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UCF Partners with NASA on New Engineering Graduate Certificate

The certificate program will train students to evaluate and test the electrical and electronic components of devices and equipment used in the harsh environment of space.
By: Marisa Ramiccio | June 13, 2024
UCF’s new engineering graduate certificate program in partnership with NASA will provide engineering students with real-world experience while meeting the needs of the industry. (Photo by Bel Huston)

UCF is the only university in Florida collaborating with NASA on a unique certificate program, which will train students to evaluate and test the electrical and electronic components of devices and equipment used in space.

The program allows engineering students to gain real-world experience while meeting the needs of the industry. Starting Fall 2024, students can enroll in the graduate certificate in electronic parts engineering, offered through the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering in partnership with the NASA Electronic Parts and Packaging Program.

The certificate program will train students to evaluate and test the electrical and electronic components of devices and equipment used in the harsh environment of space. UCF is one of three universities — and the only university in Florida — to partner with NASA on the program.

“In alignment with UCF’s vision as [America’s] Space University and in response to the demands of prominent local industries, the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering is prioritizing space electronics as a key focus in both student training and research initiatives,” says Reza Abdolvand, chair of the department. “The introduction of the new graduate certificate in electronic parts engineering marks a significant step in our commitment to enhance our role in this sector and to foster stronger collaborations with leading organizations, including NASA.”

Through their coursework, students will learn to establish test plans, conduct failure analysis and evaluate test results for usage. Then they can take what they’ve learned in the classroom and apply it to real-world research through paid internships at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory and the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center.

“This program will uniquely position students for internships and careers at NASA and, more generally, the aerospace and defense sector in both Florida and across the U.S.,” says Assistant Professor Enxia Zhang, coordinator of the certificate program.

The goal of the program is to meet the industry need for electronic parts and electrical engineers who are already trained and educated. Employment of electrical and electronics engineers is projected to grow over the next decade, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, and Florida is among the states boasting top employment for this profession.

A bonus for students is that the credits earned in the certificate program can be applied to a master’s degree, furthering their education and competitiveness in the industry.

“In many ways, the graduate certificate program is a gateway to other degree programs in the College of Engineering and Computer Science (CECS),” says Ali Gordon, the CECS associate dean for graduate affairs. “Many students realize that after they’ve had a few graduate courses, they want more. A key feature of UCF’s graduate certificate program is that 100% of the credits earned towards the certificate can be applied towards a master’s degree.”

Students who are interested in applying for the certificate should have completed a bachelor’s degree program in electrical engineering, mechanical engineering or a related discipline. Current undergraduate students are eligible to apply as a junior or senior, and the courses can be completed online.

To learn more or to apply, visit the graduate certificate in electronic parts engineering webpage.

Story from UCF Partners with NASA on New Engineering Graduate Certificate in UCF Today