Online students meet for first time at graduation


A group of international and UK-based students who spent up to four years learning online together met in-person for the first time at their graduation.

Students from the online Engineering Management MSc attended their graduation ceremony on the University of Leeds campus with others joining virtually from around the world.

The graduates spent time getting to know each other after the ceremony at HELIX, the University’s dedicated space for innovation, immersive learning and other digitally focused activities.

Among those graduating was Ryan Kean, who works as an engineer on a privately owned 90-metre yacht.

He said: “I had never set foot in the University before so it was nice to take in the atmosphere of graduation and meet my fellow students. 

“There were challenges with time difference and internet connection while at sea but everything I needed for my degree was online and recorded. I am very happy in my job but this degree will open doors for shore-side engineering roles in the future.”

Fellow graduate Gani Sultanov works for an oil and gas company in Kazakhstan and Oman.

He said: “During the pandemic, I was looking at the next stage of my learning. I found this degree programme diverse and focused on the skills that future managers should have. It made me think about challenges like a manager, not just an engineer.”

It was a very good experience that allowed me to plan my life flexibly.”

Alaaeldin Aly

Engineering manager Alaaeldin Aly studied from his home in Gothenburg, Sweden, while also helping to raise his first child, born in 2019.

He said: “I had been thinking about studying at the University of Leeds for some time. It has helped to change my mindset on addressing challenges. It was a very good experience that allowed me to plan my life flexibly.

“It gave me the basis for a future management job and the confidence to engage with clients and peers within my company.”

Margaret Korosec, Dean of Online and Digital Education at the University of Leeds, said: “This was our first fully online Masters programme and the first time we’ve been able to invite our online students to celebrate together with us in HELIX. It was wonderful to have the chance to meet them and their loved ones, who are so much a part of the journey. 

“Since the online Engineering Management MSc launched in 2019, we’ve had over 100 graduates and numbers continue to grow. 

“Taking time off work to pursue a degree is not possible for everyone. Studying online is a flexible learning option, allowing learners to fit studies around life and to advance their career whilst working. We are committed to providing online learning that offers an equitable academic experience as our on-campus courses. 

“We wish all of our graduates well as they take the next step in their careers.” 

The University of Leeds’ online MSc courses are designed to stretch students’ knowledge while expanding their skills and future career options.

Online students receive the same level of support from academic staff as in-person students, as well as online library access, careers support and forums for networking with students, academics and professionals. The design of the course enables students to access resources and activities to support their journey.

Further information

More information about the University’s growing catalogue of online courses can be found here

For more information, please contact Richard Abbott in the University of Leeds press office.