Online Engineering Degree Programs in North Carolina

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NC-Based Online Bachelor’s Degrees in Engineering

For some engineering fields, a bachelor’s degree is sufficient for an entry-level position. It’s important to note that the majority of online engineering programs is concentrated in certain subfields (e.g., computers) and at the graduate-degree level. That said, here are two online undergraduate programs in engineering from institutions based in North Carolina:

B.S. in Engineering Technology (Electrical) – UNC Charlotte

At the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, students can pursue an online bachelor of science (B.S.) in engineering technology with a focus on electrical engineering. The courses are delivered entirely online, and attendance is only required during summer labs for some face-to-face, on-campus instruction. Courses in this program include linear circuits, digital logic and systems, microprocessors, microcontrollers and embedded systems, electronic circuits and systems, and control and power systems. The cost is $154.90 per credit-hour for North Carolina residents, which amounts to $9,448.90 for the entire program.

B.S. in Geomatics – North Carolina A&T State University

Students at North Carolina A&T State University in Greensboro can pursue an online B.S. in geomatics, which is a broad engineering-related field using complex measurements to determine locations on the earth’s surface. It is the only four-year program in North Carolina that prepares students for professional licensure in this field, thereby leading to careers in hydrographic surveying, geomatics project consulting, or GIS/cartography, among others. The cost for North Carolina residents is $117 per credit-hour, which does not include other fees, including those for distance education.

NC-Based Online Master’s Degrees in Engineering

Although many engineers pursue bachelor’s degrees and gain skills on the job, others seeking to work in leadership or academia may want to take their formal education further. A graduate degree in engineering can lead to higher paying work and greater responsibilities, as well as a more thorough exposure to the graduate’s chosen field. Here are two standout online master’s programs in engineering in NC:

M.S. in Chemical Engineering – NC State University

At NC State University in Raleigh, students have the option to pursue a master of science (M.S.) in chemical engineering entirely online. The program requires 30 credit hours of courses on transport phenomena, chemical reaction engineering, thermodynamics, and others. No thesis or on-campus residency is required, and students must maintain an average 3.0 GPA or above to remain enrolled. The cost per credit-hour is $482.56 for North Carolina residents, and the estimated total cost of the program is $14,476.80.

M.S. in Software Engineering – East Carolina University

East Carolina University in Greenville provides students with the option to complete an M.S. in software engineering degree online in three distinct tracks: software design and development, software project management and quality assurance, or software testing. Required courses include software engineering foundations, software project management, software construction, and dependable systems and software reliability, as well as related electives. North Carolina residents are charged $228.24 per credit-hour for graduate courses (2016-17), although this may not include other fees associated with distance learning.

Other Online Engineering Programs in NC

Some aspiring engineers take alternative educational routes, completing associate degrees or certificates in lieu of advanced degrees. Here are two online certificate programs in engineering from NC-based schools:

Certificate in Computer Programming – NC State University

Working professionals who already hold a bachelor’s degree may choose to pursue an online certificate in computer programming at NC State University. This certificate program is designed for people who hope to gain fundamental computing skills. The certificate requires 25 credit-hours in eight different courses, all focused on computing and mathematics. The cost per credit-hour for North Carolina residents is $236.88, and the approximate total cost of the program is $5,922.00.

Certificate in Website Development – East Carolina University

At East Carolina University, students can achieve a distance-based certificate in website development with 15 credit-hours of study. It typically takes 18 months to complete. The program is delivered entirely online and includes courses on network media services, enterprise web services, website development, internet research methods, and dynamic web services. Residents of North Carolina are charged $244.71 per credit-hour, which does not include fees associated with online learning.

What to Consider in an Online Engineering Program

Prior to applying for an online engineering program in North Carolina, there are many variables to examine; these include the reputability of the school, the quality of the education offered, the cost of the program, the time it takes to complete, rates of admissions, and many other factors. Prospective students are encouraged to thoroughly research their institutions of choice, taking into account the following questions:

  • How long does it take to complete this program? Can the program be completed on a part-time basis?
  • Does the program assist with job placement after graduation? Are employment statistics available for recent graduates? What types of jobs do graduates generally obtain?
  • Can students complete practical requirements in their home communities, or will they be required to travel? If so, how far?
  • Can online students retain in-state status?
  • What is the cost of the program? Does this include all fees for distance learning?

Furthermore, prospective students should look for two specific items of interest when researching a program: accreditation and state authorization statuses.

Online Engineering Program Accreditation

Although not required for all employment opportunities, graduation from an accredited institution can be immensely beneficial to an aspiring engineer. To be sure, this may be required when applying for certain jobs, graduate schools, financial aid, or certification exams.

Overall, accreditation status demonstrates a dedication to providing high-quality education. For example, accredited institutions are typically evaluated in their administration of funds; provision of student services; and the quality of program faculty and curricula, among other factors.

It is important to note, however, that not all accrediting agencies carry the same authority. Students are encouraged to look for programs that have received accreditation from an agency that has been approved by the U.S. Department of Education’s Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA). Furthermore, engineering students should understand that accreditation can be granted on three levels: national, regional, and programmatic. To illustrate this, the following offers a list of accrediting organizations of various levels that operate in North Carolina:

National accreditation

Regional accreditation

Programmatic accreditation

State Authorization Status

Along with accreditation, prospective students should determine their program’s “state authorization” status, as well. While this is not typically an issue for an online student residing in the same state as his or her institution, there may be a conflict when a distance-based student is located out-of-state. Fortunately, many universities display their state authorization status on their website for convenience (e.g., University of North Carolina). For those that don’t, aspiring students located out-of-state are advised to contact program coordinators.

Admissions Requirements

Generally, the admissions requirements for online engineering programs in North Carolina are similar to their on-campus counterparts. Here is an overview of the typical admissions requirements for online engineering programs in North Carolina, broken down by level of study:

Online Bachelor’s Degree in Engineering Admissions Requirements

  • A high school diploma or GED
  • Proof of completion of prerequisite courses in high school (e.g., physics, chemistry, calculus)
  • A competitive GPA (e.g., >3.0)
  • Two letters of recommendation from high school teachers
  • A personal letter or statement of purpose
  • ACT or SAT scores

Online Master’s Degree in Engineering Admissions Requirements

  • A bachelor’s degree; some programs require bachelor’s degrees in engineering, while others accept students from other fields
  • A competitive undergraduate GPA (e.g., >3.0)
  • GRE test scores (sometimes optional)
  • Personal essay or statement of purpose
  • Letters of recommendation; these may be from professors, employers, or other qualifying individuals

Online Graduate or Professional Certificate Admissions Requirements

  • A bachelor’s degree in engineering or a related field
  • A CV
  • Two or more letters of recommendation from individuals who can speak to the applicant’s likelihood of success in the program
  • Statement of purpose

Online Engineering Professors in North Carolina

Aspiring online engineering students should note that a wide array of highly skilled professors lead distance-based classes. Here are three renowned engineering professors who lead classes at NC institutions with online programs:

Dr. Richard Kim – North Carolina State University

Dr. Richard Kim is the Jimmy D. Clark Distinguished University Professor within the Department of Civil, Construction, and Environmental Engineering at North Carolina State University. He leads courses on materials of construction, bituminous materials, nondestructive evaluation of civil infrastructure, and highway pavement design, among others. He has published over 200 papers in national and international technical journals and proceedings. He is also the editor of the ASCE book Modeling of Asphalt Concrete, and serves as an associate editor for the International Journal of Pavement Engineering.

Dr. Venkat Gudivada – East Carolina University

Dr. Venkat Gudivada both a Professor and the Chair of the Computer Science Department at East Carolina University, where students are able to pursue an online degree in software engineering. Among his teaching and research interests are algorithmic problem solving, data management, information retrieval, and natural language processing. His research has been funded by NASA, the NSF, the U.S. Department of Energy, the U.S. Department of Navy, the U.S. Army Research Office, the Marshall University Foundation, and the West Virginia Division of Science and Research. He has published over 80 articles in peer-reviewed journals, book chapters, and conference proceedings.

Dr. Hugh Jack – Western Carolina University

At Western Carolina University, where students can pursue an online degree in engineering technology, Dr. Hugh Jack serves as the Cass Ballenger Distinguished Professor and Department Head. He is the author of a number of books, including Dynamic System Modeling and Control (2015), and has published a host of papers in peer-reviewed journals. He has also received an array of awards, including the Best Paper Award from ASEE’s Manufacturing Division, the Wadsworth Multimedia Award, and the GVSU Teaching with Technology Award.

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