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Online Engineering Programs for Rhode Island Students

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Online Bachelor’s Degrees in Engineering

Although there are no online bachelor’s degree programs located in the state of Rhode Island, the surrounding states boast several online degrees students from RI can take advantage of.

Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering – Stony Brook University

Stony Brook University in Stony Brook, NY offers an online bachelor of science (B.S.) in electrical engineering. The degree is 100 percent online and consists of 120 credits. The program can be completed by students just entering higher education, or professionals who wish to continue working full-time while securing a degree in electrical engineering. The online classes are designed for flexible scheduling, and all course materials, tests, discussions and labs are done online with faculty. Students have access to a personal concierge who is the student’s point of contact for all questions and management of the online degree program. Students participate in field experiments such as clinical placements, service learning, and internships which apply hands-on learning to the degree. Courses include calculus, embedded systems engineering, analog integrated circuits, and computer technology for electronics design, as well as others. Notably, the program is accredited by ABET. Yearly tuition for in-state residents is $6,670 and for out-of-state residents is $8000, plus $1,640 in fees. For more information, contact the admissions department at (631) 632-6868 or email [email protected].

Bachelor of Science in Software Engineering – Penn State University

The Penn State World Campus offers an online bachelor of science (B.S.) in software engineering. This program combines design projects, classroom study, and software development training to equip students to become software engineers. The program is accredited by ABET and is 100 percent online. It consists of 126 credits and the cost is $555/credit for in-state residents or $596/credit for out-of-state residents, plus fees. Courses include microprocessors, operating systems, programming, data structure and algorithms, physics, software architecture, and many more. Students must have a high school diploma or GED with a cumulative GPA of 2.7 or higher. For more information call (800) 252-3592 or email [email protected].

Bachelor of Science in Computer Science – South New Hampshire University

Southern New Hampshire University of Manchester, NH offers an online bachelor of computer science degree. The program prepares students for a career in computer science fields and can focus on software engineering or information security. Students learn through proven software design methods and develop code using programs such as Java, C++, and Python. The cost is $320 per credit plus additional fees. Note that there is a special rate for U.S. service members and their spouses. The program is accredited by NEASC, and courses include introduction to structured query language; the software development lifecycle; software testing, automation, and quality assurance; advanced programming concepts; and the fundamentals of data mining, among others, for a total of 120 credits. For more information, email [email protected] or call (888) 327-SNHU.

Online Master’s Degrees in Engineering

Although there aren’t any online master’s degrees in engineering in Rhode Island, several surrounding states offer these programs.

Master of Science in Engineering Management – Northeastern University

Northeastern University in Boston, MA, offers an online master of science (M.S.) degree in engineering management. The program is interdisciplinary and incorporates the fields of technology, engineering, and business. Students are prepared for various career paths including project management, product development, and supply chain management. The degree program consists of 32 credits and costs $47,000 per year for full-time students. It can be completed in two years. Applicants must hold a bachelor’s degree in a related field. For more information, call (617) 373-2000.

Master of Science in Environmental Engineering – University of New Haven

The University of New Haven in West Haven, CT, offers an online master of science degree in environmental engineering. The program is 100 percent online, consists of 30 credits of classes that are 7.5 weeks in length during the school year and six weeks in the summer. The program was designed for working professionals and the degree can be earned in two years. Courses include the biological treatment of aqueous wastes, contaminant fate and transport in the environment, pollution prevention management technologies, open channel hydraulics, and several more. The cost is $890 per credit which comes to a total of $26,700 for the program. For more information, email [email protected].

Other nearby schools with online master of engineering degrees include Norwich University, Southern New Hampshire University, and the University of Massachusetts–Lowell.

Other Online Engineering Programs

Graduate Certificate in Construction Management – Northeastern University

Northeastern University in Boston offers an online graduate certificate in construction management, which can be valuable for a working engineer. The program includes a broad introduction to construction management, as well as explorations of the areas of safety, delivery, quality management, team leadership, and project risk. The courses in this certificate can be applied to the master of science (M.S.) in project management degree. Courses include 16 credits in subjects such as the introduction to construction management; alternative project delivery methods and project controls; safety, project risk, and quality management; and construction law. The cost is $646 per credit for a total cost of $10,336. For more information, call (617) 373-2000.

Graduate Certificate in Plastics Engineering Fundamentals – University of Massachusetts

The University of Massachusetts at Lowell offers a graduate certificate in plastics engineering fundamentals. The program is designed to give students knowledge in plastics materials, process, and design that they may not have received in their undergraduate education. The graduate certificate consists of 12 credits and the cost is $575 per credit for a total cost of $6,900. Courses include advanced plastics materials and advanced plastics processing, as well as two elective courses from the following: mechanical behavior of polymers, polymer structure properties and applications, plastics product design, and advanced mold design. Admission requirements include having a B.S. in science or engineering. Courses must be completed within a five year period with a minimum 3.0 grade point average. For more information, call (978) 934-2474 or email [email protected].

Online Engineering Programs – What to Consider

When pursuing an online degree students should consider the quality of the institution, accreditation, the overall cost of the program, the duration to degree completion, admissions deadlines, and other factors.

Since online learning requires substantially more independence than traditional, on-campus degree programs, students considering a distance-based engineering program should consider:

  • What is the estimated completion time for full-time students?
  • Can the program be completed on a part-time basis?
  • What is the cost of the program?
  • Are there scholarships available?
  • Do online students have in-state status?
  • Is the program authorized to operate in Rhode Island?
  • How are classes delivered?
  • Does any work need to be completed on campus?
  • Are students able to complete internships near where they live?


Accreditation is a process by which colleges and universities in engineering fields gain validation according to certain standards of excellence. Programs must meet standards such concerning:

  • Goals and outcomes
  • Institution mission
  • Student services availability
  • Quality
  • Reputation

Prospective students should know what accreditations a program holds. Accreditation by certain organizations may be required to qualify for certain graduate programs, employment opportunities, or certifications.

Not all accrediting organization are the same, as some carry more weight than others. Aspiring students should seek out programs which have been accredited by an organization approved by the U.S. Department of Education’s Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA). In addition, prospective students should understand that accreditation is available through different organizations on a national, regional and programmatic level. The following includes a list of prominent organizations that accredit online engineering programs in Rhode Island and surrounding states:

National accreditation

  • Distance Education Accrediting Commission (DEAC)
  • Accrediting Council for Continuing Education and Training (ACCET)
  • Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges (ACCSC)

Regional accreditation

  • New England Association of Schools and Colleges (NEASC)
  • Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE)

Programmatic accreditation

  • Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET)
  • Association of Technology, Management, and Applied Engineering (ATMAE)

State Authorization

Students in Rhode Island are only eligible to enroll in online engineering programs that have been authorized to operate RI. Also, some online engineering programs in other states may not provide admissions to non-resident students or have differing tuition rates. All online students should carefully examine state policies before applying to any programs. Be sure to check out “state authorization” pages (e.g., Penn State World Campus) or contact program coordinators to ensure out-of-state eligibility.

Admissions Requirements for Online Engineering Programs

Admission requirements can differ depending on the university and degree level. Students should contact the specific program of interest to find out exact requirements and deadlines for the program of choice.

Some typical admissions requirements for online engineering programs include:

  • Official high school or college transcripts with at least the minimum cumulative GPA
  • Essays
  • Letters of recommendation
  • Resume
  • Completion of math and science course prerequisites
  • Official SAT/ACT test scores for bachelor’s programs
  • Official score reports from the GMAT, GRE, or MAT for graduate programs
  • FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid)
  • Application fee
  • TOEFL test scores (for applicants whose first language isn’t English)

Online Engineering Professors Nearby Rhode Island

Although there are no online engineering professors in Rhode Island, here are profiles for three engineers from programs explored below.

Xiaocong Fan, Ph.D. – Penn State Behrend

Dr. Fan is an associate professor of computer science and software engineering at Penn State Behrend, and the lead faculty for the online bachelor of science in software engineering program. He holds a PhD in software engineering from Nanjing University, China. Dr. Fan has conducted research in the field of multiagent systems, focusing on the construction of intelligent agent architectures, team collaboration, decision-making teams, and trust as it relates to human collaboration. He works to integrate concepts from cognitive science, artificial intelligence and software engineering. Dr. Fan belongs to the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE).

Thomas Hemminger, Ph.D. – Penn State Behrend

Dr. Thomas Hemminger is a professor of electrical and computer engineering at Penn State Behrend. He is one of the faculty for the online B.S. in software engineering program. He holds a B.S. in electrical engineering from Cleveland State University, an M.S. in electrical engineering from Clarkson University, and a PhD in electrical engineering from Case Western Reserve University. Dr. Hemminger has received various awards including the Penn State Behrend Council of Fellows Faculty Research Award; the section chair service award from the IEEE; and the outstanding member award from the Erie Engineering Societies Council. He teaches courses such as circuits and devices, electrical circuit analysis, engineering design and graphics, and signal and image processing, among others. He is a member of the IEEE and is a former member of the ASEE.

Monica F. Bugallo, Ph.D. – Stony Brook University

Dr. Monica Bugallo is an associate professor in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at Stony Brook University in New York. She holds a PhD in computer science and engineering from the University of A Coruña, Spain. She joined the faculty of SBU in 2002 and was appointed the inaugural faculty director of the Women in Science and Engineering (WISE) honors program. Her interests include research into statistical signal processing, biomedicine, and sensor networks, among others. She is committed to engaging students in the exciting aspects of engineering, often focusing on underrepresented groups. Dr. Bugallo teaches courses on digital communications, information theory, and stochastic processes. She is a member of the IEEE and serves on several IEEE technical committees. She has received many awards throughout her education and career, and is widely published with over 150 papers.