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USC Online Master of Science Aerospace Engineering Degree

USC Online Master of Science Aerospace Engineering Degree

USC Online Master of Science Aerospace Engineering Degree

Can someone recommend this program for an online Masters program in Aerospace. I'm looking at the Aerospace Structures core program. Also, if you have experience with another online program please list that one here as well.

Thank you.

RE: USC Online Master of Science Aerospace Engineering Degree

I obtained my MS through this program and completed a few years ago. Here is a general takeaway, let me know if you have any more specific questions.

My admission was oddly difficult. I met and exceeded all stated requirements for the program, but they withheld their decision until days before classes began. I eventually obtained a contact with admissions who gave me updates but I was never clear on what the issue was. My guess is that I had a combination of location and employer (rural and not Boeing or Lockheed) which made them uncomfortable.

The quality of instruction was generally very good. Within the aero structures courses, I had one instructor I didn't care for and several who were outstanding. As usual, look for instructors with practical experience or better yet instructors with industry day jobs. My best class was a 599 independent study by an engineer who was still working space structures.

The response of most instructors to questions via email or elsewhere was very good. The interaction with TAs was hit or miss. The interaction with other students was almost non-existent. This was probably by biggest disappointment in the program. As opposed to my friends in other programs and schools, who I hear complain about mandatory forum posts, this program was almost entirely devoid of any interaction between students. The only exception I can recall is when the professor made it part of the coursework to review and answer questions about other students projects.

The advanced mathematics requirement (2 classes 6 credits) was also a difficulty. It is required of all MS Engineering students and is not easy. The professors are teaching very large classes on material with very little practical grounding and the courses are also being reproduced online. These courses are where I found the least amount of help and despite being previously considered a math whiz I could barely keep up in the vacuum of the cloud. I would recommend the course of action I took, which was to tackle these courses early or first to avoid being tripped up on them after spending time and money elsewhere.

The online portal was, at least then, BlackBoard (TM). This was sufficient but outdated for most file transfer but lacking for actual class video. All class video was encoded with some heavy handed encryption which required Windows Media Player and an internet connection to view. You could watch on the go only if you downloaded the video to a machine with WMP and obtained a license (good for 3 plays) prior to disconnecting from the web. Definitely not appropriate in the age of mobile devices. On the other hand, being remote allowed me to watch recorded classed on my own schedule (and I found the adjustable speed of WMP both useful and entertaining).

The program required all of my tests to be proctored by an authorized proctoring facility. There were originally none in my out of the way area and they would not allow proctoring through my work place. I was luckily able to set up proctor services with my local technical college, but this took no small effort and coordination on my part.

Overall, I am very glad I did this. It was one of a very few Masters degrees from a creditable school in my area of study. It was also very expensive. There were certainly difficulties and challenges including non-academic challenges in the course of the program you need to fight through to get done.

Another colleague went the Georgia Tech route and it seemed that program was somewhat more streamlined or relaxed regarding the admissions, proctoring, etc. That program was also somewhat less expensive. It seemed he struggled with the same issues of class interaction, though, and his opinion last I spoke to him of the instruction level was not particularly high.

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