Many online programs are available to help engineering professionals earn their master's degree while working. Most programs can be completed totally online. In some programs, students can access archived lectures and other course materials as their schedules permit, while other programs call for students to participate in live class sessions. Most programs consist of 9 to 10 courses, and students can attend full- or part-time. Online students will need access to instant messaging software or a web camera.
Students must hold a bachelor's degree from a program accredited by ABET, the accreditation board for engineering programs. Students should make sure any master's program they are considering is approved by ABET as well. Most states require that engineers hold professional licenses, and graduation from a program approved by ABET is often a requirement.
In a master's program, engineering students take basic courses in management, engineering communications and simulation modeling. They can choose an area in which to specialize, such as biomedical engineering or computational engineering. Many programs allow students to work with an advisor to select elective courses that will help them meet their career goals. A thesis may be required.
Master of Science in Engineering
Online master's degree programs in engineering are offered in a variety of emphases, such as mechanical, industrial and aerospace engineering. Many students enter these programs to change their existing engineering specialty or move into managerial positions. Individuals choose an area of study, such as aerospace or electronic engineering, to customize their curriculum around and advance their skills in management, computers, mathematics and communications. Applicants must possess a bachelor's degree in science or engineering from a school accredited by the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology.
Information and Requirements
Students can complete a Master of Science in Engineering completely online on a full- or part-time basis. They earn the degree after completing 30 credit hours or 9-10 courses. Class lectures are streamed online for Internet access and are viewable any time of the week. Some teachers may require students to attend live sessions via instant messaging or Web camera. Depending on the school, tests may be taken online, on-campus or off-site at an approved testing facility.
Many schools use a course management website for students to keep track of lectures and assignments. Class materials that aren't streamed over the Internet are downloadable as files.
List of Common Engineering Courses
Curricula for graduate engineering programs vary greatly based upon the specialty being pursued. Common courses amongst programs often cover engineering mathematics, statistical modeling and more.
This algebra course looks at the skills involved in mathematical optimization theory and modeling. Topics may include optimality conditions, duality and matrices.
Optimization courses deal with the use of various computer applications and linear algebra for linear, non-linear and discrete problem-solving. Students learn how to improve search methods and examine program results.
This course explores the dynamics of structures through single degree-of-freedom models, among other methods. Students generally examine structural dynamics in the context of local building codes.
Since most entry-level engineering positions require only a bachelor's degree, many graduates of master's programs are looking to expand into specific areas of engineering or engineering management. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics estimated significant variations in job growth for different industries, but overall growth in engineering was expected to be 4% between 2014 and 2024 (www.bls.gov). Engineers who kept current with technology and education were believed to have the best career prospects. Average annual salaries for engineers vary according to industry. The BLS reported in May 2015 that the median annual salary for engineers was $90,060.
Continuing Education Information
Engineers may pursue numerous professional certifications in order to further their career. Professional societies, such as the American Society of Mechanical Engineers, offer certifications for different engineering specialties. Requirements vary by specialty and society, and certification exams aren't typically offered online.
There are many online master's degree programs in engineering for students with a bachelor's degree in the field and/or students currently working as engineers. These programs are designed to allow students to specialize in a particular area of engineering, and may include courses such as engineering optimization, linear algebra and more.