Our brand-new professional Master of Engineering (MEng) in Railway Engineering is getting ready to kick off its first semester this fall. This unique program leverages the strengths of Illinois’ Rail Transportation and Engineering Center (RailTEC) and its partner KTH Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm to deliver a curriculum that covers all aspects of Railway Engineering (track, vehicle, and traffic control). To welcome incoming and prospective students, we are reaching out to current MS and PhD students to share their experiences with the faculty, curriculum, and program as a whole. Professional Master of Engineering students will take classes right alongside their peers pursuing their Master’s and PhD in the RailTEC program. The major difference between the traditional master’s and professional master’s program is the research component: traditional master’s students do research and write a thesis whereas professional master’s students focus on building skills that will prepare them for corporate environments.
Ricardo Quiros Orozco earned his Bachelor’s in Civil Engineering with a concentration in Transportation and Structural Engineering from the University of Costa Rica. He was motivated to pursue railway engineering by “a strong desire to aid in the improvement of infrastructure components and optimization of the capital investments necessary to provide the transportation services the world needs.” Ricardo considers “the Illinois Railway Engineering program as the leading, most diverse and well-rounded of the country” with a curriculum that includes exposure to “heavy haul to high-speed to light-rail” and faculty that come with a range of experiences in design, construction, maintenance, and management. He believes it’s important that the program “has strong ties with the industry, which means that the education provided is both valued and recognized by the companies.”
In his second year of the program, Ricardo has great advice for our incoming class of professional Master of Engineering in Railway Engineering students: “Take advantage of the multiple opportunities available in the program to talk and network with the industry engineers and managers, their knowledge is invaluable and will open many doors for you in the future.” For downtime in Urbana-Champaign, he recommends downtown Champaign, “It’s a great place to spend after a day of work and it even allows us to keep an eye on the railroad main track that crosses right through Champaign downtown.”