VCU’s Online Master’s in Mechanical and Nuclear Engineering Ranked Among Best Values in the Nation

Richmond, VA (March 3, 2017) – The VCU School of Engineering’s online M.S. in mechanical and nuclear engineering is one of the 30 best values in the nation according to Best College Values (BCV), an online resource that ranks university programs according to quality, affordability and return on investment.

Gary Tepper, Ph.D., professor and chair of the Mechanical and Nuclear Engineering Department (MNE ), said the online M.S. was the product of a close partnership with industry. “The online M.S. degree was designed to provide working professionals the opportunity to obtain an advanced technical degree at a distance with the same quality and personalization as our on-campus degree program,” Tepper said.

For its 2017 rankings, BCV selected 30 regionally accredited colleges and universities of high quality according to the U.S. News and World Report rankings and ranked them using a weighted methodology that aggregates publicly available data including U.S. News scores, tuition rates, return on investment according to, graduation rates and cohort default rates.

Karla Mossi, Ph.D., associate professor and graduate program director in the MNE Department, said the ranking reflects the online M.S. program’s close alignment with the on-campus master’s program in mechanical and nuclear engineering. That alignment is achieved in part by the program’s synchronous instruction delivery, which has students learning from professors in real time. “We have been working to make sure the online program is just as rich and challenging as the program on campus,” she said. “We’re committed to continuous improvement, even in a program that’s already strong.”

VCU’s online mechanical and nuclear engineering M.S. offers more course options than many other programs. Mossi said student advising, a low student to instructor ratio and “professors who go the extra mile” are also key to the program’s quality.

James G. Miller, assistant professor of mechanical and nuclear engineering, has taught in the online graduate program for eight years. He said that his online M.S. courses have always comprised on-campus students, and he believes this contributes to the superior learning experience that VCU’s online M.S. offers. Students seem to agree.

“We get excellent feedback from the students in this program. They appreciate having the opportunity to learn in real time and to earn an M.S. without interrupting their careers,” he said. “Some online master’s programs are essentially videos. VCU’s is much more.”