10 Best Online Schools for Engineering

online engineering school

Choosing the best college or online school for engineering is a decision that will impact student’s future for years to come.

Students who are interested in engineering often begin by obtaining a bachelor’s degree in the field. Still, for those who plan to get a high-paying position in engineering, a master’s is often preferable, since most specialty positions or engineering jobs in management will require an advanced degree.

You don’t necessarily need to have a bachelor’s in engineering to obtain your master’s degree, either. Many undergraduates go on to study engineering at the master’s level with STEM degrees—those that focus on technology, science, or math. 

Online engineering degree programs have come a long way in a short while. Still, finding distance learning that meets your needs can be a monumental undertaking. To help prospective students tackle that enormous task, We’ve developed a methodology to uncover a list of the top 10 best online engineering schools.


We used the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) College Navigator to compare online engineering degree offerings. The data used to compare schools includes tuition, fees, admission rates, graduation rates, net price, financial aid, and available programs.

Affordability and financial aid can be the difference between attending a great school or choosing a school based on cost. While there is a correlation between increased cost and an increased potential for better engineering careers, we’ve looked at data for many financial factors. Online programs make it easier to lower overall costs, but that does not eliminate tuition or expenses related to books or other supplies.

When considering affordability, we looked at tuition versus overall costs to decide the value of the fees. Additionally, we looked at the percentage of students admitted to the school.  We also factored in the types of program specialties available that lead into other levels of engineering careers.

Graduation and retention rates weighed heavily in our methodology, as well. When students return after their first year, it’s a strong indication of a general opinion about education quality. Higher graduation rates speak to both the quality of the education and services that support students.

Graduation/Tuition Fees

Less than $20,000/year – 3 points

$20,001-30,000/year – 2 points

More than $30,000/year – 1 points

Applicants Admitted

Less than 25% – 1 point

25-50% – 2 points

More than 50% – 3 points

Graduation Rate

91% or greater – 3 points

81-90% – 2 points

Less than 80% – 1 points

SchoolTuitionAdmission PercentageGraduate PercentagePoints
Ohio University$12,60054868
Pennsylvania State University – World Campus$15,82854387
North Carolina State University at Raleigh$11,67345827
University of Maryland – College Park$14,79344877
University of California – Los Angeles $14,56312927
Georgia Institute of Technology – Main Campus$13,48221906
University of Virginia – Main Campus$20,31624956
Purdue University – Main Campus$10,99260826
Duke University$57,6338955
Cornell University$60,18211945

10 Best Online Schools for Engineering

We ranked our list in descending order for a countdown of the top online engineering schools.

#10. Cornell University 

Cornell University has earned a reputation for a quality education, and that reputation extends to the online school. While it’s the entry with the highest tuition cost, it’s to the benefit of applicants who want to take advantage of the recognition of academic achievement and resources available to students.

Cornell’s has one of the top online engineering degrees because it focuses on more than the technical aspects of engineering. Their approach considers all factors affecting the industry, giving students the whole picture. Cornell University has more than 15 specialties with their Master of Engineering degree. 

Courses have both asynchronous and synchronous deliveries, involving virtual labs, group projects, and research projects. Some projects you will be able to pursue on your own time, but others require group involvement.

Other degrees offered:

●      Biological Engineering

●      Engineering Management

●      Environmental Engineering

●      Materials Science and Engineering

#9. Duke University

Duke University operates on a hybrid cohort model, with classmates beginning and ending their degree journeys together. 

Students must participate in a one-week residency at Duke’s campus, take part in leadership workshops, look at the engineering profession as a whole, and connect with students and faculty. Online engineering programs emphasize the Duke community through group projects and discussions.

Some degrees offered:

●      Bioengineering and Biomedical Engineering

●      Civil Engineering, General

●      Computer Engineering

●      Mechanical Engineering

●      Environmental/Environmental Health Engineering

#8. Purdue University – Main Campus 

Purdue University has created a system that allows students to take dual degrees online. Their highly-rated online engineering program has one dual-degree: Master of Sciences on Engineering and the Master of Management and Leadership. The idea behind the dual-degree experience is to create engineers that are also leaders.

Purdue has six graduate engineering degrees. The programs require 33-credit hours, an internship, research project, or thesis. 

Other offered online degrees:

●      Aeronautics and Astronautics

●      Agricultural Engineering

●      Electrical and Computer Engineering

●      Engineering Management

●      Industrial Engineering

●      Mechanical Engineering

#7. University of Virginia-Main Campus

The University of Virginia has delivered remote learning options for over 30 years. It has consistently ranked in the top five national engineering programs. Courses are flexible for individualized schedules. A fast-track option allows you to complete your 30-credit hour degree in 18 months.

Tech support and other support services are available to students. You can also take online courses from other UV institutions to complete credit requirements. Top online programs need supports in place to take the stress out of inevitable hiccups.

Some engineering degrees offered:

●      Chemical Engineering

●      Civil and Environmental Engineering

●      Electrical and Computer Engineering

●      Materials Science and Engineering

●      Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering

#6. Georgia Institute of Technology – Main Campus

Through their Department of Professional Education, the Georgia Institute of Technology offers some of the best online engineering degrees. As a tech institute, Georgia is a top online engineering option that is affordable and lets you choose the engineering career you want.

Some engineering degrees offered:

●      Aerospace Engineering

●      Chemical Engineering

●      Environmental/Environmental Health Engineering

●       Industrial Engineering

●      Nuclear Engineering

●      Operations Research

●      Textile Sciences and Engineering

#5. University of California-Los Angeles

The birthplace of the internet and reverse osmosis, California – Los Angeles is an engineering school with clout. The University of California-LA has 17 different engineering degrees. 

Some online engineering degree programs:

●      Aerospace Engineering

●      Agricultural Engineering

●      Civil Engineering

●      Engineering, General 

●      Geological/Geophysical Engineering

●      Materials Science and Engineering

●      Structural Engineering

#4. University of Maryland – College Park

The University of Maryland has eight online engineering programs at the graduate level. Students can feel connected to their university community even at a distance with 27/7 tech support, online study groups, and access to world-renowned professors.

If you’re serving in the armed forces, you’ll be happy to know that UMGC has a strong focus on the needs of military students, and these scholars and their families can enjoy reduced rates for both undergraduate and graduate programs.

Some offered degree programs:

●      Biological/Biosystems Engineering

●      Cybersecurity

●      Energy Systems Management and Policy

●      Fire Protection Engineering

●      Telecommunications Engineering

#3. North Carolina State University at Raleigh 

With over 40 years of distance education under their belts, it’s no surprise North Carolina State University at Raleigh has high-quality remote online engineering degree options. 

NC State University has 20 graduate online engineering degree programs. Graduate students complete their degrees with 30-credit hours and a thesis.

Some offered degree programs:

●      Bioengineering and Biomedical Engineering

●      Construction Engineering

●      Electrical and Electronics Engineering

●      Engineering, General

●      Materials Science Engineering

●      Manufacturing Systems Engineering

●      Nuclear Engineering

#2. Pennsylvania State University – World Campus

Ranked top 10 for online bachelor’s degree programs by US News and World Report, Pennsylvania State University offers students over 40 scholarships. Penn State World Campus follows a cohort model. 

You will be in contact with the same classmates from day one until graduation. The learning methods focus on collaborative projects. Penn State arranges courses in seven-week terms for an accelerated degree.

Some online programs:

●      Additive Manufacturing and Design

●      Electrical Engineering

●      Engineering Management

●      Human Factors Engineering and Ergonomics 

●      Mechanical Engineering

#1. Ohio State University – Main Campus 

Ohio State University emphasizes research and collaboration. Their National Science Foundation Industry Collaborative Research Centers outnumber any other school in the United States., making OSU the best online engineering degree program on our list.

They offer a Master of Science in Welding Engineering, a degree available at only five schools in the US. Their courses are asynchronous, which allows students flexible schedules. 

Some degrees offered:

●      Civil Engineering, General

●      Engineering Management

●      Electrical Engineering

●      Mechanical Engineering

●      Welding Engineering

Best Careers for Engineering

The National Center for Education Statistics recognizes 60 engineering program categories. From aerospace to computers to textile sciences, there are many choices available in the broad field of engineering. 

Engineering careers are expanding, but not every profession is a good fit. All require problem-solvers, but some lean heavier on communications skills while others are dependent on versatility. You might want to focus on one narrow area or pursue a career that lets you try on a few engineering hats.

If you’re unsure about a career in engineering, and you want to explore the field a bit more before committing to a program, you might try checking out free online courses. Platforms like Coursera, edX, Udemy, and others often offer mini-courses in engineering that will allow you to get your feet wet. Check out this article on 10 Free Online Courses in Bioengineering, for example.

We looked at engineering careers that have the best median salaries and are in fields with projected growth. We’ve got engineers taking on big problems, everyday issues, and creative solutions. Read through and find your future engineering career.

Petroleum Engineer

Median Salary: $137,720

Petroleum engineers design the systems for extracting petroleum and natural gas. After they dig it up, they develop methods on how to use those materials cleanly and efficiently. You’ll work at dig sites or well sites, and you can expect a lot of travel.

The projected growth is 3% from 2019 to 2029, increasing available jobs from 33,400 to 34,400.

Aerospace Engineer

Median Salary: $116,500

If you have a penchant for things that go up, you might consider your calling for a career as an Aerospace Engineer. It’s not all rockets and astronauts, but you will build aircraft, spacecraft, satellites, and missiles. 

Employment predictions are growing 3% from 2019 to 2029 from 66,400 jobs to 68,200.

Chemical Engineer

Median Salary: $102,160

Engineering careers like Chemical Engineers tend to be collaborative. You might work in small teams to produce compounds used in fuel, pharmaceuticals, and more. 

Work environments tend to be offices and laboratories. You may also find yourself in industrial plants, refineries, and similar locations.

Growth is up by 4%, with a projected 1,400 new jobs by 2029.

Biomedical Engineer

Median Salary: $91,410

Suppose you’re curious about biological sciences and enjoy the research as much as the designing process. 

In that case, you might want to apply your engineering career to medicine. As a biomedical engineer, you can advance medical science by developing tools for medical professionals. Projections for the field suggest a growth of 5% with over 1000 new jobs by 2029.

Mechanical Engineer

Median Salary: $88,430

If you want a job field that gives you plenty of options, Mechanical Engineers can work with various industries. Your career involves the production and testing of mechanical instruments from nanotechnology to vehicle manufacturing. 

Projects suggest there will be 328,700 for Mechanical Engineers by 2029, with a growth rate of 4% over the decade.

Civil Engineer

Median Salary: $87,060

Sometimes an unsung hero, Civil Engineers design and maintain public facilities. Who do they call when they want structurally sound architecture? You. Who designs and maintains the bridges, railways, and transportation structures that people use every day? You again. 

A civil engineer is another job that requires more hands-on work and less desk work. The growth rate is lower than other engineering careers with a 2% increase, but 5,500 new jobs are anticipated by 2029 for this engineering career.

Environmental Engineer

Median Salary: $88,860

As an Environmental Engineer, you use your engineering skills, earth science, biology, and chemistry to solve environmental issues. While most jobs in this fieldwork within the construction industry, you might also improve public systems like recycling, waste disposal, water, or air pollution.

As it relates to the environment, there are fewer desk job options, and you can expect that visiting sites will be a frequent requirement. 1,1700 new jobs are projected for environmental engineers by 2029.

Careers Average Income

Here’s an overview of engineering careers and their average income.

See also: Frequently Asked Questions About Choosing the Best School and Degree