Engineering has become an increasingly popular degree choice in recent years. The National Center for Education Statistics reports that the number of bachelor's degrees conferred in engineering and engineering technologies jumped 30 percent from the 2001-02 school year through 2011-12, the latest year for which data is available.
Students who already have an undergraduate degree in engineering can attest to the good opportunities and above-average salaries earned by those working in the field. Having an advanced degree may be one option to increase both employment and income potential. What's more, a master's degree in engineering can allow those with certain non-engineering undergraduate degrees the chance to break into this hot field.
However, not everyone can take time off from a busy career and home life to go back to school. Fortunately, thanks to online master's degrees in engineering, students don't have to. Instead, they can study from the comfort of their home on a schedule that works for them.
Why Get a Master's Degree in Engineering?
With many engineering jobs offering great pay to those with a four-year degree, people may wonder whether it's worthwhile to invest two additional years of study into a master's program.
While it is true that engineering can be a lucrative career even for those with a bachelor's, a graduate degree can pay dividends both financially and professionally. Engineering dominates the Payscale.com survey for the best master's degrees in 2015. According to the salary and jobs website, these master's degrees in engineering all ranked among the top 15 best master's degrees for job seekers:
- Biomedical engineering
- Aerospace engineering
- Computer engineering
- Chemical engineering
- Computer and science engineering
- Systems engineering
- Electrical engineering
How Do You Enroll in an Online Master's Degree Program?
The process will vary by institution, but students may need to go through a more rigorous application process than what they encountered when applying for admission to their undergraduate program.
Some schools require people to complete two applications: one for the institution and a separate one for the engineering department. Students will need to submit transcripts from their bachelor's degree program, and may be required to take the Graduate Record Examination (GRE). Additional requirements can include letters of recommendations, a personal statement, or application fees.
Many colleges or universities have defined application periods for those interested in an online master's degree in engineering. That means prospective students have a limited period to submit information. Response times vary by school, but applicants could receive a decision in as little as 4-6 weeks.
Filling out a Request Form
As with undergraduate degrees, it can be a smart strategy to send applications to multiple master's degree programs. If you aren't sure which programs are a good fit for you, click on the "Request Info" button next to any of the schools listed below to learn more about their offerings.
What's the Difference Between Online and Campus-Based Degrees?
At many schools, the only difference between an online and on-campus degree program is the delivery of the curriculum. While on-campus programs tend to meet several hours per week in a physical classroom, online students will log-in to a virtual classroom or learning management system (LMS) to complete their work.
In both degree programs, students can expect to have conversations with their classmates and instructors. Online students may do this by participating via message board, email, or video chat. Also, online programs typically include lectures just as on-campus classes do, except they delivered through live streaming or pre-recorded video.
Often, the course and credit requirements are the same for both an online and on-campus master's degree in engineering from the same institution. At some schools, the classes are even taught by the same faculty.
Why Is Online College Good for Master's Degrees in Engineering?
There are two main reasons someone would want to study engineering online instead of on-campus: convenience and accessibility.
To the first point, many of those earning a graduate degree are already in the workforce. On-campus programs would require them to take time off work or otherwise disrupt their schedule. By enrolling in an online master's program, these students can maintain their employment while studying at their own pace.
Secondly, people who study online potentially have access to some of the top engineering programs in the nation. Rather than having to relocate to New York to enroll in Cornell University or Columbia, for example, engineering students can get a top-tier education from these schools no matter where they live by studying online.
Does Location Matter for an Online Master's Degree in Engineering?
While you can often pursue an online master's degree from anywhere, that doesn't mean location shouldn't be a factor in enrollment decisions. Some schools may offer blended or hybrid programs, rather than ones that are fully online. In those cases, students must travel to campus for hands-on training, lab work, or other requirements. Be sure to double check program details before enrolling in any course of study.
A master's degree can be a very rewarding investment, opening the door to greater income and employment opportunities. Don't wait to learn more about how an online master's degree in engineering can help you achieve your career goals. Request additional information from any of the schools listed below to get started.
- Most Popular Majors, National Center for Education Statistics, https://nces.ed.gov/fastfacts/display.asp?id=37
- Graduate Studies, Penn Engineering, http://www.seas.upenn.edu/prospective-students/graduate/admissions/
- Colleges that Charge Students the Most to Apply, Susannah Snider, U.S. News and World Report, December 1, 2015, http://www.usnews.com/education/best-colleges/the-short-list-college/articles/2015/12/01/colleges-that-charge-students-the-most-to-apply
- The Best and Worst Master's Degrees for Jobs in 2015, Kathryn Dill, Forbes, July 15, 2015, http://www.forbes.com/sites/kathryndill/2015/07/15/the-best-and-worst-masters-degrees-for-jobs-in-2015/2/#4784b8237d79