UB School of Engineering and Applied Sciences enrolls largest graduate student class in its history

Group photo of incoming graduate students at orientation.

Over 750 new graduate students participated in the SEAS 360 graduate student professionalism orientation and networking reception in August, where they heard from the school’s leadership, current students and alumni about how to succeed in graduate school and their future careers.

by Jane Stoyle Welch

Published October 31, 2018

This fall, the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences at the University at Buffalo, The State University of New York (SUNY), welcomed its largest incoming class of graduate students to date.  

“The quality of UB’s academic programs, its world renowned faculty, the alignment of our academic programs with the job market and career readiness programs coupled with affordability, make our institution and Buffalo a top destination choice for students from around the world.”
Christopher Connor, assistant dean for graduate education
School of Engineering and Applied Sciences

The unprecedented class of 902 graduate students represented a 31% increase over fall of 2017, when the school enrolled 689 graduate students.

The incoming class is multicultural, with students representing 29 countries, notably from India, China, Iran and Korea, as well as from several countries in South America, Europe and the Middle East.

Domestic graduate student enrollment also continued to rise, up 33% from last year, including a 16% increase in the number of UB undergraduate students continuing on for graduate study. Overall, the school’s graduate-level enrollment has increased to 2,066 students, representing 45 countries and 20 states.

The soaring numbers are a testament to not only robust student interest in UB as a destination for both domestic and international students but also the collective efforts of the school’s Office of Graduate Education staff, academic faculty, department staff, current students and engaged alumni to recruit and enroll a diverse pool of students.

The school has enhanced its admissions process to include several innovative holistic review principles. For example, the school is increasingly looking for students who represent diverse backgrounds and interests through review of both academic preparation and other non-cognitive markers for potential success in graduate school.

“The recruitment of graduate students is one of integrated interdependence, starting with the initial point of interest and continuing through the admissions process to enrollment, the student experience to graduation and beyond,” said Christopher Connor, assistant dean for graduate education. Connor added, “The quality of UB’s academic programs, its world renowned faculty, the alignment of our academic programs with the job market and career readiness programs coupled with affordability, make our institution and Buffalo a top destination choice for students from around the world.”

To support students in the admissions process, school representatives held receptions for accepted students at various locations around the world. The events provided a forum for prospective students and their families to ask questions and to learn more about life in Buffalo and the university before arriving at the beginning of the semester.

In addition to faculty and staff, several of the school’s alumni also attended these receptions. They shared stories about their careers and the value of their UB education, thus fostering a sense of community and exposing prospective students to potential career paths.

On the academic side, several new graduate degree programs and packaged courses sequences have recently been added to the school’s offerings, many of which are interdisciplinary.

These include:

  • Master’s and PhD degree programs in materials design and innovation (hosted jointly with UB’s College of Arts and Sciences)
  • PhD program in computational and data enabled sciences (hosted jointly with UB’s Schools of Management, Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences, Public Health and Health Professions, and College of Arts and Sciences)
  • Master’s degree program in sustainable transportation and logistics (hosted jointly with UB’s School of Management)
  • Master’s degree program in environmental and water resources engineering

In addition, master’s level concentrations in Engineering Management and Engineering Science with course focuses in data science, Internet of Things, clean energy and nanoelectronics, and a new graduate certificate in occupational safety and health, round out the school’s new graduate education offerings.

“Interdisciplinary collaboration more closely mirrors the real-world, where employers value the ability to solve problems in cross-functional teams,” said Liesl Folks, dean of the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences.

Folks added, “The contributions and increased engagement of our enthusiastic alumni and corporate partners in our professional development and mentoring programs help to prepare our students by providing them with the skills they need to be successful in the workforce.”

Plans for the coming year include the launch of several new innovative academic offerings. These include three new ME-Chemical Engineering course sequences to provide students with field-specific career training in the areas of biotechnology; modeling, simulation and informatics; and chemistry and materials processing. Three new MS-Engineering Science course sequences in robotics, clean energy and sustainability will also be available.

To support the career aspirations of the graduate students, the school will further expand its cost-free career readiness SEAS 360 Professional Development program this academic year, adding new offerings in workplace cultural competency and technical communications.

Slideshow from the SEAS 360: New Graduate Student Professionalism Orientation and Networking Reception