Online Master’s in Engineering Management Coming to Tufts in 2020

Tufts Gordon Institute will launch a graduate program in January focused on working professionals who seek to advance their careers

People leaning over desk conferring over engineering plans. Tufts Gordon Institute will launch a program in January focused on to working professionals who seek to advance their careers

The Tufts Gordon Institute at the School of Engineering in January will launch an online M.S. in Engineering Management program (MSEM) that will allow students to study at their own pace from nearly anywhere, earning their degree in as little as two years while continuing their careers.

“We know there are many people who would like the flexible schedule that comes with a virtual classroom,” said Kevin Oye, E79, executive director of the Gordon Institute and a professor of the practice in business strategy and innovation. “We developed a compelling online experience that offers students around the world access to a high-quality Tufts education, taught by the same faculty with extensive knowledge and experience in tech industries.”

Oye said the online program leverages the strong reputation of the on-campus MSEM program, which has been offered for nearly thirty years and has more than 800 alumni. These graduates report that the program provided a “tangible return” in the form of promotions and higher salaries, he said.

The online core curriculum is comprised of a series of seven-week courses that cover essentials such as technology strategy, finance, data analytics, and leadership development. The asynchronous courses are supplemented with two milestone projects that provide students with a hands-on opportunity to demonstrate what they’ve learned, Oye said.

Within the first milestone project, students work in small, virtual teams to develop a business plan for a new product or service, supported by a faculty advisor. The second project, completed individually, empowers students to apply their skills directly within their business or organization.

That capstone project “will extend above their current work group, laterally as well as vertically,” said Oye, “so that students have experience working out how to have influence and authority beyond what they normally have in their day-to-day lives. Getting out of one’s comfort zone is the best way to develop and demonstrate leadership skills.” 

The program’s central focus is transformative leadership, said Oye, and that means the online experience encompasses both “skill sets and mindsets.”

While skills are all about “getting work done,” the mindset, or interpersonal intelligence, “ends up being more valuable,” he said. “How do you build teams? How do you negotiate through conflict, or have impact without authority? Those are critical skills to master to be a respected and impactful leader.” Leadership courses within the online program will also feature individualized coaching that facilitates students’ development of their leadership competencies beyond the classroom.

From a wider perspective, Oye believes that the institute’s online degree will challenge the common assumption that online learning is impersonal. “We’re not going to lose any of the personal approach that defines our on-campus program,” he said. “Our faculty have specifically designed the curriculum to ensure that every student gets the support and guidance he or she needs and wants. Courses will include engaging content as well as experiences like virtual office hours, live review sessions, and moderated discussion boards. A dedicated administrative team will also be there to answer their questions and support them as they move through the program.”

By reaching a wider global audience, the new program helps the Gordon Institute move closer to achieving Oye’s vision of building “a worldwide community of transformative leaders with heart,” he said. “The world needs bright, innovative people who understand how to harness technology for the greater good. This online program gives us another mechanism to achieve that goal.”

Find out more about the online master’s degree in engineering management, including how to apply, here. Applications are now being accepted for January 2020.  

Laura Ferguson can be reached at

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