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USC Viterbi School Announces New M.S. Degree Program in Electric Power Engineering

Move comes as national task force report notes serious shortage of engineers in the specialty

July 10, 2009 —

Beginning this fall the Viterbi School of Engineering will offer a Master of Science program in Electrical Engineering (Electric Power) both for on-campus students and for students in its Distance Education Network (DEN).

“This program responds to a pressing national need,” said Kelly Goulis, Viterbi School Associate Dean for Master’s and Professional Programs, pointing to a recent report by the U.S. Power and Energy Engineering Workforce Collaborative. 

The report, “Preparing the U.S. Foundation for Future Electric Energy Systems: A Strong Power and Energy Engineering Workforce,” states that within the next five years, an estimated 45% of engineers at U.S. electric utilities will be eligible for retirement or will leave for other reasons, creating a need for at least 7,000 power engineers in the electric utility industry alone, with perhaps three times as many others required in other sectors.

“The current graduation rate from U.S. university electric power engineering programs is not sufficient to meet our nation's current and future needs,” said Wanda Reder, president of the IEEE Power & Energy Society and chair of the Power Engineering Collaborative's executive council.

Goulis said that the new Viterbi program will allow fully employed engineers in the power industry to advance their careers and enhance their skills by earning this M.S. degree part time.  Because this M.S. program is offered entirely online, students can take courses without having to attend class on the USC campus. 

According to the course description, “the M.S. in Electrical Engineering (Electric Power) is a program option for students seeking careers in the electric power industry. The plan of study combines traditional topics in power generation, transmission, and distribution with cutting-edge topics such as the integration of renewable energy sources and the control opportunities of the smart grid.”

 “We hope this new degree program will assist power engineers across the country,” said Goulis. “The innovative delivery system that USC’s Distance Education Network (DEN) provides is ideally suited to respond to the needs of engineers who are fully employed and want to earn their M.S. degree at the same time.”

About Viterbi Master’s and Professional Programs:
In 2006, the Viterbi School created a new division of Master’s and Professional Programs, making the continuing education of engineering professionals a top priority. This division’s is responsible for the implementation of Master of Science programs, short courses, specialized  custom courses and certificate programs. More information is available on the division homepage at http://viterbi.usc.edu/admission/graduate/mapp/