Fire Protection Engineering To Launch Online Undergraduate Courses in 2025

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The Department of Fire Protection Engineering (FPE) at the University of Maryland announces the launch of online undergraduate courses in 2025.

Housing the only bachelor’s degree of its kind accredited by the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET), the FPE program prepares students to enter a growing job market where the number of available positions in the discipline significantly outpaces the number of graduates.  

“The objective of the new undergraduate online courses is to produce the high number of graduates that the fire engineering profession needs,” says Arnaud Trouvé, chair of the department. “The objective is also to provide FPE with the international footprint that its unique position in the educational landscape should provide.”

The content and rigor of online courses will be equivalent to the department’s on-campus courses, and program requirements will remain the same. Online courses will primarily be held in an asynchronous format, making coursework accessible to students in all time zones with varying work schedules. 

Interested students should note that only the required coursework for the fire protection engineering major will be available online. Other pre-requisite and lower-level courses, (such as general education, basic math, physics and engineering sciences, among others), may not be offered by the university in this learning format. It should also be noted that interested students may enroll as non-degree seeking students and register for specific courses of interest.

Additionally, certain gateway requirement courses must be taken prior to applying to the program, and most online students may need to pursue local or online coursework at another institution prior to transferring to UMD. Those who are interested in pursuing this new learning opportunity should speak with a fire protection engineering academic advisor to plan their path as early as possible. 

Commitment To Students

The close-knit atmosphere of the department is a key differentiator that current students and alums value. Online students can expect to receive the same support that their on-campus counterparts benefit from. 

“Our advising will continue to be student-centered. Our two dedicated advisors are here to help students complete a degree, no matter their location or in what modality (on-campus or online). We're excited to meet even more people who want to protect life from fire!,” said Nicole Hollywood, associate director of programs. 

Experiential Learning

The Director of the Undergraduate Online Program, William “Bill” Koffel, shares that “online students expect an experience similar to that which on-campus students receive. The online courses will provide experiential learning opportunities similar to those available to on-campus students. In addition, technology will be used to create an engaging relationship between students and the faculty.”

The program is excited to expand the fire protection engineering community into the online environment with involvement from industry and association partners. A goal will be to connect online learners to local entities. Code Consultants, Inc. (CCI) a leading firm in the field, has already expressed support for the new online courses. 

“CCI’s mission focuses on investing in exceptional people. Through partnerships with the UMD FPE online program, CCI is looking forward to investing in the future of the FPE industry through mentorship and local learning programs,” said Amy Murdock, alum and principal at CCI.

Meet the Program Director

Bill Koffel, P.E, FSFPE, is a faculty member and an alum of the department. He holds a bachelor’s degree in fire protection engineering from UMD and is completing a master’s of science in education with a concentration in instructional design for online learning.

Prior to joining UMD, Koffel was the president of Koffel Associates, a fire protection and life safety engineering design and consulting firm, and is recognized as an expert in the fire protection and life safety aspects of codes and standards. Bill remains active in the development process of the industry’s governing codes, standards and design guidelines including the ICC, National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), Society of Fire Protection Engineers (SFPE) and Underwriters Laboratories (UL). He is a member of many NFPA Technical Committees and is a former code official with the Maryland State Fire Marshal’s Office. He is a past president of the SFPE.

Koffel plans to bring his 44 years of global experience in solving his clients’ problems to the classroom, both as examples and with the group projects. He has mentored entry-level fire protection engineers and will be using a similar approach of encouraging collaborative research.  

Ready to Take the Next Step? 

  • Join us for an online information session in July to hear more about the online courses, meet the faculty director and advising staff

  • Start planning your coursework path and request a meeting with an academic advisor.

Published June 28, 2024