University of California - Los Angeles Review

The online graduate engineering program at the University of California-Los Angeles currently awards only one degree in master's of engineering, but there are a number of speciality areas to choose from and a variety of student support services.

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The Good

Customize your own engineering degree

The Henry Samueli School of Engineering and Applied Science at the University of California at Los Angeles (UCLA) offers an entirely online master of science in engineering degree. The online degree program consists of eight courses plus a project course for a total of 36 credits, and you also have the option to earn a certificate in an area of study. Certificates are awarded in addition to your degree when you complete a specific course sequence. There are 12 different areas of study that you can choose to concentrate on, including aerospace and mechanical engineering, materials science, computer networking, and systems engineering just to name a few.

Visiting student status is available

Individual courses can be taken without enrolling in the online master’s in engineering program on a space available basis. The University Extension office at UCLA can enroll you in any of the online engineering courses, and there are no specific admissions requirements. There are other online graduate engineering programs that will allow you to take individual courses, but there are almost always strict entry requirements or prerequisites. The ability to take a few online courses through UCLA’s program can provide you with additional professional training or give you a taste for the degree program as a whole. If you decide to apply and enroll in the actual degree program, you can transfer up to two classes you took as a visiting student.

Interactive student support

There are a number of unique online tools and services at UCLA that support online engineering students. Once you decide on an area of study you are assigned an advisor that will guide you on what courses to take and provide support as an expert in the specific area you have chosen. Faculty provide phone and email support, and some even hold video conferencing office hours. Class TAs hold live, online interactive problem solving sessions about once or twice a week, and all sessions are recorded and archived for later viewing in case you miss one.

International and local students can spend a term on campus

UCLA allows online international students to spend a visiting term on campus. International students can attend a 10 week session on the UCLA campus, which can provide you with an opportunity to absorb aspects of the culture and language of the U.S. program that may be less accessible to you in an online-only format. Domestic students are also able to attend on-campus classes, and can opt to take an entire term as an on-campus student. The online engineering program maps directly to the campus-based program, so you do not have to worry about lost time or credits.

The Bad

Tuition slightly higher than most

The cost of an online engineering degree at UCLA is slightly higher than other, comparable programs. Each online engineering four-credit course at UCLA is currently $3,667, which will bring your the total estimated cost of attendance to $33,000 for the entire 36-credit program. Also, if you choose to take courses as a visiting student or during the summer session, there is an additional processing fee of $300. The higher cost does seem to be directly tied to the school’s reputation, as the school name is immediately recognizable and well-respected among employers. However, North Carolina State, Pennsylvania State University-World Campus, and other top online engineering programs can offer you a larger choice of engineering degree options at a slightly lower cost.

The Details

General Information

  • Academic Year Founded: 2007-2008
  • Application Deadline: Rolling
  • Application Fee: Domestic: $80, International: $100
  • Location: CA
  • Number of Graduate Engineering Programs: 1
  • Region: West
  • School Type: Public
  • Term Schedule: Quarter

Tuition Rates (Per Credit)

  • In-State: $916
  • Out-of-State: $916


  • Master of Science in Engineering


  • Advanced Structural Materials
  • Electronic Materials
  • Electrical Engineering
  • Signal Processing and Communications
  • Integrated Circuits
  • Computer Networking
  • System Engineering

Class Profile

  • Acceptance Rate: 58%
  • Average Student Age: N/A
  • Average Undergraduate GPA: 3.50
  • Avg. GRE Analytical Writing: 4.0
  • Avg. GRE Quantitative: 159
  • Avg. GRE Verbal: 154
  • Gender Ratio: 24.7% female, 75.3% male
  • Maximum Class Size: 20
  • Total Enrollment: 291


  • Average Online Teaching Experience: 4 years
  • Full-Time Instructional Faculty: 52
  • Part-Time Instructional Faculty: 9

Graduation and Retention Rates

  • 1 Year New Student Retention Rate (2009): 72%
  • 1 Year New Student Retention Rate (2010): 93%
  • 1 Year New Student Retention Rate (2011): 86%
  • 1 Year New Student Retention Rate (2013): 93%
  • Graduation Rate Within 3 Years (2011-2012): 50%
  • Graduation Rate Within 3 Years (2012-2013): 96%

U.S. News Rankings

  • Admissions Selectivity Rank: 2
  • Admissions Selectivity Score: 94/100
  • Faculty Credentials and Training Rank: 6
  • Faculty Credentials and Training Score: 86/100
  • Peer Reputation Mean Score (1-5): 3.5
  • Student Engagement Rank: 4
  • Student Engagement Score: 89/100
  • Student Services and Technology Rank: 1
  • Student Services and Technology Score: 100/100

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