I did my master's degree part time over four years through Johns Hopkins Engineering for Professionals program. Overall, it was a good experience and a quality education. Some classes were great, others were less than ideal. I started in January 2011 and finished up in December 2014.

I hadn't visited their site in quite a while, but when I did a couple week ago, I was shocked. Tuition for this program has skyrocketed. While the course catalog does seem to have expanded and improved, a lot looks the same to 2011-2014.

A Master's degree through this program (in any program area) is 10 courses. A student has up to 5 years to finish a Master's degree. So, at a minimum this is 2 courses a year. The intended participants in this program generally are holding a full time job and the employer is generally paying some or all of the tuition. The max tuition an employee can receive tax free is $5,250 (note that this number hasn't changed in years).

The starting tuition for my first semester January 2011 was $2,885 per class. If I only took two classes that is $5,770. Just over the max tax free tuition reimbursement amount. This seemed like a purposeful design. The program is expensive at $28,850, but most of that is picked up by employers, employers can use the Master's degree for key resumes and higher billing rates every few years (in defense contractor land), and the employee gets a degree and hopefully some skills. This seems like a win win for everyone.

Unfortunately, tuition did not remain the same for me, nor was there an option to get grandfathered in at a certain rate depending on when you started. I noticed the increase back in the day, but did not look at it holistically until now.

Here is the tuition increase academic YoY:

2011 to Present JHU EP Tuition Increases

In chart form:

The $28,750 program is now $44,400. That price point is certainly less attractive than the one I started with back in 2011.

I'm not really sure why the cost of this program has exploded in the last decade. It does seem in line with the trend of higher education tuition going insane. As a comparison point, I have heard good things about Georgia Tech's Online Master's Degree in Computer Science and it costs ~$7,000 in total.

Is the purpose to gatekeep the supposed benefits of a MS in CS through tuition? If not money, then through competitive selection of who gets in?


For N year sets: