Best Online Master’s in Engineering 2021
Updated August 19, 2022
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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
Online Engineering Programs Ranking Guidelines
We ranked these degree programs based on quality, curricula, school awards, rankings, and reputation.
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.
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.
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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.
- 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%
- 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%
- 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
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