Best Online Master’s in Engineering Programs 2021

by TBS Staff
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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

University of California-Los Angeles true View School Profile $$$ Los Angeles, CA 91.00% 32% 6% University of California, Los Angeles, is regionally accredited by the WASC Senior College and University Commission (WSCUC).

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.

Texas A & M University-College Station true View School Profile $$$ College Station, TX 82.00% 32% 8% Texas A&M University is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC).

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.

North Carolina State University at Raleigh true View School Profile $$ Raleigh, NC 81.00% 41% 41% North Carolina State University is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC).

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.

University of Maryland-College Park true View School Profile $$$ College Park, MD 86.00% 32% 12% The University of Maryland, College Park, is regionally accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE).

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.

University of Wisconsin-Madison true View School Profile $$ Madison, WI 87.00% 32% 17% The University of Wisconsin Madison is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC).

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.

Ohio State University-Main Campus View School Profile $$$ Columbus, OH 84.00% 38% 33% The Ohio State University is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC).

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. 

Louisiana Tech University View School Profile $ Ruston, LA 54.00% 32% 14% Louisiana Tech University is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SASCOC).

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.

University of California-Riverside View School Profile $$ Riverside, CA 75.00% 47% 6% The University of California, Riverside, is regionally accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges Senior College and University Commission (WSCUC).

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.

University of Arkansas View School Profile $$$ Fayetteville, AR 66.00% 37% 27% The University of Arkansas is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC).

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.

Mississippi State University View School Profile $$$ Mississippi State, MS 58.00% 47% 17% Mississippi State University is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC).

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).

University of Wisconsin-Platteville View School Profile $$ Platteville, WI 54.00% 55% 21% The University of Wisconsin-Platteville is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC).

Established in 1866, UW-Platteville features a 20-to-1 student-to-faculty ratio and more than 40 academic programs.

UW-Platteville offers an online master of science in engineering program. The degree combines management and technical coursework in classes about engineering management and communications, as well as engineering systems simulation modeling. Students choose from four different areas of emphasis: applications of engineering management, control systems, engineering design, and structural/geotechnical engineering.

Participants can complete the program in two years. Prospective applicants must hold a baccalaureate degree in engineering or a related field and a minimum GPA of 2.75 for admission.

Arizona State University-Skysong View School Profile $$ Scottsdale, AZ 14.00% 55% 97% Arizona State University is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC).

ASU boasts more than 530,000 alumni and graduates more than 27,000 students annually.

ASU offers an online master of engineering in engineering management. Students tailor the program through an elective path in one of four areas: entrepreneurship and innovation, supply chain management, systems and software management, or quality management.

All students in the graduate engineering program complete core coursework in financial engineering, risk management, and engineering methods, as well as a final capstone project prior to graduation.

Case Western Reserve University View School Profile Cleveland, OH 85.00% 54% 9% Case Western Reserve University is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC).

Established in 1826, Case Western Reserve University enrolls more than 11,000 students annually.

CWRU offers four 100% online graduate-level engineering degrees in practice-focused and research-focused programs. Students may choose a degree path toward a master of engineering, a master of science in biomedical engineering, a master of science in mechanical engineering, or a master of science in systems and control engineering.

Participants collaborate in a cohort model through online discussion boards and live study sessions.

University of Colorado Denver/Anschutz Medical Campus View School Profile $$ Denver, CO 48.00% 31% 28% The University of Colorado Denver is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC).

Founded in 1973, CU Denver serves more than 15,000 students annually.

CU Denver offers an online master of engineering or master of science degree in civil engineering with a concentration in construction engineering and management. The program, designed alongside business and industry partner VERTEX, co-created the Industry Construction Engineering and Management program.

Courses focus on industry challenges and best practices to prepare students for careers in architecture, engineering, construction, and more. The 100% online curriculum allows students to work with and meet industry professionals and learn about the issues first-hand.

University of Illinois at Chicago View School Profile $$ Chicago, IL 59.00% 43% 21% The University of Illinois at Chicago is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC).

UIC enrolls 33,000 students annually and boasts more than 309,000 alumni.

UIC offers a fully online master of engineering program with eight specialized focus areas in bioinformatics, chemical engineering, circuits and electronics, communications, computer science and engineering, disaster management, electromagnetics and optics, and mechanical engineering.

Students may choose to sign up for one class at a time, combine courses into a certificate, or pursue the master of engineering degree. Graduates complete 36 credits, including two core courses in engineering law and engineering management.

University of Alabama at Birmingham View School Profile $$$ Birmingham, AL 58.00% 51% 58% The University of Alabama at Birmingham is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC).

Founded in 1831, UAB enrolls over 22,000 students annually today.

UAB offers an online master of engineering program with five specialized concentrations in advanced safety engineering and management, construction engineering management, information engineering management, structural engineering, and sustainable smart cities.

Students may enroll in fall, summer, or spring semesters for any of the concentrations and potentially finish within 19 months depending on their course load. All 100% online coursework may be taken either as synchronous or asynchronous classes.

Michigan Technological University View School Profile $$$ Houghton, MI 68.00% 56% 7% Michigan Technological University is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC).

Founded in 1885, MTU enrolls nearly 7,000 students annually. 

MTU offers three online graduate-level engineering programs in mechanical engineering, electrical and computer engineering, and integrated geospatial technology. 

The master of science in geospatial technology program features areas of concentration including earth observation systems, remote sensing, geodesy and geodetic sciences, and geospatial visualization and cartography. 

The master of science in electrical and computer engineering program provides areas of emphasis in communication theory, power systems, and signal processing. The master of science in mechanical engineering program provides areas of emphasis including design and dynamic systems, autonomous systems, and alternative fuels and renewable energy.

University of Alabama in Huntsville View School Profile $$$ Huntsville, AL 52% 42% 28% The University of Alabama in Huntsville is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC).

Founded in 1949, the University of Alabama in Huntsville now enrolls 10,000 students annually.

UAH offers several online graduate-level engineering degrees including master of science in engineering, master of science in operations research, and master of science in aerospace systems engineering. Areas of specialization include engineering management, industrial engineering, operations research, systems engineering, mechanical engineering, and aerospace systems engineering, some of which may be studied at the doctorate level.

Rowan University View School Profile $$$$ Glassboro, NJ 72% 57% 32% Rowan University is regionally accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE).

Founded in 1923, Rowan now offers 74 bachelor's degrees and 51 master's degree programs.

Rowan offers an online master of engineering management degree with two track options in construction management or project management. Students may enroll in one of six modules throughout the academic year.

Coursework explores administrative aspects of engineering, including organizational behavior and teamwork, strategic decision-making, and supervision. The unique program combines engineering and business courses to help students with advanced technical concepts and leadership skills with a focus on project management.

Colorado State University-Fort Collins View School Profile $$$ Fort Collins, CO 69% 42% 24% Colorado State University is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC).

CSU offers 74 majors and 85 master's programs for its 34,000-plus students.

CSU's Walter Scott, Jr. College of Engineering offers several online graduate-level engineering degrees through its master of science or master of engineering programs. Students choose from biomedical engineering, civil engineering, computer engineering, electrical engineering, mechanical engineering, and systems engineering. 

Participants complete a minimum of 30 credits for each program, generally within two years. Curriculum is divided into four categories: core coursework, foundational, depth, and breadth.

Youngstown State University View School Profile $$ Youngstown, OH 37% 53% 35% Youngstown State University is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC).

Youngstown State University features more than 150 graduate and undergraduate programs for its nearly 13,000 students.

YSU offers an online master of science in engineering management. The Rayen School of Engineering and Engineering Technology program requires the completion of 57 credits of coursework in its business and engineering curriculum.

The program allows concentration in five options including chemical, civil and environmental, electrical, industrial and systems, and mechanical engineering. Students in the program receive an assigned advisor to support them during their degree progress.

University of Colorado Boulder View School Profile $$$$ Boulder, CO 71% 28% 9% The University of Colorado Boulder is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC).

Founded in 1876, CU Boulder boasts more than 150 areas of study today.

CU Boulder features an online master of science in electrical engineering. The 100% online, 30-credit program features a unique pathway into the degree by allowing students to take for-credit pathway specializations. With a cumulative 3.0 GPA in those courses, students become qualified for the degree program without any formalized process. Specializations review specific topics within a focus area such as embedded systems, power electronics, or photonics and optics.

University of Arizona View School Profile $$$ Tucson, AZ 64% 37% 39% The University of Arizona is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC).

The University of Arizona offers more than 300 majors to its nearly 47,000 students.

UArizona offers an array of online master of science in engineering and master of engineering degrees. Program concentration choices are cybersecurity; electrical and computer; industrial; materials science; mechanical; photonic communications; systems; innovation, sustainability, and entrepreneurship; and mining, geological, and geophysical engineering. 

Curriculum required for graduation depends on the concentration but generally varies between 30-33 credits with core courses and a number of electives.

Ohio University-Main Campus View School Profile $$$$ Athens, OH 64% 58% 46% Ohio University is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC).

OU enrolls 30,000 students annually and boasts a 16-to-1 student-to-faculty ratio.

Ohio offers several online graduate-level engineering degrees including a master of science in civil engineering, master of engineering management, master of science in electrical engineering, and master of science in project management.

The Russ College of Engineering and Technology allows students to pursue in-depth research and work with faculty who lead technical areas in their fields. Specific research opportunities may also be available for students interested in projects funded by major community research partners.

Oregon Institute of Technology View School Profile $$$ Klamath Falls, OR 52% 32% 29% The Oregon Institute of Technology is regionally accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities (NWCCU).

Founded in 1947, Oregon Tech offers more than 50 bachelor's and advanced degrees to its 5,400-plus students.

Oregon Tech offers an online master of science in engineering. Students can choose from a multidisciplinary degree or systems engineering concentration. Students who would like to also earn a bachelor of science in electrical or renewable energy engineering may apply to the accelerated BS-to-MS program if they do not already hold a bachelor's degree in a relevant field.

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?

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