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Online Engineering Degree Programs for Residents of Hawaii

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Online Bachelor’s Degrees in Engineering

Online engineering degrees are not currently offered by any universities based in Hawaii. That said, the following out-of-state bachelor’s programs accept students from Hawaii to learn online, at a distance.

Bachelor of Science in Engineering – California National University

California National University based in Torrance offers an online bachelor of science in engineering with several distinct specializations (e.g., mechanical, electrical, computer science, computer engineering, environmental, quality assurance science). Students in this program must complete 126 credit-hours in order to graduate, 30 of which must be completed in their chosen subfield. Tuition for undergraduate students is $300 per credit-hour, bringing the total cost of the program to $37,800, not including additional fees.

Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering – University of North Dakota

The University of North Dakota offers an online bachelor of science in mechanical engineering. This 129-credit-hour program may take over six years to complete, and is designed for working professionals who wish to pursue a degree but who are unable to complete a full-time, on-campus program. Hawaii residents are eligible for reduced tuition based on the Western Undergraduate Exchange program; however, applicants should contact the school for a customized tuition assessment.

Online Master’s Degrees in Engineering

While some engineers choose to begin working following completion of an undergraduate program, others go on to complete a master’s degree. Ideal for working professionals and people in remote states such as Hawaii, here are two standout online master’s degrees in engineering.

Master of Engineering in Civil Engineering – Colorado State University

Colorado State University in Fort Collins offers a master of engineering in civil engineering, which allows students to study topics such as water control and measurement, hydrology, environmental monitoring, geographic information systems, and infrastructure management, among others. This 32-credit-hour program can be completed in three years, and is delivered entirely online through the school’s specialized system. The tuition for this program is $909 per credit, bringing the total cost to $29,088, excluding additional fees.

Master of Science in Electrical and Computer Engineering – University of Utah

The University of Utah offers a master of science in electrical and computer engineering, which combines both traditional online and interactive learning. More specifically, traditional online learning allows students to study at home and at their own pace, while the interactive method requires students to complete group assignments, contribute to a discussion forum, and perform peer reviews of the work of other students. The program is roughly $10,258 per semester, assuming a typical 12 credit-hour load.

Other Online Engineering Programs

Aspiring engineers also have the option to complete an number of other online engineering programs such as graduate certificates.

Graduate Certificate in Engineering Management – University of Arizona

The University of Arizona offers an online graduate certificate in engineering management. This 12-credit program can be completed in a single year, and includes courses on financial modeling for innovation, engineering decision-making under uncertainty, project management, and an additional elective. Tuition is set at $1,149 per unit, bringing the total cost of this program to $13,788.

Graduate Certificate in Microsystem Technology – University of Florida

The University of Florida offers a graduate certificate in microsystem technology, which is delivered through the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering and is meant to prepare students for the complex, interdisciplinary development of microsystem technologies such as microactuators, microsensors, microfluidic devices, micropower systems, and microoptical devices, among others. Students in this program take three courses, one of which covers microelectronic fabrication technologies. Although some tuition information is available online, prospective applicants should reach out to the school directly for more information.

Online Engineering Programs – What to Consider

Enrolling in an online engineering program is a process that requires serious consideration. And, before submitting an application, prospective students are encouraged to seek out answers to the following questions:

  • Can I complete this program part-time?
  • Will I be able to finish practical experience credits in my home community?
  • Am I required to attend the campus throughout the course of studies?
  • Will the school help me find a job after graduation?
  • What is the total cost of the program, including fees?
  • What have past graduates gone on to do?

Furthermore, applicants must also determine whether or not their program is accredited and authorized to operate in the state.


Accreditation is an important attribute of an online engineering programs. While aspiring engineers are not required to graduate from an accredited program to find a job, it does have benefits. Most employers prefer to hire candidates with a degree from an accredited program, and eligibility for financial aid also hinges on whether or not a program has received recognition from an approved entity.

Not all accreditation organizations are equal in reputability. Therefore, aspiring engineers should look for programs that have been accredited by an agency approved by the U.S. Department of Education’s Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA). The following includes a sample list of some of these organizations, which accredit online programs open to Hawaii’s students:

National accreditation

Regional accreditation

Programmatic accreditation

State Authorization

State authorization status is another important attribute. State authorization indicates whether a school is eligible to operate in a specific state. Since there are no online engineering degree programs currently in Hawaii, those residents must consider out-of-state programs for which they qualify. Fortunately, many universities display this information on their website (e.g., Colorado State University). For those which don’t, students are encouraged to contact program staff to ensure eligibility.

Admissions Requirements

In general, most online engineering degree programs have similar admissions requirements to their on-campus counterparts at the same level. Some programs have have prerequisites that are unique to the institution; however, the general criteria and admissions materials are similar across the board.

For example, the University of Utah’s online master’s degree program in electrical and computer engineering calls for candidates with:

  • Minimum undergraduate GPA of 3.2
  • GRE scores of 158 or higher in the quantitative area, 29 or higher in the analytical area, and 150 or higher in the verbal area

Other common admissions requirements for online engineering programs include specific course prerequisites; additional test scores; letters of recommendation; a personal statement; and even candidate interviews.

Online Engineering Professors

A number of talented professors lead courses at schools that offer online engineering programs. Here are three professors from schools with online engineering programs open to Hawaii’s students:

Dr. Charles D. Shackelford – Colorado State University

Dr. Charles D. Shackelford is a professor of civil and environmental engineering at Colorado State University, where he also serves as the department head. His research interests include environmental geotechnics, geotechnical engineering for waste containment, geoenvironmental engineering, groundwater flow, seepage, and contaminant transport. Dr. Shackelford has received many awards and recognitions, including the 2011 Faculty Award for Excellence in Research and being selected as a fellow of the American Society of Civil Engineers in December 2016. His work has been featured in a number of impactful publications such as the Journal of Geotechnical and Geoenvironmental Engineering, among others.

Dr. Richard B. Brown – University of Utah

Dr. Richard B. Brown is a professor within the School of Electrical and Computer Engineering at the University of Utah, where he also serves as a professor in the School of Computing; an adjunct professor of bioengineering; and the dean of the engineering school. Awards and recognitions that he has received include the 2016 Governor’s Medal for Excellence in Science & Technology and the 2015 Fellow Honorary Award from the National Academy of Inventors. His research interests include chemical sensors, neural interfaces, electronic circuit clocking, and circuit design, among others.

Dr. John Gregory Harris – University of Florida

Dr. John Gregory Harris is a professor of electrical and computer engineering at the University of Florida, where he also serves as the department chair. His research focuses on developing biologically inspired algorithms for sensory and neural processing that can be implemented in analog VLSI or DSP systems. He and his students founded the Hybrid Computation Group within the Computational Neural Engineering Laboratory at the university. Notably, Dr. Harris is a member of the school’s biomedical engineering program, as well.