CANYON, TX (KFDA) - West Texas A&M University will be offering a new Master's of Science in Engineering degree this fall that's tailored for students and working engineers.
Engineering staff at WT said they have noticed a greater demand for engineers in the panhandle, and are hoping the new master's program will attract and keep more engineers in the area.
A pending contract with Texas A&M University could promise five of these master's students a full ride for a Ph.D. in College Station every year.
To be eligible for that opportunity, students will go through the new individualized master's program first, and can study different fields of engineering regardless of the specialization their bachelor's degree is in.
"We realize that as a mechanical engineer, I don't necessarily need just more mechanical education, but I might need to know more about electrical engineering," said Dr. Emily Hunt, Dean of WT's School of Engineering, Computer Science and Mathematics. "Or I might need to learn more about the environmental components to the designs that I'm working on or to the projects that my company is doing."
The program has both online and in-classroom options for students coming straight from undergrad or working engineers wanting to enhance their careers.
WT's current Master's of Science in Engineering Technology is geared more toward the business and applied side of engineering, not the innovation, design and leadership aspects this new program will focus on.
Engineering companies in Amarillo, like Bell Helicopter and Pantex, helped create the new program to bring and keep more engineers in the panhandle.
University staff is hoping this program will attract high school students to WT engineering as well.
"I've been to 58 [high] schools, and when I ask [the students] about what they want to study, in every case one or two or three hands go up for engineering," said Dr. Walter Wendler, President of WT. "And some of those are the same people who say they want to study at West Texas A&M. So, I think there's a tremendous opportunity to reach more students in the panhandle, and I'm committed to that."
This degree can be obtained in one to two years depending on work experience and which courses students decide to take.
Hunt said this is a low-cost program, and in-state students can receive this degree for $12,000.
Staff expects to have about 15 graduate students for the inaugural semester of this program.
Applications are being accepted now online through WT's graduate school.