A majority of engineering positions require candidates to have at least a bachelor’s degree in the field, although for some specializations—particularly those related to computers—programming (or other types of) experience may serve as a substitute. For the majority of employment and credentialing opportunities, however, an undergraduate degree in the discipline is necessary. Here are two standout engineering degrees from VA-based institutions which can be pursued online.
At Old Dominion University in Norfolk, aspiring computer engineers can pursue a BS in computer science entirely online. Students in this hands-on program will develop applied skills and gain useful knowledge by working on projects that involve real-world problem-solving.
The faculty of the programs includes experienced professionals who are leaders in areas such as cloud computing, data science, web science, computational biology, machine learning, and more.
This 120-credit program generally takes four years to complete, and students take courses on computers in society, object-oriented programming, operating systems, principles of programming languages, and software engineering, among other core classes, as well as numerous electives.
At the end of the program, graduates can pursue opportunities such as computer systems analysts, computer programmers, database administrators, software developers, and web administrators, among many such roles.
Aspiring web developers or computer engineers can earn an online BS degree in information technology from George Mason University in Fairfax. Students in this program will develop strong writing, communication, and problem-solving skills and will be prepared to apply information technology to business processes. The program is ideal for those who wish to gain technical IT knowledge.
The program allows students to choose one of five concentrations from the list below:
Students must complete 120 credits in subjects such as introduction to computing, database fundamentals, modern telecommunications, project management, managing financial resources, and systems analysis and design, among others.
The major admission requirements for the program include a completed undergraduate application, High school transcripts, SAT or ACT scores, an application fee, and TOEFL scores for non-native English-speaking applicants. Preference will be given to applicants who have 4 years of high school mathematics courses.
The program opens up opportunities in network administration, telecommunications, information security, web development, computer graphics, and information systems.
A master’s degree can help engineers further develop their skills and attain a higher degree of specialization. Graduate studies can also enhance an engineer’s employability, salary prospects, and management opportunities. Here are two online master’s degrees in engineering from VA-based schools.
At Virginia Tech in Blacksburg, students can pursue an online MS degree in ocean engineering that is concentrated on naval ship design and related topics. Students will have the option to choose from a thesis and a non-thesis track. The program involves the same courses and is taught by the same faculty members as Virginia Tech’s on-campus classes.
This 30-credit hour program includes courses in advanced naval architecture, boundary layer theory, advanced dynamics of high-speed craft, vehicle structures, advanced ship structural analysis, advanced aero and hydrodynamics, and advanced ship dynamics.
Admission requirements for the program include a bachelor’s degree, typically in mathematics, physics, or engineering from an accredited institution, a grade point average of 3.0, official transcripts, statement of interest, curriculum vitae, three letters of recommendation, and TOEFL scores for international applicants. GRE scores are also required (can be waived for students who have significant work experience).
Engineers can also consider an online M.S. (or M.S. in engineering) degree in aerospace engineering from Old Dominion University in Norfolk. Students in this program will learn about designing and analyzing the systems that are used in aeronautics, astronautics, and aerospace.
Comprising 30 credits, the program includes courses such as computational fluid dynamics, flight mechanics, flight vehicle aerodynamics, ground vehicle aerodynamics, introduction to gas dynamics, aerospace structures, and advanced classical thermodynamics, among others.
To get accepted into the program, applicants must have an undergraduate degree from an accredited university in mechanical engineering, aerospace engineering, engineering mechanics, or any other closely related discipline, an overall grade point average of 3.0, GRE scores (can be waived off), and English language proficiency requirements for non-native speakers of English.
On successful completion of the program, graduates will be prepared for rewarding and challenging employment in government agencies, consulting firms, research organizations, and high-technology industries. They can take up roles such as aerospace engineers, aerospace engineering and operations technicians, aircraft structure, surfaces, rigging, and systems assemblers, and aviation inspectors.
Liberty University offers an online master of science in engineering management program helping students develop advanced engineering knowledge and business skills needed for navigating and overcoming the challenges in leading an engineering focussed business. Students in this program will have the option to choose between leadership and project management areas of study.
Comprising 30 credit-hours, the program includes courses such as systems engineering, law for engineers, operations management, strategic planning, risk management, and quality management, among others.
For admission to the program, applicants need a regionally or nationally accredited bachelor’s degree in an engineering discipline, a grade point average of 3.0, official college transcripts, and proof of English proficiency for international students.
Graduates of the program will be well-equipped to work as cost systems analysts, engineering project managers, engineering analysts, and processing engineers.
George Mason University offers a 100 percent online master of science in the systems engineering program preparing students for a professional career working with large complex systems of the future. This program is ideal for engineers who are looking to attain technical leadership positions and for those who are preparing for a career in the designing, development, and management of large complex systems.
Admission requirements for the program include a bachelor’s degree in mathematics, engineering, computer science, economics, physical sciences, or a related field, a cumulative grade point average of at least 3.0, official transcripts from all universities and colleges attended, educational and professional goals statement, two letters of recommendation, and a current resume. GRE scores are required only for students who do not have a US bachelor’s degree.
Consisting of 30 credits, the program includes courses such as systems engineering principles, system definition & cost modeling, system design and integration, system management and evaluation, and system methodology and modeling.
Many of the leading IT-based companies, as well as engineering consulting firms, defense contractors, aerospace developers, software developers, and informatics & communication companies, need systems engineers (SEs).
Virginia Commonwealth University offers an online master of science in mechanical and nuclear engineering degree providing students with a solid foundation of engineering knowledge that includes manufacturing and business aspects. They also gain advanced technical, problem-solving, and communication skills for professional development and lifelong learning.
The major admission requirements for the program include a bachelor of science degree in nuclear engineering, mechanical engineering, or a closely related discipline, a minimum undergraduate grade point average of 3.0, three letters of recommendation, and a statement of intent.
The program comprises 30 credits including courses such as mechanical and nuclear engineering analysis, mechanical and nuclear engineering continuum mechanics, and topics in nuclear engineering, among others.
Graduates will be able to apply advanced knowledge of science, engineering, or mathematics to engineering problems, communicate effectively, and identify, and solve engineering problems.
A master of science in information security program offered at James Madison University is a 100 percent distance-based program suitable for working professionals. This online program offers them the flexibility to interact and learn with expert faculty members and quality students, obtain feedback from faculty, and complete assignments.
Applicants to the program must submit a completed online graduate school application, a current resume, a personal statement, official transcripts from all universities and colleges attended, a brief personal statement, and official TOEFL or IELTS scores for international students. GRE test scores are optional but recommended.
Consisting of 33 credits, the program includes courses such as operating systems, computer security, secure programming, networks & network security, computer forensics, and ethics, law & policy in cyberspace.
The program opens up several opportunities for graduates. They can take up roles such as Chief Information Officer Security Engineer, Information Systems Security Engineer, Information Security Specialist, and many such roles.
In addition to Virginia’s online bachelor’s and master’s degrees in engineering, there are associate degrees and certificate programs as well. Here are two additional distance-based programs in the state for engineering and IT professionals:
For aspiring computer engineers who want to take a shorter educational path, pursuing an online A.S. in computer science at Northern Virginia Community College may be the right fit. This program is ideal for students who wish to transfer their credits to a four-year baccalaureate degree in computer science.
This program includes courses such as introduction to computer science, precalculus with trigonometry, principles of public speaking, calculus I and II, and computer science I and II for a total of 61 to 63 credits.
Students in this program are advised to work closely with the faculty members and the counseling staff for the proper scheduling of courses. Electives should also be chosen carefully for meeting the requirements of the transfer institution.
At the University of Virginia in Charlottesville, students can earn an online undergraduate certificate in information technology, which can be an excellent step toward a career in web development or software engineering.
This certificate program is ideal for career changers, liberal arts graduates, and other related professionals who are looking to move into entry-level or mid-level positions as business and systems analysts, application and web design developers, marketing and technical sales professionals, consultants, and quality assurance experts.
The program includes 18 credits (six courses). Students can complete this program online, as well as on a part-time basis, taking courses on the basics of web design, programming in Java, the strategic business value of information technology, enterprise systems architecture and design, and agile project management, among others.
Applicants to the program must have a high school diploma or equivalent, unofficial transcripts, and a $70 application fee.
While the aforementioned online engineering and computer science-related programs offer high-quality education, aspiring engineers should consider several factors in their program search. They should determine whether or not a program can be completed on a full or part-time basis; how much it costs, including fees; how much campus attendance is required; and whether practical experience credits can be completed in the student’s home community. These are only a handful of questions that applicants should ask before applying. Furthermore, applicants should also verify the accreditation and “state authorization” status of their program of interest.
Before applying to a program, prospective students should also determine whether or not they’re eligible to enroll, specifically if a school is located out-of-state. To elaborate, students in Virginia are only eligible to enroll in programs that have been authorized to operate in the state. Many schools display their state authorization status on their webpage (e.g., Old Dominion University), and for those which don’t, students should contact program advisors to ensure eligibility.
Applicants to online engineering or computer science programs in Virginia will likely encounter similar admissions processes to on-campus programs.
For example, distance-based undergraduate programs in engineering typically ask for a completed application and fee; official high school transcripts with prerequisite coursework; a minimum GPA of 2.5 or 3.0; SAT scores; letters of recommendation; and a personal essay. The distance-based graduate program in engineering asks for a completed application and fee; official undergraduate transcripts with proof of prerequisite courses; a competitive GPA (typically at least 3.0); GRE scores (sometimes optional); letters of recommendation; and a personal essay.
Overall, applicants are advised to contact program administrators directly for additional information.
Because many online programs follow the same syllabus and timeline as their on-campus alternatives, courses are generally led or designed by full-time professors who are skilled and renowned. Here are three talented professors who lead classes at Virginia institutions with online degrees in engineering.
Ravi Mukkamala – Old Dominion University
Dr. Ravi Mukkamala is the associate dean of the College of Sciences at Old Dominion University, where he also serves as the acting chair for the computer science department. He has published one book—Information Technology: A Tool to Cut Health Care Costs: Final Report—and has numerous authorship credits to his name for book chapters, articles, and conference proceedings.
Dr. Mukkamala has received a wealth of honors, including the 2009 Best Paper Award at the First International Conference on Advanced Service Computing, as well as the 2008 Best Paper Award at the Spring Simulation Multiconference. He earned his MBA from Old Dominion University, PhD from the University of Iowa,
MTech from Indian Institute of Technology, and BS from Osmania University.
R. Ryan Nelson – University of Virginia
Dr. R. Ryan Nelson is a professor of commerce at the University of Virginia, where he also serves as the associate dean for the undergraduate program, as well as the director of the Center for the Management of Information Technology. His areas of expertise include information technology, project management, business process management, and digital innovation. He has published in journals such as the Journal of Management Information Systems, Case Research Journal, and Information & Management.
Dr. Nelson has also received various awards, including the 2014 All-University Teaching Award from the University of Virginia. He completed his PhD from the University of Georgia, MPA from The Ohio State University, and a BS from James Madison University.
Eric Paterson – Virginia Tech
Dr. Eric Paterson is the head of the Kevin T. Crofton Department of Aerospace and Ocean Engineering at Virginia Tech. Dr. Paterson is also the Rolls-Royce Commonwealth Professor of Marine Propulsion, and his areas of research expertise include aerodynamics, hydrodynamics, and ocean engineering. He teaches or has taught courses such as introduction to aerospace engineering, thermodynamics & marine propulsion, propellers & turbines, and turbulent shear flows, among others.
He has published his research in prominent journals such as the Journal of the Royal Society Interface and Chemical Senses. He completed his PhD, MS, and BS at the University of Iowa.