2023 Best Online Engineering Degrees
From the printing press to the skyscraper, engineers throughout history have designed the infrastructure that makes up our lives today. The subject of engineering is vast — from software and aerospace engineering to chemical engineering. 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.
We've ranked our list by Salary Score to help you set realistic earnings expectations and potentially minimize student debt once you determine which engineering degree path is right for you. View our methodology for more details about our list, or learn about OnlineU.
Online Engineering Bachelor's Degrees You May Be Interested In
List Of Accredited Online Engineering Schools
|School||Online Enrollment||Annual Tuition|
|American Public University System|
|Arizona State University||33,410||$24,413|
|Florida International University||10,922||$18,963|
|Thomas Edison State University||9,475||$9,856|
|Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University - Worldwide||8,378||$9,912|
|University of Arkansas Grantham||5,896||$8,280|
#1 American Public University System
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 accepts 100% of applicants due to its open admissions policy, and 18% of students graduate with degrees.
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: 100%
- Avg. Aid Package: $5,493
- Repayment Rate: 87%
- Acceptance Rate: N/A
- Avg. Graduation Rate: 40%
- Retention Rate: 87%
- Recommend Rate: 69%
- School Type: For Profit
- Undergraduate Online: 37,335 enrolled
- Graduate Online: 7,914 enrolled
- Certificate Online: 1,816 enrolled
#2 Liberty University
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 is competitive and only accepts 50% of applicants. Even with that lower-than-average acceptance rate of only the most qualified students, only 34% of its students graduate with degrees, which is significantly below average.
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.
It's important to note LU is not an LGBT-friendly institution. According to its 2022-2023 Student Code, "statements and behaviors that are associated with LGBT lifestyle are prohibited."
- Financial Aid Recipients: 99%
- Avg. Aid Package: $11,369
- Repayment Rate: N/A
- Acceptance Rate: 30%
- Avg. Graduation Rate: 47%
- Retention Rate: 81%
- Recommend Rate: 55%
- School Type: Nonprofit (Private)
- Undergraduate Online: 34,092 enrolled
- Graduate Online: 36,337 enrolled
- Certificate Online: 450 enrolled
#3 Arizona State University
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. Overall, ASU has a 73% acceptance rate and a 52% graduation rate.
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: 96%
- Avg. Aid Package: $12,536
- Repayment Rate: 92%
- Acceptance Rate: 76%
- Avg. Graduation Rate: 54%
- Retention Rate: 82%
- Recommend Rate: 63%
- School Type: Nonprofit (Public)
- Undergraduate Online: 33,410 enrolled
- Graduate Online: 10,843 enrolled
- Certificate Online: 542 enrolled
#4 Excelsior University
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 accepts 100% of applicants due to its open admissions policy, and 35% of students graduate with degrees.
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: 22,674 enrolled
- Graduate Online: 2,571 enrolled
- Certificate Online: N/A
#5 DeVry University
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 is competitive, accepting less than half of applicants, and just 26% of students graduate with degrees.
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: 97%
- Avg. Aid Package: $5,833
- Repayment Rate: 82%
- Acceptance Rate: 93%
- Avg. Graduation Rate: 27%
- Retention Rate: 50%
- Recommend Rate: 59%
- School Type: For Profit
- Undergraduate Online: 16,922 enrolled
- Graduate Online: 4,399 enrolled
- Certificate Online: 75 enrolled
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 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 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 below:
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.
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 coursework in calculus, physics, and design and process principles.
Read on for common classes that you might find in a wide range of engineering degree programs:
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 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 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 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
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.
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 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.
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 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 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.
Do you want to advance in one of these engineering specialties but worry about graduate school tuition? Review our lists of the lowest cost master's degrees in engineering:
- Most Affordable Online Master's Degrees in Aerospace Engineering
- Most Affordable Online Master's Degrees in Computer Engineering
- Most Affordable Online Master's Degrees in Electrical Engineering
- Most Affordable Online Master's Degrees in Engineering Management
- Most Affordable Online Master's Degrees in Industrial Engineering
- Most Affordable Online Master's Degrees in Mechanical Engineering
- Most Affordable Online Master's Degrees in Software Engineering
- Most Affordable Online Master's Degrees in Systems Engineering
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.
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 may take classes or even major in engineering management. Doing so can enable you to 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.
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. The BLS projects lower-than-average job growth rates for electrical and mechanical engineering specialties.
You'll have to commit to lifelong learning. Technology changes at an alarming pace, and you'll have to keep up if you want 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 in engineering 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?
So many factors influence college decisions that it can be tough to keep track of them all. The questions below might give you a starting point to help you consider a bachelor's degree in engineering.
Is this college accredited?
This is a crucial question to ask upfront about any school. 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.
Is this degree program accredited?
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 license to be a civil engineer, 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.
Do I want to enroll in an online degree?
Online degrees are convenient because you can work on your own time as long as you respect assignment and test due dates. This might make it easier to balance school with work and other responsibilities. But not everybody responds well to the looser structure of distance learning.
In addition, ABET accredits a relatively small number of online-only programs. This might make it hard to pursue an ABET-accredited online civil or aerospace engineering bachelor's degree, for example.
Read our Guide to Starting Your Online Education if you're curious about online learning and how it might suit you.
What else matters to me?
As a unique individual, the answer to this question depends on our circumstances. You can make a list of important considerations and compare them across schools. These variables can include virtual tutoring and writing help, digital library resources, well-known professors, high graduation and job placement rates, and an active alumni network.