In four years, Virginia Tech has grown its number of computer science and computer engineering master’s students based in the greater Washington, D.C. metro area to 376. This cohort of Virginia Tech Innovation Campus graduate students – part of Virginia’s Tech Talent Investment Program – will help the commonwealth contribute to closing the tech talent gap in the region.

The university has expanded its master’s degree offerings in Northern Virginia while simultaneously preparing for the 2024 opening of the 3.5-acre Virginia Tech Innovation Campus in Alexandria. The number of master’s students, the majority working toward a Master of Engineering in Computer Science, has grown from 109 in fall 2020 to 376 in fall 2023. The students are taking classes at the Northern Virginia Center in Falls Church while awaiting the opening of the new Innovation Campus.

“High interest in computer science and computer engineering, combined with strategic efforts in enrollment management and marketing, enabled us to recruit an extremely talented incoming class this fall,” said Lance Collins, vice president and executive director of the Virginia Tech Innovation Campus. “I am especially proud of the increased number of women and underrepresented minorities, as we strive to become the most diverse graduate tech campus in the country.”

For fall 2023, the Innovation Campus has 31 percent women and 23 percent underrepresented minorities or underserved in its Master of Engineering programs. URM are calculated as a percentage of domestic students. More than half of the students are domestic students with 46.4 percent being Virginia residents. The Tech Talent Investment Program (TTIP) defined the enrollment goal stating that 50 percent of the Innovation Campus’ master’s students be Virginia residents by 2030.

group of students in a classroom
Students at the annual Master of Engineering in Computer Science program orientation. Photo by Lydia Pritchard for Virginia Tech.

The great strides made with the Innovation Campus total enrollment this fall are due in part to the make-up of the incoming class of 2023. The Innovation Campus welcomed 224 new Master of Engineering Students this fall, including 79 women (35 percent) and 24 URM (25 percent of domestic student enrollment).

Scholarships, such as the Boeing Graduate Scholars Program that was founded to support students who are traditionally underrepresented in technology, help the Innovation Campus fulfill its diversity mission. The Innovation Campus has also formed academic partnerships with eight Virginia colleges and universities, formalizing a pipeline from those institutions to the Innovation Campus Master of Engineering to create opportunities for advanced tech degrees for Virginia residents.  

Two-thirds of the Innovation Campus master’s students are full-time graduate students, while the other third are part-time. Full-time Master of Engineering students can complete the degree in as little as one year. The program is also accessible to working professionals on a part-time basis.

“The Master of Engineering program in Northern Virginia is drawing a wide array of students looking to take advantage of our faculty expertise, industry connections, and ideal location while enhancing their technology and professional skills,” said Robin Jones, assistant vice president for enrollment and student services for the Innovation Campus. “The move into Academic Building One at the Innovation Campus next year will create even more opportunities for our growing student population.”

The Innovation Campus Master of Engineering in Computer Science or Computer Engineering is a professional, industry-connected degree that provides students with a deep technical base while expanding their professional skills and preparing them to assume leadership roles in the industry.

By 2029, five years after Academic Building One of the Innovation Campus opens, Virginia Tech aims to enroll approximately 750 master’s and 200 doctoral students and graduate 550 master’s and 50 doctoral candidates annually.

Share this story