Aerospace engineering covers both aeronautical (aircraft) and astronautical (spacecraft) endeavors, paying thought to the complex interplay of temperature, pressure, structural loads, and other considerations allowing machines to take flight.
The USC Viterbi School of Engineering provides an online master of science in aerospace engineering (MSAE) in six subspecialties: aerodynamics; fluid dynamics, aerospace control, aerospace design, aerospace structures, computational fluid dynamics, and propulsion. Some of the courses across the varied subspecialties include engineering analytical methods, compressible gas dynamics, stability of fluids, statistical theories of turbulence, flight vehicle safety & control, and nonlinear control systems, to name a few. For the 2016-17 year, courses cost $1,845 per unit.
The University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign also offers an online MSAE degree through its Aerospace Engineering Department, which is organized into three major sectors, including aerodynamics, fluid mechanics, combustion & propulsion (AFMCP); astrodynamics, controls & dynamical systems (ACDS), and structural mechanics & materials (SMM). Courses include fracture mechanics, aeroelasticity, finite elements, dynamic behavior of materials, orbital mechanics, probability theory, and optimal aerospace systems, among others. This program costs $1,084 per credit hour.
Automotive engineering is a cross-disciplinary field that combines knowledge of electrical, mechanical, software, and safety engineering to create vehicles. It covers all aspects of the process, including the design, testing, and production of systems for automobiles.
The University of Michigan, Ann Arbor offers an online master’s degree (MEng) in global automotive & manufacturing engineering with instruction in systems integration, integrated vehicle systems design, manufacturing systems design, business courses, and a capstone project. There are six main subspecialties available: advanced powertrains, advanced vehicle manufacturing, chassis & advanced materials, electrification, intelligent vehicle systems & design, and vehicle performance & controls. This program costs $1,465 (in-state) or $1,605 (out-of-state) per credit hour.
The University of Michigan, Dearborn provides a 30-credit-hour master’s degree in automotive systems engineering through its innovative distance learning network. Classes include digital systems & microprocessors, vehicle ergonomics, material selection in automotive design, internal combustion engines, and automotive systems modeling. Notably, this program is available in four distinct concentrations: electronics & computers, industry & manufacturing, mechanical engineering, or automotive materials. To learn how much this program costs, please use the UMD tuition calculator.
Lastly, to learn about the future of this engineering field from interviews with the experts, please visit OEP’s exclusive piece on Automotive Cybersecurity.
Biomedical engineering sits at the intersection of engineering and medicine, using research and development cycles to create prostheses, diagnostic and therapeutic tools, implants, equipment, pharmaceuticals, and other tools of healthcare.
Johns Hopkins University of Baltimore, MD provides an online master of science (MS) in applied biomedical engineering where students choose between three major foci: instrumentation, imaging, and translational tissue engineering. Courses include physiology for applied biomedical engineering, principles of medical instrumentation & devices, regulation of medical devices, medical image processing, and biosignals. For the 2016-17 year, each graduate-level course costs $3,880.
Colorado State University of Fort Collins, CO offers a 30-credit online master’s (ME) in biomedical engineering, which features courses such as quantitative systems physiology, materials engineering, material issues in mechanical design, structure & function of biomaterials, cell & tissue engineering, and digital signal processing, among others. This program costs $882 per credit.
Chemical engineering deals with the production, transportation, creation, storage, and usage of chemicals, particularly ones used in materials and energy.
The University of North Dakota of Grand Forks provides an ABET-accredited online bachelor of science (BS) in chemical engineering. This 133-credit program can take up to six years or more to complete and requires periodic travel to campus for in-person lab sessions. Distance-based courses include the fundamentals of chemistry; calculus; chemical engineering fundamentals; reactor design; elementary differential equations; unit operations in chemical engineering; and statistics & numerical methods in engineering. For the 2016-17 year, residents of North Dakota pay $509.04 per credit hour and non-residents pay $973.78. Please note that there are tuition discounts for residents of some nearby US states and Canadian provinces.
North Carolina State University of Raleigh offers a master of science (MS) in chemical engineering which can be completed in three to five years. Classes include thermodynamics; transport phenomena; advances in pollution prevention; polymer science & technology; colloid science & nanoscale engineering; and chemical reaction engineering, among others. The courses cost $680.66 per credit hour for NC residents and $1,276.66 for non-residents.
Civil engineering involves the design, production, and maintenance of structures in society such as bridges, buildings, and roads.
The University of North Dakota of Grand Forks offers an online bachelor of science in civil engineering, comprising recorded lectures and sporadic campus visits for laboratory intensive sessions. This ABET-accredited program includes 134 units of instruction in areas such as graphical communication; introduction to civil engineering & sustainable design; computer applications in engineering; writing for public audiences; general surveying; mechanics of materials; elementary differential equations; and fluid mechanics. Similar to the aforementioned UND program in chemical engineering, this costs $509.04 per credit hour (ND residents) or $973.78 (nonresidents) with some tuition discounts for those from some nearby US states and Canadian provinces.
The University of Washington in Seattle has an online master of science (MS) in civil engineering with a construction engineering concentration featuring coursework in design & construction law; cost analysis & management; environmental regulations; heavy construction estimating; energy infrastructure & the environment; construction materials; and computer-aided construction. This 42-credit program costs $730 per credit.
Environmental engineering is the study of how environmental variables affect humans and vice versa; it includes various areas such as public health, water management, pollution control, and law, promoting an appropriate, healthy fit between people and their surroundings.
Johns Hopkins University of Baltimore provides a distance-based master’s degree in environmental engineering with instruction in the principles of water & wastewater treatment; environmental biotechnology; subsurface fate & contaminant transport; environmental biotechnology; air quality control technologies; and hazardous waste engineering & management. This program costs $3,880 per graduate-level course.
The California State University, Fullerton has an online MS in environmental engineering with courses such as the fate & transport of chemicals in the environment; hydraulics & hydrology for environmental engineers; solid waste management, system design & sustainability; remediation of contaminated soil & groundwater; wastewater treatment & water reclamation; surface water pollution & control; air pollution control engineering; and a graduate project. This program costs $6,738 for the 2016-17 year plus an additional $33 per unit.
Power Systems Engineering
Power systems engineering encompasses the system creation, transportation, and use of electric power. In addition to its important relationship with civil engineering, it leans heavily on the theories of electrical engineering.
Colorado State University of Fort Collins provides an online graduate certificate in power and energy with nine credits of coursework in subjects such as the introduction to power system markets; signal processing for power systems; grid integration of wind energy systems; and electric power quality. This relatively affordable program costs $649 per credit.
Worcester Polytechnic Institute in Massachusetts offers an online masters of engineering (MEng) in power systems engineering. Classes include operations risk management; engineering economics; electromechanical energy conversion; power system protection & control; protective relaying; distributed & renewable power generation; and power transmission, among other subjects. Please note this program is also available as an online graduate certificate or MS degree. Tuition is $1,408 per credit.
Water Systems Engineering
Water systems engineering covers the movement of fluids, particularly water and sewage. Also referred to as hydraulic engineering, this subfield of the discipline applies theories of fluid mechanics to solve problems with dams, culverts, canals, levees, and other water systems.
Villanova University of Pennsylvania offers an online MS in water resources and environmental engineering (MSWREE). Classes include hazardous waste management; microbiology for environmental engineers; principles of sustainable development; surface water hydrology; introduction to hydraulic engineering; lake, stream & wetland ecology; water resource planning & management; and river mechanics & engineering. This program costs $1,350 per credit hour.
The University of Illinois based in Urbana provides an online MS in civil engineering with a concentration in environmental hydrology & hydraulic engineering. Students take 36 credits of coursework in areas such as water quality engineering; urban hydrology & hydraulics; transportation soils; water quality control; structural analysis; and finite element methods, among others. This program costs $1,084 per credit hour.
Computer engineering deals with the testing and development of software and hardware, including microprocessors, computers, circuit boards, operating systems, and analog sensors, among other components.
Iowa State University of Ames offers an online master’s degree in computer engineering. Students can choose among several areas of research such as advanced electronics & materials; communication, controls & signals; computing & networking systems; energy systems; secure & reliable computing; and software systems. Courses include distributed systems & middleware; computer networking & data communications; advanced protocols & network security; information warfare; cryptography; legal & ethical issues in information assurance; and more. For the 2016-17 year, this program costs $560 per credit hour.
Colorado State University of Fort Collins provides a distance-based master’s of engineering (ME) with an electrical or computers specialization. Classes include computer organizations & architecture; nanostructures; optical interferometry & laser metrology; power system markets; pulsed power & intense beams; nonlinear control systems; robust control systems; grid integration of wind energy systems; optical properties in solids; and advanced accelerator engineering. This program costs between $649 and $1,035 per credit, depending on the course.
Computer science (CS) sits at the heart of computing, incorporating the theory and design of algorithms for the the storage, processing, and representation of information.
Regis University of Denver, CO has an ABET-accredited online bachelor of science (BS) in computer science with instruction in data structures; advanced programming & algorithms; statistics; computational foundations; discrete mathematics; introduction to game development; and assembly programming, among other subjects. This program is also one of the most affordable at $470 per credit hour.
Colorado State University of Fort Collins, CO provides an online MS in computer science with coursework in object-oriented design; computer networks & the internet; introduction to artificial intelligence; parallel programming; machine learning; database management systems; fault-tolerant computing; software specification & design; foundations of fine-grain parallelism; and software testing analysis. This program costs $675 per credit hour.
Data science refers to the analysis of complex phenomena through the methodical processing of massive quantities of data. It’s derived from broad-based fields such as statistics, computer science, visualization, and machine learning, among many others.
Southern New Hampshire University based in Manchester offers an online BS in data analytics, s field related to data science. Courses include management science through spreadsheets; applied statistics (regression analysis); the fundamentals of data mining; and decision support presentation, among others. This program costs $960 per course ($320 per credit hour) or $675 per course ($225 per credit hour) for active military and their spouses.
Kent State University of Ohio has an online master’s of digital sciences (MDS) with a concentration in data science. Classes include semantic analysis methods & technologies; knowledge organization structures, systems & services; enterprise architecture; network management & design technology; and instructional design. This program costs $11,090 annually for Ohio residents and $19,362 for nonresidents.
Cybersecurity is the protection of computers and networked systems from data theft, destruction, corruption, and other maladies. It involves the ability not only to detect breaches, but also to strengthen existing systems which are vulnerable.
Excelsior College of Albany, NY has an ABET-accredited online bachelor of science (BS) program in cybersecurity in three subspecialties: general, cyber operations, and healthcare. Students take courses such as introduction to microprocessors; cybersecurity defense in depth; cyber attacks & defense; security focused risk management; network & application security; computer forensics system administration; and network & application security, among others. There are varied factors that affect the cost of attendance. For an estimate, please visit EC’s net price calculator.
Norfolk State University of Virginia provides an online master of science (MS) in cybersecurity, which features instruction in computer security; the management of information security; computer & network forensics; human aspects of computing; healthcare information security; and ethical hacking & penetration testing, among other subjects. This program costs $3,574 per semester for in-state students and $8,892 for those out-of-state.
Software engineering is the development, design, evaluation, and maintenance of computer software and systems.
Arizona State University (ASU) has an ABET-accredited online bachelor of science (BS) in software engineering. This program includes coursework in computer systems fundamentals; calculus for engineers; modern differential equations; discrete mathematical structures; design & analysis of data structures & algorithms; computer organization & assembly language programming; critical inquiry in programming; and applied linear algebra. It costs $627 per credit hour.
The Penn State World Campus offers an online master’s of software engineering. This 36-credit program features classes such as requirements engineering; software system design; pattern oriented design; software systems architecture; enterprise integration; applied human computer interaction; software construction; and web security & privacy, among others. For those taking fewer than 12 credits per semester, it costs $930 per credit hour. For those 12 and above, it’s a flat semester rate of $11,160.
Electrical engineering deals with electricity, electronics, and electromagnetism. It embraces many subfields such as control systems, telecommunications, instrumentation, signal processing, microwave engineering, and digital computing, among others.
Excelsior College of Albany, NY has an ABET-accredited online bachelor of science (BS) in electrical engineering technology with three distinct tracks: electronics, nanotechnology, and power systems. Classes include DC circuits, AC circuits, digital electronics, microprocessors, computer programming, project management, and nanotechnology. Similar to the aforementioned EC program, please use the school’s net price calculator to estimate costs.
Arizona State University (ASU) boasts campuses throughout the state and provides an ABET-accredited online BS in electrical engineering. This program has classes such as calculus for engineers; general chemistry; electricity & magnetism; digital design fundamentals; principles of programming with C++; linear algebra; and the fundamentals of electromagnetics. It costs $633 per credit hour.
Grantham University of Lenexa, KS also has an ABET-accredited BS in electrical engineering technology with coursework in the programming essentials; digital electronics; analog integrated circuits; and circuit analysis, among others. This is one of the most affordable programs featured in this piece at $265 per credit hour.
ASU also has an online master’s of science in electrical engineering with several areas of study such as solid-state electronics, mixed-signal integrated circuit design, signal processing, and communications & power electronics. It costs $904 per credit hour.
Electrical & Computer Engineering
Electrical and computer engineering (ECE) is grounded in the development, testing, and operation of machines with computers. These technologies include robotics, motors, lasers, medical equipment, vehicles, consumer devices, power-generating systems, and much more.
University of Arizona based in Tucson provides a distance-based master’s of science (MS) in electrical and computer engineering, which includes 30 units of instruction with the opportunity to specialize in areas such as high-performance computing; digital signal processing, communications & control; computer networks; software engineering & artificial intelligence; detection & estimation; holography & diffractive optics; simulation modeling & heterogeneous systems design; and wireless communications & networks. It costs $995 per unit.
The University of Delaware of Newark has an online master’s degree in electrical and computer engineering with coursework in mathematical methods for signal processing; signals & systems; digital communications; statistical signal processing; applied cryptography; search & data mining; and the smart grid. For the 2016-17 year, it costs $1,720 per credit hour.
Nanoengineering—true to its name—is the design and production of very small materials and structures to be used in computing, medicine, manufacturing, and other fields.
The Penn State World Campus has an online undergraduate certificate in nanotechnology with classes such as material, safety & equipment overview for nanotechnology; basic nanotech processes; materials modification in nanotech applications; and the characterization & testing of nanotech structures & materials. This 18-credit program costs $542 (in-state) or $584 (out-of-state) per credit hour.
North Carolina State University of Raleigh provides a distance-based master’s of nanoengineering (MNAE) with coursework in modern concepts in materials science; mechanical properties of nanostructured materials; simulation & modeling; defects in solids; thermodynamics of materials; physical electronics; chemical processing of electronic materials; and colloid science & nanoscale engineering, among other subjects. It costs $445.66 per credit hour.
Engineering management involves the application of leadership skills such as organization, administration, problem-solving, and planning to engineering.
Arizona State University (ASU) provides an ABET-accredited online bachelor of science in engineering (BSE) with a focus in engineering management. This program includes instruction in probability & statistics for engineering problem-solving; lean six sigma methodology; engineering administration; risk management; introduction to systems engineering; and system dynamics & thinking. Similar to other ASU programs at this level, it costs $627 per credit hour.
The prestigious Johns Hopkins University of Baltimore provides an online master’s of engineering management (MEM) with several concentrations to choose from such as applied & computational mathematics; applied biomedical engineering; applied physics; communications, controls & signal processing; computer engineering; computer science; cybersecurity; information systems; engineering materials science & engineering; mechanical engineering; optics & photonics; RF & microwave engineering; and structural engineering. It costs $3,880 for each graduate-level course.
Industrial engineering seeks to optimize complex systems in manufacturing and other fields, improving the use of time, money, raw materials, labor, machines, and resources through meticulous study and testing.
The University of Southern Mississippi of Hattiesburg, MS offers an ABET-accredited online bachelor of science (BS) in industrial engineering technology featuring classes such as architectural graphics; electrical systems; computer-aided drafting & design; engineering economics; industrial cost control; production & inventory control; industrial automation; and lean production systems. For the 2018 year, this program will cost $332.59 (in-state) or $416.59 (out-of-state) per credit hour. Additional fees may apply.
The University of Michigan, Ann Arbor provides a master’s of engineering (MEng) in manufacturing. Classes include production systems and quality engineering; manufacturing design & sustainability; advanced materials & manufacturing; industry safety, health & ecology; and manufacturing systems design. This program costs $1,465 per credit hour for MI residents and $1,650 for non-residents.
Materials engineering covers the design, discovery, and processing of new materials, especially solids such as metals, minerals, and synthetics such as plastics.
The University of Arizona based in Tucson provides a distance-based BS in materials science and engineering with coursework in solid state chemistry; vector calculus; ordinary differential equations; thermodynamics; introductory electricity & magnetism; numerical methods in materials science & engineering; and a capstone project. For the 2016-17 year, it costs $12,600 total.
The University of Florida based in Gainesville provides an online MS in materials engineering with 30 credits of coursework. There are five concentrations available: general studies, electronic materials, metals, polymers, or structural materials. Classes include advanced materials principles; advanced phase diagrams; diffusion, kinetics & transport; high temperature materials; science of biomaterials; critical analysis of research in materials science & engineering; and polymer physical science, among others. The UF program costs $501.38 per credit hour for FL residents and $725.75 for nonresidents.
Mechanical engineering draws from fields such as thermodynamics, materials science, mechanics, and electricity to create and operate machines.
The University of North Dakota based in Grand Forks has an ABET-accredited online BS in mechanical engineering, which requires a few campus visits for select laboratory intensives. This 129 credit degree program can take six years or more to complete, and has courses such as calculus; dynamics; mechanics of materials; fundamentals of electrical engineering; elementary differential equations; materials science; fluid mechanics; design of machinery; and the fundamentals of heat & mass transfer, among other areas. This program costs $509.04 (ND residents) or $973.78 (nonresidents) per credit hour with some tuition discounts for those from some nearby US states and Canadian provinces.
Purdue University of West Lafayette, IN has a 30-credit hour online master’s of science in mechanical engineering (MSME), which can also be taken as an interdisciplinary MS/MEng. Courses include automotive systems; acoustics & noise control; energy utilization & environmental control; fluid mechanics; and systems, measurements & controls. It costs $3,254 (resident) or $3,594 (nonresident) per three-credit course.
USC’s Viterbi School of Engineering offers an online master of science in mechanical engineering (MSME) in three areas: generalist, dynamics & control or energy conversion. Courses include engineering analysis; energy & propulsion; engineering fluid dynamics; principles of combustion; convective processes radiation heat transfer; dynamics of incompressible fluids; multiphase flows; and spacecraft thermal control, among other areas. For the 2016-17 year, courses cost $1,845 per unit.
Nuclear engineering incorporates both the fission and fusion of atomic nuclei, especially in energy creation, medical devices, radiation, and weapons.
Excelsior College based in Albany, NY provides an ABET-accredited online BS in nuclear engineering technology with three distinct concentrations available: generalist, nuclear cybersecurity, and nuclear leadership. Classes include electrical theory; computer applications; fluids; heat transfer; material science; fundamentals of reactor safety; and plant systems overview. To discover how much the program costs, please check out EC’s net price calculator.
Thomas Edison State University of Trenton, NJ offers an ABET-accredited online BS in nuclear energy engineering technology with coursework in nuclear physics; heat transfer; fluid mechanics; reactors & systems; reactor fundamentals; nuclear instrumentation & control; radiation biophysics; and radiation protection & control, among other areas. Please use the TESU cost calculator to estimate costs.
Robotics engineering deals with the development of computers, sensory systems, and information processing mechanisms in robots. It relies heavily on several other disciplines, including mechanical engineering, computer science, and electrical engineering.
Southern New Hampshire University of Manchester has an online BS in information technologies with a concentration in robotics & artificial intelligence. It features classes such as foundation in application development; website design; computer platform technologies; advanced information systems design; introduction to robotics; machine learning; and artificial intelligence. SNHU’s programs cost $320 per credit hour or $225 for active military members and their spouses.
Worcester Polytechnic Institute of Massachusetts provides an online MS in robotics engineering with instruction in the foundations of robotics; robot dynamics; robot control; project management; and concepts of systems engineering, among other subjects. It costs $1,408 per credit.
Safety engineering is closely related to industrial engineering and aims to mitigate risks in manufacturing, aircraft, medical devices, and other systems.
Trinidad State Junior College of Trinidad, CO has an ABET-accredited online associate of applied science (AAS) degree in occupational safety and health with coursework in general industry standards; fire protection & analysis; hazardous materials; industrial hygiene; workers’ compensation; safety training methods; and accident prevention. It costs $248.75 per credit hour for in-state residents and $375.70 for those living out-of-state.
Eastern Kentucky University of Richmond offers an ABET-accredited online BS in fire protection & safety engineering technology. It’s 100 percent online and has instruction in fire prevention; fire behavior & combustion; hazardous materials; fire protection structures; advanced structural fire protection; and fire protection design. The latest tuition figures (2014-15) state that the program costs $398 per credit hour.
East Carolina University of Greenville has an ABET-accredited online MS in occupational safety with courses such as the regulatory aspects of occupational & environmental safety; risk management; and occupational safety monitoring, among other areas. For the 2016-17 year, this program costs $228.24 (in-state) or $860.15 (out-of-state) per credit hour.
Systems engineering is closely related to engineering management and tackles problems related to the design of complex systems, including reliability, logistics, optimization, coordination of teams, and evaluation.
Johns Hopkins University of Baltimore, MD has an ABET-accredited online MSE in systems engineering with instruction in the management of systems projects; system design & integration; system test & evaluation; and system conceptual design. Available subspecialties include biomedical systems, cybersecurity, human systems, modeling & simulation systems, software systems, and project management. JHU’s graduate-level courses cost $3,880 each.
The University of Michigan, Ann Arbor provides an online MEng in systems & design featuring courses such as the development & verification of system design requirements; system architecting, concept development & embodiment design; software systems engineering; and design optimization, among others. UM’s programs cost $1,465 per credit hour for MI residents and $1,605 for nonresidents.
Bachelor of engineering (BE/BEng) and bachelor of science (BS/BSE) degrees generally share their coursework and program objectives; the main difference is regional. In the US, the majority of undergraduate engineering degrees are BS degrees, but in the UK and Canada, most undergraduates in engineering earn a BEng.
In contrast to the limited distinction between bachelor's degrees, there are some definable, if minor, differences between a master of engineering degree (ME/MEng) and a master of science in engineering (MS/MSE) degree. Namely, the research-heavy MS degree may be preferred for those engineers who plan on continuing their academic career and earning a PhD, while the the MEng degree is more practice-based, ideal for those who prefer hands-on engagement to research or academia. In staying with these differences, an MEng degree often requires a practical graduate project, which can be presented to prospective employers, while an MS degree may have a more theoretical, research-based capstone project. Finally, the MEng is a terminal degree, while the MS may be used as a stepping stone to a PhD.
The master of science in electrical and computer engineering (MSECE) and master of science in electrical engineering (MSEE) are ones that may have had larger differences in the past but the distinction has become much less defined. While the MSECE may emphasize computer engineering and computer science topics in its foundational coursework, the job opportunities available to the different degrees are generally similar.
Engineers interested in pursuing management positions may consider an advanced degree in engineering management or an MBA. Between the options of master's in engineering management (MEM or MSEM), a master's of business administration (MBA), or an MBA/master’s joint program, the choice rests on what the student really wants to pursue and how much time they want to devote to their studies.
Learn business fundamentals
Multiple industry curriculum
Technical skills required
Increased demand for graduates
Average Duration (Full Time)
Even for those engineers who have decided to pursue graduate-level education, there is still the choice between a master of science in engineering (MS or MSE) or a PhD. A PhD may be ideal for individuals who are passionate about a specific type of engineering or those who want to pursue an academic career upon graduation.
BS and MS
Types of Coursework
Practical, hands on
Increased Employment/Leadership Opportunities
Average Duration (Full Time)
Degree is ideal for:
Aspiring professionals in engineering interested in the empirical applications of the work
Those interested in working in theory, research, or academia, strengthening the canon for future engineers