For many aspiring engineers, the first step in starting their careers is earning a bachelor’s degree. Having at least an undergraduate degree can lead to higher compensation, increased professional responsibilities, candidacy for graduate programs, and more opportunities to advance into the future. Here are two of the outstanding online bachelor’s degrees in engineering (or closely related fields) from institutions based in IL:
BS in Technology, Emphasis in Applied Manufacturing Technology – Northern Illinois University
Northern Illinois University in DeKalb allows students to pursue an online bachelor of science (BS) in technology with an emphasis in applied manufacturing technology, a degree offered through the School of Engineering.
The program helps students in developing leadership skills for technology and manufacturing fields. The faculty of the program includes world-class professionals who bring real industry challenges into the classroom.
This program accepts students who already possess a technical associate degree, and requires the completion of an additional 60 credits of courses on industrial quality control, supervision in industry, green technologies, industrial project management, and disaster preparedness, among others.
Students through the program will be able to apply mathematical, engineering, and scientific principles for analyzing, developing, and implementing systems, effectively communicate and cohesively work on team-based projects, and develop applied solutions that meet the cultural, environmental, and ethical needs of society.
BA in Computer Science – Lewis University
Aspiring engineers with an interest in computers may wish to pursue an accelerated, distance-based bachelor of arts (BA) degree in computer science from Lewis University in Romeoville. Students in this program develop programming, cyber-security, problem-solving, and networking skills needed for succeeding in this high-demand field of computer science. The faculty of the program includes dedicated professionals who are experts in their fields, providing real-world, practical instruction.
For admission to the program, students much submit a completed application form, official transcripts from all colleges attended, and a $40 application fee.
This degree can be completed entirely online and consists of eight-week courses on subjects such as discrete mathematics, programming fundamentals, operating systems, object-oriented programming, introduction to networks, programming languages, legal & ethical issues in computing, and computer organization. Students must complete a total of 128 credits.
Students will learn about cybersecurity tasks such as identifying vulnerabilities, encrypting data, sealing holes, and detecting intrusions in networks and computers. They will learn to solve complicated problems and implement machine learning and artificial intelligence in applications for gaining insights from big data. Graduates can take up roles such as software developer, security engineer, database developer, network engineer, web developer, and project manager, among others.
While some engineers obtain entry-level employment following a bachelor’s degree program, others pursue a master’s degree. Graduate education can allow for greater specialization and a comprehensive understanding of a specific field. It’s worth noting that there’s generally a greater variety of online degrees in engineering at the graduate degree level. Here are two online master’s degrees in engineering based in Illinois.
MAS in Biological Engineering – Illinois Institute of Technology
At the Illinois Institute of Technology in Chicago, students have the opportunity to pursue an online master of applied science (MAS) degree in biological engineering preparing students for professional practice in any engineering field that emphasizes heavily on biological processes. Gaining exposure to biology-based technologies, students will learn to analyze and design biological systems for developing practical and innovative solutions in such areas as tissue scaffolding, biomimetic materials, and diabetes.
A thesis is not necessary for this 30-credit program. Core courses include transport phenomena, thermodynamics, biochemistry, molecular biology, entrepreneurship & IP management, and bioprocess engineering, among others. Students are also required to take elective and professional development classes during this program, as well.
Admission requirements include a four-year bachelor’s degree, minimum undergraduate GPA of 3.0, transcripts from all colleges attended, a professional statement, a current resume, and letters of recommendation. IELTS and TOEFL scores will be required of international students.
Upon successful completion, graduates will be prepared for careers such as biomedical engineer, rehabilitation engineer, and cellular, tissue, and genetic engineer, among others.
MS in Computer Science – The University of Illinois at Springfield
The University of Illinois at Springfield provides students the opportunity to pursue an online MS degree in computer science. This program is ideal for candidates who are interested in the analysis, design, and implementation of software programs. The faculty of the program includes distinguished and highly educated leaders with several academic accomplishments, industry expertise, and teaching experience.
The major admission requirements for the program include a minimum undergraduate grade point average of 2.70, a completed program of study similar to a bachelor’s degree in computer science, a completed graduate admission application form, and official transcripts from every college or university attended. GRE scores are not required for admission.
Successful completion of this program requires a total of 32 credits which further splits into eight different courses, including a graduate research seminar. Courses include computer programming concepts, computer organization, data structures & algorithms, programming languages, and introduction to operating systems.
The University of Illinois at Springfield also offers a BS in computer science and a bachelor’s degree in information systems security.
In addition to online bachelor’s and master’s degrees in Illinois, there are certificate and associate degree programs as well. Here are two other distance-based engineering programs based in IL.
Certificate in Transportation Engineering – The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign gives students the option of pursuing a certificate in transportation engineering entirely online. The program falls within the general purview of civil and environmental engineering, providing students with knowledge of the transportation engineering subfield in a shorter period than a degree program.
To get accepted into the program, applicants must have a bachelor of science degree in science or engineering from an accredited university or college in the United States, a minimum grade point average of 3.0, a completed online application, and official transcripts reflecting the bachelor of science degree or any other degrees obtained.
Courses include railroad track engineering, airport design, high-speed rail, and public transportation. Students must complete these 12 credits to obtain the certificate.
Apart from the transportation engineering program, the Grainger College of Engineering also offers certificate programs in construction management, pavement engineering, and railroad engineering.
AA in Computer Science – Oakton Community College
Oakton Community College in Des Plaines offers an online computer science pre-major for an associate in arts program which is ideal for students who are looking to complete a BA in computer science degree after transferring to a four-year institution. It is specifically designed for those who have not yet decided upon a specific four-year university or college.
Students in this 60-credit program will delve into topics such as introduction to computer information systems, human genetics, plants and society, python computer science, environmental geology, discrete mathematics, software cybersecurity, and Java data structures, among others.
Beyond the lure of generous compensation and the desire to study under accomplished professors, aspiring engineers are encouraged to consider other factors before deciding on a school. Before applying to an online engineering program in IL, students should ask:
Two other important considerations are a program’s accreditation and “state authorization” statuses.
Accreditation is an indicator of programmatic or institutional quality. Pursuing accreditation from an esteemed organization is voluntary and demonstrates that a school is committed to offering a useful, reliable, and standardized education which can prepare a student for employment.
To become accredited, a program (or school) must generally meet certain standards in regards to education offered, the management of finances, the provision of student services, and student outcomes, among other criteria.
Bear in mind, however, that not all accreditation organizations carry the same weight; students should search for programs that have received accreditation through one of the entities approved by the U.S. Department of Education’s Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA), including the organizations below, which approve engineering schools in IL:
In addition to accreditation, students should also search for programs that have proper “state authorization” status as well. Students can only attend programs that have been authorized to operate in Illinois. When students reside in the same state as their distance-based institution, this generally isn’t a problem; however, when schools and their students are in different states, students must ensure they’re eligible for admissions.
Most schools display this information on their websites (e.g., the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign), and for those that don’t, students are encouraged to reach out to program coordinators before applying.
Online engineering programs in Illinois typically require students to meet the same prerequisites as their on-campus counterparts. Naturally, some programs may have institution-specific requirements, but many have similar application processes and materials. Broken down by degree level, here are some common criteria for online engineering programs:
Online Bachelor’s Degree in Engineering Requirements:
Online Master’s Degree in Engineering Requirements:
Online Graduate or Professional Certificate Requirements:
There is a wealth of reputable engineering professors who teach courses at schools offering online degrees. Here are three standout educators and researchers who lead engineering or computer science-related courses in Illinois:
Rahim Benekohal, PhD – The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Dr. Rahim Benekohal is a professor within the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, where his primary research area focuses is transportation engineering. He’s the editor of the book Traffic Congestion and Traffic Safety in the 21st Century: Challenges, Innovations, and Opportunities, published by the ASCE (1997), and currently serves as the editor of the civil engineering section of the Journal of Engineering. He’s also the director of the Traffic Operations Lab at the university, as well as the faculty advisor to the student chapter of the Institute of Transportation Engineers.
Dr. Benekohal teaches graduate and undergraduate courses and conducts research in traffic flow theory, traffic signals, intelligent transportation systems, and traffic networks, among others. He completed his PhD, MS, and BS, all from The Ohio State University.
Ted Mims, PhD – The University of Illinois at Springfield
Dr. Ted Mims is a professor in the Department of Computer Science at the University of Illinois at Springfield, where he also serves as the department head. Courses he’s taught include computer organization, introduction to operating systems, network administration, and computer architecture, among many others. His current research is related to developing laboratory and instructional modules for teaching about networks, systems security, and information assurance.
Notably, he’s the recipient of several National Science Foundation grants and research stipends over the years. He completed his PhD from the University of North Texas, MS from Louisiana State University, and a BS from Northwestern State University.
Said Oucheriah, PhD – Northern Illinois University
Dr. Said Oucheriah is a professor of technology within the Department of Engineering at Northern Illinois University. His research interests include large-scale systems, time-delay systems, robust and adaptive control, and frequency synthesizers, among others.
Dr. Oucheriah has many authorship credits to his name, including a February 2016 article in the International Journal of Electronics Letters; a February 2015 article in the International Journal of Innovative Computing, Information, and Control; and many more in peer-reviewed publications. He completed his doctor of engineering and MS at Cleveland State University and a BS at Case Western Reserve University.