Fastest Online Engineering Degree Programs

Are you interested in engineering, but want to earn your degree quickly? Learn more about the fastest online engineering degree programs.

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by Doug Wintemute

Published August 9, 2022

Reviewed by Sierra Gawlowski, PE

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Engineers design and build the machines, structures, and innovations that improve our way of life. With an accelerated degree program, aspiring engineers can earn their degree and enter this exciting field quickly. An accelerated bachelor's degree can reduce study times by one year or more.

While degree-completion programs accept transfer credits to fast-track training, an accelerated degree in engineering still requires about 120 credits. As a result, these programs usually cost the same as traditional programs. According to the National Center for Education Statistics, students paid an average tuition of $9,375 in public schools and $32,825 in private schools per year in 2020-2021.

www.bestcolleges.com is an advertising-supported site. Featured or trusted partner programs and all school search, finder, or match results are for schools that compensate us. This compensation does not influence our school rankings, resource guides, or other editorially-independent information published on this site.

Ready to start your journey?

Discover the fastest online bachelor's in engineering from the top online schools, and learn about the options you could encounter to help you to make the best decision for your future.

How Fast Can I Get an Online Bachelor's in Engineering Degree?

Completion times differ for every program, but learners can finish an accelerated degree in engineering with 120 credits in about 2-3 years. While standard programs feature 14- to 16-week sessions through which full-time students complete about five courses, accelerated programs feature condensed sessions of eight weeks or less.

The number of courses students take at once in an accelerated program varies depending on the session length. Students in eight-week sessions may need to take four or five courses at once to graduate in less than three years. Some colleges suggest that students should spend two hours studying for every one hour spent in class per week.

What Can I Expect From an Accelerated Online Bachelor's in Engineering Degree Program?

The broad engineering field attracts curious and process-oriented problem-solvers. The programs typically include mathematics, sciences, and extensive practical training in labs and internships. The various branches provide options for many different interests, including working with complex machinery, aircraft, computers, and medical equipment.

Engineering schools award two types of degrees, a bachelor of engineering (B.Eng.) and a BS in engineering. These degrees differ in that B.Eng. programs usually feature more practical training, whereas BS programs feature more science and analytical training. In the United States, B.Eng programs are less common than BS programs and are not typically offered online.

While the idea of fast-tracking a program may sound appealing, those deciding on an accelerated degree should consider how fast-paced and intensive the training can get. Since there are fewer accelerated programs, there may also be fewer specialization options. Online programs offer students more program options and convenient study schedules.

Still Looking for the Right Fit? Discover Similar Degree Programs.

Popular Online Engineering Programs

Learn about start dates, transferring credits, availability of financial aid, and more by contacting the universities below.

What Courses Will I Take in an Accelerated Online Bachelor's in Engineering Degree Program?

Engineering Principles

In this course, students examine the leading problem-solving methodologies used by engineers. They look at ways of approaching problems, plus planning, designing, and prototyping strategies.

Computers and Programming

Students in this course learn how engineers use computational methods and programming to solve complex problems. Courses may also introduce computer-aided design and related technologies.

Behavior of Materials

This course explores how engineering materials react under various conditions. Students learn about structure and property relationships, loading and deformation, and strengthening techniques.

Fluid Mechanics

In this course, students learn about the properties of fluids. They study things like buoyancy, flow, pipe networks, and energy conservation and loss.

Physics for Engineers

Learners in this course study the primary physics concepts relevant to engineers, including forces, waves, kinematics, and energy. The courses may also cover the applications for engineers and the analysis of physical problems using mathematics.

What Are Admission Requirements for an Accelerated Online Bachelor's in Engineering Degree Program?

Admission requirements for an accelerated bachelor's in engineering depend on the school and program. Most bachelor's programs require a high school or GED diploma at a minimum. More challenging programs might feature extra requirements, such as a minimum 3.0 GPA.

Online programs also feature technological requirements that applicants must meet.

Application

The undergraduate application can look different for each school, but the following components are some of the most common requirements. Prospective students can apply directly to their school of choice or use a college application system to submit several applications at once.

Test Scores

Not every school requires college entrance exams. But scores from these tests can strengthen an application and help with the admission decision. In competitive programs, candidates may need to meet test score minimums for entry. Prospective students can take prep courses to improve their test results.

Letters of Recommendation

A college application can get a big boost from letters of recommendation when they come from the right sources. Schools usually request between 1-3 of these letters. For best results, they should come from relevant sources, such as teachers, employers, and counselors.

Essays

The college application essay can touch on many different topics depending on the application and the essay prompt. Schools may want applicants to answer specific questions about a relevant topic. Some applications, however, allow prospective students to write about a topic of their choice, which tends to be more personal and introspective.

Official Transcripts

Most college applications include official transcripts. Schools require them for GPA information and confirmation of prerequisite courses. In addition, schools require transfer students to provide transcripts to issue transfer credits.

What Can I Do With an Accelerated Online Bachelor's in Engineering Degree?

Career Outlook

Engineers make an impact in many industries, including manufacturing, healthcare, transportation, and information technology. They seek to improve technologies and processes, making us more effective and less destructive to the world around us.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects a 6% growth for architecture and engineering occupations between 2020 and 2030, adding almost 150,000 job openings over the decade. The field's median annual salary of $79,840 in May 2021 was more than $30,000 higher than the median annual wage for all occupations.

These factors, in addition to the field's importance and flexibility, make engineering one of the most popular college majors.

Discover what benefits await you after a bachelor's in engineering. Learn more about STEM careers.

Career Paths

Aerospace Engineers

These engineers design and build aircraft and aerospace products and technologies. In addition to creating effective products, their developments must adhere to budgets, aerospace regulations, and safety protocols. They may specialize in aeronautical or astronautical engineering, focusing on aircraft within the Earth's atmosphere or outside of it, respectively.

Median Annual Salary (May 2021): $122,270

Chemical Engineers

Chemical engineers use chemistry and chemical processes to influence the production of chemicals, drugs, and food. They also develop and evaluate equipment and safety practices for those working with chemicals and chemical processes. They may specialize in environmental impacts and regulations regarding chemicals.

Median Annual Salary (May 2021): $105,550

Electrical and Electronics Engineers

These engineers specialize in the design and development of electrical and electronic equipment, devices, and systems. They may inspect, analyze, test, and maintain electrical and electronic equipment as well. Many electrical engineering positions work with computer hardware.

Median Annual Salary (May 2021): $101,780

Industrial Engineers

Industrial engineers look for ways to improve production systems and processes. They analyze the costs, schedules, and equipment required to manufacture goods and develop more efficient practices. These engineers help organizations refine their manufacturing methods to cut costs and improve production outputs.

Median Annual Salary (May 2021): $95,300

Mechanical Engineers

Mechanical engineers work with mechanical devices, sensors, and machines. They design and develop power-producing machines, systems within buildings, and automotive devices. They typically use computer-aided design technologies to plan and design their innovations.

Median Annual Salary (May 2021): $95,300

Engineering Not For You? Check Out These Related Careers.

Continuing Education

Graduates with a bachelor's in engineering can access many fields, both in the professional and educational worlds. Depending on their chosen branch, they may pursue the following master's programs:

Many engineering schools feature accelerated bachelor's-to-master's pathway programs. These accelerated degrees in engineering allow learners to gain a bachelor's and master's degree in about five years.

How Do I Choose an Accelerated Online Bachelor's in Engineering Degree Program?

Cost

Most prospective students go through a cost comparison process when choosing a school and program. They might compare online and on-campus costs, private and public school prices, and in-state and out-of-state tuition rates. While accelerated programs may not feature much difference in tuition prices, the training demands can influence a student's ability to work and study.

Program Format

Program format determines how students take classes and how often. In standard programs, students can choose between synchronous and asynchronous delivery and full-time and part-time studies. In an online accelerated bachelor's degree, however, most learners study full time in asynchronous courses for maximum flexibility.

Location

Choosing online or on-campus studies can alter how you value school location. Online students still need to consider how location might impact them, especially when the program has residency requirements. Online students may want to visit the campus for special events, facility usage, and graduation as well.

Accreditation

Prospective students should ensure that their institution of choice holds college accreditation. Programmatic accreditation for engineering programs comes from the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. Accreditation can have an impact on education funding, employment, and postgraduate credentials.

Student Support

Student services provide support to learners in many aspects of their experience inside and outside of the classroom. Most online colleges provide online student services that rival any on-campus program, so students should not expect less. In addition to traditional career services and academic support, online learners might look for college mentorships and internship programs.

Fastest Accredited Online Bachelor's in Engineering Degree Programs

Rankings compiled by the the BestColleges Ranking Team

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How We Rank Schools

At BestColleges, we believe a college education is one of the most important investments you can make. We want to help you navigate the college selection process by offering transparent, inclusive, and relevant school rankings.

The school programs listed in this ranking were selected due to their accelerated formats — each program can be completed in less than four years. These programs were then ranked based on their overall academic quality, affordability, and online offerings. To learn more about our different rankings, read our ranking methodology.

#1

National University

School Information
Location La Jolla, California
Admission Rate 89%
Graduation Rate 29%
Instituation Type Private
Accreditation Yes Western Association of Schools and Colleges Senior Colleges and University Commission
Percent Online Enrollment 53% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

100% Online | Self-Paced Classes

Avg. Cost per Credit
In State | $370
Out of State | $370

Credits to Graduate
180 quarter units

Program Information
Program Accreditation | N/A

NU's online bachelor of science in electrical and computer engineering program features a strong emphasis on foundational mathematics and engineering principles. The curriculum combines the design and development of hardware systems and software with a core engineering curriculum. Students gain insight into inventing, designing, manufacturing, and marketing new devices and cutting-edge technology. 

This program prepares graduates to work with computer hardware, software, and embedded systems. First-year applicants must submit ACT or SAT scores and official transcripts with their application.  

View School Profile
#2

Saint Cloud State University

School Information
Location Saint Cloud, Minnesota
Admission Rate 90%
Graduation Rate 48%
Accreditation Yes Higher Learning Commission
Percent Online Enrollment 31% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

Hybrid | Self-Paced Classes 

Avg. Cost per Credit
In State | $341
Out of State | $734

Credits to Graduate
122

Program Information
Program Accreditation | N/A

SCSU's online bachelor of science in software engineering program features an emphasis on teamwork, critical thinking, and communication. The curriculum combines general education with computer skills, project management, engineering principles, and software construction. Students are exposed to state-of-the-art technologies, including game design, web applications, data analytics, and software cybersecurity.

All applicants must submit an application with official transcripts. First-year applicants with a 3.0 GPA, or who meet other selection criteria, are guaranteed admission. ACT or SAT score submissions are optional. 

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#3

Western Governors University

School Information
Location Salt Lake City, Utah
Graduation Rate 21%
Instituation Type Private
Accreditation Yes Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities

100% Online | Self-Paced Classes

Avg. Cost per Six-Month Term
In State | $3,625
Out of State | $3,625

Credits to Graduate
120

Program Information
Program Accreditation | N/A

WGU's online bachelor of science in software development program allows students to choose between Java or C# language tracks. The curriculum combines general education and computer science with scripting and programming, network security, IT business, data management, and web development. Students can move through the courses as they master the material to graduate faster. This program requires a capstone project. 

Graduates can pursue careers as software developers, network architects, and software or hardware engineers. Applicants must submit official transcripts with an application, but don't need standardized test scores.

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#4

Lamar University

School Information
Location Beaumont, Texas
Admission Rate 84%
Graduation Rate 34%
Accreditation Yes Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges
Percent Online Enrollment 73% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

Hybrid | Self-Paced Classes 

Avg. Cost per Credit
In State | $259
Out of State | $667

Credits to Graduate
122

Program Information
Program Accreditation | N/A

LU's online industrial engineering (IE) program emphasizes math and science as students earn a bachelor's degree. The curriculum combines general education with IE system design and simulation, industrial and product safety, and engineering core requirements. Graduates can pursue careers in manufacturing, healthcare, banking, transportation, retail, or government. 

This program prepares learners to improve safety, productivity, and service in manufacturing and industrial applications. First-year applicants must submit official transcripts with the application. Standardized test submissions are optional. 

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#5

Old Dominion University

School Information
Location Norfolk, Virginia
Admission Rate 89%
Graduation Rate 53%
Accreditation Yes Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges
Percent Online Enrollment 54% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

Hybrid | Synchronous and Asynchronous Learning

Avg. Cost per Credit
In State | $374
Out of State | $407

Credits to Graduate
120

Program Information
Program Accreditation | N/A

ODU's online civil engineering technology degree program features structural and development engineering. The curriculum combines structural analysis, fluid mechanics, and a materials-testing lab with core engineering requirements and general education. Students can choose concentrations in construction management, structural design, or site development. 

Graduates are eligible to take the Fundamentals of Engineering exam. They can also pursue careers in construction, consulting engineering, surveying, and development industries. Applicants must submit an application and official high school transcripts. ODU requires ACT or SAT scores, unless applicants meet test-optional standards.  

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Frequently Asked Questions About Fastest Online Engineering Degree Programs

Can I get a bachelor's degree in one year?

Yes. You can receive a bachelor's degree in one year, though this option usually requires students to transfer many credits from previous institutions or experience. Degree-completion programs often allow learners to transfer in about three years worth of credits, leaving only one year remaining for the degree.

As for a true accelerated degree in engineering, these programs typically take more time. Most engineering courses have prerequisites of advanced math or science coursework that students must take sequentially. Since students need to complete the full credit requirements for the degree, these degrees tend to take between 2-3 years to finish.

Are accelerated degree classes worth it?

Yes. Accelerated degree classes are worthwhile for students who need to finish their training within a short period. Shorter training times also get students into the workforce quicker.

While these programs have the benefit of condensed training, they can also be much more demanding on students. This is where online degree value may factor in, providing flexible study schedule options and fewer distance limitations. Through online learning, accelerated programs may become much more manageable.

Are accelerated bachelor's degrees as valuable as traditional degrees?

Yes. An accelerated bachelor's degree has the same value as a traditional degree. Accelerated programs usually feature the same number of credits and even sometimes cost the same. The biggest difference is that accelerated programs allow students to finish faster.

Depending on how students value their time, an accelerated bachelor's in engineering, for example, may be more valuable. Similarly, employers may see additional value in accelerated programs. They may hold graduates who come from these challenging programs in higher regard.

Is an accelerated bachelor's degree in engineering right for me?

Answering this question requires each student to think about their scheduling and course load capabilities. While most learners would graduate sooner if they could, not everyone can handle accelerated training's intensity.

Accelerated degree-seekers need to be able to accommodate many more hours in class each week. They also need to be able to juggle large amounts of research, projects, and exams throughout the year. These programs feature fewer study breaks and more time spent jumping between classes.

Are accelerated degree programs affordable?

Yes. Accelerated degrees are often as affordable as standard programs. Most schools charge by credit, so the speed of the training is inconsequential. In some cases, however, schools provide different prices for these programs, so prospective students should look out for savings if possible.

While tuition usually stays the same, learners in accelerated programs may save on room and board costs. As with traditional programs, students in accelerated programs can still access financial aid to help them pay for their training.

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BestColleges.com is an advertising-supported site. Featured or trusted partner programs and all school search, finder, or match results are for schools that compensate us. This compensation does not influence our school rankings, resource guides, or other editorially-independent information published on this site.

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