Program Information

What is the difference between the Online Graduate Certificates and Penn Engineering Online degree programs?

The certificate programs are shorter and are meant to be a compliment to a student’s degree. Degree programs are longer and require more commitment as students earn another Master’s Degree. In addition, Online Graduate Certificates are not eligible for federal financial aid, whereas online degrees are eligible. You can learn more about policies specific to  Online Graduate Certificates and Engineering Online Programs via the Penn Engineering Online Student Handbook.

What is the learning experience in degree programs?

The rigorous online courses at Penn Engineering Online offer the Ivy League quality of our in-person programs with the accessibility of learning from anywhere. You’ll join study groups, Slack channels, and online discussion forums that enrich your collaborative learning environment, an essential pillar of excellence in the online experience at Penn Engineering.

Which Penn Engineering Online degree is right for me?

If you don’t have a degree in computer science, or have minimal prior computer science training, consider our online Master of Computer and Information Technology (MCIT Online). If you have a computer science minor, an undergraduate degree in computer science or in a highly quantitative field (e.g., statistics, math, physics, etc.) with significant exposure to computer science, consider our online Master of Science in Engineering in Data Science.

What's the difference between Penn Engineering Online’s MSE-DS and MCIT degrees?

MCIT Online is for those who are trying to quickly pivot into the field of computer science, while MSE-DS Online helps those who already have a solid foundation in computer science to become data engineers.
See also: Which Penn Engineering Online degree is right for me?

Are online students required to have health insurance?

Online students are strongly encouraged but not required to have health insurance. Online students are not eligible for Penn’s student health insurance plan(s).

Will there be a graduation ceremony?

Yes, Penn Engineering Online degree students will be invited to campus to participate in Penn’s Commencement ceremonies in May. Attendance is optional.

What will the proctored exams look like?

Our exams will be online and proctored through a service called Honorlock. Students will be monitored via webcam.

What is the definition of part-time vs full-time?

Part-time status for Penn Engineering Online degree students is defined as taking 1-2 courses in a semester. Full-time status is defined as taking 3-4 courses per semester. It is easy to switch back and forth between part-time and full-time status.

If accepted into the program, how much will the enrollment deposit cost?

Applicants who are admitted and decide to join a Penn Engineering Online degree program will need to submit a non-refundable $300 USD enrollment deposit, which will be applied towards tuition.

Can I do an internship as an online degree student?

Internships are not a part of our online degree curricula, but our career services team can help prepare you for a successful internship search.

As an online student, can I work as a TA or a research assistant?

Yes! To apply for a teaching assistantship review current openings

If you’re interested in being a research assistant, we encourage you to reach out to a faculty member who’s working in a field of interest. These positions are typically not posted publicly.

How much time will I need to spend on the program each week?

It depends on the course topic, your background, your learning style, and the particular assignments in a given week. In general, you can expect each course to require 15-18 hours per week. Some courses will take less time, while for others you might need to spend 25 hours on a particularly challenging programming assignment. 

Please note that 15 hours per week per course is only an estimated average. In reality, these courses could take a little less or a lot more time than estimated based on your prior education or work experience. Not only that, one course can vary week to week: one course could take 10 hours one week and way more in the next!

A good thought exercise before the semester starts is to map out the extra time you typically have in your week and whether you can dedicate 15 hours of that time to your class. What if it was more than 15? Think critically about what would happen if you have a challenging assignment that took you 20-25 hours to complete. Be aware that some of our students spend this much time every week for one course.

Can I transfer between a Penn Engineering Online degree program and an on-campus degree program?

No, students are not allowed to transfer between Penn Engineering Online and an on-campus degree program.

What services are available to online students?

As a Penn Engineering Online degree student, you’re a full member of the Penn community with broad access to everything from virtual career advising to online libraries and learning resources. For details, see our Student Services page.

I'm not yet interested in a full degree. Can I take a few courses?

Yes! We’ve partnered with Coursera to offer a wide range of affordable online open courses, from Aerial Robotics to Computational Thinking for Problem Solving. We also offer open course series that lead to credentials in programming, software development, and robotics.

How long does it take to complete a Penn Engineering Online degree program?

A Penn Engineering Online degree program requires the successful completion of ten courses. Students have access to a Student Success Advising Team that can help them plan their course schedule and overall degree plan. Students can easily switch between part-time and full-time registration each semester based on how many courses they take. Enrollment in the summer semester is optional. We encourage all students to meet with a member of our Student Success Advising Team to discuss the course load and route to degree completion that best fits their needs. Depending on how many classes you take each semester, you can complete the program in 16 to 40 months.

Can I keep working while earning the degree?

Yes! Penn Engineering Online degrees are flexible enough to accommodate the needs of working professionals, and you can choose to take 1-3 courses at a time. There are no required synchronous (real-time) sessions, but students should dedicate time each week to watch lectures, complete assignments and participate in office hours or group sessions with professors, TAs, and fellow students.

Where is a Penn Engineering Online degree recognized?

Penn Engineering Online degree programs are offered by the University of Pennsylvania, which is authorized to confer degrees and certificates conferring academic credit under applicable laws of the United States. If you live in another country, we encourage you to investigate your jurisdiction’s treatment of foreign online programs to ensure that the program will meet your objectives.

Is a Penn Engineering Online degree program accredited?

Yes, the University of Pennsylvania is regionally accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.

Does a Penn Engineering online degree program carry the same weight as an on-campus degree?

Yes! You’ll enjoy the high-quality instructors that Penn Engineering’s on-campus program is known for, and you’ll graduate with the same degree and same diploma.

I am currently an undergrad/master’s/PhD student at Penn. Can I take a Penn Engineering Online course?

Yes, Penn Engineering Online offers a variety of open non-credit courses that are available to all learners! Only students admitted to Penn Engineering Online degree programs can enroll in or audit the courses in those programs.

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