At Nonprofitcolleges.com, we’ve created our Students Before Profits Award to promote nonprofit colleges and universities offering online degree programs that put students before profits and education as the bottom line. For our online doctorates in engineering award winners, we gathered together the best online phd in engineering programs offered from accredited, nonprofit colleges and universities, and we have ranked the programs according to their affordability.
The Best Online PhD Engineering Programs
Professionals with advanced knowledge in various technical fields are in increasing and unprecedented demand as the technological landscape continues to change rapidly. Online doctoral engineering programs will equip individuals with a terminal-level engineering degree to fill high-level positions in various industries. Graduates will be qualified to develop original research to drive the field forward in decades to come.
Though this ranking is primarily concerned with the affordability of the best online engineering Ph.D. programs, the schools here have also consistently been ranked to have the best online engineering programs by major national publications. Therefore, we believe they deserve to be considered among the best online doctor of engineering online programs and research-based degree programs available.
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Methodology for Ranking the Best Online PhD Engineering Programs
Each of the Ph.D. in engineering programs listed below is ordered from the highest to the lowest score based on the program’s affordability. The rates shown are the in-state graduate tuition fees gathered from the NCES (National Center for Education Statistics) College Navigator tool. Rates for each Ph.D. program can vary depending on your location, and the online version of a Ph.D. in engineering can (and often does) have a different cost. In addition, financial aid, grants, or scholarships can change the overall tuition fees. With that in mind, engineering students should consider each of these excellent schools and programs individually before making a final decision.
Best Engineering Ph.D. Programs Online
|University of Alabama at Birmingham||$8,100||100|
|Mississippi State University||$8,800||97.5|
|Texas A&M University||$9,820||95|
|Colorado State University||$10,520||92.5|
|University of Alabama||$10,780||90|
|University of North Dakota||$11,060||87.5|
|University of South Carolina||$13,737||82.5|
|Michigan Technological University||$21,744||80|
#1. UNIVERSITY OF ALABAMA AT BIRMINGHAM
ONLINE PHD IN INTERDISCIPLINARY ENGINEERING
The University of Alabama at Birmingham has one of the best online phd engineering programs in the country. Established as a public research institution in 1969, there were 13,878 undergraduate students enrolled in the school in the fall of 2020.
The campus occupies more than 100 city blocks and has a total size of 437 acres. UAB’s 100-square-block campus is located in the heart of Alabama’s largest city, allowing a wide variety of students to take advantage of research opportunities, internships, and resume-building work experiences. The campus contains 11 schools, a prestigious medical center, and a sizeable graduate school.
The university offers 140 academic programs in 12 academic divisions. A total of more than 23,000 faculty and staff, as well as 53,000 jobs at UAB and in the health system, make UAB the state’s largest employer. The school’s athletic teams join NCAA Division 1 as the Blazers.
The University of Alabama at Birmingham offers an online phd in Interdisciplinary Engineering. Through this program, engineering students can develop their understanding of various generalized engineering topics. This program is designed to be completed either full-time or part-time. A portion of this program can be completed online, while some components require students to visit the UAB campus. Students can expect to complete this degree in about four years. The Southern Association of Colleges & Schools Commission on Colleges has provided the University of Alabama at Birmingham with accreditation for this online phd in engineering program.
#2. MISSISSIPPI STATE UNIVERSITY
ONLINE PHD IN ELECTRICAL AND COMPUTER ENGINEERING
Mississippi State University was founded in 1878 and is located in Starkville, approximately 170 miles southeast of Memphis, Tennessee. Its campus is situated in a rural setting on 4,200 acres. MSU offers more than 160 degree options, including graduate degrees.
Many of its traditions remain a part of the school’s culture. At the beginning of each school year, the Drill pep rally and the athletic season kicks off the school year with students rattling cowbells and cheering with Bully, the live bulldog mascot. Members of the Southeastern Conference in NCAA Division I, the Mississippi Bulldogs, compete in about 15 sports. MSU students can participate in the campus community by joining more than 300 campus clubs, pledge with more than 30 fraternities and sororities, or run for office in the student government. The bestselling author John Grisham, who studied accounting at MSU, is among the university’s notable alumni.
Mississippi State University offers its Ph.D. in Electrical and Computer Engineering degree entirely online. Using the same curriculum as the on-campus version of the course, this online phd in Electrical and Computer Engineering will instill all the same computer science and engineering skills and competencies in students without requiring visits to the Mississippi State University campus. This distance learning Ph.D. in engineering degree is designed to be completed in about four years.
The Southern Association of Colleges & Schools Commission on Colleges has provided this public research university with accreditation for the Ph.D. in engineering. This is one of the best distance learning engineering Ph.D. programs in the country, and students who earn this online phd in engineering will have gained the skills needed for a high-level computer or electrical engineering career.
#3. TEXAS A&M UNIVERSITY
COLLEGE STATION, TEXAS
ONLINE DOCTOR OF ENGINEERING
Texas A&M University is a public land grant research institution founded in 1876 in College Station, Texas. It was the first public university in Texas and is the flagship institution of the Texas A&M University System. Texas A&M’s student body is the largest in the United States, with an enrollment of 5568 (fall 2020). The main campus spans over 5,500 acres, and there are more than 130 degree programs offered by 17 colleges and 21 research institutes at the university.
The school offers many unique programs, including the only veterinary school in the state. Additionally, Texas A&M has a campus in Qatar, which enrolls about 500 students. There are more than 1,000 clubs and organizations at the university, including almost 60 fraternities and sororities. Some notable alumni of Texas A&M include US Representatives Joe Barton and Louie Gohmert, beauty pageant winners Kandace Krueger and Melissa McConnell, Miss USA and Miss Louisiana, respectively.
Texas A&M University offers a fully online Doctor of Engineering that is identical to the Ph.D. program offered on-campus. Texas A&M University makes no mention of the delivery format of this program on a students’ diploma or transcript. A total of 60 credit hours are needed to complete the program, one of the best online engineering Ph.D. programs available.
Texas A&M University has received accreditation for this online phd in engineering degree from the Southern Association of Colleges & Schools Commission on Colleges. Those who complete this degree will have the research experience needed for a career in engineering.
#4. COLORADO STATE UNIVERSITY
FORT COLLINS, COLORADO
ONLINE DOCTOR OF SYSTEMS ENGINEERING
Colorado State University is a public institution located in Fort Collins, Colorado. It was founded in 1870 and is the flagship university of the Colorado State University System. As of fall 2020, there were 25,186 undergraduate students enrolled at the school. The campus is 4,773 acres and is less than an hour’s drive from Denver.
CSU offers over 150 degrees through its eight colleges, including graduate business, engineering, and education programs. The College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences is also acclaimed for its veterinary medicine programs. In addition, CSU is considered one of the nation’s leading research universities.
Over 350 campus organizations are available to students, including about 35 fraternities and sororities. In addition, more than 15 varsity sports teams at CSU compete in the NCAA Division I Mountain West Conference. Notable alumni include the cowboy poet Baxter Black and the American racecar driver Jim Malloy.
Students at Colorado State University can enroll in the online Doctor of Systems Engineering degree program and complete their coursework entirely online. It’s one of the best online phd engineering degrees available, requiring a total of 72 credits to earn the degree. Students in this program will become experts in how different engineering systems interact.
Colorado State University has received accreditation for this degree from the Higher Learning Commission. Courses in this program include foundations of systems engineering, engineering risk analysis, intellectual property & invention systems, and many others. The online ph.d programs at CSU are specifically designed for working professionals.
#5. UNIVERSITY OF ALABAMA
ONLINE PHD IN AEROSPACE ENGINEERING AND MECHANICS
The University of Alabama is a public institution established in 1831. This suburban campus has a total undergraduate enrollment of 31,670 (fall 2020), a campus size of 1,143 acres, and a suburban setting. The Tuscaloosa campus, the flagship campus of the University of Alabama system, is called “The Capstone.”
UA students can get involved in more than 500 student organizations. The school’s Greek system includes more than 11,500 students in 70 fraternities and sororities. The Alabama Crimson Tide sports teams, cheered on by an elephant mascot named Big Al, are notorious in the NCAA Division I Southeastern Conference. In addition, there are both men’s and women’s wheelchair basketball programs. UA is approximately 60 miles from Birmingham.
Those interested in studying aerospace online will be interested in this online phd program in Aerospace Engineering and Mechanics. One of the most affordable online engineering Ph.D. programs available, this program allows students to learn all the skills needed for expertise in the field of aerospace engineering entirely online. A total of 72 credit hours are required to complete this program of study. The online ph.d programs at the University of Alabama are specifically designed for working professionals.
The Southern Association of Colleges & Schools Commission on Colleges has provided the University of Alabama with accreditation for this degree program. This Ph.D. engineering online program is designed with working professionals in mind and has a large amount of flexibility to accommodate outside scheduling needs.
#6. UNIVERSITY OF NORTH DAKOTA
GRAND FORKS, NORTH DAKOTA
ONLINE PH.D. IN PETROLEUM ENGINEERING
The University of North Dakota was established in 1883 as a public institution. The campus, which encompasses 521 acres, is just a few miles from the Minnesota border in the city of Grand Forks. At UND, students can choose from over 200 academic programs, including graduate programs in law, business, engineering, and education. The School of Medicine and Health Sciences at the University also offers a highly regarded program in rural medicine.
Student clubs and student government provide more than 200 opportunities for students to get involved outside the classroom. In addition, the school’s varsity sports teams compete in various conferences of the NCAA Division I and welcome students to join intramural teams or try out for varsity teams. Chuck Klosterman, the author of “Sex, Drugs, and Cocoa Puffs: A Low Culture Manifesto,” and Sally Smith, the CEO of Buffalo Wild Wings, are notable UND alumni.
This online Ph.D. in Petroleum Engineering is primarily delivered online, although students must visit the University campus for two days each semester. Students in this Ph.D. online engineering degree program will study:
- seismic analysis
- many other areas of petroleum engineering research
A total of 90 credit hours are needed to complete this degree, and you can expect to finish this Ph.D. program in just four years. It’s one of the top online engineering Ph.D. programs in North Dakota. Courses in this program include:
- data mining in petroleum engineering
- natural gas engineering
- reservoir geophysics
- practical seismic processing
The online ph.d programs at UND are specifically designed for working professionals.
#7. ROWAN UNIVERSITY
GLASSBORO, NEW JERSEY
ONLINE PH.D. IN ENGINEERING
Rowan University was established in 1923 and is a public research university. The suburban campus is 196 acres and sits in Glassboro, New Jersey. RU has an undergraduate enrollment of 15,963 students (fall 2020) and comprises 14 schools and colleges.
There are 85 bachelor’s degrees, 46 master’s degrees, six doctoral degrees, and two professional degrees offered by the university. Rowan University participates in Division III of the NCAA, and its sports teams have had moderate success on a national level. Students can play in their choice of 18 different sports. On the campus, RU offers more than 100 organizations and clubs, along with more than 30 Greek organizations. Notable alumni include: Miss New Jersey USA 2006, Jessica Boyington, and professional wrestler Nick Comoroto. The university is approximately 20 miles from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
Those who plan to study engineering at RU can enroll in this online Ph.D. in Engineering program. Students can choose from several concentrations including:
- biomedical engineering
- electrical & computer engineering
- engineering education
- chemical engineering
- civil & environmental engineering
- materials science & engineering
- mechanical engineering
While these graduate degree programs are available primarily online, students must complete some program components in person. The online ph.d programs at Rowan are specifically designed for working professionals.
The Middle States Commission on Higher Education has provided Rowan University with accreditation for this degree.
#8. UNIVERSITY OF SOUTH CAROLINA
COLUMBIA, SOUTH CAROLINA
ONLINE PH.D. IN NUCLEAR ENGINEERING
Founded in 1801 is the University of South Carolina, a public research institution in Columbia, South Carolina. Currently, the university enrolls 27,270 undergraduates (fall 2020), and its campus size is 444 acres. SU’s school sports teams compete in the NCAA Division I Southeastern Conference.
In addition to undergraduate and graduate degrees, the University of South Carolina offers online PhD programs through its law school, medical school, college of education, and engineering school. In addition, several research centers are located on the campus, which is the flagship of the University of South Carolina system.
The school’s Robert Burns and Scottish literature collections are the largest outside Scotland, and they have the world’s most extensive Ernest Hemingway collection. The members of Hootie and the Blowfish formed the band at USC while they were students. US Senator Lindsey Graham and XM Radio founder Gary Parsons are among USC’s notable alumni.
Graduate students wishing to study engineering at the University of South Carolina can enroll in the school’s online Ph.D. in Nuclear Engineering. Through this distance learning Ph.D. engineering program, the University of South Carolina will provide students with all the knowledge and training needed for a career in nuclear engineering. It is thought to be one of the best online nuclear engineering Ph.D. programs in South Carolina. Courses in this program include:
- nuclear cycles
- radiation shielding
- reactor systems
Students in this online PhD program are also allowed to earn a specialization in:
- nuclear fuels and structural materials
- thermal hydraulics
- advanced modeling and simulation
The online ph.d programs at USC are specifically designed for working professionals. This top online engineering doctoral program is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges & Schools Commission on Colleges.
#9. MICHIGAN TECHNOLOGICAL UNIVERSITY
ONLINE PH.D. IN MECHANICAL ENGINEERING
Michigan Technological University is a public research institution in Houghton, Michigan, founded in 1885. The college has 5,642 undergraduate students (fall 2020) in a rural setting on a 925-acre campus located on the Keweenaw Peninsula of Lake Superior. MTU is approximately 100 miles from Wisconsin.
With more than 120 undergraduate majors at Michigan Tech, as well as many degrees for graduate students, including those in business and engineering, students have plenty of options to choose from. The university allows students to conduct research closely with their professors and participate in undergraduate expos to share what they have learned. Additionally, students can participate in more than 200 organizations, Greek life, or intramural sports. In addition to the Michigan Tech Huskies men’s hockey team, students can participate in various other clubs and teams competing in Division II. Former NFL players Joe Berger and Bob Lurtsema are both MTU alumni.
The online phd in Mechanical Engineering degree is one of the best online engineering programs in the country and is ideal for students who want to advance their careers in mechanical engineering without interrupting their current careers. This is a nationally recognized, research-intensive, mechanical engineering program that stands out among online engineering doctoral programs. This mechanical engineering program has also been highly ranked by US News & World Report, and a full 80 percent of the school’s Ph.D. graduates find job placement in the industry. MTU’s online ph.d is designed for working professionals.
Students can choose a mechanical engineering focus from among over 20 areas of study. Courses in this online PhD program may include:
- autonomous systems
- intelligent systems
- alternative fuels & renewable energy
- operations research
Michigan Technological University has received accreditation for this mechanical engineering program from the Higher Learning Commission. The school’s remote mechanical engineering program is specifically designed for working professionals.
#10. COLUMBIA UNIVERSITY
NEW YORK CITY, NEW YORK
ONLINE DOCTORATE OF MECHANICAL ENGINEERING
Established in 1754, Columbia University is a private research institute in New York City. It ranks fifth among the United States higher education institutions regarding age and is the oldest higher education institution in New York. It is an Ivy League school with 6,170 undergraduate students (as of fall 2020). The urban campus is spread over 36 acres and has three undergraduate schools. The university’s College of Dental Medicine and its graduate Journalism School are among the most well-known divisions of the school.
Students can participate in many student activities at Columbia, including 28 Greek chapters. Additionally, the school is a member institution of the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) in Division I FCS, with 29 varsity teams. Former President Barack Obama and John Jay, the founder and first Supreme Court chief justice, are among the distinguished alumni. The university also administers the Pulitzer Prizes.
Among the degrees offered remotely, the school offers an online Doctorate of Mechanical Engineering. Students in this Ph.D. systems engineering online program will study courses related to mechanical engineering. Some of these may include:
- fluid mechanics
- energy systems
- operations research
The Ph.D. in engineering program requires a total of 60 credits to complete.
The Middle States Commission of Higher Education has provided Columbia University with accreditation for this program of study. This online engineering Ph.D. is an excellent option for students looking for the most flexible online engineering doctoral program.
More Information About Engineering PhDs
A Doctor of Engineering degree is a terminal degree, meaning it is the highest degree you can acquire in the field. As an engineering Ph.D., you will be prepared to work in government, industry, research, academia, and more. Pursuing a Doctor of Engineering degree program typically requires focused coursework in a specific engineering specialty, a written dissertation or thesis, and a great deal of original research. In addition, a Ph.D. in engineering offers students the opportunity to build on their practical skills and theoretical knowledge, allowing them to make significant contributions to the engineering field and to technology development.
There are many types graduate degree programs and engineering degrees one can pursue, and the more you advance in the field, the more specialized in engineering science they become. Students can look for online engineering Ph.D. programs in biomedical engineering, computer engineering, petroleum engineering, aerospace engineering and mechanics, and so many others.
What Are the Different Types of Engineering Ph.D.s?
Traditional engineering degrees such as electrical, civil, and mechanical are the most common, but there are dozens of other types of engineering as well. Some of the online programs include:
- Mechanical Engineering
- Biomedical Engineering
- Agricultural Engineering
- Aerospace Engineering
- Automotive Engineering
- Biomechanical Engineering
- Mechatronics Engineering
- Environmental Engineering
- Structural Engineering
- Civil Engineering
- Architectural Engineering
- Computer Engineering
- Electrical Engineering
- Electronics Engineering
- Robotics Engineering
- Microelectronic Engineering
- Chemical Engineering
- Materials Science Engineering
- Paper Engineering
- Sustainability Design
- Engineering Management
- MBA in Engineering
- Industrial Engineering
- Manufacturing Engineering
- Petroleum Engineering
- Geological Engineering
- Nuclear Engineering
- Marine Engineering
- Engineering Physics
- Photonics Engineering
- Nanotechnology Engineering
- Mining Engineering
- Ceramics Engineering
- Metallurgical Engineering
- Geomatics Engineering
- Project Management Engineering
- Software Engineering
Online Ph.D. Programs
If you’re already working in the field, pursuing an online phd in engineering can be an excellent option. This is especially true for students who want to study software engineering, which is an ideal discipline to pursue remotely. But software engineering is not the only option for an online PhD in engineering. There are many such programs for students to learn, including electrical engineering, computer engineering, and more.
With online phd programs, there is no need to leave your job to complete your studies. That’s because online engineering Ph.D. programs are highly flexible and you can often complete the required coursework on your own schedule. These programs still support student research, offer
Online engineering programs are available in many different formats, including asynchronous, synchronous, and hybrid.
With online phd in engineering synchronous programs, you will need to log in for classes and lectures at specific times. Although you can still complete synchronous courses for engineering programs online, this learning method is the least flexible. While coursework is completed online, you’ll still need to arrange your schedule around your studies.
Asynchronous coursework means that you set your own schedule and can work on your assignments whenever it’s convenient for you, making this the most flexible type of online engineering Ph.D. program.
A hybrid Ph.D. in engineering program can be a combination of synchronous and asynchronous classes. Alternatively, some hybrid programs allow you to complete a portion of the coursework online, but students are expected to be on campus for specific projects. Additionally, some hybrid programs are available in an online and Saturday format.
No matter what type of program you choose, whether it’s civil and environmental engineering, aerospace engineering and mechanics, electrical engineering, or one of a multitude of other online engineering doctoral programs, you’ll typically learn from the same esteemed faculty members that teach the on-campus Ph.D. in engineering. Plus, your degree will not specify the learning format you chose. So if you’re colleague on campus receives an electrical and computer engineering degree, you can be sure yours will be identical.
One thing you’ll need to keep in mind with online doctor of engineering programs is that some components of your phd program may require on-campus participation. For example, you may need to visit campus for required research seminars or to show your original research in person. You should speak with your own enrollment counselor to ensure you’ll be able to attend.
What Can You Do With an Engineering Ph.D.?
The sky’s the limit for graduates of Ph.D. in engineering programs, primarily because by the time they complete their engineering doctorate online, they have had years of practical and theoretical education. As a result, some Ph.D. in engineering graduates choose to work in academia, becoming college professors at large research universities. Others use their knowledge to work in critical positions in government or industry, while some apply their online engineering phd programs to entrepreneurial endeavors. As a result, engineering Ph.D.’s have done everything from creating lifesaving technology to developing award-winning communication platforms.
Top Careers for Engineering Ph.D.’s
There are endless career opportunities for those who graduate from online phd programs: Constructing skyscrapers, manufacturing aircraft, developing software, creating robots, and more. Those who pursue a Ph.D. in engineering have even more options. Below are some of the most popular (and highest-paying) careers for students who complete online engineering phd programs.
Engineering management is one of the highest-paid roles in the engineering field, with a base salary of $118,896 a year. In this role, engineers serve in a supervisory position within a company, overseeing teams, implementing projects, and helping to guide design decisions. Not surprisingly, those who understand the latest engineering management concepts excel in this sector. The more responsibility you have in this role, the higher the pay will be, and it is not uncommon for engineering managers to make upwards of $160,000 annually.
Chemical engineers have extensive knowledge of chemical properties and materials science and may work in food manufacturing, pharmaceuticals, and other industries. They are typically involved in product development and research, creating new products or improving upon current ones. While chemical engineers usually earn an average of $119,000 a year, chemical engineering Ph.D.’s can earn up to $155,000. Online engineering phd programs in chemical engineering are widely available.
Petroleum engineers design and create the equipment used for oil extraction. They are expected to learn new and innovative ways to extract this natural resource and to create machines that do it efficiently. On average, petroleum engineers make around $100,852 annually. However, a petroleum engineer with a Ph.D. may earn up to $175,000 or more, depending on the role. There are many schools with online engineering phd programs in petroleum engineering.
Civil engineering is probably the most well-known engineering type, and according to U.S. News & World Report, it’s the number-one engineering job one can have. Civil engineers do everything from building bridges and skyscrapers to maintaining airports and railways. In short, they are responsible for the infrastructure of our nation. Civil engineers are rarely unemployed, and those in senior positions make up to $130,000 a year. Students will find plenty of online engineering phd programs in civil engineering to choose from.
Our world relies on the expertise of environmental engineers now more than ever as they develop solutions to the serious environmental challenges we face. From resource regulation to managing pollution and water quality, experts in civil and environmental engineering use their knowledge to create a better world for generations to come. Environmental engineers typically earn between $52,000 and $100,000. However, those with a Ph.D. in the field can earn up to $113,000. There are many such environmental online engineering phd programs.
See Also: TOP CAREERS FOR CIVIL ENGINEERS
An Overview of Systems Engineering
Another top career choice for those pursuing a Ph.D. in Engineering is Systems Engineering. But what exactly is systems engineering?
NASA’s Systems Engineering Handbook defines systems engineering as “a methodical, multi-disciplinary approach for the design, realization, technical management, operations, and retirement of a system.” What is the system in systems engineering? It can be anything, really. A system can be mechanical, electrical, chemical, and even biological.
Traditionally, engineers choose specific fields they are interested in. For example, chemical engineers work with chemicals. Aeronautical engineers work with air and spacecraft. Robotics engineers work in robotics. Computer engineers work in computer science, and so forth. But systems engineering is even more involved. It can encompass one or more engineering disciplines and go beyond the actual attributes of one role or job description. Moreover, systems engineering involves the entire system needed to produce an end result.
With systems engineering, you see projects through from beginning to end. And a “system” can consist of all the tangible and intangible things needed to produce a particular result, including:
- Humans and personnel
- Products and services
- Data and information
- Processes, methods, and procedures
- Buildings, facilities, and property
- Water, minerals, land, or any other natural element
Incidentally, the system can be one or a combination of any of the above.
Systems Engineering Is Multi-Faceted
Systems engineering crosses many different engineering disciplines to create something. But systems engineering is also transdisciplinary. It uses methods and systems from many fields to look at the big picture. Often, systems engineers are called upon to solve complex and seemingly unsolvable problems.
Systems engineers understand that resolutions dont always come about using the same systems and methods you’ve always used. Instead, they know how to combine them to create something new. For example, they may combine computer science with electrical engineering to create new and complex systems that benefit humanity. And In many cases, the end result will be innovative and revolutionary—something that has never been done before.
Do You Need a Ph.D. To Have a Role in Systems Engineering
You could say a systems engineer wears many hats at any given time. And the amount of effort that goes into breaking into systems engineering is enormous. This role is closely related to engineering management.
It’s easy to see how you need a lot of experience and education to establish a career in systems engineering. At the very least, systems engineering requires a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering or another engineering discipline. But an undergraduate degree in systems engineering will only open doors to entry-level positions. Typically, those who want to get into higher-paying jobs in systems engineering need a graduate degree. And studying the more complex theories in systems engineering may require a Ph.D.
How Hard Is It To Work in Systems Engineering
As a systems engineer, you’ll typically have naturally high levels of intelligence. You will also need to have curiosity and a desire to learn new concepts and solve complex problems. Academically rigorous, it is by no means “easy” to become a systems engineer. Your ability to break into this field depends partly on the intelligence you were born with. But systems engineering is also something one can learn with determination and discipline.
Working daily in systems engineering can be a stressful job. Such individuals are working with complex systems day in and day out. This is primarily because it falls on you to solve big problems, which can be quite mentally taxing. As a result, individuals best suited to systems engineering have skills like:
- An analytical mind
- Patience and perseverance
- Ability to see both the big and small pictures
- Strong organizational abilities
- A well-rounded background of education and experience in engineering
- Leadership and teamwork
- The ability to stay calm and relaxed under pressure
Where Can You Work in Systems Engineering?
Systems engineers are employed in every major industry you can think of. Systems engineering lets you work on problem-solving and building systems within any field that interests you, including
- Industrial Engineering Firms
- Technology and Technology Development Firms
- Government Agencies
- Private Companies
Are There Ph.D. Programs Specifically for Systems Engineering?
The fourth school on our list, Colorado State University, offers an online systems engineering program. It’s a remote Ph.D. in engineering program specifically for students pursuing a systems engineering degree at the doctoral level. This systems engineering program requires 72 credit hours. However, for students who already have a master’s engineering degree, there is an alternate 42-credit program. These graduate students will need to have earned 30 credits already.
At some other colleges, you may earn online PhD engineering degrees by building your own Ph.D. in engineering program through concentrations. Candidates should speak with a faculty advisor or research advisor to see if the school provides coursework relevant to a systems engineering program.
How Much Can You Make in Systems Engineering?
According to Payscale, the average salary in systems engineering is $81,332 annually. However, this figure varies depending on your location, experience level, and discipline. Those who are experienced in systems engineering can make anywhere from $78,000 to $178,000 or more. So if this career interests you, it may be worth it to pursue your systems engineering degree.
Closing Thoughts: Is It Worth It To Pursue an Online Doctorate in Engineering?
Generally speaking, those who hold graduate degrees in any field have the opportunity to earn more than students with just an undergraduate degree. For example, according to Payscale, those with a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering earn a base salary of $72,000 a year, while those with a doctoral degree make an average of $95,000. Here’s another example: Those with a B.S. in electrical and computer engineering can expect a base salary of $96,000, but with a Ph.D. in electrical and computer engineering that figure goes up to $133,000.
Of course, there are pros and cons to earning a terminal degree in engineering. For example, whether you pursue aerospace engineering, mechanical engineering, an engineering management program, biomedical engineering, or an interdisciplinary engineering degree, the time it takes to complete online engineering doctoral programs is anywhere from four to seven years. Plus, continuing your education can be costly. However, there are also many advantages to pursuing your doctoral degree:
Higher Salary: An engineering Ph.D. online typically leads to much better than average pay. As discussed above, the difference in earnings between those with a bachelor’s and those with a doctoral degree is well over $20,000 a year.
Funding: Students pursuing online graduate programs in engineering are often eligible for funding from businesses or the government, especially when there is a specific project underway.
Grants and Scholarships: Students pursuing distance learning Ph.D. engineering programs may be eligible for grants and scholarships, especially women and minorities.
Lower Cost: Online phd in Engineering programs usually have a lower per-credit cost than undergraduate programs.
Ultimately, you’ll need to decide if the time and money it takes to earn your Ph.D. are worth it for you in the long run. But with online engineering Ph.D. programs, it is more convenient than ever before to earn an advanced degree while simultaneously working in the field you enjoy.
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