For aspiring engineers in Washington DC, obtaining a bachelor’s degree is often the first step to begin their career. In addition to campus-based programs, here are two online bachelor’s programs in engineering from DC-based institutions.
The University of the Potomac, which has campuses in downtown DC and Vienna, VA, is one of the only universities in the area that offers online bachelor’s degrees, including a BS in information technology. This program features courses on security loss prevention, computer forensics, survey of operating systems, and computer systems technology, among others, and allows students to focus on a various tracks such as cybersecurity, digital forensics, network systems administration, and management. Students have the option to take classes in-person or entirely online, and tuition is set at $720 per three-credit-hour course.
Students at the University of the Potomac also have the option of pursuing an online BS degree in cybersecurity and policy, which requires 120 credit-hours of courses such as cyber law, the foundations of cybersecurity, survey of operating systems, network security management, and introduction to data communication and networking, among others. This program is designed to assist students in pursuing a career in cybersecurity or digital forensics, although the knowledge obtained would likely be useful in any position related to information technology or computer programming. Similarly, tuition is set at $720 per three-credit-hour course, although prospective students should reach out to the program administration directly with any questions about additional fees.
Not surprisingly, aspiring engineers can attain greater employment and salary prospects if they have master’s degrees. Fortunately, there are several advanced, distance-based engineering programs from schools in Washington DC.
At George Washington University, current or aspiring engineers can pursue a distance-based MS in systems engineering. This 36-credit program includes courses on the management of technical organizations, decision-making with uncertainty, a survey of finance and engineering economics, and knowledge management, among a number of other required classes. This program ultimately prepares students to take the Certified Systems Engineering Professional (CSEP) exam offered by the International Council of Systems Engineering (INCOSE). Total tuition for this program is set at $30,960 (2017-18).
At Johns Hopkins University in nearby Baltimore, MD, prospective engineers can earn an MS in applied biomedical engineering in an online or hybrid format. Prerequisite courses for this program include organic chemistry and molecular biology, among others. The program includes classes on physiology for applied biomedical engineering and mathematical methods for engineers, along with other specialized subjects. This program includes three possible focus areas/tracks: imaging, instrumentation, and translational tissue and engineering. Full-time graduate tuition for the 2016-17 school year was set at $50,410, although additional fees may apply.
Apart from bachelor’s and master’s degrees, there are other online engineering programs from schools in Washington DC. Here are two distance-based graduate certificates to consider.
George Washington University provides current or aspiring environmental engineers with an online graduate certificate in greenhouse gas management. Students learn how to measure, analyze, and report emissions related to energy use and to apply cost-effective energy management principles that reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Courses in this program include those on climate change policy, impacts, and responses; greenhouse gas measurement and reporting; greenhouse gas mitigation; greenhouse gas management assurance; and information systems design. Tuition for graduate-level engineering programs at the university is set at $1,790 per credit-hour. Additional fees may apply.
Johns Hopkins University also provides an online graduate certificate in electrical and computer engineering. This program includes two concentration options, including photonics and communications and networking, and allows for various types of subspecialization, as well. Students take courses on microprocessors for robotic systems, computer architecture, embedded microprocessor systems, and the principles of microwave circuits, among others. Tuition for the 2016-17 school year for graduate students was $50,410, excluding additional fees.
Anyone interested in an online engineering degree program in Washington DC is encouraged weigh the most important considerations prior to applying:
These are only a handful of questions that prospective students should pose to program administrators before applying. Furthermore, applicants are advised to search for programs that are accredited and possess appropriate state authorization status.
As a note, graduating from an accredited program is not necessary to work as an engineer in some capacity. However, many employers only hire applicants who have a diploma from an accredited school, and many graduate schools or certification boards only accept applicants who have graduated from an accredited program. As such, it’s clear that there are significant benefits to searching for a program that has received accreditation.
Beyond accreditation, future students are advised to look for programs that have proper state authorization status, as well. In other words, students attending out-of-state online programs must ensure that they’re eligible to enroll. Students in Washington DC cannot study in programs that aren’t authorized to operate in the area. Therefore, prospective students are encouraged to perform due diligence by searching for this information, which is often available online (e.g., Johns Hopkins University), or can be provided by program staff.
Although some online engineering schools have unique prerequisites, often the criteria will be similar—if not the same—as their on-campus program counterparts. For example, here is an overview of the admissions requirements for the online applied biomedical engineering master’s degree program at Baltimore’s Johns Hopkins University, one of the more selective programs in the country:
Lastly, while the GRE test isn’t required for this JHU program, there are various proficiency exams available for students who learned prerequisite subjects on-the-job and wish to test out of those classes (e.g., discrete mathematics, data structures, programming languages, etc).
Here are three highly-regarded educators who teach in schools providing online engineering degree programs in Washington DC:
Dr. Jonathan P. Deason – George Washington University
Dr. Jonathan Deason is a professor in the Department of Engineering Management and Systems Engineering at George Washington University. He also serves as the co-director of the Environmental & Energy Management Institute, where his current research focuses on renewable energy, environmental sustainability, alternative fuel vehicles, energy policy, decision aiding, multi-objective optimization, hydrogen economy, environmental management, and water resources. He is a fellow of the American Society of Civil Engineers, and a member of both the American Society of Engineering Management and the American Water Resources Association. He also has been a member of the editorial advisory board for the Federal Facilities Environmental Journal and Environmental Engineering and Policy, among other influential publications.
Dr. Ralph Etienne-Cummings – Johns Hopkins University
Dr. Ralph Etienne-Cummings is a professor of electrical and computer engineering at Johns Hopkins University in nearby Baltimore, where he also serves as the department chair. His research interests include mixed signal VLSI systems, computational sensors, computer vision, neuromorphic engineering, smart structures, and mobile robotics, among other areas of study. He has received a host of different awards, including the NSF’s Career Award; the Office of Naval Research Young Investigator Program Award; and the 2010 JHU Applied Physics Lab R.W. Hart Prize for Best R&D Project in Development. He also has a growing list of impactful publications to his name, including those in Transactions on Biomedical Circuits and Systems and the Journal of Neural Engineering.
Dr. Rene Van Dorp – George Washington University
Dr. Rene Van Dorp is a professor in the Department of Engineering Management and Systems Engineering at George Washington University, where his current research focuses on expert judgment elicitation, uncertainty analysis, probabilistic risk analysis, simulation modeling, distribution theory, reliability analysis, and financial engineering. He has received numerous distinctions throughout his career, including being inducted into the Omega Rho International Honor Society in 2005 and being named the EMSE Professor of the Year by the School of Engineering and Applied Science Students Engineers’ Council in 2003-2004. He has also worked with various clients, including the United States Coast Guard, the Navy, the Washington State Department of Transportation, and the San Francisco Bay Water Transit Authority, among others.