While there are currently no online bachelor’s degrees in engineering available from Nebraska’s universities, the following closely related options can likely help graduates move forward in this career, especially in the realm of computer engineering:
Bellevue University an online bachelor of science in software development, which is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission. This 127-credit-hour program generally requires four years to complete, during which students must take 27 general education credits, 55 elective credits, 36 major credits, and nine Kirkpatrick Signature Series credits, the latter of which are specific to the university. Classes in this program include structured system analysis and design, business system programming, web scripting, information security, and introduction to programming. Tuition is $410 per credit-hour, or $52,070 altogether.
A master’s degree allows aspiring engineers to further hone their skills in one specialty. Currently only one online engineering degree is available in Nebraska; however, prospective students can choose to study in out-of-state programs, such as the one detailed below:
The University of Nebraska–Lincoln offers a master of engineering management degree that can be completed entirely online. Students in this 30-credit-hour program are not required to complete a thesis and have the option to specialize in construction engineering and management, as well. This program is designed for working professionals with undergraduate degrees in engineering, although applicants with non-engineering degrees may still be accepted as long as they commit to taking certain undergraduate prerequisites during their studies. Tuition is $630 per credit-hour, bringing the total cost to $18,900.
Students willing to study in a program held outside of Nebraska may wish to consider pursuing an online master of science in aerospace engineering through the University of Colorado. The master’s degree can generally be completed in two years, during which students can complete a coursework-only option, a two-sequence graduate project course, or a thesis. Furthermore, students have the option of specializing in one of four different areas, including aerospace engineering systems; astrodynamics and satellite navigation systems; bioastronautics; or remote sensing, Earth and space science (RSESS). Tuition for out-of-state students who are studying full-time is $16,092 per semester for the 2017-18 school year, excluding additional fees.
A number of other online engineering programs are available from Nebraska’s institutions of higher learning, including associate degrees and graduate certificates.
Although not a true engineering degree, the online associate of science (A.S.) in computer science degree offered by Western Nebraska Community College can help prepare students who are interested in a career in computer hardware or software engineering. This program requires two years of study, during which students can also earn a variety of certificates in subjects such as CompTIA A+, Network+, Security+, Linux+, and others. Tuition for Nebraska residents is set at $97.50 per credit-hour; furthermore, the school estimates the total tuition for the 2017-18 school year to be $2,760. The school’s campuses are based in Alliance, Scottsbluff, and Sidney, NE.
In neighboring Colorado, aspiring engineers can pursue an online graduate certificate in space operations at the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs. This program generally takes less than two years to complete and includes courses on the fundamentals of astronautics, space policy, systems engineering processes, remote sensing in space, and space communications, among others. In addition, this coursework can be applied toward a graduate degree, should the student choose to continue on and pursue a master’s. Tuition for nonresidents is $833 per credit-hour for the 2017-18 school year, although prospective applicants should reach out to the school directly for a customized assessment.
Prospective engineers are encouraged to perform thorough research before applying to an online program. Specifically, potential applicants are advised to ask the following questions:
Accreditation is, simply put, synonymous with quality. While online engineering programs are not required to pursue accreditation, doing so shows that they have met certain standards regarding the education offered to students; the management of program finances; student outcomes; the quality of facilities; and more. Enrolling in an accredited program may be a prerequisite to receiving financial aid or qualifying for certification exams, and graduates of these programs may be favored by employers.
It’s important to note, however, that while many accrediting organizations exist, not all are the same. Instead, prospective applicants are encouraged to seek out programs that have received accreditation through agencies approved by the U.S. Department of Education’s Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA), including:
Nebraska students are only eligible to study in programs that are allowed to operate in the state, a concept known as “state authorization” status. As such, all prospective applicants should determine if their programs are authorized before submitting any applications. Fortunately this information is often readily available on a school’s website (e.g., University of Nebraska–Lincoln), simplifying the research process. Contact admissions offices with any questions about eligibility.
Although the admissions requirements for each online engineering program varies slightly, in general the criteria will be similar based on the level of study. For example, the master of engineering management program at the University of Nebraska–Lincoln requires:
Before submitting an application, prospective students should contact the program directly with any questions. Other common admissions packet materials include test scores (e.g., SAT, ACT, GRE, TOEFL), candidate interviews, a minimum GPA (>3.0), proof of work experience, and specific course prerequisites.
The online engineering programs in Nebraska are staffed by talented educators and researchers. The following provides a brief description of three skilled professors who currently lead classes in Nebraska universities offering online engineering degree programs:
Dr. Terry Stentz – University of Nebraska–Lincoln
Dr. Terry Stentz is an associate professor in the Durham School of Architectural Engineering and Construction at the University of Nebraska–Lincoln, where he also serves as the graduate chair of construction engineering and management. He teaches courses on occupational health and safety for construction, construction leadership, engineering management, and building environmental technical systems, among a number of others. Notably, he has authorship credits in a wide array of publications, including the American Journal of Industrial Medicine and the Journal of Occupational Medicine. Dr. Stentz is a member of the Institute of Industrial Engineers, the Human Factors and Ergonomics Society, and the American Institute of Constructors, among other professional organizations.
Dr. James Goedert – University of Nebraska–Lincoln
Dr. James Goedert is a professor of construction engineering at the University of Nebraska–Lincoln, where his areas of research and professional interests lie in construction management, construction business management, engineering economics, and construction materials. Outside of the classroom, he has provided valuable assistance to communities in Haiti, and has led a team that has spent time rebuilding a north Omaha neighborhood. Dr. Goedert teaches predominantly management courses for construction systems technology.
Dr. Zhigang Shen – University of Nebraska–Lincoln
Dr. Zhigang Shen is an associate professor of construction engineering and management at the University of Nebraska–Lincoln, where his research focuses on building information modeling, infrastructure data management, sustainable building envelopes, and innovative engineering education. As of this writing, he has published 19 journal articles and 28 conference papers, and has been awarded more than $3 million in grants from research agencies, including the DOE, the DOL, the EPA, the NSF, and the NDOR.