Best Online Master's in Engineering Programs

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Engineering is the scientific field dedicated to the development, construction and implementation of structures, machines, tools, computer programs and other innovations. Engineers rely on mathematics, technology and scientific research in order to build and maintain their creations. Engineering is a broad field with dozens of subdivisions. At the collegiate level, some of the most common engineering disciplines include electrical engineering, mechanical engineering, civil engineering, software engineering and aerospace engineering. Students generally choose from two types of degree: a research-driven Master of Science in Engineering, or a professional Master of Engineering.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, most entry-level engineering jobs are attainable with an associate or bachelor's degree. An online master's degree in engineering will help graduates land a job and advance in their careers more quickly than their bachelor's-holding counterparts. An engineering master's will also qualify job-seekers for managerial titles normally reserved for candidates with a graduate degree. Master's students who wish to boost your career standing even further may choose to earn a degree specialization in their desired engineering field.

An online master's in engineering perfect for students who want to specialize in a subfield of a particular branch of engineering or jump into management.

Learn more about what you can do with an online master's in engineering and what kind of career opportunities you can look forward to with this comprehensive guide.

WILL AN ONLINE MASTER'S IN ENGINEERING PROGRAM PROVIDE ME WITH THE SKILLS I NEED TO ADVANCE MY ENGINEERING CAREER?

Master's-level engineering programs are designed to build on the foundational knowledge you've gained as an undergraduate and introduce more complex concepts. Students will enroll in course sequences dedicated to your area of specialization, as well as related areas of engineering. Additionally, many programs require students to complete a master's research thesis or an independent study project. Internships are not usually required in engineering master's programs, but students may be able to find onsite training opportunities through their school's career center.

WILL AN ONLINE MASTER'S IN ENGINEERING WORK WITH MY SCHEDULE?

Online engineering master's degree programs offer a flexible alternative to classroom-based learning. Students are able to access course materials, submit written assignments, take exams and communicate with their professors any time of day from the comfort of their home computer. Additionally, they can study on the go using a laptop, tablet, smartphone or other device with Wi-Fi capabilities. Course faculty will also offer consultations for students who are composing a master's thesis or participating in an independent study.

WHAT JOBS CAN I GET WITH MY MASTER'S IN ENGINEERING?

Students who graduate with a master's degree in engineering will enter the workforce qualified for most entry-level jobs in their specific field, as well as top-level roles. The best online master's in engineering programs prepare students for additional career steps, such as the required state license for certain managerial positions in mechanical, civil and aerospace engineering.

WHAT ARE THE BEST ONLINE MASTER'S IN ENGINEERING PROGRAMS?

Choosing a program is an incredibly personal decision, and only you can properly evaluate whether a target school's strengths match your educational needs. The following ranked list of schools should serve as a helpful starting point in your search for the best online engineering master's programs in the United States. If you are considering an online engineering master's degree, be sure to contact admissions specialists at different colleges and universities to learn more their about specific requirements and offerings.

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Rank School Name Ranking Score Location Description
1 Georgia Institute of Technology RANKING SCORE 87.16 COST Graduation Rate 39% LOCATION Atlanta, GA

Georgia Tech, located on a 400-acre campus in Atlanta, is part of the University System of Georgia. It was founded during the reconstruction era to help rebuild the industrial infrastructure of the South. It has grown into a renowned research institution with more than 23,000 students and satellite campuses across the globe. The first degree offered was in mechanical engineering, and the institute remains strong in the applied sciences. The school awards more engineering degrees to women than any other.

Georgia Tech Professional Education hosts an array of engineering master’s programs online: aerospace engineering, applied systems engineering, computational science and engineering, electrical and computer engineering, industrial engineering, and mechanical engineering. Aimed at working professionals, courses are recorded during on-campus classes and posted for viewing later; exams are done through a proctor. Web-based degrees require a bachelor’s in engineering or a related field (mathematics, physics) for acceptance. Students can use electives to customize their degree. The school’s Ask Buzz program answers most questions, and virtual students can ask the IT Support Center for help with technical issues.

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2 University of Florida RANKING SCORE 84.51 COST Graduation Rate 43% LOCATION Gainesville, FL

Set on a 2,000-acre campus in Gainesville, UF is one of the nation’s largest institutions of higher learning, with more than 52,000 students. The school is a member of the prestigious Association of American Universities and nationally ranked for quality and value. As a leading research institution, UF is an incubator for innovation. About a third of the school’s students are in graduate programs.

UF has eight online engineering master’s programs designed for working professionals. Programs include aerospace engineering, civil engineering, computer engineering, electrical and computer engineering, environmental engineering sciences, industrial systems engineering, materials science and engineering, and mechanical engineering. Several of these have specializations, giving students flexibility in customizing their program. Materials science has concentrations in electronic materials, metals, polymers, and structural elements. Each degree consists of 10 courses, offered completely online, and most are in a video lecture format. Exams are typically proctored at a site of the student’s choice. Master’s degrees can be completed in two years.

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3 Lehigh University RANKING SCORE 75.64 COST Graduation Rate 18% LOCATION Bethlehem, PA

Lehigh, located in the mountains of Pennsylvania’s Lehigh Valley, is a private research institution. With 7,000 students in its four colleges and a 9:1 student-to-faculty ratio, learners develop relationships with the faculty. 55 students have been awarded their own research grants. Lehigh is highly regarded for its engineering programs, and almost a third of students are in the college of engineering.

Lehigh offers 10 web-based master’s programs, and all but two are in engineering. Engineering master’s online include biological and chemical engineering, chemical energy engineering, chemical engineering, healthcare systems engineering, management science and engineering, and manufacturing systems engineering. Each program is 30 or 31 credits; some require a thesis or a capstone project. A GPA of 2.75 or better is required for admittance. Work experience is necessary for some programs. Courses are delivered in two ways: Classroom Live, which features interactive, real-time recording from actual classrooms; and Classroom Online, which is asynchronous and can be accessed at any time. Some courses include proctored exams.

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4 Cornell University RANKING SCORE 75.60 COST Graduation Rate 3% LOCATION Ithaca, NY

Cornell is a private, Ivy League, research institution and the state of New York’s land-grant institution; it has public obligations to focus on practical skills like agriculture, the sciences, and engineering. Established in 1865 by Ezra Cornell, one the inventors of the telegraph, the Ithaca-based university is set on 2,300 acres in the Finger Lakes region. The school has 22,000 students enrolled in 7 undergraduate schools and 7 graduate and professional units. Cornell has become internationally known for programs in journalism, medicine, hotel administration, history, and engineering.

Cornell’s has only one online master’s in engineering program, the master’s of systems engineering; it’s the school’s only web-based graduate offering. It’s a 30-credit program with a unique 6-credit design project that serves as its centerpiece. At least 2 credits must be taken on campus; the capstone is a faculty-supervised group project. Core courses include model-based systems engineering, systems analysis behavior and optimization, and principles of project leadership. Every student who has taken Cornell’s master of science in engineering online is now employed, many with Fortune 500 companies. Students are required to have completed the GRE and a course in probability and statistics.

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5 University of Washington - Seattle RANKING SCORE 74.37 COST Graduation Rate 8% LOCATION Seattle, WA

Washington has more than 56,000 students spread across its campuses in Seattle, Tacoma, and Bothell. It’s a public research university and the flagship of the state university system. As a member of the American Association of Universities, UW receives more federal research dollars than almost any other school, and its graduate programs are considered among the best in the nation. They include seven online engineering master’s programs designed for working professionals.

UW offers traditional programs including aerospace, civil, and mechanical; and less-common ones like supply chain transportation, sustainable transportation, pharmaceutical bioengineering, and construction management. Most degrees require students to earn 42 credits, others take up-to 45. Many can be customized with concentrations. Programs are intended to be pursued part time and include thesis and non-thesis tracks; the non-thesis track may require a special project. Students should expect to commit three hours a week to classroom time.

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6 Columbia University in the City of New York RANKING SCORE 73.60 COST Graduation Rate 7% LOCATION New York, NY

Columbia, established in 1754 by royal charter of King George II, is a private, Ivy League research university with more than 33,000 students in its 20 colleges and schools. Based in Upper Manhattan, the university is one of the most selective in the country, accepting only 6 percent of those who apply. Columbia has become famous worldwide for its schools of journalism, medicine, and law.

Columbia’s Fu Foundation School of Engineering and Applied Science offers engineering master’s programs online in eight different fields: biomedical, industrial systems, chemical, civil, earth and environmental, electrical, materials science, and mechanical. All are entirely online. Students must earn 30 credits for graduation. Prerequisites include taking the GRE and a minimum 3.0 GPA. Many programs allow for further specialization. Students in the electrical engineering program can concentrate in telecommunications, wireless and mobile communications, integrated circuits, microelectronics, multimedia networking, photonics, and systems biology. Distance learners can use the school’s library, recognized as one of the top five academic libraries in North America.

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7 Johns Hopkins University RANKING SCORE 73.26 COST Graduation Rate 47% LOCATION Baltimore, MD

Johns Hopkins University was the first research university established in the United States, founded over a century ago in Baltimore, Maryland. Today, the private institution includes ten brick-and-mortar campuses across ten continents, in addition to state-of-the-art offerings in distance learning. Johns Hopkins offers some of the best online engineering master’s programs in the country, including engineering management, applied biomedical engineering, civil engineering, electrical and computer engineering, and information systems engineering.

Working professionals may seek their advanced degree on a part-time basis through the Engineering for Professionals program. All of these part-time graduate programs can be completed fully online from anywhere in the world, with no on-site or in-person requirements. Depending on the degree selected, students choose from courses in structural mechanics, communications in technical organizations, or environmental biotechnology. Tuition costs are the same for all graduate students in the school of engineering, whether on or off campus.

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8 University of Wisconsin - Madison RANKING SCORE 72.08 COST Graduation Rate 6% LOCATION Madison, WI

UW-Madison is a public, land-grant university set on 936 acres. Over 43,000 students are enrolled in Wisconsin’s 13 schools and colleges, almost 12,000 of them in graduate and professional programs. This is where the “Wisconsin Idea” was launched, the notion that universities should give back to the region where they’re located, and it guides the school’s teaching, research, and outreach. Wisconsin’s gained a national reputation for its business, government, biology, and engineering programs.

UW-Madison offers ten nationally ranked engineering master’s online. Programs include engine systems, engineering management, sustainable systems, and engineering data analytics. Each program requires 30 credits and takes two or three years to complete. The GRE is required for the two mechanical engineering offerings, polymers, and control. About half of the programs include a summer visit to Madison. UW-Madison is tied with Harvard for the most graduates working as CEOs at Fortune 500 companies.

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9 University of California - Los Angeles RANKING SCORE 71.88 COST Graduation Rate 3% LOCATION Los Angeles, CA

Based in the Westwood district of Los Angeles, the research university is traditionally ranked in the top 10 of public schools in the nation. About 45,000 students are currently enrolled, close to a third of whom are in graduate and professional programs. UCLA has strong programs in film, medicine, clinical psychology, business, education, and engineering. The school’s engineering master’s online is nationally ranked.

The UCLA engineering department offers twelve options, including aerospace, structural materials, environmental and water resources, and data science engineering. Students can design their own degree, adding electives in their area of interest. All degrees are structured similarly – students take nine courses on a project track or a non-project track. Students who elect not to do the capstone project are required to take an additional course and a comprehensive exam. Admission is based on GPA and requires an ABET-accredited degree in the sciences or engineering; work experience is recommended.

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10 University of Southern California RANKING SCORE 71.19 COST Graduation Rate 25% LOCATION Los Angeles, CA

Southern California is located in the heart of Los Angeles. It’s the single biggest private employer in a city internationally known as a center of film, music, fashion, and entertainment. USC, a leading research institution, is home to over 44,000 students, more than half are enrolled in graduate and professional programs. Only 16% of applicants are accepted. The school is known for its programs in the visual and performing arts, business, and the social sciences. USC is a leader in STEM education, boasting the world’s most powerful quantum computer and nationally ranked engineering and computer science departments.

USC offers more than 30 online engineering master’s programs, including uncommon disciplines like astronautical engineering, engineering management, petroleum engineering, medical device engineering, product development engineering, cyber-security engineering, and financial engineering. The DEN@Viterbi program (Distance Education Network) was established to help professional engineers get the most out of a master’s education at USC. The program provides administrative and technical support, proctoring services, and networking opportunities.

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11 North Carolina State University at Raleigh RANKING SCORE 70.96 COST Graduation Rate 31% LOCATION Raleigh, NC

With more than 34,000 students, NC State, located in Raleigh, is the largest university in the state. Raleigh is one of the three cities in North Carolina’s famed Research Triangle. NC State has strong STEM programs, along with design, veterinary medicine, textiles, and the social sciences. Students have access to some of the top online engineering master’s programs in the country.

NC State’s College of Engineering has 16 different web-based master’s programs, including a standard Master of Engineering, and less-common disciplines in nano and nuclear engineering. The programs are designed for students with an undergrad degree in science or engineering. A 3.0 GPA is required for acceptance and must be maintained throughout the 30 credit programs. Work is done remotely by using recorded class-room lectures. Students have six years to complete the curriculum. Tests are proctored and the GRE is required. The College of Engineering charges its own small fees in addition to the usual graduate tuition.

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12 The University of Texas at Austin RANKING SCORE 69.37 COST Graduation Rate 2% LOCATION Austin, TX

The University of Texas at Austin offers two online master’s in engineering degrees: mechanical engineering and electrical and computer engineering. While the mechanical engineering degree is a fully online program that can be completed from any location, the electrical and computer engineering degree requires a one-week onsite visit during the final semester of study. Tuition rates for all students remain the same regardless of residency.

Both engineering degree plans consist of 30 credit hours and can be completed in two years, but each occur through different learning models. UT Austin’s mechanical engineering degree utilizes asynchronous methods, while the electrical and computer engineering degree is synchronous. Further degree customization is available in the electrical and computer engineering program through the individual selection of one of nine academic tracks: DICE, ACSES, biomedical engineering, software engineering, electromagnetics and acoustics, energy systems, plasma/quantum electronics, and solid-state electronics.

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13 New York University RANKING SCORE 68.56 COST Graduation Rate 8% LOCATION New York, NY

New York University is one of the oldest and most respected non-profit research universities in America, operating campuses in New York City and around the globe. NYU’s Tandon School of Engineering also offers online engineering master’s degrees to students from anywhere in the world, inviting them to join a network of notable alumni in the in-demand fields of computer engineering, electrical engineering, and industrial engineering. Requirements for admission include a bachelor’s degree in a related discipline and a superior undergraduate academic record.

Whether through concentration offerings in the electrical engineering program, or various thesis and project options in the computer engineering program, NYU provides freedom in each degree plan to customize personal learning outcomes. All incoming online students are subject to the same tuition rates regardless of residency and may take advantage of NYU’s Online Mentorship Program. Students gain access to NYU’s network of career resources at Wasserman Career Center, NYU CareerNet, and Aftercollege.com.

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14 Illinois Institute of Technology RANKING SCORE 68.36 COST Graduation Rate 20% LOCATION Chicago, IL

Illinois Tech is a private, research institution based in Chicago. The school began as the Armour Institute in 1893. The school taught engineering and the sciences and merged with the likeminded Lewis Institute in 1940 to create IIT. Almost 5,000 of the school’s 7,800 students are enrolled in graduate and professional studies. Engineering was one of the first degrees offered at the Armour Institute and it continues to remain a strength at IIT.

IIT offers 13 online master's in engineering, including biological, telecommunications, and software engineering. Several specialized fields can be studied through the web, including food process engineering, manufacturing engineering, electricity markets, and VLSI and microelectronics. Programs require 30–32 credit hours, many can be focused with electives and concentrations. Co-terminal degrees are an option, allowing students to combine two specializations. The school has an Online Student Support Services team available to assist with exam proctoring, scheduling, and course questions.

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20 University of Minnesota - Twin Cities RANKING SCORE 67.63 COST Graduation Rate 14% LOCATION Minneapolis, MN

UMN-Twin Cities is the oldest and biggest campus in the University of Minnesota System. The public, land-grant institution is among the largest in the nation, with an enrollment of about 50,000, including 16,000 graduate students. The Carnegie Foundation classified the school as an R1 Doctoral Research University with the highest research activity. The school is known for strong programs in law, chemical engineering, pharmacology, math, and the social sciences.

Among Minnesota’s graduate programs is a master of science in engineering online. The 30-credit curriculum of the Master of Science in electrical engineering explores power systems, quantum electronics, optics, communications systems, lasers, noise, magnetism, signal processing, and computer and systems engineering. Students can elect to follow a thesis or non-thesis track. Non-thesis students must do a research project and make an oral presentation. Some aspects of the program are synchronous, requiring students to be on their computer at certain times for quizzes, tests, and lectures. The UNITE Distributed Learning office helps to coordinate proctored exams. Applicants must have an undergrad degree in an appropriate field and a 3.4 GPA.

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21 Northeastern University RANKING SCORE 67.60 COST Graduation Rate 10% LOCATION Boston, MA

Northeastern University is a private research university located in Boston, Massachusetts, that offers more than 30 online graduate degrees, including a master of science in engineering management. This master’s degree in engineering is an interdisciplinary program designed to bridge the fields of engineering, technology, and business through its unique combination of core courses and electives. Graduates gain a strong foundation in engineering principles, leadership techniques, and business skills. While the program primarily benefits engineers with a business focus, students from other academic backgrounds gain acceptance on a case-by-case basis.

The 32-credit program can be completed in two years of full-time study and requires the completion of eight total courses. Course options include logistics, warehousing and scheduling, environmental issues in manufacturing and product use, and financial management for engineers. Online students can expect to pay the same tuition rate as their online counterparts, regardless of geographic location.

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22 University of Central Florida RANKING SCORE 67.24 COST Graduation Rate 40% LOCATION Orlando, FL

Central Florida is one of the nation’s largest schools, with more than 64,000 students. UCF has a dozen satellite centers across central Florida and online. More than 212 degree programs are available at its 13 schools and colleges. UCF was founded as a tech school, and it continues to provide STEM educations. It’s a space-grant school, pushing the boundaries of research in aerospace, engineering, and related fields. The school is ranked for value -- 44% of students graduate free of debt.

UCF offers seven online master’s in engineering: aerospace, healthcare systems, materials science, mechanical, engineering management, and two industrial engineering degrees. These are 30-credit programs, and many of them have several concentrations, allowing students to focus on their area of interest. Some have thesis and non-thesis tracks and require trips to Orlando. UCF provides web-based services, including access to the library, the Student Academic Resource Center Online, the Writing Center, tech support, and career services.

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23 California State University - Long Beach RANKING SCORE 66.66 COST Graduation Rate 17% LOCATION Long Beach, CA

California State University-Long Beach is the home of CSU’s college of continuing and professional education, which offers diverse degrees, professional development certificates, and international education to students of all ages and backgrounds. Among the course offerings available is CSULB’s master of science in engineering management online. Set up as a cohort learning system, where students are grouped together upon enrollment and take two courses together each semester, the engineering management degree takes less than two years to complete.

The 30-credit degree plan includes ten required courses—four from the college of business and six from the college of engineering—and a final comprehensive exam. Project-based assignments provide skills for future working environments and can lead to career advancement in leadership positions. CSULB engineering faculty are all industry professionals accessible to students through synchronous online office hours.

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24 University of Illinois at Urbana - Champaign RANKING SCORE 66.51 COST Graduation Rate 18% LOCATION Champaign, IL

Illinois, one of the 37 original land-grant institutions established after President Lincoln signed the Morrill Act, is the flagship university of the state. Illinois at Urbana-Champaign has engineering roots that date back to its earliest days as Illinois Industrial University. Almost a quarter of Illinois’ 44,000 students are in graduate and professional programs; they include seven online master’s in engineering programs.

Illinois’ highly ranked engineering master’s include aerospace, bioengineering, civil, computer, and bioinstrumentation. Students are required to earn 32 credits for completion of MS programs, and have the option of a thesis or non-thesis track. Students must have an undergraduate degree in an appropriate field and a 3.0 GPA or better in their last two years of school for admittance; A 3.0 GPA must be maintained as they move through the curriculum. Learners can start each program prior to admission; taking classes doesn’t guarantee admission. Up-to 12 credits can be transferred in. The school has more than 70 professional and honorary engineering organizations and an active Career Services department. Illinois also has one of the largest engineering libraries in the country.

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25 Case Western Reserve University RANKING SCORE 65.11 COST Graduation Rate 12% LOCATION Cleveland, OH

Case Western, created by the 1967 merger of Case Institute of Technology and Western Reserve University, is a private institution of higher education in Cleveland’s University Circle. It’s a member of the elite Association of American Universities and is classified as a research institution of the highest activity by Carnegie. Case Western’s schools of law, nursing, medicine, dentistry, and business are highly regarded nationwide. More than 6,000 of its 11,600 students are in graduate and professional programs, and over 350,000 students have enrolled in its online courses.

Case Western’s school of engineering offers five engineering master’s online, including bio, civil, mechanical, systems, and a standard engineering degree that can be customized. Designed for working professionals with an undergraduate degree in engineering, physics, or an adjacent field, the program doesn’t have any on-campus requirements. All programs require nine classes, the majority of which are core components. Several have concentration options. Each program has start dates in the spring and fall.

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26 Rutgers University - New Brunswick RANKING SCORE 64.93 COST Graduation Rate 20% LOCATION New Brunswick, NJ

Rutgers University, the eighth oldest higher education institution in the nation, offers maximum flexibility for distance learners seeking an online engineering master's degree. Not only is all the coursework available anywhere, but students can select from a fall, spring, or summer starting point and attend on a full-time or part-time basis. As a public institution, Rutgers-New Brunswick also boasts a lower tuition cost than private research universities.

The master of engineering biomedical engineering program trains students to enter one of the fastest-growing fields in the engineering industry. The curriculum focuses on six key areas of biomedical engineering: biomaterials and tissue, computational bioengineering, physiological systems, molecular, cellular, and nanosystems, neuroengineering, and biomechanics/rehabilitation. Rutgers engineering students join an invaluable network of growing alumni and faculty members who are leaders in research at an institution with ties to the world’s leading pharmaceutical and biotechnology corporations.

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27 Brandeis University RANKING SCORE 64.81 COST Graduation Rate 25% LOCATION Waltham, MA

The 235-acre campus of Brandeis University is located in Waltham, Massachusetts, in the suburbs of Boston. This private research university began as a nonsecretarian institution with core roots in the Jewish experience. Brandeis University values rigorous academic work, critical-thinking, and the ideal of improving the world through personal actions and talents. Brandeis upholds a commitment to diversity, seeking students, faculty, and staff of all backgrounds.

Brandeis University’s graduate professional studies program offers part-time, online master’s degrees for working professionals, including a master of software engineering that equips graduates to deliver and manage reliable, high-quality software. The flexible 30-credit program requires the completion of six core courses and four electives, such as expert software development in Java, software testing techniques, and responsive web design. Students from around the globe can earn their online engineering degree master’s in as little as 18 months or take as long as five years.

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28 University of Maryland-College Park RANKING SCORE 64.62 COST Graduation Rate 10% LOCATION College Park, MD

The University of Maryland graduate school is headquartered in College Park, Maryland, with various online options for students to earn a master’s degree in engineering. Degree programs are available in bioengineering, cybersecurity, fire protection engineering, project management, and reliability engineering. Basic admission requirements for all programs include a bachelor's degree in a related discipline, a 3.0 GPA or higher, and completion of prerequisites, which vary depending on the degree sought.

Each of the professional master of engineering programs are offered solely as part-time degrees, allowing working engineers, architects, and technical professionals to maintain their full-time jobs while advancing their academic skills in relevant areas of management, technique, and analysis. Online students at the University of Maryland pay a special tuition rate that isn’t dependant on state residency. Additional information about Maryland’s online engineering master’s programs, application requirements, and deadlines is available through periodic, real-time virtual open houses.

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29 Worcester Polytechnic Institute RANKING SCORE 64.30 COST Graduation Rate 32% LOCATION Worcester, MA

WPI was founded in 1865 to educate leaders for the Industrial Revolution. Set in Worcester, New England’s second-largest city, the private research institution was an early leader in project-based education, becoming one of the first universities to incorporate problem-solving and experiential education. Science and technology is popular at WPI – only seven of the school’s 6,400 students in 2016 were enrolled in a bachelor of arts program. Undergraduates outnumber post-grad and professional students by two to one. Computer science is the most popular major, followed by mechanical engineering, biomedical engineering, and general/undeclared engineering.

WPI offers seven master’s of engineering online, and partners with Southern New Hampshire University to provide an MBA in engineering management. Programs include mechanical engineering, fire science engineering, and robotics engineering. Curriculum is comprised of 10 courses, and many require graduate seminars and capstone projects. Students must have an ABET-accredited BA in an appropriate field for admission and submit a plan of study to be approved. WPI places an emphasis on collaboration with fellow students. Most classes are delivered asynchronously.

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30 University of Houston - Clear Lake RANKING SCORE 63.80 COST Graduation Rate 36% LOCATION Houston, TX

The University of Houston system consists of several campuses throughout Texas, including one in Clear Lake. The Clear Lake campus received recognition with the Online Learning Consortium’s Effective Practice Award in 2016 for outstanding commitment and accomplishment for advancing online learning. UHCL offers online engineering master’s degrees in two areas: software engineering and engineering management. Both 36-credit degree plans can be completed in as little at 16 months with three courses taken during each fall, spring, and summer semester.

Courses in the software engineering program include risk management, software processes, and software architecture. In the engineering management program, students take courses in new business development, negotiation strategy, and human behavior in organizations. The program concludes with a final capstone project, although engineering management students have the option to choose a thesis course instead. Texas residents receive the lowest tuition costs, but all students are eligible for discounted rates by taking more courses per semester.

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Timeline
1 to 2 years
Program Costs
$20,000 to $40,000 in annual tuition
Related Areas of Study
Civil Engineering, Mechanical Engineering, Electrical Engineering, Aerospace Engineering, Software Engineering, Computer Engineering, Petroleum Engineering, Biomedical Engineering, Chemical/Biochemical Engineering, Environmental Engineering
Accreditation
Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET)

Job Placement: Master vs Bachelor of Engineering

The BLS projects that the architecture and engineering sector will increase by 3% between 2014 and 2024, or roughly 67,000 jobs. This growth rate is significantly smaller than the 8% projection for all industries. Due to this competitive professional climate, engineers with a master's degree tend to enjoy more favorable employment rates than their colleagues with a bachelor's degree. A recent survey by Georgetown University's Center on Education and the Workforce noted the different job placement rates in various occupations between individuals with a bachelor's and those with a graduate degree. Using data from that survey, the following table lists employment rates for both groups in six niche engineering fields.

Engineering Degree Field Employment Rate for Bachelor's Graduates with Work Experience Employment Rate for Graduate Degree-Holders
General Engineering 5.7% 3.0%
Chemical Engineering 4.2% 3.5%
Civil Engineering 4.5% 2.8%
Electrical Engineering 5.2% 3.5%
Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering 5.1% 4.0%
Mechanical Engineering 3.8% 3.5%

Source: Georgetown University's Center on Education and the Workforce

As the table above indicates, graduate degree-holding engineers in these six fields face an average unemployment rate of 3.4%; by comparison, the unemployment rate for experienced engineers with a bachelor's is 4.8%. The National Center on Education Statistics (NCES) notes that the number of aspiring engineers who earn a master's degree has grown significantly in recent years. During the 2003-04 academic year, roughly 32,500 master's degrees in engineering were conferred; in 2013-14 that number stood at 42,372 ― an increase of more than 30% in just 10 years.

Earning a Living

In addition to more favorable employment rates, engineers with a master's degree also tend to enjoy higher earning potential ― although this is not the case in certain engineering fields. The CEW survey found that engineers with a graduate degree stand to earn roughly $100,000 per year; in contrast, experienced engineers with a bachelor's pull in $81,000 and recent bachelor's graduates earn an annual salary of $55,000. However, the wage premium for master's-holding engineers will vary by specific engineering field ― and in some cases, master's graduates actually earned less than bachelor's graduates in the same field. Using data from the 2015-16 PayScale College Salary Report, the following table notes the expected entry-level salaries for bachelor's and master's graduates in different engineering fields.

Engineering Field Median Annual Salary for Entry-Level Employees (0-5 years) with a Bachelor's Degree Median Annual Salary for Entry-Level Employees (0-5 years) with a Master's Degree Wage Premium for Master's Degree-Holders
Civil Engineering $55,600 $60,100 8.1%
Electrical Engineering $66,500 $78,900 18.6%
Mechanical Engineering $62,500 $71,600 14.5%
Chemical Engineering $69,500 $72,900 4.9%
Environmental Engineering $52,400 $58,400 11.5%
Aerospace Engineering $75,600 $75,600 16.7%
Petroleum Engineering $101,000 $96,500 -4.5%

Source: 2015-16 PayScale College Salary Report

As the table shows, the engineering fields with the highest wage premium for master's degree recipients are electrical engineering, aerospace engineering and mechanical engineering. However, it's also important to note that a master's in engineering salary will increase incrementally over the course of his or her career. The next table reveals median annual earnings at four career benchmarks for all degree-holders in different engineering fields.

Engineering Field Median Annual Salary for Entry-Level Employees (0-5 Years) Median Annual Salary for Mid-Career Employees (10+ Years) Median Annual Salary for Experienced Employees (10-20 Years) Median Annual Salary for Late-Career Employees (20+ Years)
Civil Engineering $55,995 $67,477 $79,689 $93,060
Electrical Engineering $64,981 $77,067 $89,919 $100,979
Mechanical Engineering $62,527 $73,618 $83,979 $94,016
Chemical Engineering $67,006 $82,491 $99,162 $117,570
Environmental Engineering $55,880 $69,928 $82,399 $93,093
Aerospace Engineering $69,903 $83,878 $101,043 $124,893
Petroleum Engineering $91,459 $111,443 $135,041 $172,134

Source: PayScale

Among the fields listed above, petroleum engineers enjoyed the highest career salary growth with an 88% between the early-career and late-career marks. Aerospace engineering came in second at 79%. The average wage premium for all seven careers was 68.6% between the entry-level and late-career marks.

Career Opportunities

Students who complete an online master's in engineering program will be qualified for hundreds of jobs once they graduate, although opportunities will vary by the candidate's degree specialization. The table below features some of the most common master's in engineering career pathways, as well as the median annual salary and projected growth rate of these fields.

Aerospace Engineers: Aerospace engineers specialize in the development of air and spacecraft, as well as other projectile structures like missiles and satellites. They may spend years working on a single project, first using prototypes to test various aspects of the design before implementing a fully functioning model. According to the BLS, 38% of aerospace engineers work in product and parts manufacturing.

Civil Engineers: Civil engineers design and build roads, bridges, tunnels dams, reservoirs and other projects intended for public use, as well as airports, sewage treatment centers and other buildings. The development process begins with the initial testing phase; civil engineers also organize permits, calculate total costs and make sure their project is compliant with all applicable laws and regulations. More than a quarter of civil engineers work for local, state or federal government agencies.

Electrical and Electronics Engineers: Electrical engineers develop and build products with electrical components, from automobile and aircraft parts to communication and navigation systems. Electronics engineers, on the other hand, specialize in projects like broadcast systems and portable electronic devices. These engineers typically work in teams, and perform different tasks during the planning, construction, implementation and evaluation phases.

Mechanical Engineers: Mechanical engineers dedicate their careers to developing and creating engines, turbines, generators and other mechanical parts, as well as household appliances that use power and machines used in buildings. They typically utilize computer-aided design (CAD) throughout their projects, and often rely on prototypes during the early planning phases.

Profession Median Annual Salary Projected Growth Rate (2014-24)
Aerospace Engineers $107,830 -2%
Civil Engineers $82,220 8%
Electrical and Electronics Engineers $95,230 0%
Mechanical Engineers $83,590 5%

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics

Professional Organizations

Making professional connections and learning about different approaches to engineering is crucial to your success. Professional organizations offer a great entry point for students who want to learn more about their chosen career path. Below you'll find three of the country's most prominent organizations established for professional engineers. These organizations host networking events, provide online trainings, maintain active job boards, and offer other services for career-ready college graduates. Resources like these often prove invaluable as you complete your degree requirements and prepare to enter the job market.

  • National Society of Professional Engineers: Created in 1934, the NSPE is the only multidisciplinary professional organization dedicated to professional engineers. The website includes extensive information about licensing requirements and procedures for professional engineers, as well as links to continuing education opportunities and an online career center.
  • Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers: With more than 420,000 members in 160 countries, the IEEE is one of the world's largest organizations for engineers. Members are invited to join local chapters and receive discounted insurance rates, among other benefits.
  • American Society of Civil Engineers: The ASCE was founded in 1852, and today represents more than 150,000 civil engineers around the world. Members are eligible for up to five free webinars per year, as well as discounts on continuing ed courses, organizational publications and conference entrance fees.
  • American Society of Mechanical Engineers: Originally founded in 1880 to address professional challenges related to steam boilers, the ASME today represents more than 150,000 mechanical engineers. The organization regularly sponsors engineering contests and competitions, and each year holds dozens of conferences around the world.

Despite the relative affordability of online engineering master's programs, most students still need financial assistance. Students should complete a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) form to learn more about loans, grants, and other opportunities offered through the U.S. government. Additionally, private grants and scholarships are widely available through nonprofit organizations, companies, and other sources. Check out our collection of resources below to learn more about financial aid options.

AN OVERVIEW OF FINANCIAL AID

Approximately two-thirds of today's college students rely on loans to fund their education, but there are plenty of overlooked financing options you can use to reduce your overall student debt.

UNDERSTANDING THE FAFSA

Completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is a crucial first step for any student with financial needs. Our FAFSA guide features a step-by-step rundown on the process and answers to several frequently asked questions.

FINANCIAL AID FOR ONLINE COLLEGE STUDENTS

Financial aid for online learning is equivalent to what you'll find for campus-based learning, but that hasn't always been the case. Learn about the changes that have taken place, as well as the different funding opportunities available to online students.

SCHOLARSHIPS FOR WOMEN

Online programs can provide an affordable and flexible option for women trying to balance the demands of work, family, and earning their degree. We've curated a list of valuable scholarships specifically for women.

SCHOLARSHIPS FOR SINGLE PARENTS

Online college programs can be a flexible, affordable option for single parents who are interested in earning a degree and securing their family's financial future. We've compiled a list of scholarships, grants, and other financial aid options geared toward single moms and dads.

FINANCIAL AID FOR VETERANS AND ACTIVE MILITARY

Millions of dollars in free money is available to U.S. military personnel, but much of it goes unused. Learn more about grants, scholarships, and other financial aid opportunities available to veterans, active-duty service members, and reservists.

SCHOLARSHIPS AND FINANCIAL AID FOR ONLINE STUDENTS

Students who pursue online degrees will be eligible for scholarships, grants and other financial aid that is unavailable to their brick-and-mortar counterparts. Learn more about these financial opportunities for web-based learners.

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Software engineering is one of the most sought after degree concentrations for today's engineering master's students. Learn more about this exciting, cutting-edge field with our comprehensive degree guide.

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Rankings Archive

Best Online Master's in Engineering Programs of 2017
Rank School Location
1 Harvard University Cambridge, MA
2 University of Florida Gainesville, FL
3 University of Michigan-Ann Arbor Ann Arbor, MI
4 Columbia University in the City of New York New York, NY
5 Georgia Institute of Technology-Main Campus Atlanta, GA
6 North Carolina State University at Raleigh Raleigh, NC
7 University of Southern California Los Angeles, CA
8 Cornell University Ithaca, NY
9 University of Virginia-Main Campus Charlottesville, VA
10 Carnegie Mellon University Pittsburgh, PA
11 University of Wisconsin-Madison Madison, WI
12 Lehigh University Bethlehem, PA
13 University of Washington-Seattle Campus Seattle, WA
14 University of California-Los Angeles Los Angeles, CA
15 University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign Champaign, IL
16 Illinois Institute of Technology Chicago, IL
17 Stevens Institute of Technology Hoboken, NJ
18 Worcester Polytechnic Institute Worcester, MA
19 Texas A & M University-College Station College Station, TX
20 University of Minnesota-Twin Cities Minneapolis, MN
21 Case Western Reserve University Cleveland, OH
22 University of Central Florida Orlando, FL
23 Purdue University-Main Campus West Lafayette, IN
24 Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University Blacksburg, VA
25 University of Dayton Dayton, OH
Best Online Master's in Engineering Programs of 2016
Rank School Location
1 Stanford University Stanford, CA
2 Columbia University in the City of New York New York, NY
3 University of Michigan - Ann Arbor Ann Arbor, MI
4 University of Florida Gainesville, FL
5 University of Virginia Charlottesville, VA
6 John Hopkins University Baltimore, MD
7 Georgia Tech Atlanta, GA
8 Lehigh University Bethlehem, PA
9 North Carolina State University Raleigh, NC
10 Carnegie Mellon University Pittsburgh, PA
11 University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign Champaign, IL
12 Clemson University Clemson, SC
13 University of California - Los Angeles Los Angeles, CA
14 Texas A&M University College Station, TX
15 Villanova University Villanove, PA
16 Virginia Tech Blacksburg, VA
17 University of Maryland - College Park College Park, MD
18 Worcester Polytechnic Institute Worcester, MA
19 University of Wisconsin - Madison Madison, WI
20 Illinois Institute of Technology Chicago, IL
21 Purdue University West Lafayette, IN
22 Case Western Reserve University Cleveland, OH
23 University of Minnesota - Twin Cities Minneapolis, MN
24 Naval Postgraduate School Monterey, CA
25 New Jersey Institute of Technology Newark, NJ