Online Schools for Engineering

An increasing number of colleges and universities are expanding their program offerings to include full engineering degrees online, moving beyond the traditional approach of offering only specific courses and isolated credits via digital platforms.

In recent years, the popularity of online education has surged. According to the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), in the fall of 2022, more than 10 million students were enrolled in at least one distance education course at a degree-granting postsecondary institution, with a significant portion of those students pursuing degrees in STEM fields, including engineering.

Our goal is to simplify the process for you to evaluate various online engineering programs, compare tuition rates, and make a well-informed decision about which college or university will best serve your educational and career objectives. Explore what it takes to get an engineering degree online, including specifics related to online engineering bachelor’s degrees and online engineering master’s degrees.


Why Pursue an Engineering Education Online?

With flexible scheduling and the convenience of studying from home, online engineering courses provide a convenient and comprehensive way for students to gain an understanding of the various engineering principles, from electrical engineering and civil engineering to mechanical engineering and computer science.

Offering a wide variety of degree programs, online engineering courses are designed to help you gain the necessary qualifications for a successful career in the field.

Advantages of Pursuing Your Engineering Degree Online

Online engineering courses come with a wide range of advantages compared to traditional in-person courses. 

1. Flexibility and Convenience

Online engineering degrees allow students to balance their studies with personal and professional responsibilities. This mode of learning is especially beneficial for those who need to continue working while studying or have other commitments that make attending traditional on-campus classes challenging. 

Online programs often provide asynchronous coursework, which means students can access lectures and assignments at any time from anywhere, adhering to deadlines but not specific class times.

2. Reduced Overall Cost

Online students typically save on commuting, housing, and various campus fees. While tuition costs may be similar to those of on-campus programs, the absence of related expenses can make education more affordable. Moreover, students can often continue to work full-time, thereby not losing income while pursuing their degree.

3. Access to Cutting-Edge Technology

Online engineering programs frequently utilize the latest educational technologies to deliver their curriculum. This includes virtual labs, simulations, and software tools that provide practical experience in a virtual format. Exposure to such technology not only enhances learning but also prepares students for the technological demands of modern engineering roles.

4. Wide Range of Specializations

With the growth of online education, universities can offer more specialized engineering courses that might not be available locally to students. This diversity allows students to tailor their education to their interests and career goals, from aerospace to environmental engineering, without the need to relocate.

Depending on your chosen college or university, online courses may give you access to more experienced instructors and resources, allowing for further learning opportunities.

5. Career Advancement Opportunities

An online engineering degree can significantly enhance career prospects. Graduates are well-prepared to meet the demands of the engineering field, equipped with both theoretical knowledge and practical skills. 

Employers increasingly recognize the validity of online degrees, especially those accredited by reputable agencies, such as the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET). Moreover, students often have the opportunity to network with peers and professionals through online platforms and associations linked to their programs.

6. Self-Paced Learning

The self-paced nature of most online programs empowers students to take control of their learning. This can be particularly advantageous for those who wish to spend more time on complex subjects or who learn faster and want to advance more quickly than traditional semester schedules allow.

7. Continued Professional Development

For working professionals, online degrees offer a way to stay competitive in the field by continually updating their skills and knowledge base. This is especially critical in engineering disciplines, where technological advancements are rapid and ongoing professional development is essential.

The Growing Popularity of Online Degrees

The popularity of earning an engineering degree online has skyrocketed in recent years, as students and employers have realized the value of online education. 

With the convenience of learning from home, students no longer have to worry about being confined to a classroom or adhering to a strict academic schedule. Online engineering courses provide students with flexibility, allowing them to work around other commitments and still gain the knowledge they need to succeed in their engineering careers.

Employers increasingly view online degrees as equal in value to on-campus degrees. The Job Outlook 2024 survey from the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE) found that 87.4% of employers that capture their new hires’ degree modality hired new college graduates with online degrees. 

Online Engineering Bachelor’s Degrees

Pursuing your engineering bachelor’s degree online comes with a wide variety of opportunities, letting you choose from an assortment of disciplines, including mechanical, electrical, computer, and civil engineering.

Fortunately, with the increasing availability of online engineering courses, there’s more access to educational opportunities that might have been previously unavailable unless you were to attend an engineering school in person.

Engineering Bachelor’s Degree Typical Coursework

  1. Aerospace Engineering: Aerodynamics, Flight Mechanics, Aerospace Structures and Materials, Propulsion Systems
  2. Chemical Engineering: Thermodynamics, Process Control, Reactors, and Separation Processes, Mass Transfer and Transport Phenomena
  3. Civil Engineering: Structural Analysis and Design, Geotechnical Engineering, Hydrology and Hydraulics, Transportation Engineering
  4. Electrical Engineering: Digital Circuits and Systems, Control Theory Electromagnetic Theory, Computer Architecture, and Design
  5. Mechanical Engineering: Mechanics of Materials, Fluid Mechanics and Heat Transfer Dynamics of Machinery, Machine Design

Steps to Obtain an Engineering Bachelor’s Degree Online

To earn a bachelor’s in engineering online degree, you’ll typically need to go through the standard application process for your chosen degree program, wait for acceptance, and then begin choosing your coursework and degree completion path.

Many students complete the process by completing the following steps:

  1. Research ABET-accredited online engineering programs to find the best fit for your educational and career goals.
  2. Complete the admissions process, which may include submitting transcripts and taking an admissions test.
  3. Take prerequisite courses, if needed, to meet the requirements of your chosen program.
  4. Enroll in the engineering program and begin completing coursework at your own pace.
  5. Intern or volunteer with a local engineering firm to gain hands-on experience in the field.
  6. Apply for internships or job opportunities that align with your chosen degree program while you study to expand your skill set and network of contacts in the industry.
  7. Submit an application for graduation from your chosen program.

Cost of an Online Engineering Bachelor’s Degree

The cost of an online engineering bachelor’s degree can vary greatly depending on the course of study and institution. The average annual tuition and fee cost for full-time students at degree-granting undergraduate institutions was $14,688 in the 2022-23 school year, according to the NCES.

Many universities offer financial aid packages that can help offset the cost of their degree programs. It is important to do research and consider all options when deciding on an online engineering bachelor’s degree program.

Online Engineering Master’s Degrees

Online engineering master’s degrees are available in a variety of disciplines, including mechanical, civil, and electrical engineering. Depending on the program, students can take courses in advanced topics such as robotics and automation, artificial intelligence, and digital signal processing.

Engineering Master’s Degree Typical Coursework

The different types of engineering master’s degrees available online include degrees ranging from mechanical engineering to nuclear engineering.

Here are some engineering master’s degrees that you may be interested in pursuing for a future career as an engineer:

Since graduate degree programs dive deeper into a specific field of engineering, your engineering master’s degree coursework will include a range of highly technical and industry-specific courses that apply to your graduate field of study.

Steps to Obtain an Engineering Master’s Degree Online

The steps required to obtain an engineering master’s degree online are very similar to a bachelor’s degree.

If you want to obtain an online graduate degree, you should follow several typical graduate program application steps:

  1. Research accredited engineering master’s degree programs available online.
  2. Make sure the program meets your career goals and interests.
  3. Submit all required application materials, such as transcripts, letters of recommendation, and a personal statement.
  4. Receive admission notification from the university or college offering the program.
  5. Create a study plan and set aside time for coursework each week to stay on track with deadlines and assignments.
  6. Participate in online classes, discussions, and activities as required by the program’s curriculum.
  7. Take exams as needed to demonstrate mastery of course material.
  8. Complete any additional requirements such as research projects or internships.
  9. Submit a final thesis or project for evaluation and approval.
  10. Receive your engineering master’s degree from your chosen university or college.

Cost of an Online Engineering Master’s Degree

The cost of an online engineering master’s degree can vary depending on the program and the institution. Generally, the annual tuition and fee average for graduate degree programs in the 2021-22 year was $20,513, according to the NCES.

Many institutions offer financial aid and scholarships to help students cover the costs of their studies. It is important to research the different institutions’ tuition rates and any additional fees associated with the program before enrolling.

Online Engineering Schools FAQ

Can I Earn an Engineering Degree Entirely Online?

Yes, it is possible to earn an engineering degree entirely online. Many universities offer bachelor’s and master’s degree programs in engineering that can be completed without any on-campus requirements. These programs utilize virtual labs, simulations, and interactive software to cover practical components of the curriculum.

Is an Online Engineering Degree as Respected as a Traditional Engineering Degree?

Online engineering degrees from accredited institutions are generally respected and recognized by employers and professional entities alike, especially if the program is accredited by a recognized accrediting body like ABET. The key to ensuring respect and recognition is to choose a program that maintains rigorous academic standards and holds proper accreditation.

Are There Any Engineering Degrees That Are Not Available Online?

While many engineering disciplines are available online, some specialized areas, particularly those that require extensive hands-on experience or use of specialized equipment, may not be fully available online. For instance, fields that heavily rely on large-scale collaborative projects or high-tech laboratory equipment might only offer hybrid options rather than fully online degrees.

Are There Accredited Online Engineering Degree Programs?

Yes, there are numerous accredited online engineering degree programs. Accreditation by organizations such as ABET ensures that the online program meets the same standards of quality as its on-campus counterparts. Accreditation is a critical factor to consider when choosing an online engineering program as it impacts both the quality of education and the degree’s acceptance in the professional world.

Are There Hybrid Engineering Degrees?

Hybrid engineering degrees are quite common. These programs combine online coursework with on-campus requirements. Hybrid programs are designed to offer flexibility in scheduling and learning modalities while still providing the hands-on experience that is crucial for certain engineering disciplines.

Are There Any Prerequisites for an Online Engineering Degree?

The prerequisites for an online engineering degree typically mirror those of traditional on-campus programs. These often include a strong background in mathematics and science, particularly in subjects like calculus, physics, and sometimes chemistry. Prospective students may need to show completion of specific high school or college coursework, and in some cases, satisfactory scores on standardized tests such as the SAT or ACT. Additionally, some programs may require letters of recommendation and a personal statement outlining the student’s academic and career goals.

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