Bridge Program for Aspiring Engineers Saves Time, Money

When someone with a non-STEM bachelor’s degree decides to go to medical school, several universities offer intensive post-baccalaureate pre-med programs that fill in coursework gaps. For aspiring engineers with degrees in semiotics or public policy analysis, bridge programs can be expensive in both time—a year of full-time study, perhaps—and money. Today’s job market makes positions in fields like computer science and cybersecurity especially attractive; perhaps a year’s investment is worthwhile.


New York University’s Tandon School of Engineering is offering an alternative kind of bridge program: 17 weeks full-time or 26 weeks part-time, fully online, offered in all of the university’s four academic quarters. The program, dubbed The Bridge to NYU Tandon, leads to master’s degrees in four areas: bioinformatics, computer engineering, computer science and cybersecurity. Women in particular are finding the NYU program fills the bill for their segués into technical fields. Read more about it here.

Stackable credentials offer another path from humanities to STEM. Students earn certificates after completing a specified group of university-level MOOC courses offered. The certificate becomes a credential; often a collection of certificates will add up to a master’s degree. Some schools offer Mini or Micro master’s degrees, a variation on the certificate idea. For example, Columbia University offers a MicroMasters in Artificial Intelligence. These certificate courses are well-suited to working adults with lots of demands on their time. Assembling targeted credential “stacks” bit by bit over time is often an easier task than committing to a full-time educational program.

Given the expected increases in technical jobs, and the scarcity of qualified people to fill them, programs such as NYU’s Bridge and the learn-as-you go approach through MOOCs should continue to appeal to career-changers for some time to come.