, while the Electrical Engineering and Mechanical Engineering master’s degree programs expect to begin with five students each, expanding to about 40 students over a five-year period. All three master’s programs are slated to begin in the spring of 2008.

“The new master’s degree programs will offer professionals in Northeast Florida, and beyond, the opportunity to work with talented faculty in the classroom and in research,” said Dr. Stephan Nix, director of UNF’s School of Engineering. “As a result, they will be better prepared to meet the needs of a rapidly-changing world and their own career goals.”

These new master’s degree programs are important to the engineering field because significant education beyond the undergraduate degree is being endorsed by engineering societies as a requirement for professional practice.

“Many national professional societies, such as the National Society of Professional Engineers and the American Society of Civil Engineers, are calling for post-baccalaureate education to become the gateway to the profession. Some go so far as to favor this as a requirement for professional licensing,” said David Fenner, dean of UNF’s Graduate School.

The Master of Science in Civil Engineering will provide the technical depth necessary for a civil engineer to better reach his or her potential as a professional and to serve the community. The program will have both a thesis option and a project option. Students will be able to choose from two concentrations: geotechnical/structural or water resources/environmental.

The electrical engineering master’s degree program at the University will have both a thesis and project option for degree completion. One of three concentrations will be available to students: communications, computer, or controls and signal processing.

UNF students will get an in-depth focus of skills and trends in the profession as part of the Master of Science in Mechanical Engineering program. Students will select a thesis or project option for degree completion. The course of study in mechanical engineering will be broadly organized by classes specializing in thermofluids and machine sciences.

Not only will these new engineering master’s degree programs provide the technical depth necessary for engineers to better reach their professional potential but will also provide the advanced technical education and research needed to support the economic development of Northeast Florida.

“We have a number of existing companies and a number of potential new companies that have a significant need for engineers,” said Jerry Mallot, executive vice president of the Jacksonville Regional Chamber of Commerce. “Our ability to produce engineers in this region will determine how successful we are in seeing these companies grow and/or relocate to Jacksonville, so UNF’s effort to expand a master’s degree program in the three primary engineering areas is wonderful.”

With the additional three new master’s programs, UNF now has a total of 27 master’s degrees in 64 areas of concentration and 52 bachelor’s degrees in 132 areas of concentration. UNF, which opened in 1972 as a 2-year, upper-division-only university, enrolled 16,084 students last fall, including more than 1,600 seeking graduate degrees.