University of Tennessee—Knoxville launches online master’s degree program in computer science

BY Sydney LakeJuly 08, 2022, 12:52 PM
The Tennessee Theater in downtown Knoxville, Tennessee, as seen in May 2020. (Photographer: Luke Sharrett—Bloomberg/Getty Images)

During the next decade, computer scientist roles stand to grow 22%—nearly three times faster than all other occupations, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. These highly technical jobs often require education beyond a bachelor’s degree, however. To meet the rising demand for people trained in applied cybersecurity, data mining and intelligent systems, and software engineering, the University of Tennessee—Knoxville announced in late June plans to launch an online master’s degree program in computer science.

“There is an enormous national need for people with training in computer science right now, coming from nearly all sectors of the economy,” Matthew Mench, dean of UTK’s Tickle College of Engineering and the Wayne T. Davis dean’s chair of the college, tells Fortune. “Our goal is to help meet this demand through creation of new pathways for education such as creating the highest quality online program at UT Knoxville.”

UTK partnered with edtech company Noodle for its online master’s in computer science program, which is now accepting applications for a start this fall. The school has also partnered with Noodle for its online MBA program, which the school announced the launch of in late May, as well as its online master’s in supply chain management. The University of Tennessee—Knoxville also offers a full-time MBA program, which Fortune ranks as No. 41 in the country, as well as a professional MBA program and an executive MBA program

Computer science program is designed to meet the needs of a variety of students

University of Tennessee—Knoxville officials ultimately decided to offer the master’s degree program in computer science online to open up the curriculum to students who may not otherwise be able to attend, including people in the military and those who were unable to move to Knoxville due to employment or personal restrictions. 

However, “the program will be every bit as rigorous as in-person learning, with the same lessons, requirements, and even professors being part of both the on-campus and online versions of the degree,” according to the university.

The program, which is based in the Min. H. Kao Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, can be completed in as little as two years.

While school officials anticipate that many prospective students will come to the program with at least a basic understanding of computer science, the program will likely draw interest from a variety of student backgrounds. Plus, these online students will be able to cater their education toward their interests by the choice of three concentrations: applied cybersecurity, data mining and intelligent systems, or software engineering.

“The three avenues of study that have been chosen are the specific things employers in the state of Tennessee are demanding and also what students are seeking,” UTK officials said in a statement.

How to apply

The University of Tennessee—Knoxville does not require a GRE score to apply to its online master’s in computer science program, but candidates must submit a statement of purpose, an academic transcript, and an updated resume. Letters of recommendation are optional. 

Applications for the first cohort, which will start this fall, are due on July 15. The approximate cost for an in-state student for the entire program is $21,120, and the cost for an out-of-state student is an estimated $23,370.

“It is our mission as a land-grant university to drive economic and educational opportunities for those across the state of Tennessee,” Greg Peterson, the head of the Min. H. Kao Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, tells Fortune. “Through this program, we will meet the demand of employers and employees alike in areas of ever-growing needs that are becoming even more vital to the modern economy.”

See how the schools you’re considering fared in Fortune’s rankings of the best master’s in computer science programspsychology programs, public health programsbusiness analytics programsdata science programs, and part-timeexecutive, full-time, and online MBA programs.