This fall, Cal State Fullerton’s College of Engineering and Computer Science welcomes a new online master’s degree in environmental engineering.
The program, approved last March, will provide students with practical information and technical knowledge on contemporary environmental topics and issues including wastewater treatment and disposal, water reclamation and reuse, stormwater runoff management and treatment.
Jeff Kuo, Ph.D., professor in environmental engineering and coordinator for the online master’s program in environmental engineering is in charge of everything administrative, student communication and curriculum.
According to Kuo, there are about 50 students enrolled in the program.
The structure of the program is based on a cohort model in which students move through the two-year curriculum as a group.
Students will be trained for consulting companies, industries or as officials for local governments as well as state or federal regulatory agencies.
At the end of program, students will be prepared for the professional engineering exam in environmental engineering.
The reason the degree program is online is because many students work full time, and have other priorities, which set them back from being able to attend classes on campuses.
Kuo said the new program is a benefit for many students.
“Online classes are a trend, good for working professionals, they can view their lectures, on their schedule, their own pace” said Kuo. “We still have good communication with students.”
Kuo expressed that there are effective ways to communicate with professors without physically being on campus.
“Students can send emails, can stop by my office hours, or Skype me if they want,” Kuo said.
Although this fall is the first year of the master’s online program in environmental engineering Kuo has high hopes for the continuation of the program for years to come.
“I hope first years success can carry on,” Kuo said.
Not only has the program touched base with faculty and students on campus, but students from other campuses who are finding out about it want to come and join.
Kuo has even received an email from a student who graduated from UC Riverside with their degree in environmental science and heard about the program and would like to join next year.
Sarah Aboulhosn, 25, a civil engineering major, heard about the program and is looking into to it to see if it would benefit her and align with her daily schedule.
“I heard this semester. It’s a program that involves more studies and research about environmental engineering,” said Aboulhosn. “I am interested in it, but I’m not too sure if I’m going to do it.”
Aboulhosn said the program will be beneficial because of scheduling and the idea of working only gives students so much time to be on campus.
She said she likes the idea of online lectures because as a student, others can view them and listen on their own time, however, she said she also wants to be able to see the professor lecture instead of just reading material word for word.
Jarome Terrell, 23, another civil engineering major, said he also feels the online master’s program is beneficial because for a lot of labs, students have to be in class to complete them. However, most professors already post lectures online, so it would not be something new to him.
“Right now with the economy most jobs are not located in southern California so to be able to work out of state and be able to come here for your masters is a great idea,” said Terrell.