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2023 Best Online Engineering Degrees

By OnlineU Staff Writers | Updated 10/16/2023
2023 Best Online Bachelor's Degrees in Engineering Badge

From the printing press to the skyscraper, engineers throughout history have designed the infrastructure that makes up our lives today. Due to this discipline's complexity, choosing an online bachelor's degree in engineering may look different for each prospective student. However, all engineers use science and math to solve problems, build tools, and determine how to make technological and scientific advances a reality — skills these degree programs can help you develop.

View our methodology for more details about our list, or learn about OnlineU. If you are on a budget, explore our curated list of the most affordable online engineering degrees based on tuition. 

2023 Best Online Bachelor's Degrees in Engineering Badge
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Arizona State University

  • Locations: Tempe (AZ) (and 4 others)
  • Annual Tuition: $29,438

Known for its broad online curriculum, Arizona State University (ASU) is a large, public institution offering an online Bachelor of Science in Engineering - Electrical Engineering and an online Bachelor of Science in Engineering - Mechanical Engineering, depending on your interests. Each requires completing 120 credits to graduate, which full-time students may be able to do in approximately four years. Additionally, ASU offers an online Bachelor of Science in Human Systems Engineering that integrates engineering with psychology in this one-of-a-kind program.

ASU distance learners gain access to their classes via Canvas. Depending on their major, engineering distance learners take courses such as System Dynamics and Control, Applied Experimental Statistics, Digital Design Fundamentals, and Random Signal Analysis.

  • Financial Aid Recipients: 92%
  • Avg. Aid Package: $12,201
  • Repayment Rate: 92%
  • Acceptance Rate: 76%
  • Avg. Graduation Rate: 65%
  • Retention Rate: 86%
  • Recommend Rate: 90%
  • School Type: Nonprofit (Public)
  • Undergraduate Online: 46,764 enrolled
  • Graduate Online: 15,537 enrolled
  • Certificate Online: 562 enrolled

American Public University System

  • Locations: Charles Town (WV)
  • Annual Tuition: $7,360

Known for its curriculum developed with the working professional in mind, American Public University System (APUS) is a private, for-profit university offering an online Bachelor of Engineering in Electrical Engineering that delivers hands-on experience along with remote classroom instruction. Graduating requires completing 120 credits through 8 to 16-week courses and generally less than four years of full-time enrollment. APUS' generous transfer policy allows students to transfer up to 90 credits into the electrical engineering program.

APUS delivers education via Brightspace to its distance learners. Online electrical engineering undergraduate students take courses such as Discrete Mathematics, Electromagnetic Field Theory, Engineering Instrumentation and Measurements, and Communication Systems. Students must also complete a senior project to graduate.

  • Financial Aid Recipients: 84%
  • Avg. Aid Package: $5,082
  • Repayment Rate: 87%
  • Acceptance Rate: N/A
  • Avg. Graduation Rate: 46%
  • Retention Rate: 91%
  • Recommend Rate: 68%
  • School Type: For Profit
  • Undergraduate Online: 38,969 enrolled
  • Graduate Online: 9,329 enrolled
  • Certificate Online: 1,724 enrolled

Liberty University

  • Locations: Lynchburg (VA)
  • Annual Tuition: $11,700

Liberty University (LU) is an Evangelical Christian and private institution offering a fully online Bachelor of Science in Industrial Engineering Technology to help students prepare for careers designing solutions to help businesses improve production quality, efficiency, and profitability. This 120-credit program generally takes full-time students 3.5 years to complete. LU also offers a fully online Bachelor of Science in Computational Mathematics - Engineering online, and an online Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering that does require some on-campus work — both have similar graduation requirements.

LU delivers its online instruction and coursework via Canvas. To graduate, online industrial engineering students complete Electrical Systems, Six Sigma, Data Analysis, and Machine Learning classes.

  • Financial Aid Recipients: 98%
  • Avg. Aid Package: $12,431
  • Repayment Rate: N/A
  • Acceptance Rate: 30%
  • Avg. Graduation Rate: 60%
  • Retention Rate: 79%
  • Recommend Rate: 57%
  • School Type: Nonprofit (Private)
  • Undergraduate Online: 34,799 enrolled
  • Graduate Online: 45,107 enrolled
  • Certificate Online: 400 enrolled

DeVry University

  • Locations: Multiple Locations
  • Annual Tuition: $17,488

DeVry University is a private, for-profit institution offering an online Bachelor of Science in Engineering Technology to help students develop skills in the application and execution of systems, processes, and technical operations. Graduating requires completing 126 credit hours, which full-time students may finish in a little over 2.5 years, especially if applying previously-earned transfer credits to this degree.

DeVry uses Canvas to deliver online coursework and instruction. Engineering technology distance learners participate in classes such as Automation and Control, Systems and Computer Aided Designs, Signals and Systems, and Process Improvement with Machine Learning. Students also complete career preparation courses and a senior project to graduate.

  • Financial Aid Recipients: 98%
  • Avg. Aid Package: $6,820
  • Repayment Rate: 82%
  • Acceptance Rate: 93%
  • Avg. Graduation Rate: 24%
  • Retention Rate: 59%
  • Recommend Rate: 59%
  • School Type: For Profit
  • Undergraduate Online: 22,453 enrolled
  • Graduate Online: 3,338 enrolled
  • Certificate Online: 69 enrolled

Excelsior University

  • Locations: Albany (NY)
  • Annual Tuition: $0

New York-based Excelsior College is a private, nonprofit institution offering an online Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering Technology - Electronics to help prepare students for job advancement in electrical and allied engineering technology positions. Students must complete 124 credit hours to graduate, generally taking four years of full-time enrollment.

Excelsior uses Canvas as its online learning management system. Online electrical engineering technology students may enroll in various courses, such as Circuit Theory, Microprocessors, Digital Electronics, and Computer Programming. Students must complete an Integrated Technology Assessment capstone project to graduate.

  • Financial Aid Recipients: N/A
  • Avg. Aid Package: N/A
  • Repayment Rate: 96%
  • Acceptance Rate: N/A
  • Avg. Graduation Rate: N/A
  • Retention Rate: N/A
  • Recommend Rate: 63%
  • School Type: Nonprofit (Private)
  • Undergraduate Online: 15,260 enrolled
  • Graduate Online: 1,906 enrolled
  • Certificate Online: N/A

List Of Accredited Online Engineering Schools

School Online Enrollment Annual Tuition
Arizona State University 46,764 46,764 $29,438 $29,438
American Public University System 38,969 $7,360
Liberty University 34,799 $11,700
DeVry University 22,453 $17,488
Excelsior University 15,260 NA
Florida International University 12,256 $18,963
Thomas Edison State University 8,678 $9,342
Keiser University 8,500 $22,000
Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University - Worldwide 8,445 $10,748
University of Arkansas Grantham 4,498 $8,280
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Overview of Online Engineering Degrees

Keeping the world's water supply safe, improving the country's transportation system, and inventing prosthetic devices all have something in common: They require the work of an engineer. There are many types of online engineering programs available for students who want to do everything from constructing buildings and creating computer systems to protecting the public.

Most online schools for bachelor's degrees in engineering require undergraduates to complete 120-126 credit hours, which might take as little as four years of full-time attendance. Online engineering courses often require students to complete projects to gain hands-on experience in their chosen specialty. Many programs lead to a Bachelor of Applied Science, but there are also Bachelor of Science or Bachelor of Arts in Engineering degrees.

What Is an Engineering Degree?

An engineering degree is a STEM major that integrates math, science, and business courses into its curriculum. You may begin by learning general engineering concepts and fundamentals before choosing from several specialties in your second year of study. Coursework includes general core classes, major core classes, and electives. Lessons are delivered via in-person or virtual class instruction, lab work, and hands-on learning opportunities such as internships.

Engineering student outcomes generally include the following:

  • Identifying and solving complex engineering problems by applying science, math, and engineering skills

  • Creating safe and sound solutions that benefit humankind and the environment

  • Communicating effectively and demonstrating leadership skills

  • Conducting work in an ethical and professionally responsible manner

  • Working as a contributing and collaborative member of a team

Engineering Majors

Engineering is a broad term for methods of analyzing and solving problems and designing products and processes. Engineering techniques can apply to a variety of fields, giving prospective students a wide range of engineering majors to choose from. It's not unusual for a college of engineering to offer eight or more types of online engineering degrees across many areas of specialization, such as petroleum engineering, environmental engineering, nuclear engineering, and agricultural engineering. 

The most popular engineering specialties include those listed below:

Aerospace Engineering

Aerospace engineers use their knowledge of physics and mechanical and electrical engineering to design and build planes, satellites, space shuttles, and other airframes. Students can first earn an aerospace engineering bachelor's degree, then they can pursue an online engineering school that offers master's degrees in aerospace engineering for a more advanced education.

Chemical Engineering

Chemistry helps create many of the industrial and consumer products available today, from food to electronics and clothing. Chemical engineers often develop new products or processes in the manufacturing industry and oversee production in large facilities. Before entering the workforce, students can explore a bachelor's in chemical engineering or a master's degree in chemical engineering.

Civil Engineering

Both a bachelor's in civil engineering and a master's in civil engineering teach students to design and supervise the construction of large-scale infrastructure projects. These from roads and sewer systems to bridges and airports. Professional civil engineers are trained in the technical aspects of the industry so they can calculate the cost and structural stability of their designs.

Computer Engineering

Computer engineering combines hardware, software, manufacturing, and design practices into one comprehensive field. Computer engineering curricula seek to develop students' critical-thinking skills while teaching advanced math, electronic circuitry, instrumentation, and signals. You can specialize in computer engineering at the bachelor's level, while master's programs in computer engineering allow students to focus on a concentration to advance their learning in a specialty.

Electrical Engineering

Electrical engineers design and build electrical devices in a range of industries. Subfields of electrical engineering include microelectronics, telecommunications, and signal processing. Bachelor's degrees in electrical engineering are available online. Master's programs in electrical engineering include concentrations in telecommunications, microelectronic devices, and embedded systems.

Engineering Management

Engineering management degrees blend technical skills with business practices and leadership. A bachelor's or master's degree in this field might set students up to oversee large engineering projects featuring budget oversight, staff onboarding, and completion timelines. Classes often cover finance, law, economics, systems engineering, and supply chain management.

Industrial Engineering

Industrial engineers find the most effective ways to use the major facets of production, such as machinery, materials, personnel, and energy. Industrial engineers research product specifications and industrial methods to figure out how to increase productivity, decrease waste, and use time, energy, and money effectively. Industrial engineering degrees are available online for undergraduates. Master's degrees in industrial engineering are also available for those who want to move into management positions.

Mechanical Engineering

Mechanical engineers design, build, and repair machines. Bachelor's degrees in mechanical engineering teach students to construct and test systems as diverse as heaters, refrigerators, air conditioners, internal combustion engines, generators, and turbines. Master's degrees in mechanical engineering explore more advanced topics in thermodynamics, aerospace mechanics, or robotics.

Software Engineering

Software engineers develop and test computer software and applications to meet user needs. Graduates with software engineering degrees may explore careers in governmental agencies, businesses, or nonprofit organizations. A master's program in software engineering may allow students to deepen their knowledge of agile methods, application programming, and interface design.

Systems Engineering

Professionals use the knowledge gained in their systems engineering degree to develop and oversee complex procedures to organize projects for maximum efficiency. Their work relates to other engineering disciplines because parts of these systems may include hardware, software, electrical components, and structures. A professional with a master's degree in systems engineering may go on to advanced roles in engineering or management.

Engineering Degree Levels

You can earn an associate, bachelor's, master's, or doctoral degree in engineering. There are also certificates and diplomas available at the undergraduate level, often through trade schools and community colleges, and graduate-level certificates that help degree-holding engineers develop specialized skills. However, most jobs require a bachelor's degree to become an entry-level engineer.

Engineering Courses

All engineering programs require a healthy sense of curiosity alongside analytical skills in mathematics and science. With so many types of engineering, there's no single curriculum that applies for each kind of bachelor's degree. But most engineering programs will include the following courses: 

Applied Mechanics and Dynamics

Students learn to analyze how objects move and interact with one another. They might study the physics of particle systems and rigid bodies or fluid mechanics (the movement of liquids and gasses).


Most engineers need to learn how to solve both single-variable and multivariable equations to do their work well. This course might introduce differential equations, or the mathematics of change.

Operations Research

This class covers how to analyze the efficiency of a project or ongoing operation. Students can then apply lessons from this discipline to their particular branch of engineering.

Principles of Programming

This course's faculty explore problem-solving through computer programming languages and algorithms. Faculty teach how to design, code, and implement programs to help engineering projects.

Careers in Engineering

You can find engineers in various industries, from healthcare to construction to information technology. Many lucrative engineering careers require only an undergraduate degree, although some graduates must also obtain professional licenses to practice. 

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) expects promising salary and job outlook projections for various engineering fields, including those below: 

Aerospace Engineers

Annual Median Salary: $126,880
Job Growth: 6%

Aerospace engineers design and build airplanes, satellites, spacecraft, and missiles. They also develop new technologies for use in aircraft and spacecraft. Their work incorporates knowledge of physics, materials, computer science, and IT.

Chemical Engineers

Annual Median Salary: $106,260
Job Growth: 8%

Chemical engineers use chemistry and other sciences to develop manufacturing processes for natural and synthetic products. They troubleshoot performance issues, tackle safety concerns, and ensure the efficiency of equipment.

Civil Engineers

Annual Median Salary: $89,940
Job Growth: 5%

Civil engineers design and oversee construction of roads, railroads, bridges, pipelines, dams, and power plants. Their job is crucial to ensuring compliance with safety and environmental regulations.

Computer Hardware Engineers

Annual Median Salary: $132,360
Job Growth: 5%

Computer hardware engineers to set up the physical equipment needed to operate complex computer systems. They often work in research facilities developing and testing new computer technology.

Electrical Engineers

Annual Median Salary: $104,610
Job Growth: 5%

An electrical engineer's role is to supervise electrical systems in manufacturing, commercial, military, or telecommunications. They install, construct, and even maintain these systems to meet compliance requirements while documenting their processes.

Engineering Managers

Annual Median Salary: $159,920
Job Growth: 4%

Engineering managers oversee teams of engineers and engineering projects. They prepare bids, calculate budgets, coordinate activities, and negotiate with clients to create project expectations. They might work for research facilities, architectural firms, or industrial plants.

Industrial Engineers

Annual Median Salary: $96,350
Job Growth: 12%

Large-scale industrial equipment requires the design skills and implementation knowledge of industrial engineers. They create the systems that operate production facilities while minding the safety and efficiency of all workers, processes, and equipment.

Mechanical Engineers

Annual Median Salary: $96,310
Job Growth: 10%

Mechanical engineers design and oversee mechanical equipment for industries such as energy and manufacturing. They may develop operating procedures, interpret blueprints, or monitor manufacturing systems.

Software Engineers

Annual Median Salary: $124,200
Job Growth: 25%

Software engineers work alongside developers and analysts to create software and apps. By designing and implementing the processes for software systems, they ensure that all software tasks and functions work together.

Our list of the most affordable online bachelor's in engineering degrees has many options with relatively low tuition rates.

Is an Online Engineering Degree Worth It?

A bachelor's degree in engineering is probably worth the cost and effort if you're passionate about becoming an engineer. This is because you'll nearly always need this credential to land your first entry-level job in the field. But you may want to weigh some of the additional pros and cons before committing to an online program:

Potential Benefits

  • Engineers usually earn impressive salaries. Many engineering jobs require only a bachelor's degree to enter the field, and professionals typically work their way up to salaries in the high $90,000s and above. 

  • Advanced engineering degrees often lead to even higher salaries. You may qualify for even more advanced, higher-paying positions if you later earn an online master's degree.

  • You can build strong leadership skills. You can even earn an engineering management master's degree to help build the skills you'll need to motivate and advise others when working on large projects.

  • You'll be learning work that may benefit society. Completing an engineering degree program can help you gain the skills and confidence necessary to eventually work on projects that positively impact the environment, energy consumption, medicine, or transportation.

Potential Drawbacks

  • The engineering curriculum can be intense and demanding. STEM degrees can be intellectually challenging, and while this can be motivating for some, it may prove too difficult for others. It can also be difficult if you're trying to balance school with work and family, especially if you find it challenging to carve out time to study.

  • Engineering is a highly competitive field of study to get into. Read our guide on applying to college for tips about how to apply and make your application stand out. 

  • You'll have to commit to lifelong learning. Technology changes at an alarming pace, and you'll have to keep up to remain competitive in the job market. You may have to earn an additional degree and certification to keep pace with industry demands. Going back to school will take extra time and money.

  • An engineering degree can be expensive. Some universities charge more for engineering degrees because the coursework is more complicated than other programs and requires costly materials. Schools pass these costs on to students resulting in additional fees.

FAQs About Engineering Degrees

Can You Get an Engineering Degree Online?

You can complete many engineering bachelor's programs 100% online. Others may have asynchronous online courses but require some in-person laboratory work. Still others — such as aerospace engineering — have very few online offerings because they require intensive lab work using large equipment.

What Degree Do You Need to Be an Engineer?

Most entry-level engineering jobs call for a bachelor's degree in the same type of engineering that's in the job title. But there's some crossover because many kinds of engineering teach broadly similar technical and soft skills. For example, a systems engineering job ad might ask for a bachelor's in electrical, industrial, or systems engineering.

Can You Be an Engineer Without a Degree?

Yes, you can earn an undergraduate diploma or certificate to become an HVAC technician, a CAD technician or industrial designer, a mechanical technician, an electrical technician, a land surveyor, a computer network engineer, or a wind turbine technician. 

How Long Does It Take To Get an Engineering Degree?

The length of time it takes to complete an engineering degree program is two to five years depending on the degree level:

  • An associate degree generally requires 60 credit hours and takes full-time students two years to complete.
  • A bachelor's degree typically requires 120 credit hours and takes full-time students approximately four years to complete.
  • A master's degree requires approximately 30 credit hours and can take full-time students two years to complete.
  • A doctoral degree requires approximately 36 credit hours and typically takes three to five years, depending on level of expertise, field of study, and enrollment status.

What Is the Best Engineering Degree?

The best engineering degree is the one that's most relevant to your career interests. For example, it makes sense to study civil engineering if you want to be a civil engineer. It's not the highest-paid or fastest-growing engineering field, but you're more likely to enjoy and thrive in a job that interests you.

Based purely on the numbers, a petroleum engineering degree might pay off with the highest salary, and a software engineering degree might give the greatest job stability.

What Else Should You Consider?

Most importantly, you should only consider accredited institutions because accreditation gives some assurance that a college periodically opens itself to an independent quality review. Enrolling at an accredited college also gives you more access to financial aid and makes it easier to transfer credits if you switch schools. You can search the Department of Education's Database of Accredited Postsecondary Institutions and Programs to find a school's accreditation details.

Additionally, specialist agencies conduct programmatic accreditation in certain fields. For engineering, this the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET). ABET accreditation is respected in each engineering field but it's more important in some than in others. In particular, you typically need an ABET-accredited degree to get a civil engineer license, and some states may have similar licensing rules for other types of engineers. ABET has a searchable database of accredited engineering programs. You can find both on-campus and online options there.

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