March 7, 2024

Purdue announces four new online interdisciplinary engineering master’s degree concentrations

Learners can focus on autonomous systems, the Internet of Things, robotics or defense engineering strategy

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. — Purdue University’s online interdisciplinary engineering master’s program now offers four new concentrations covering autonomous vehicles and other autonomous systems, the Internet of Things, robots, and engineering and technology for national defense.

The new concentrations in the 100% online program include:

  • Autonomy, focusing on the challenges facing current and future engineers in designing, analyzing and controlling autonomous systems in many engineering applications, from self-driving cars and unmanned air and water vehicles to package delivery, search-and-rescue operations, and the exploration of Mars and other planets.
  • IoT (Internet of Things), focusing on analysis and design of interrelated systems of computers, digital and mechanical devices, sensors, and other components connected via the internet or another communications network — systems which are increasingly deployed for applications such as smart appliances, infrastructure, cities, buildings and homes; health care monitoring; social networking; and more.
  • Robotics, focusing on fundamental theories and tools for modeling, analyzing and developing techniques in robotics for an array of applications, including robots in manufacturing and emerging topics such as how to make robots more intelligent partners for humans and multi-robot coordination.
  • Strategy and defense engineering, focusing on social science and engineering knowledge and competencies needed to analyze, understand, design and execute defense and civilian strategies that involve technologies supporting the strategic interests of the United States.

Additional information

“Robotics, autonomous systems and the Internet of Things are already revolutionizing society, and that trend will only continue,” said Shreyas Sundaram, professor in Purdue’s Elmore Family School of Electrical and Computer Engineering and co-director of the Institute for Control, Optimization and Networks (ICON). “Purdue’s concentrations offer a significant breadth and depth of courses in these areas. Students will gain skills so that they are well positioned to contribute to these advances.” 

An interdisciplinary engineering concentration developed with Purdue’s College of Liberal Arts, strategy and defense engineering combines expertise in social, military and data sciences with expertise in engineering and technology, said Sorin Adam Matei, professor of communication and the college’s associate dean of research and graduate education.

“The differentiator is that while the program examines and explores technologies and engineering solutions, it does it from a policy and social sciences perspective, both calibrated to support and expand practical work in national defense and strategic military planning,” Matei said. 

Purdue’s 100% online interdisciplinary engineering master’s degree is a flexible program designed to enable learners to customize their educational experience to their interests and needs by taking an interdisciplinary approach to the curriculum. Students can choose from an extensive collection of graduate engineering courses and electives.

Courses in the new autonomy, IoT and robotics concentrations can span such core topics as artificial intelligence, chip design, computer programming, control theory, data science and analytics, embedded systems, machine learning, networks, optimization, sensors, and wireless communications. The strategy and defense engineering concentration features courses in data storytelling; grand challenges in defense engineering; space strategy; strategic foresight; and technology, war and strategy, among others. 

The anytime, anywhere online format makes Purdue’s interdisciplinary engineering program accessible for working professionals looking to expand their knowledge and boost their skills and careers in fields that are important today and likely to be even more so tomorrow.

The online courses are developed and taught by internationally known faculty who teach on Purdue’s flagship campus, rated as a Top 10 Public University in the U.S. by QS World University Rankings. Purdue’s online engineering master’s programs are ranked No. 3 nationally by U.S. News & World Report.

“Purdue’s excellence in interdisciplinary engineering allows us to offer courses customized for these concentrations by our outstanding faculty with research strengths in robotics, autonomy and the Internet of Things,” said Shaoshuai Mou, the Elmer F. Bruhn Associate Professor of Aeronautics and Astronautics and ICON co-director.

Faculty in the strategy and defense engineering concentration are experts who have worked or are working in fields as diverse as diplomacy, learning innovation, nuclear military applications and space policy, Matei said. 

For more information on Purdue’s fully online interdisciplinary Master of Science in Engineering and to apply, visit the program website.

About Purdue University

Purdue University is a public research institution demonstrating excellence at scale. Ranked among top 10 public universities and with two colleges in the top four in the United States, Purdue discovers and disseminates knowledge with a quality and at a scale second to none. More than 105,000 students study at Purdue across modalities and locations, including nearly 50,000 in person on the West Lafayette campus. Committed to affordability and accessibility, Purdue’s main campus has frozen tuition 13 years in a row. See how Purdue never stops in the persistent pursuit of the next giant leap — including its first comprehensive urban campus in Indianapolis, the new Mitchell E. Daniels, Jr. School of Business, and Purdue Computes — at

Writer: Greg Kline,

Media contact: Brian Huchel,

Sources: Sorin Adam Matei,

Shaoshuai Mou,

Shreyas Sundaram

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