Although no online bachelor’s degrees in engineering are currently offered through universities in Alaska, the following are distance-based programs located in the Pacific Northwest and the West Coast:
Oregon State University of Corvallis offers an online undergraduate degree program in computer science. While this program awards bachelor of science degrees, it is geared towards students who already possess a bachelor’s degree, yet do not have training specifically in computer science. The program covers courses on programming fundamentals, software engineering, databases, computer systems and networking, and mobile and web development, among others. Tuition varies based on various factors and interested students should contact the program administrator for more information.
California State University, Monterey Bay also offers an online bachelor of science degree in computer science, which is designed to prepare students for a career in mobile app development, software engineering, technology project management, or a related field. Students must complete 120 credit-hours in subjects such as software design, internet and graphics programming, computer networks, software engineering, and more. Tuition for the program is set at $500 per unit, and most of the courses in the program are four units.
While not required, a master’s degree in engineering can help professionals develop a greater mastery of their field. For those interested in an online master’s degree, two options in the Pacific Northwest are listed below:
In addition to offering a high-quality bachelor’s degree, Oregon State University provides an online master of engineering (MEng) degree in industrial engineering. This 45-credit-hour program covers topics such as operations management, economic analysis, product development, management of information systems, systems engineering, and lean manufacturing systems, among others. Tuition is set at $583 per credit-hour, bringing the total cost of the program to $26,235.
Washington State University in Pullman offers an online master of science in software engineering, which allows for either a full-time study plan that can be completed in two years, or a part-time plan for students with other responsibilities. Students must complete 30 credit-hours in courses such as advanced algorithms, software requirements, and software design and architecture, among others. Tuition for full-time students is set at $5,842.50 per semester, although tuition rates vary for part-time students.
In addition to the distance-based bachelor’s and master’s degrees in engineering, here are two online certificate programs from institutions in the Pacific Northwest.
The University of Washington in Seattle offers an online certificate program in Android application development, which lasts eight months and starts at various times throughout the year. This certificate is designed for developers and technical professionals with mastery of at least one high-level programming language. Students learn about core Java coding skills for developing on the Android platform, user interface design and development, cross-application interaction and communication, and key concepts for building rich applications using advanced features. The total cost of the program is $3,297.
The University of Washington also offers a certificate in embedded and real-time systems programming. This eight-month program costs $3,447 total, and is designed for developers and technical professionals with experience programming in the C or C++ languages. Students can expect to learn concepts in computer architecture and hardware from a software perspective, embedded debugging techniques using a hardware JTAG-based debug interface, and key operating system principles, among many other subjects.
In addition to reading through the above information, prospective online engineering students are encouraged to perform additional research to determine if their program of interest is the right choice. Specifically, individuals should determine the total cost of the program; if the program can be completed on a part-time basis; if students must attend the campus throughout the duration of their studies; and if the school will assist with job placement after graduation.
Additionally, applicants should also search for programs that are accredited and retain appropriate state authorization status, as well.
Receiving a degree from an accredited program is not always necessary to obtain a job in engineering. That said, many employers favor candidates with accredited education and financial aid is typically granted only to students in accredited programs.
State authorization status is another important factor. Students are only able to study in online programs that are eligible to operate in Alaska, also referred to as “state authorization.” In other words, students must ensure their eligibility in online programs located in other states. Fortunately, many schools display this information on their website (e.g., Washington State University). For those which don’t, students should contact program admissions offices to verify status.
Many programs have similar admissions requirements for their online and campus-based programs at the same level. For example, the online bachelor of science degree in computer science from Oregon State University calls for applicants with:
It’s important to bear in mind that this program is slightly different than many other undergraduate degree programs, as it requires students to already possess a bachelor’s degree. Other common admissions requirements for online engineering programs include specific course prerequisites; test scores; candidate interviews; a competitive GPA (e.g., >3.0); and solid research experience.
A number of skilled educators and researchers lead classes in Pacific Northwestern schools that offer online engineering programs:
Dr. Diane Cook – Washington State University
Dr. Diane Cook is the Huie-Rogers Chair Professor within the Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science at Washington State University. She currently serves as the program chair for the IEEE International Conference on Pervasive Computing and Communications, and is a guest editor with ACM Transactions on Intelligent Systems and Technology. Her research interests include machine learning, data mining, robotics, smart environments, and parallel algorithms for artificial intelligence, among others.
Dr. David S. Kim – Oregon State University
Dr. David S. Kim is a professor of industrial and manufacturing engineering at Oregon State University, where he has served in various roles since 2000. His research interests include applied operations, production system design and optimization, performance evaluation of production systems, scheduling heuristics, discrete event dynamic systems, and facility layout of engineering organizations. He also leads research within the influential Manufacturing Systems and Logistics Lab at OSU.
Dr. Shwetak Patel – University of Washington
Dr. Shwetak Patel is the Washington Research Foundation Entrepreneurship Endowed Professor in Computer Science and Engineering and Electrical Engineering at the University of Washington, where he also leads a research facility: the Ubicomp Lab. He has received a number of awards and recognitions, including the Presidential PECASE Award in 2016 and the NSF Career Award in 2013. His work was honored by the New York Times in 2005 as a top technology of the year. Notably, he is also a member of the World Economic Forum’s Global Shaper Community.
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