The South Lake Union campus provides a blend of online, on-ground, hybrid and boot camp programs

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It’s no secret that graduate degrees give professionals an edge: According to The Washington Post, they help people land jobs and command higher paychecks – especially those in engineering, business, computer science and social science programs.

But those motivated, creative and talented professionals traditionally have faced a daunting trade-off: Enrolling in a full-time graduate degree program for a couple of years often meant that their careers – and personal income –  languished.

Northeastern University – Seattle offers opportunities to get ahead without falling behind. The institution’s South Lake Union campus provides a blend of online, on-ground, hybrid and boot camp programs that keep students on an upward career trajectory while obtaining a top-ranked education.

“Our graduate programs are designed to allow students to advance their future horizons without having to hit pause on their careers,” says Paula Boyum, associate dean at Northeastern University – Seattle. “Experiential education is a core focus of our model, and we want our students to apply their studies to real-world experiences, whether that’s in their current job or through our renowned programs that match students with some of the most exciting companies in tech and other industries.”

Flexible programs match region, industry need

Northeastern began expanding its industry-aligned programs beyond the flagship Boston campus in 2010 and has since opened regional campuses in Seattle, Charlotte, North Carolina, San Jose, California, and Toronto, Canada. Each campus is uniquely positioned to meet local economic needs.

Northeastern University – Seattle selected programs based on the high-demand career opportunities in the Pacific Northwest, including project management, education, computer science, global studies and international relations, and engineering management. The hybrid program format, which blends online learning with in-person classroom experience through weekend courses and intensives, provides students both flexibility and peer-to-peer connections.

“As a full-time working professional who works well over 50 hours per week, I appreciated the flexibility to do my homework when I had time on evenings and weekends,” says Emily Christian, assistant dean of student affairs at University of Washington Bothell and a current Doctor of Education student at Northeastern. “I really enjoyed the online courses where we interacted with colleagues on the East Coast and around the country; it provided a great variety of perspectives on any given topic.”

To expand the pipeline of potential graduates to serve the local tech industry, Northeastern created the ALIGN program, specifically designed for students with non-technical backgrounds. Through ALIGN, students gain skills and hands-on experience in computer science and related STEM fields.

“By providing an accelerated learning program that can quickly bring these students up to speed with the fundamentals of computer science, we make it possible for students from a much more diverse background to enter the computer science industry,” says Dr. Ian Gorton, director of computer science at Northeastern University – Seattle.

Dr. Gorton credits direct-from-industry faculty, who are actively based at area companies such as Google, Expedia and Microsoft, as a key benefit to equip students for a career in the software industry. The cooperative education (“co-op”) model, which provides graduate students with a variety of opportunities to gain real on-the-job experience with regional employers, also gives students a competitive edge when looking to enter the job market.

“We love recruiting local students who know and love Seattle,” says Liz Symes, a university recruiting program manager at Zillow. “We are especially excited about partnering with Northeastern, an institution that has shown to have exceptional computer science programs with smart, passionate and curious master’s students from all over the world.”

‘Leveling’ the playing field with boot camps

Educational boot camps represent the newest offering from Northeastern University – Seattle. The “Level” program offers compressed yet highly skilled courses in niche areas, such as data science, to help advance professionals in their current careers or launch them into another path. Level launched in October 2015 making Northeastern the first traditional higher-education institution to offer a boot camp in the field of data analytics. The program expanded to Northeastern University—Seattle in January.

“Innovation in education leads to innovation in the economy,” says Level founder Nick Ducoff, vice president of New Ventures at Northeastern. “We are creating exciting programs in collaboration with top industry leaders to help students learn in-demand skills, such as data analytics, and apply what they learn through experiential projects that will help them advance in the knowledge economy.”

Level works directly with business, technology and data professionals at major companies across the United States to inform curricula that both the students and companies looking to hire them can appreciate.

“It can be a struggle to locate analytic talent,” says Doug DelVecchio, Level advisor and digital director of health insurance company Humana. “The Level program provides the confidence for employers to know the type of skills being acquired but also creating a pipeline to look to from varying levels of experience.”

Northeastern University – Seattle’s mix of online, in-person, hybrid and boot camp programs ensure that students receive a top-notch education in in-demand fields, without the financial or professional stress and burden of falling behind.

To learn more about all of Northeastern University – Seattle’s 2016 program offerings, visit