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Choosing the Best Online Master's in Engineering Program

With so much variety between each online master's in engineering degree concentration, it's important that students choose their specialty first and their school second. That means it's not as simple as picking any school that has an online master's in engineering program, but it's very common to see the same schools near the top of each list due to the reputation of the program. The lists below should help students target the best online engineering programs based on the engineering field of interest.

The 4 Best Online Master's in Civil Engineering Programs

Choosing amongst the best online master's in civil engineering programs depends primarily on what area you want to specialize in. Learning which concentrations are offered online by the top engineering programs can help ensure you end up in the program that best matches your background and future interests. For most...

The 4 Best Online Master's in Engineering Management Programs

Many of the best online master's in engineering management programs are similar, though there are some subtle differences. Determining which program is the best for you will depend on your career goals and what you value most in an online program. Some programs are set up as a cohort-based system,...

The 5 Best Online Master's in Electrical Engineering Programs

Once you've decided to narrow your focus to electrical engineering, you've got to think about what area within electrical engineering you would like to specialize in. Most engineering programs offer a wide range of specialties, including telecommunications, VLSI design, and microelectronics. Thinking about your future career goals should help you...

The 5 Best Online Master's in Industrial Engineering

The best online master's in industrial engineering program for you will depend on several different factors. First, you must think about you career goals and what schools offer programs that will help you advance. Many of these programs focus on teaching practical skills that can be applied to your career....

The 5 Best Online Master's in Mechanical Engineering Programs

It can be difficult to determine which is the best online master's in mechanical engineering program for you simply because every program is a little bit different. Some have pretty strict course requirements. Others allow you to design your own schedule in a way that will prepare you for your...

What Online Master's in Engineering Features Matter and Why?

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Enrollment has to do with what types of students are admitted to the online engineering degree programs and other information about the admissions process. Most universities will accept both full- and part-time students and allow them to complete their engineering degree online without ever setting foot on the campus. Others may require one or more visits throughout the program. The best programs will also have flexible start dates, allowing students to begin in the spring or summer if they wish, instead of requiring them to begin in the fall. Applications can typically be completed online or printed, filled out, and mailed to the university. This category is pretty important because it contains much of the most important information about the school and who it would be a good fit for.

  • Entirely Online - You can earn a degree entirely online.
  • Flexible Term Start - The school does not require a Fall start for incoming students.
  • Full-Time - The school allows students to be enrolled at full-time status.
  • International Student Enrollment - The school offers enrollment to international students.
  • Mail-in Form - You can apply by mail.
  • No Application Fee - There is no application fee or application fee can be waived in certain circumstances.
  • Online Application - You can apply online.
  • Part-Time - The school allows students to be enrolled at part-time status.
  • Selective Admissions - The school does not admit every applicant.
  • Transfer Credits - The school accepts transfer credits to apply towards a degree.

Networking explains how the online university helps connect their students to alumni, faculty, and job opportunities. Many of these schools have alumni associations, and some also have Facebook and LinkedIn networks as well. The best online engineering degree programs will also have career services available to help newly graduated students find jobs in the engineering field. These sorts of connections will be extremely valuable to students, and this is one category where the best programs will really stand out from the rest.

  • 25,000+ LinkedIn Network Members - The school has a LinkedIn network of alumni, faculty, and students with 25,000 members or more.
  • Alumni Association - The school offers membership to an alumni association.
  • Career Services - The school offers job placement or career services to students and graduates.
  • Facebook Network - The school has a Facebook network of alumni, faculty, and students.
  • LinkedIn Network - The school has a LinkedIn network of alumni, faculty, and students.

Application Requirements explains what students must submit in addition to their applications when applying to the online master's in engineering program. This often includes a personal statement, letters of recommendation, test scores, and a resume. Some schools require that students have some previous work experience in the engineering field, while others ask for undergraduate coursework or an undergraduate degree in engineering. This information is pretty important to know before applying to an online engineering degree program, but many schools have similar requirements, so ultimately, this category probably won't play a big role in the decision making process.

  • Engineering-Related Undergraduate Coursework Required - The online school typically requires the applicant to have completed engineering-related coursework.
  • Engineering-Related Undergraduate Degree Required - The online school typically requires the applicant to have an undergraduate degree in a engineering-related field.
  • Engineering-Related Work Experience Required - The online school typically requires the applicant to have engineering-related work experience.
  • Essay - The application requires an essay or personal statement.
  • Letters of Recommendations - You are required to submit at least one letter of recommendation as part of the application process.
  • Resume - You are required to submit a copy of your resume.
  • Test Scores - The application requires copies of standardized tests scores (GMAT, GRE, etc).
  • Transcripts - The application requires copies of education transcripts.

Financial Aid is the types of financial assistance that students may be eligible for while earning their online engineering degrees. Scholarships and grants are commonly offered to students who meet the requirements, and there is always the option of getting federal student loans. This category is fairly important because most students trying to get their engineering degree online will require some sort of financial assistance. However almost all of the online schools reviewed offer multiple types of financial aid to their students, so this shouldn't be a huge focus when choosing the best online engineering program.

  • Federal Student Loans - The school provides access to federal student loans.
  • Grants - The school provides access to grants.
  • Scholarships - The school provides access to scholarships.

Student Engagement looks at how engaged students are with the engineering curriculum and how many continue on to graduate from the online school. This is based in part off data from U.S. News & World Report, including the credentials and training of the faculty, the available student services, and how difficult it is to get into the school. First-year retention rates also provide valuable insight into how well the school engages its students, with a higher rate indicating a better program. This category will be fairly important when selecting where to earn an engineering degree online because it will have a significant impact on the overall quality of the education that students receive at the school.

  • High Admissions Selectivity Score - The online graduate engineering program received an Admissions Selectivity score of 50 or higher from U.S. News and World Report.
  • High Faculty Credentials and Training Score - The online graduate engineering program received a Faculty Credentials and Training score of 60 or higher from U.S. News and World Report.
  • High Graduation Rate - The university has a competitive three-year graduation rate from 2012-2013 when compared to schools of similar size.
  • High Retention Rate - The university has a competitive one-year retention rate from academic year 2013 when compared to schools of a similar size.
  • High Student Engagement Score - The online graduate engineering program received a Student Engagement score of 65 or higher from U.S. News and World Report.
  • High Student Services and Technology Score - The online graduate engineering program received a Student Services and Technology score of 40 or higher from U.S. News and World Report.

Student Services encompasses all the different resources that the online engineering degree program makes available to their students to help them in their studies. This includes access to 24/7 technical support, which will be much appreciated by students who run into computer troubles, and digitized library materials, so that students can access them from anywhere. Many schools have academic advisors standing by for students who need a little help with scheduling or who aren't sure what classes they should take. Online tutoring is another nice option to have in case the engineering coursework proves more challenging than expected. This category is fairly important because many students will take advantage of these services while earning their engineering degree online.

  • 24/7 Live Tech Support - The school offers access to 24/7 live tech support.
  • Academic Advising - The school offers academic advising.
  • Career Services - The school offers job placement or career services to students and graduates.
  • Digital Library - Students have access to digitized library materials.
  • Online Tutoring - The school provides access to online tutoring.

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