The Penn State Master of Enterprise Architecture in Enterprise Architecture and Business Transformation (EABT) is celebrating its 10th year during the 25th anniversary of Penn State World Campus. Offered by Penn State World Campus in partnership with the College of Information Sciences and Technology (IST) and the Smeal College of Business, the 100% online program is designed to meet the needs of one of the nation’s top career fields: enterprise architecture (EA).
The EABT graduate program was created by Brian Cameron, the founding director of the Center for Enterprise Architecture — formerly in the College of IST — with the help of industry leaders, government, and corporations.
“I founded this program and developed the initial courses when I was a faculty member in the College of IST,” said Cameron, who now serves as the associate dean for professional graduate programs and executive education and a clinical professor of information systems in the Penn State Smeal College of Business.
According to Cameron, getting the program approved was difficult because few people at Penn State had heard of EA and some doubted whether a master’s program would work.
“It’s hard being on the cutting edge of an emerging career field,” he said. “Today, enterprise architecture is often cited as one of the fastest-growing and highest-paying career fields, and this is evident in the success of the master’s program.”
Leading the field
The role of enterprise architect — taking an organization’s business strategy and defining an information technology system to support that strategy — topped the list of Glassdoor’s 50 Best Jobs in America for 2022. According to the report, enterprise architects have high job satisfaction and earn a median base salary of nearly $145,000. Additionally, there are currently more than 14,000 job openings in the field.
Despite that, the program is unique to Penn State, according to Cameron.
“Ours is the only enterprise architecture master’s degree program in the United States and the only online master’s degree program in the world,” he said. “As a result, we are attracting applicants from all over the globe.”
Penn State’s EABT program has evolved over the past decade, according to Cameron. Core courses have expanded to include business as well as technology.
“At the start, we had to settle on a program design that didn’t include many business-oriented topics because Smeal didn’t have many online graduate courses,” he said. “Today’s program is a far better structure with several elective areas that were not available online when the program was founded.”
According to Matthew Heller, IT project manager for Penn State Information Technology and part-time adjunct instructor in the College of IST, the EABT program offerings are relevant and current, thanks to an industry-focused faculty that brings a contemporary view of EA to the table.
“That word — contemporary — resonates with the EABT students, alumni, and partners I’ve chatted with,” Heller said. “What sets the program apart is that the faculty recognize the continuous evolution of EA and have adjusted, using industry to help hone the curriculum.”
Partnering with external organizations to help address their EA needs also keeps the program current, according to Heller.
“With these relationships, we have adapted and evolved content and student projects to bring the real world into our curriculum,” he said.
Continuing program success
Since its inception, the EABT program has had 95 graduates, and seven more are expected to graduate this fall. Currently, 73 students are actively taking classes. The median time to degree completion is 2.7 years.
“IST’s EABT degree is truly one of a kind and continues to attract seasoned business professionals working at the intersection of business strategy and enterprise technologies,” said Ed Glantz, teaching professor and assistant director of master’s programs in the College of IST. “I have delighted in teaching in the program and working with talented senior executives these past 10 years.”
EABT students are diverse, ranging from students who just completed their undergraduate degrees to early- and mid-career professionals from a variety of technical and business-related disciplines. But according to Heller, they have one thing in common: the desire to improve connections between business leaders and the technology that supports their companies.
“This program gives them the knowledge and perspective they need to be confident in their decisions and recommendations among peers and leadership,” he said.
Learn more about the Master of Enterprise Architecture in Enterprise Architecture and Business Transformation offered online in partnership with the College of Information Sciences and Technology (IST) and the Smeal College of Business through Penn State World Campus.