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Monday, September 10, 2012

A Look at Unmanned Vehicle University

Unmanned Vehicle University opened its online doors in February of 2012, after about a year of planning. The school currently offers online courses using Webex. Some are non-credit "executive certificate" courses (you receive a certificate of completion) while others are part of certificate programs (a one year post-baccalaureate program) or Masters and PhD degrees related to UAVs/UASs. Short courses, typically three days, are offered in person. The faculty includes some 30 experts in the field located all over the world. In August the school had about 50 students.

Jerry LeMieux, a retired Air Force colonel, commercial airline pilot, and college lecturer founded the university and is leading the marketing charge. You can hear him on this podcast interview with Small UAS News.

UVU received its accreditation in July 2012 from the International Association for Distance Learning. Wikipedia includes that association on its list of unrecognized higher education accreditation organizations.

Executive non-credit courses cost $999 (eight weeks) while certificate/degree courses (12 weeks) run $1600. A masters degree requires eight courses (no masters thesis is required) and runs $12,800. A PhD requires ten courses, plus 36 credits of dissertation preparation and a defense. I calculate the cost at $25,600. The Unmanned Vehicle University Graduate Course Catalog and Student Handbook, 2012 – 2013 with details is available in a PDF titled "graduate catalog" on this page.

The university shared recently that it is looking to gain Federal Aviation Administration certification, is writing a first textbook on UAVs, and hopes to open a physical campus at Lake Havasu City, AZ. An e-mail to prospective students in early September included plans for financial aid and Veterans Administration benefits for students:
We are working very hard to get financial aid and VA benefits approved. Please be patient with this certification process. We anticipate this occurring in the later part of 2013. Once we have this approval, the course prices will increase by 100%. Anyone who enrolls now, willl [sic] be grandfathered into the lower price structure.
I wanted to be sure members of the GIS education community were aware of this university and its programs.

More Information:

- Unmanned Vehicle University
- Washington Times
- Las Vegas Review Journal

update 10/11/12: You can now buy the UAV Fundamemtals Course
on DVD for $650 via Amazon.
Learn the basics of unmanned aircraft vehicles (UAVs). This DVD includes 16 hours of lectures from the popular Unmanned Aircraft Vehicle (UAV) Fundamentals Executive Course offered by Unmanned Vehicle University.
- e-mail from UVU