A master's degree in computer engineering provides graduates with a competitive edge in the quickly evolving computer industry. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the demand for computer engineers will increase as more industries incorporate electronic elements, devices, and internet platforms into their products. Computer engineers stand at the forefront of innovation, capable of working across multiple fields with a broad range of software development. An online degree in computer engineering prepares you to enter this dynamic field.
What are the best computer engineering programs of 2020? Here are our top 10:
|1||University of Florida||Gainesville, FL|
|2||Johns Hopkins University||Baltimore, MD|
|3||University of Southern California||Los Angeles, CA|
|4||Georgia Institute of Technology||Atlanta, GA|
|5||North Carolina State University||Raleigh, NC|
|6||Texas A&M University||College Station, TX|
|7||Villanova University||Villanova, PA|
|8||Stevens Institute of Technology||Hoboken, NJ|
|9||Florida International University||Miami, FL|
|10||Worcester Polytechnic Institute||Worcester, MA|
The Best Online Master's in Computer Engineering Programs of 2019
University of Florida
|Gainesville, FL||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 90%||
UF offers more than 200 programs through UF Online. Students can complete an online master's degree in computer engineering through the university's Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering. The MS in electrical and computer engineering (ECE) features a customizable major and non-ECE elective courses.
Other program features include full-time or part-time enrollment, hybrid course options, and thesis and non-thesis tracks. More than 60% of ECE students secure internships with top employers after graduation. Learners can pursue coursework in several unique ECE interest areas, including cybersecurity, biomedical engineering, and artificial intelligence.
Applicants must submit GRE scores and transcripts. UF supports distance learners through advising, tutoring, library, and career services. UF admits most graduate ECE students in the fall semester, with some exceptions for current undergraduate ECE students.
Johns Hopkins University
|Baltimore, MD||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 93%||
Students at Johns Hopkins may choose from 19 online graduate programs in engineering. The university's MS in electrical and computer engineering comprises 10 courses. All learners complete a concentration in either communications and networking or photonics.
Distance learners complete coursework asynchronously through the Blackboard platform. The online master's in computer engineering is a part-time degree for working professionals. The program charges the same tuition rate to all learners regardless of residency.
Applicants must hold a bachelor's degree in electrical and/or computer engineering from a school accredited by the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. Prerequisite courses include mathematics, calculus-based physics, signals and systems, and linear and non-linear circuits. Students may enroll in the fall, spring, or summer semesters.
University of Southern California
|Los Angeles, CA||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 92%||
The Viterbi School of Engineering was one of the first academic colleges established at USC. USC's students may choose from more than 40 online graduate programs, including Viterbi's online master's degree in computer engineering.
The MS in computer engineering requires 28 credits in three major areas: architecture, VLSI, and networks. USC offers both live and on-demand course content in the virtual classroom. Possible courses include interconnection networks, internet and cloud computing, and computer systems organization.
Applicants must submit GRE scores. Incoming students may begin the computer engineering degree online in the fall or spring semester. USC offers new student orientation events and a graduate mentorship program.
Georgia Institute of Technology
|Atlanta, GA||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 87%||
A leader in distance learning, Georgia Tech offers 13 online graduate degrees in engineering, computer science, and STEM disciplines, including an online master of science in electrical and computer engineering.
Georgia Tech's master's in computer engineering program emphasizes career development for a variety of tech-industry professionals. Coursework explores solving technical problems, adhering to project deadlines, and fostering creativity and ingenuity. Students may begin the online program in the fall or spring semester.
Learners complete coursework asynchronously by viewing recorded lectures and on-campus sessions. Full-time students typically complete two courses per semester. Georgia Tech charges all learners the same tuition rate regardless of residency. The university serves more than 12,000 students through its professional education programs.
North Carolina State University
|Raleigh, NC||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 81%||
NC State offers more than 100 degrees and certificates through distance learning, including an online master's in computer engineering. The program includes coursework in VLSI systems, networking, and computer architecture and systems. The 30-credit program does not require a thesis. Full-time students take nine credits per semester, while part-time learners take 3-6 credits. Students may begin the program in the fall or spring semesters.
Applicants must hold a bachelor's degree in electrical or computer engineering with a GPA of at least 3.25. The program also requires GRE scores and letters of recommendation. Prospective students with a 3.0 GPA may receive provisional admission into the program.
Texas A&M University
|College Station, TX||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 82%||
The College of Engineering is the largest school at Texas A&M and among the largest engineering schools in the United States. Engineering students represent 68% of National Merit Scholars at Texas A&M.
The university's master of engineering in computer engineering requires 30 credits. The curriculum does not require a thesis or final examination; however, distance learners must complete an internship to satisfy graduation requirements. Students complete most coursework asynchronously.
Applicants must submit unofficial transcripts, GRE scores, and letters of recommendation for admission. Students may begin Texas A&M's online master's in computer engineering in the fall, spring, or summer semesters.
|Villanova, PA||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 91%||
Villanova's College of Engineering offers 10 online graduate programs in unique engineering areas. Engineering students at Villanova enjoy personalized attention, as the school maintains a student-to-faculty ratio of 19-to-1. Roughly 88% of master's-level engineering students graduate within three years.
Villanova's master of science in computer engineering requires 30 credits, or 10 courses. Students may choose a thesis or non-thesis option. Villanova offers hybrid and fully online coursework and enables students to complete assignments both synchronously and asynchronously. The program includes core courses in computer communication networks, embedded systems architecture, and Unix and C programming.
Program applicants must submit official transcripts, a resume, a statement of purpose, and GRE scores. Students may begin the online program in the fall, spring, or summer semesters. All learners in the program pay the same tuition rate regardless of residency.
Stevens Institute of Technology
|Hoboken, NJ||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 87%||
Stevens offers more than 200 graduate, undergraduate, and certificate programs across four colleges, including the Schaefer School of Engineering and Science.
Stevens' computer engineering master's program offers a master of science or a master or engineering track, emphasizing interdisciplinary coursework in both cases. Students may choose a concentration in embedded systems, software and data engineering, networks and security, or artificial intelligence. Stevens also offers optional MBA/MS or MBA/master of engineering dual degrees.
Stevens accepts applications on a rolling basis and offers multiple start dates for both full- and part-time graduate students. Applicants must submit official transcripts and letters of recommendation. The program usually — but not always — requires GRE scores for admission.
Florida International University
|Miami, FL||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 58%||
FIU is one of the largest online education providers in the U.S., serving more than 42,000 students in online programs each year. FIU offers more than 100 programs and thousands of courses online.
FIU's master's in computer engineering features an emphasis in network security. Students can complete the accelerated, 30-credit program in 10 months. Graduates can pursue professional certifications like security+, network+, and certified ethical hacker.
Applicants must hold a bachelor's degree in electrical or computer engineering or a related STEM field with a minimum 3.0 GPA during their final 60 credits. Students may qualify for FIU's Online Academic Merit Scholarships.
Worcester Polytechnic Institute
|Worcester, MA||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 87%||
WPI offers dozens of online graduate programs in arts and sciences, business, and engineering. WPI's master of science in electrical and computer engineering offers specializations in areas like computer engineering, networks, and analog/RF design. The program's curriculum comprises 30 credits and does not require a thesis. WPI also offers an online master of engineering and a graduate certificate in electrical and computer engineering. Students complete most coursework asynchronously.
Applicants must hold a bachelor's degree in electrical and computer engineering from a school accredited by the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. Prospective students must also hold a minimum 3.0 major GPA. Learners may enroll full time or part time.
What Else Can I Expect From an Online Master's in Computer Engineering Program?
A computer engineering degree prepares students to work with technology through extensive training in algorithm design, engineering, and data science. Many programs require students to finish a final advanced project, thesis, or capstone to complete the online computer engineering master's degree.
CURRICULUM FOR AN ONLINE MASTER'S DEGREE IN COMPUTER ENGINEERING
Below, we've listed a few courses commonly found in online computer engineering degree programs. Graduation requirements vary from program to program, but you'll find some iteration of these courses at most schools.
- Computer Architecture: Students learn computer hardware subsystems, including memory systems, pipelining, run-time optimization, and multiprocessing. The course focuses on hardware design by looking for trends in case studies of current operating systems. Students also learn design strategies fundamental to computer performance and capacity improvement, which students then use in their own projects.
- Cybersecurity: Computer vulnerability is a growing issue. Vulnerabilities of TCP/IP protocols, routing attacks, and hacking are all covered in this course. Students learn to construct defenses, such as intrusion detection, firewalls, internet protocol security (IPsec), and public key infrastructure (PKI).
- VLSI System Design: Very-large-scale integration (VLSI) system design introduces students to the VLSI CAD software used for schematic capture, layout, timing analysis, and functionality simulations of integrated circuits. This course includes training in CMOS processing technology, MOS transistor theory, clocking strategies, and input and output structures. Specializations may vary.
HOW LONG DOES IT TAKE TO GET AN ONLINE MASTER'S IN COMPUTER ENGINEERING?
The length of an online master's degree in computer engineering is dependent on the speed at which the student can work. On average, most students complete the program in two to three years. Many programs enroll students as part of a cohort, which dictates the workload and the length of the program. A cohort also provides a community of classmates with whom students complete most classes. Conversely, some programs offer individual pace learning, where students enroll in the number of courses that fit their lifestyle. Decreasing the recommended number of courses per term will also increase the time it takes to complete an online program. Many programs end with a thesis or capstone project, which normally requires a single term to complete.
Accreditation for Online Master's in Computer Engineering Degrees
Accreditation is a crucial part of any program search, as it certifies that a school offers a rigorous and quality education. In computer engineering, no specific accreditation board exists to certify specific programs, so it's critical to make sure that your prospective school has been accredited by an appropriate regional or national accrediting agency.
To learn more about accredited schools, download the latest list of accredited institutions from the Department of Education's website. Prospective students can also search the accreditation status of a specific school by name with the Council of Higher Education Accreditation's website search engine.
Employment Outlook for Master's in Computer Engineering Graduates
An online computer engineering master's degree opens several fields to recent graduates. Students can transition into hardware or software engineering, or become directors and administrators that guide and orient innovation. The following is a brief list of careers graduates with a computer engineering degree can pursue, along with a description of common job responsibilities.
- Computer Hardware Engineer
Computer hardware engineers design and develop computer systems and separate components such as processors, circuit boards, and routers. Hardware engineers generate new directions in computer design and work in a variety of fields.
- Information Security Analyst
A company's security analyst protects the business and its members from cyber attacks. By improving system software, security analysts protect vulnerabilities and enhance business overall. Analysts continually adapt by being aware of security trends so they can enact the best measures to protect their organization.
- Network and Computer Systems Administrator
Company administrators of network and computer systems identify, install, and organize the computer systems best suited for a particular company. Hardware and software are the domain of the administrator, whose objective is to maintain and increase productivity. These administrators must interpret and solve problems quickly.
- Computer Network Architect
The architecture behind computer networks such as LANs, WANs, and clouds require constant innovation and maintenance. Computer network architects design these freeways of communication to serve multiple people and organizations. These network engineers constantly think to the future by predicting and protecting communication pathways.
- Computer and Information Research Scientist
Computer and information research scientists solve complex, data-driven problems by designing new forms of computing technology, and new uses for existing technology. These researchers are integral to the fields of business, science, and medicine, among others. This position requires an additional PhD in computer engineering.
MASTER'S IN COMPUTER ENGINEERING SALARY
Computer engineering salaries are directly related to the level of technical design, construction, and maintenance of hardware and software systems. The following table features data from Payscale regarding the expected salaries of computer hardware engineers, information security analysts, network and computer systems managers, and computer network architects. With the exception of network and computer systems manager, all of these careers show a steady increase in pay into late career. According to Payscale, the average salary for IT management is $84,977.
Median Salary by Experience Level
|Job Title||Overall Median Salary||Entry-Level Salary||Mid-Career Salary||Late-Career Salary|
|Computer Hardware Engineer||$74,889||$68,119||$85,000||$107,000|
|Information Security Analyst||$70,077||$63,000||$82,000||$91,000|
|Network and Computer Systems Manager||$63,896||$54,000||$59,000||$60,000|
|Computer Network Architect||$114,240||$85,000||$107,000||$127,000|
Financing Your Online Master's in Computer Engineering Program
Financing an online master's degree in computer engineering may seem daunting. However, there are countless sources of available funding. The first step is to complete a FAFSA application to determine your eligibility for federal funding opportunities such as scholarships, loans, grants, and work-study. Some companies may pay for higher education if your degree is relevant to the field. Ask your human resources administrators if your company pays partial tuition costs, or offers credit hours for online institutions.
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.
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 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.
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.
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.