The field of engineering is growing and earning a master’s degree is the best way to get into it. With jobs like biomedical engineering expected to grow by over 23 percent by 2024, there is no doubt you would be able to find employment after graduating. With a Master’s Degree in Engineering, you would be able to learn the specialized skills to help you earn jobs over your competitors.
The diversity of jobs in engineering gives you the opportunity to follow your passions and interests. You can find engineering positions anywhere from hospitals and research facilities to construction companies and environmental organizations. If you are interested, there are plenty of engineering careers in the military, too. Earning a Master’s Degree in Engineering may be the smartest move you can make for your career.
Before we jump into the best schools and programs, let’s touch upon the benefits of pursuing your Master’s Degree in Engineering online.
Benefits of Earning Your Engineering Master’s Degree Online
Earning an online engineering master’s degree is a great option for anyone who wants to continue working while they study. With online courses, you will be able to maintain your current work schedule, full-time or part-time, while you go to school.
Most online classes will provide a schedule of assignments for the semester, meaning you will know exactly what is due and when. This allows you to schedule and manage your time and is a great way to continue building up work experience to better aid your career advancement.
Another benefit of earning your master’s degree online is that you will likely have the option to earn your degree at your own pace. For anyone who wants to complete their degree in less time than the standard two years, fast tracking is an opportunity to potentially knock an entire year off that time. There are also many online programs for those who feel they need extra time to complete a degree, with some allowing you to take up to five or 10 years. With online degrees, you are given a lot more freedom to complete your degree on your own schedule.
Of course, earning a master’s degree will benefit you most by opening up all of those desirable positions within your field. With a master’s degree, you can expect to see plenty of new job opportunities in higher positions. Some of these positions include titles like senior systems engineer, senior chemical engineer, construction project manager, and senior petroleum engineer.
You can expect these higher positions to pay a bigger salary; in engineering, the average master’s degree holder earns $121,000 per year. With more experience in the field, you can easily end up making more than this, making a master’s degree that much more worth it.
Best Online Engineering Master’s Degree Programs
Enrolling in one of these top online engineering master’s programs ensures you will receive the best education you can and will likely impress future employers. While a master’s degree from any institution will give you the upper hand in your job search, if it comes down to the choice between two candidates with the same qualifications, the one with a degree from an accredited school is more likely to secure the position. Choosing to attend one of the top schools could seriously work in your favor when searching for jobs in engineering.
To be admitted to almost any online engineering master’s program, students will need to meet a few requirements. The basics are having completed a Bachelor’s Degree in Engineering or a similar field, having maintained a GPA of 3.0 or higher, and having had some amount of work experience in the field. Some programs also require applicants to provide GRE scores and letters of recommendation, preferably from a current employer. If you are able to meet all of the criteria, you should consider applying to one of the following schools.
University of California-Los Angeles (UCLA)
At UCLA, you can earn an online Master of Science in Engineering. This program generally takes students a little over two years to complete if they attend full-time and take summer courses. One nice thing about this program is that the capstone project is optional. If you wish to avoid a capstone project, you can instead choose to answer additional questions on the final exams of some of your courses, or sometimes receive faculty approval to complete a thesis.
UCLA’s program involves the study of various different subjects within engineering. The core courses involve learning about data science, environmental resources and engineering, engineering management, and systems engineering. This helps provide students with a well-rounded education.
University of Michigan-Ann Arbor
At the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor, graduate students can apply for any of five different engineering master’s programs. These programs are focused on automotive engineering and manufacturing, but students can also specialize in energy systems, and systems engineering and design.
All of the programs available at this university require students to complete 30 credit hours, with certain specializations requiring additional courses. Even if you attend one of these programs part-time, you can finish it in about two years. However, full-time students are able to complete the degree in just one year. And, if you are a resident of the state of Michigan, you can receive discounted tuition.
University of Southern California (Viterbi)
At the University of Southern California, students have many engineering master’s programs to choose from. This university offers an MS in eight different areas of engineering, including aerospace, petroleum, electrical, and biomedical engineering. All of the programs are made up of at least 27 required credit hours, though more may be necessary depending on the program of choice.
If you choose to attend one of these programs part-time, you can expect to complete your degree in three to four years, depending on how fast you move through your courses. For full-time students, this program can be completed in two years, though some students take up to three years.
For anyone concerned about GPA requirements, the University of Southern California does not have a minimum GPA requirement to enroll, but they do approve more applicants with higher GPAs.
North Carolina State University-Raleigh
At the North Carolina State University at Raleigh, you can choose between an aerospace engineering master’s or a biological and agricultural engineering master’s degree. Both of these programs are designed to be primarily research-based. All courses are completely online and are flexible with assignment due dates, allowing you more time to complete schoolwork.
Even if you only attend as a part-time student, you can easily complete the aerospace engineering master’s in just under a year. In both programs, you will have the option to take courses in almost any sequence after completing the necessary prerequisites. Students end up taking between 14 and 16 courses after prerequisites, depending on which program they decide to pursue.
Columbia University (Fu Foundation)
At Columbia University, you can choose to pursue an MS in 12 different specializations, including applied physics, earth and environmental, industrial engineering, and systems engineering. In these programs, students are required to complete 30 credit hours. Some of the offered programs have a specific set of core courses required, but others allow students to build their own core requirements, allowing for some customization.
If you are interested in pursuing an online doctorate after completing your master’s degree, Columbia University offers four different engineering doctoral degrees to choose from. This allows students to prepare for their doctorate degree without worrying about credit transfer issues.
Purdue University-West Lafayette
Purdue University offers four different engineering master’s programs. If you enroll at this university, you will be able to choose between an MS in Industrial Engineering, Mechanical Engineering, or Electrical and Computer Engineering, or you can take a different route and go for a multidisciplinary studies degree emphasizing engineering.
The multidisciplinary studies degree is a great way for students to study multiple subjects pertaining to their career goals without having to double major or pursue a double degree, as it allows for a degree with multiple focus points. This program is unique and not offered as commonly as other programs, so if this interests you, Purdue University may be a good choice for you.
Pennsylvania State University
Pennsylvania State University offers five different online master’s programs for engineering students. You will be able to choose from a MS in electrical or software engineering, or a master’s of engineering in nuclear, software, or systems engineering. Regardless of which program you choose, you will be required to complete between 30 and 36 credit hours.
Full-time students at Pennsylvania State University often earn their master’s degree within two years. This is when taking only two or three courses per semester, but you can consult with an academic advisor about the possibility of speeding this up or taking it a bit slower. You will need to have earned your bachelor’s degree from an regionally and ABET accredited university in order to qualify for enrollment.
Virginia Tech offers two master’s programs for students to choose from, in ocean engineering and aerospace engineering. Both programs require students to complete 30 credit hours, 12 of which are core classes. After completing core classes, the rest are specialized electives for students to choose from as they see fit for their career path. Both programs also require a thesis or final research report to be completed prior to graduation, as well as an oral exam.
In these programs, the courses all have required live discussions, in which students are able to video chat with their classmates and professors to have conversations about course materials. This can help many students better their understanding of the lessons and assignments, as well as to feel like they are in more of a typical classroom environment.
University of Wisconsin-Madison
The University of Wisconsin at Madison has recently jumped ranks in the world of engineering and technical colleges. They offer six online engineering master’s programs to choose from: engine systems, engineering management, mechanical engineering and polymer science, sustainable systems engineering, manufacturing systems engineering, and an MS in Electrical Engineering.
All of the programs at this university require students to complete 30 credit hours. Many of the courses offer the option to do live video calls with the professors and classmates. The coursework focuses on relevant workplace research to better prepare students for their careers, and most students complete their degrees within two to four years.
John Hopkins University
John Hopkins University offers 11 different online engineering master’s programs. These programs allow students to find job placement in whatever industry their passions and interests lie, from the medical field to the environmental field. While their programs are all offered as totally online, there are also options for students to enroll in a hybrid version of the program, giving them a mix of online and on-campus learning.
All of the programs at John Hopkins are designed to focus on the real world and gives students an education that best prepares them for their future career expectations. The coursework is heavily based on projects and research, and is made to give students a very interactive experience with their classmates and professors.
Attending one of these top schools guarantees you the best possible education, making a great impression on potential employers. All of these schools have their own benefits, many offering a wide variety of programs to suit any student’s interests, making it easy to find the perfect program.
Having completed a master’s degree will put you ahead of any competition when applying for jobs, and it will ensure the availability of higher positions and pay. When trying to decide which path to take for your engineering career, an online engineering master’s degree is always a good decision.