Best Online Master’s in Engineering 2021

by TBS Staff

Updated August 19, 2022

TheBestSchools.org

thebestschools.org 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.

Are you ready to discover your college program?

In a rapidly evolving world in which technology continues to make significant advancements, engineering is an important and lucrative occupation.

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics projects a 7% increase in employment in engineering occupations by 2026. Engineering encompasses a wide array of careers, including computer hardware engineer, environmental engineer, mechanical engineer, nuclear engineer, civil engineer, and industrial engineer. Some occupations such as marine engineer are growing at a faster than average rate. Consequently, an online engineering master's degree makes you a highly skilled and competitive candidate in today's job market, including when it comes to management and executive roles.

The Best Online Engineering Programs

  1. University of California-Los Angeles
    Location

    Los Angeles, CA

    Tuition

    $15002

    UCLA offers more than 125 majors and 1,000 clubs to its students.

    UCLA's Samueli School of Engineering features an online master of science in engineering program. The flexible, 100% online, 36-credit program utilizes asynchronous learning for qualified engineers and working professionals. The program allows students to take coursework in topics such as data science engineering, electrical engineering, mechanical engineering, and materials science and engineering.

    The only fully online program at UCLA, the admissions requirements include a minimum 3.0 GPA from baccalaureate work in an engineering discipline, mathematics, or physics. Students may enroll in either the spring or fall semesters.

  2. Texas A & M University-College Station
    Location

    College Station, TX

    Tuition

    $19118

    Founded in 1876, Texas A&M's college campus now boasts more than 69,000 students.

    Texas A&M offers a variety of engineering master's programs including two online engineering programs: a master of science in interdisciplinary engineering degree focused on subsea engineering or a master of engineering in engineering with a specialization in subsea engineering.

    The multidisciplinary programs require applicants to hold a bachelor or master of science in engineering or closely related discipline and have a minimum GPA of 3.0.

  3. North Carolina State University at Raleigh
    Location

    Raleigh, NC

    Tuition

    $14771

    Educating more North Carolinians than any other university, NC State enrolls more than 36,000 students annually in its undergraduate and graduate programs.

    NC State offers an online master of science in aerospace engineering. The 30-credit program requires 18 months to complete and its online classes are identical to in-person classes.

    Applicants must provide an overall GPA of 3.0 with an undergraduate major in coursework related to the degree such as mechanical or aerospace engineering as well as three letters of recommendation.

  4. University of Maryland-College Park
    Location

    College Park, MD

    Tuition

    $16790

    UMD offers more than 300 degree-granting programs through its 12 schools and colleges.

    The state's flagship school features several master's level online engineering programs in seven concentrations including bioengineering, cybersecurity, electronic packaging, fire protection engineering, project management, reliability engineering, and energy systems engineering. A total of 88 master's-level courses are featured throughout the curriculum.

    Prospective applicants to the Maryland Applied Graduate Engineering school can enroll in spring, summer, or fall and must provide three letters of recommendation and a baccalaureate transcript.

  5. University of Wisconsin-Madison
    Location

    Madison, WI

    Tuition

    $14169

    UW, founded in 1848, today enrolls 17,000 students annually.

    UW's master of engineering in engineering management program, offered primarily online, provides an alternative to an MBA that's specifically designed for engineering leaders. The curriculum features an optional three-day summer residency where students meet a cohort of fellow engineers on UW's campus. Students enroll in cohort models, providing ongoing support and camaraderie throughout their studies.

    The program takes two to three years to complete and requires 30 credits for students to matriculate.

  6. Ohio State University-Main Campus
    Location

    Columbus, OH

    Tuition

    $18694

    Founded in 1870, Ohio State enrolls over 60,000 students annually.

    The university offers a 100% online master of engineering management that takes two to three years to complete. The College of Engineering, The Fisher College of Business, and the John Glenn College of Public Affairs collaborated to create this online opportunity. 

    Students take four electives in business, policy, or engineering, and five engineering management courses. The program culminates in an engineering management capstone class in operational excellence. Applicants may enroll in autumn, fall, or summer terms. 

  7. Louisiana Tech University
    Location

    Ruston, LA

    Tuition

    $9795

    Founded in 1894, Louisiana Tech enrolls nearly 12,000 students and runs on the quarter system.

    Louisiana Tech offers an online master of science in engineering with an industrial engineering concentration. The 36-credit program requires 12 credits in electives and a professional development seminar. 

    Curriculum covers courses in economics and decision-making, statistical analysis for six sigma, and theory and application of lean manufacturing and management. Students may qualify for graduate assistantships and master's assistantships.

  8. University of California-Riverside
    Location

    Riverside, CA

    Tuition

    $12890

    Founded in 1868 as part of the UC system, UC Riverside boasts more than 26,000 students and 1,100 faculty members.

    UC Riverside offers six online master of engineering programs in bioengineering, data science, electrical engineering — power systems, environmental engineering systems (water), materials at the nanoscale, and mechanical engineering. The Bourns online program for any of the areas of emphasis requires 36 units of classes, including four core courses, four specialized courses, and one design project.

    The expedited track allows students to complete the degree in 13 months through the 100% online curriculum.

  9. University of Arkansas
    Location

    Fayetteville, AR

    Tuition

    $15781

    Founded in 1871, the University of Arkansas now enrolls 27,000 students annually.

    U of A offers an online master of science in engineering degree for students who have already earned a bachelor of science in engineering and plan to pursue graduate-level engineering studies. The program uses a multidisciplinary approach by incorporating biological, chemical, civil, computer systems, electrical, environmental, industrial, mechanical, and transportation engineering coursework into the degree.

    Students enroll in spring, summer, or fall semesters. Graduates may complete the 30 credits in 18 to 24 months with U of A's 8-week terms.

  10. Mississippi State University
    Location

    Mississippi State, MS

    Tuition

    $16670

    Founded in 1878, MSU enrolls nearly 23,000 students annually.

    MSU offers an online master of engineering. Students in the program combine engineering courses with other disciplines to create a more focused program of study. Each student must include engineering statistics and project management in their program of study unless previously completed. Non-thesis students will take a capstone, and thesis students will take the appropriate thesis hours for their chosen course.

    Enrollment occurs in the spring, summer, and fall semesters. Prospective applicants must provide proof of prerequisite coursework in calculus, chemistry, and engineering, along with a GPA of 3.0 and GRE or GMAT scores.

    Mississippi State University is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC).

Best Online Master's

Online Engineering Programs Ranking Guidelines

We ranked these degree programs based on quality, curricula, school awards, rankings, and reputation.

Our Methodology

Here at TheBestSchools.org, we take the trust and welfare of our readers very seriously. When making our school and program rankings, our top priority is ensuring that our readers get accurate, unbiased information that can help them make informed decisions about online education. That's why we've developed a rigorous ranking methodology that keeps the needs of our readers front and center.

Our proprietary, multi-criteria ranking algorithm analyzes key data indicators — as collected by the federal government — for each school or program. What data we use depends on the focus of each specific ranking, but in all cases, our ranking methodology is impartial: Schools cannot buy better rankings at TBS.

While specific criteria under consideration can vary by ranking, there are a few data points that we value most highly. They are affordability, academic quality, and online enrollment. Below, we break down our algorithm to help you understand what you're getting when you use one of our rankings.

  • Academics
  • Affordability
  • Online Enrollment

Data Sources

The data used in TBS rankings comes primarily from the federal government, and much of it is provided by the schools themselves. We aggregate and analyze this data to build our rankings.

The Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS) is our primary source. Its data comes from annual surveys conducted by the U.S. Department of Education's National Center for Education Statistics (NCES). Every college, university, or technical school with access to federal financial aid must participate in these surveys, which include questions about enrollment, graduation rates, finances, and faculty qualifications. This is publicly available data, which you can access yourself through the College Navigator.

Additionally, because we value a personal touch and the professional experience of our staff and Academic Advisory Board, we vet all results and adjust rankings as necessary based on our collected knowledge of schools and degree programs. Depending on the ranking, we may obtain additional input from AcademicInfluence.com, subject matter experts, prior TBS ranking lists, or other sources we deem relevant to a particular ranking.

Breakdown of Our Rankings Methodology

About Our Ranking Factors

Here at TBS, we value what you value: quality education, affordability, and the accessibility of online education. These factors guide all of our program rankings.

Each of these factors are further broken down into weighted subfactors. For example, retention rates are weighted more heavily than availability of program options because they are a better indicator of student success.

We chose the following factors for our rankings because of their influence on learning experiences and graduate outcomes. However, students should always balance our rankings against their personal priorities. For instance, a learner who needs a fully online program may prioritize online flexibility more than our rankings do. Our rankings are designed to help you make a decision — not to make a decision for you.

Academics - 75%
Affordability - 15%
Online Enrollment - 10%

In all our school rankings and recommendations, we work for objectivity and balance. We carefully research and compile each ranking list, and as stated in our advertising disclosure, we do NOT permit financial incentives to influence rankings. Our articles never promote or disregard a school for financial gain.

If you have questions about our ranking methodology, please feel free to connect with our staff through contact page.

We thank you for your readership and trust.

Featured Online Engineering Programs

Choosing a Program

Earning a degree online allows you to continue to earn your education while continuing to gain hands-on experience as a practitioner in the workforce. Online education is flexible, with many programs allowing you to complete coursework at your own pace. Additionally, online students save time and money by avoiding commutes.

There are many engineering master's programs online, each of which has its own unique set of features and requirements. Degree requirements will vary based on your area of specialty. Moreover, each school maintains its own admissions and retention guidelines, which likely include minimum grade point average and a specific number of credits required to graduate. You may also need to submit graduate exam scores as part of your admission application.

The classes you will take largely depend on the area of engineering in which you specialize. For instance, many schools offer programs in aerospace, civil, or electrical engineering. Students may consider a concentration in systems engineering, which strengthens abilities in systems analysis, risk management, and accounting and finance.

Professionals in technical and corporate organizations interested in leadership positions may choose a program in engineering management. Engineering management classes include cost and quality control, organizational behavior, and engineering contract management. This specialization prepares students to sit for the Project Management Professional (PMP) exam.

Online Master's in Engineering Careers

A master's in engineering affords you the opportunity to enter lucrative STEM positions. However, graduates also have valuable skills in thinking critically, communicating effectively, and working both independently and collaboratively, as well as a strong foundation in mathematics, physics, and design. As a result, students who graduate from an online engineering master's program may also pursue careers in fields such as business or consulting.

  1. Aerospace Engineer: These engineers design and manufacture aircraft and aerospace products, making certain they comply with safety and environmental standards. Aerospace engineers also perform cost analysis to determine the financial feasibility of projects. An online engineering degree is useful in this occupation because it gives students an in-depth understanding of concepts like propulsion, mechanics, and aerodynamics.
    • Median Annual Salary: $109,650
    • Projected Growth Rate: 6%
  2. Top Executive: Leaders in either the for-profit or nonprofit sector, top executives develop the strategies necessary to achieve organizational goals and ensure optimal performance. The role requires a solid understanding of finance, change management, organizational behavior, and general operations. Moreover, it mandates the ability to enact cost-savings plans when necessary.
    • Median Annual Salary: $103,950
    • Projected Growth Rate: 8%
  3. Management Analyst: These analysts help improve organizational efficiency. They conduct financial analysis, site observations, and interviews with personnel to make an informed suggestions for new procedures and systems. Earning a master's in engineering strengthens the analytical and critical thinking skills required in this career.
    • Median Annual Salary: $81,330
    • Projected Growth Rate: 12%

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics

See also: What can I do with an Automotive Technology degree?

Header Image Credit: Getty Images

Learn more, do more.

More topic-relevant resources to expand your knowledge.

Popular with our students.

Highly informative resources to keep your education journey on track.

Take the next step toward your future with online learning.

Discover schools with the programs and courses you’re interested in, and start learning today.

woman in an office