Obtaining a bachelor’s degree is often the first step towards becoming an engineer in Iowa. Currently, there’s only one institution in the state with distance-based bachelor’s programs in engineering: Upper Iowa University.
Upper Iowa University located in Fayette offers a bachelor of science in software engineering, which can be completed entirely online. This program includes courses on visualization and graphics, IT infrastructure, foundations of information systems, computer architecture, operating systems, and advanced programming, among others. Tuition for online programs is set at $1,323 per three-credit-hour class.
Upper Iowa University also offers an online bachelor of science degree in information systems; while this is not a true engineering degree, it can provide a valuable and high-quality education for those looking to pursue a career in software or computer hardware engineering. Classes include those on database and information management, human-computer interaction, IT infrastructure, foundations of information systems, systems analysis and design, and enterprise architecture, among others. Like the program above, tuition is set at $1,323 per three-credit-hour course.
A master’s degree can prove valuable for engineers looking to specialize in a specific field. In light of this, anyone interested in pursuing a graduate engineering degree in Iowa may wish to consider the following options:
Iowa State University in Ames offers a distance-based master of engineering degree in computer engineering. This 30-credit-hour program includes various areas of research such as advanced electronics and materials; communication, controls, and signals; computing and networking systems; energy systems; secure and reliable computing; and software systems. Tuition is set at between $560 and $572 per credit-hour for the 2017-18 school year.
Iowa State University also offers other online engineering degree programs, including a master’s degree in aerospace engineering. This program comprises 30 credit-hours, and students can choose to pursue a master of science, which includes a thesis, or a master of engineering, which includes more coursework. Classes include the advanced mechanics of materials, experimental mechanics, numerical mesh generation, finite element analysis, compressible fluid flow, and orbital mechanics, among many others. Tuition for this program is also set at between $560 and $572 per credit-hour for the 2017-18 school year.
In addition to master’s programs, some schools offer online certificates that allow for some specialization without the commitment of a full degree. The following outlines two online engineering graduate certificates, both of which are offered by Iowa State University:
A graduate certificate in power systems engineering is one of the certificate programs offered by Iowa State University. In this program, students must complete 12 credit-hours by taking classes on steady state analysis, power systems dynamics, special topics in electric power, and advanced topics in electrical power. This program can also act as a bridge into a master’s degree program, as well, if the student is interested in continuing on with their studies. Tuition for this program is also between $560 and $572 per credit-hour for the 2017-18 school year.
Iowa State University also offers an online graduate certificate in embedded systems, which covers areas such as embedded hardware, embedded software, real-time systems, real-time operating systems, design methodology, and hardware-software co-design. Students are able to finish this program in as few as nine months by taking two courses per semester, and have the option to continue on and pursue a master’s degree, as well. Tuition is $560 to $572 per credit-hour for the 2017-18 school year.
Aspiring students are encouraged to research their programs of choice thoroughly before they submit an application. To be sure, applicants should ask a number of questions, including the following:
Furthermore, anyone interested in an online engineering degree program in Iowa should also search for those that are accredited and that retain appropriate state authorization status.
Accreditation is ultimately synonymous with quality. To be sure, in order to receive accreditation, a program must meet specific standards related to the quality of education delivered, the management of finances, student outcomes, and more. That’s not to say that it’s necessary to graduate from an accredited program in order to work as an engineer; however, many employers may favor applicants who have a degree from an accredited program.
When researching potential programs and their accrediting bodies, prospective students should search for those that have been accredited by an agency approved by the U.S. Department of Education’s Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA).
State authorization status is another important factor to consider for online engineering students in Iowa. Specifically, Iowa students may only study in programs that are eligible to operate in the state, a concept known as “state authorization.” Fortunately, this likely won’t be an issue for students attending an online program in their own state of residence. For out-of-state students seeking to determine eligibility, program websites typically include a state authorization page (e.g., Upper Iowa University).
Overall, many online engineering degree programs will have similar, if not identical, admissions requirements for students in on-campus and online programs at the same level, making the application process fairly uniform across the board. As an example, here are the admissions prerequisites for the master of engineering in aerospace engineering degree program at Iowa State University:
Other common admissions materials include a resume showing years of experience; proof of prerequisite coursework; a candidate interview; and other materials.
A number of highly talented professors currently lead courses at schools offering online degrees. Three of these educators are briefly outlined below:
Dr. Ashraf Bastawros – Iowa State University
Dr Ashraf Bastawros is the Wilson Engineering Professor of Aerospace Engineering at Iowa State University, where he also serves as a professor of mechanical engineering and materials science and engineering by courtesy. He’s also an associate at the Ames Laboratory. His areas of interest include the mechanics of soft and flexible materials and structures under combined external fields, and the mechanics of interfaces and layered structures, among others. His written work has appeared in an array of professional publications, including Electrochemical and Solid-State Letters, the Journal of Materials Research, and the International Journal of Solids and Structures.
Dr. Valery I. Levitas – Iowa State University
Dr. Valery I. Levitas is the Vance Coffman Faculty Chair Professor of Aerospace Engineering at Iowa State University, as well as a professor of mechanical engineering and materials science and engineering by courtesy. He’s also a faculty scientist at Ames Laboratory. His research has been published in numerous journals, including the Journal of Mechanics and Physics of Solids, the Journal of Applied Physics, and Computer Methods in Applied Mechanics and Engineering, among many others. He has organized multiple international multidisciplinary symposia on phase transformations and mechanochemistry, and has received a number of awards, including the 2017 Khan International Medal Award for outstanding contributions to the field of plasticity; the 2016 ISU Award for Outstanding Achievement in Research; and the 2010 Da Vinci Diamond.
Dr. David C. Jiles – Iowa State University
Dr. David C. Jiles is Palmer Endowed Department Chair in Electrical and Computer Engineering at Iowa State University—the first person to hold this position—as well as the Anson Marston Distinguished Professor. He has authored more than 700 scientific papers and published three books. He also holds 21 patents. Dr. Jiles served as the editor-in-chief of IEEE Transactions on Magnetics from 2005 to 2011, and was elected to the Royal Academy of Engineering in 2014. His areas of research include nonlinear and hysteretic behavior of magnetic materials; magnetoelasticity, magnetostriction, and magnetomechanical effects; the development of novel magnetic materials; and the applications of magnetic measurements to nondestructive evaluation.