Students interested in studying engineering online can find several accredited undergraduate and graduate degree programs available. Here, we discuss the different degree options, highlight a few schools and explore some considerations for selecting a school.
How to Select an Online Accredited Engineering School
Engineers design many different types of machines, as well as motor vehicles, aircraft and even highways. Online engineering degrees are common at several levels, with bachelor's and master's degrees being the most common. Engineering degree programs at both the bachelor's and graduate levels have many different focuses. Students should then weigh their time commitment.
Degree Level and Focus
Engineering schools offer programs in civil engineering, electrical engineering and mechanical engineering, to name a few areas. Other engineering programs are specific to a particular industry, such as refrigeration engineering, robotics engineering or aircraft engineering. Students should choose a degree based on what type of engineering career they wish to pursue and what degree level they require for their current goals.
Some online degree programs are offered in a primarily synchronous format in which students must attend class at a certain time in order to participate in voice or video conferences or watch streaming video lectures from professors. Normally, this type of program also has set assignment due dates and is designed for full-time students or even as an accelerated degree program. More commonly, online classes are asynchronous, requiring students to participate in class discussions via message board and to submit assignments and tests only by a class end date. Students should choose a program that fits their time requirements.
Online Program Options for Engineering
Bachelor of Science in Engineering
Although there are some general programs covering many different types of engineering at this level, most degree programs are designed specifically for a particular branch of engineering, such as electrical or mechanical engineering. Normally, these classes offer students some scheduling flexibility, but bachelor's degree programs are more likely to be offered synchronously than master's degree programs. Depending upon the specific degree field, coursework can include:
- General chemistry
- Digital mapping methods
Master of Science in Engineering
Master's degrees in engineering with no specialization are more common than bachelor's degrees without a specialization, but most master's degree students usually choose a sub-field of engineering for their master's degree. These areas can include electrical, mechanical, aerospace, chemical or civil engineering, to name just a few. Most programs are offered asynchronously to allow working adults to attend class and continue to work full time. Coursework might include:
- Incompressible flow (aerospace engineering)
- Construction procurement systems (civil engineering)
- Data collection and mining (computer science)
- Photovoltaic devices (electrical engineering)
- Solid mechanics (mechanical engineering)
Schools With Online Programs in Engineering
Arizona State University offers two online Bachelor of Science in Engineering degrees, one in electrical engineering and one in engineering management, and an online Master of Science in Engineering for electrical engineering. Students in the online bachelor's program for electrical engineering must meet some additional admissions requirements that include a minimum 1210 SAT combined score or 24 ACT combined score.
The University of Virginia offers several online master's programs in engineering, and has been ranked as the best online engineering school by U.S. News and World Report several years in a row. Students can select a master's program in chemical engineering, systems engineering, civil and environmental engineering, electrical engineering, mechanical and aerospace engineering or material science and engineering.
Stanford University provides a wide variety of online engineering courses, certificates and master's degrees. Students can earn master's degrees and/or graduate certificates in electrical engineering, mechanical engineering and engineering leadership and management.
There are many institutions that offer online courses, certificates, bachelor's or master's degree programs in various fields of engineering. Potential students should consider what degree and area of specialization they wish to pursue, as well as the time commitment a program requires when selecting a program.