College of Engineering to offer part-time masters degree program

In line with recent universitywide efforts to broaden the scope of online education, the UC Berkeley College of Engineering has opened applications for an entirely online, part-time master’s degree program, officials announced Monday.

The Master of Advanced Study in Integrated Circuits program, offered through the department of electrical engineering and computer sciences, will allow working professionals to earn a master’s degree from the campus in two years while continuing their careers. The program is scheduled to begin in fall 2013.

“This program is intended for the working professional and, as such, is structured so that it can be easily consumed in the evening hours or anywhere in the world,” said Jan Rabaey, a professor in the department. “Completion of this program will open doors for you to become a leader in some of the most innovative companies in the field.”

The program requires students to complete at least seven courses and a final design project that resembles work in the semiconductor industry. The Internet-based system includes interactive lectures, virtual office hours and discussion forums to facilitate discussion between students, teaching assistants and professors.

“What’s really exciting about this online program is that we are going to include all of the key components of our live courses into the online offering,” said Tsu-Jae King Liu, a professor of electrical engineering and computer sciences who helped organized the online program.

The integrated circuits master’s program is the second professional degree program at UC Berkeley that is predominantly online. The first, an online master of public health degree program, was created in spring 2012.

Additionally, the School of Information is currently in the process of creating a one-year online master’s program, according to AnnaLee Saxenian, dean of the school.

“(Online education) opens access and defies limits on physical space to (enroll) students,” Saxenian said.
There are concerns, however, about the limitations of an online degree in the field of electrical engineering.

Online courses would prevent students from getting adequate lab experience, said Min Joon Seo, a UC Berkeley alum who graduated in May 2012 with a degree in electrical engineering and computer sciences and now works at Oracle Corporation.

“It is questionable how much a student can learn in only two years,” Seo said. “Courses in electrical engineering … inevitably involve physical lab experiences like actual fabrication of integrated circuits. I fear that an online degree will be inadequate.”

“It is questionable how much a student can learn in only two years,” Seo said. “Courses in electrical engineering … inevitably involve physical lab experiences like actual fabrication of integrated circuits. I fear that an online degree will be inadequate.”

Contact Dan Kwak at [email protected].

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  • guest

    The watering down of the Berkeley degree has commenced….

  • sam kim

    wow great article! a very nice read!