Drexel's M.S. Engineering Management was the first such graduate degree in the nation, and was founded in 1959. The program was developed at the specific request of industry throughout the Delaware Valley, who found that many engineers lacked the managerial skills needed to advance to leadership positions. In the first year of offering, more than 927 students enrolled in the program, representing over 130 different companies and governmental entities. Two companies, Radio Corp of America (RCA) and Martin Corporation, accounted for over 500 of these 927 students. All classes were held on Drexel’s main campus in the traditional face-to-face format until the early 1990s.

In 1991, Dr. Harry Brown became Director and worked closely with Dr. Steve Smith to attempt to grow the program and make it more accessible by establishing 12 regional sites at employers in Pennsylvania, Maryland and New Jersey. These distance education sites included: Pennsylvania Power & Light (PP&L) in Allentown, Mack Truck Company in Allentown, Three-Mile Island Nuclear Power Plant near Harrisburg, United Engineers in Philadelphia, Caterpillar in York, TechneGlas  (former Owens-Illinois glass plant) in Scranton, Motorola (former General Instrument plant) in Horsham, Naval Air Development Center in Warminster, ARCO Chemical in Newtown Square, Aberdeen Proving Ground in Aberdeen, Maryland, Lakehurst Naval Air Warfare Center in Lakehurst New Jersey, and Lockheed Martin in Moorestown, New Jersey.

In 1996, the first EGMT course (EGMT531, Economics of Engineering Management, taught by Dr. Steve Smith) was delivered online in the fall quarter of 1997. The entire EGMT program curriculum was delivered online by 2001. During the ramp-up to full online delivery, students could choose among on-campus courses, off-campus sites, or fully online courses. In 2001, the M.S. Engineering Management became one of the first programs at Drexel to be offered fully online. The program continued to grow substantially as it reached an audience beyond its normal geography, and the flexibility of online education proved ideal for practicing engineers and scientists working in industry and government.