One of the first graduate-level software programs offered in the United States of America, Graduate Programs in Software (GPS) accepted its first class of 52 students in February of 1985.
Since 1987, students have participated in learning about the history, culture, and technology of a country to be visited in January following the fall semester when the seminar about the specific country was offered. This educational experience of visiting another country focused on observing technology organizations/enterprises, software development practices, research labs, and computer science departments of educational institutions to gain a better understanding of other cultures in this global society.
Beyond the degree offerings, GPS developed a “Mini Series” in 1990 that distilled information covered in the software graduate courses into 12 nights covering 12 separate topics. Designed for anyone in any discipline who wants an understanding of critical and cutting edge topics, current practices, and issues in information technology that are necessary for every professional and for any organization's competitive advantage, this “Mini Series” now highlights 14 of the topics covered in the courses taught thru GPS. In addition, in 1991 GPS started the “Technical Seminar” program where one-, two-, and three-day seminars on technical topics were offered. Both the Mini Series and seminars are offered not only at the UST Minneapolis and St. Paul sites, but also at corporate sites.
In 1996, GPS received the Award of Excellence for the Advancement of Technology Education from the Minnesota Software Association (now the Minnesota Hi Tech Association).
In July of 1997, GPS moved into the new $37 million, 220,000 square-foot Frey Science and Engineering Center. GPS occupies more than one floor of the center providing access for GPS students to over 160 state-of-the-art computers and software in classrooms and labs.
Early in the program’s history, master's degree students were required to complete a 500-hour software research development project, often for their employer or for a non-profit organization. This project was at no cost to the company. Over 500 service projects had been completed by 2000-2001 when the department decided to convert the software research project to an elective rather than a requirement for the master’s degree.
GPS offered the entire M.S. degree in Software Engineering on site at Carlson Companies in 2000-2003. Approximately 50 Carlson technical employees received their M.S. by fall 2003 through this GPS off-campus initiative.
As the technology industry grew, so did GPS. GPS reached its highest enrollment in 2001-2002 with an enrollment of 903 graduate students and was the largest graduate software program in the U.S. Currently, GPS has over 2,500 alumni and continues to be a leader in graduate software education.
Throughout the development and growth of GPS, we have been committed to serving the business community, and we have sought their advice and counsel. This collaborative approach, this partnership, is the reason GPS programs are responsive to the software community. As a direct result, in spring 2008 GPS began offering a Master of Science degree in Software Management. This program provides students with the most relevant, practical, and applicable knowledge available in software engineering and software management.