Best Online Doctorates in Engineering 2021

online phd engineering Our Students Before Profits Award was created 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 few online programs from accredited, nonprofit colleges and universities that are offered and have ranked the programs according to their affordability. Professionals with advanced knowledge in a variety of technical fields are in increasing and unprecedented demand as the technological landscape continues to rapidly change.

Individuals possessing a terminal-level degree in the field of engineering will be equipped not only to fill high-level positions in a variety of industries, but will also be prepared and qualified to develop original research to drive the field forward in decades to come. Though this ranking is primarily concerned with the affordability of engineering programs,  many programs here have consistently been ranked among the top of their kind by other national publications and we believe they deserve to be considered among the best online master’s in engineering available. Note that tuition rates listed below are based on cost per credit and individual programs may have additional fees.

Ranking the Top Online Engineering PhD Programs

#1. University of Alabama

Online PhD in Aerospace Engineering and Mechanics

Tuscaloosa, Alabama

Those interested in studying at the University of Alabama can enroll in this Online PhD in Aerospace Engineering and Mechanics. One of the most affordable online engineering PhD 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 needed to complete this program of study. The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges has provided the University of Alabama with accreditation for this degree program. This PhD engineering online program is designed with working professionals in mind and has a large amount of flexibility to accommodate outside scheduling needs.

Tuition: $30,240

Score: 100

#2. Mississippi State University

Online PhD in Electrical and Computer Engineering

Starkville, Mississippi

Mississippi State University offers its PhD 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 skills and competencies in students without requiring visits to the Mississippi State University campus. This degree is designed to be completed in about four years. The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges has provided Mississippi State University with accreditation for this program of study. Students who earn this degree will have gained the skills needed for a high-level computer or electrical engineering career, since this is one of the best online engineering PhD programs.

Tuition: $30,840

Length: 12 months

Score: 99.75

#3. University of North Dakota

Online PhD in Petroleum Engineering

Grand Forks, North Dakota

This Online PhD in Petroleum Engineering is made available by the University of North Dakota. Though the degree is primarily delivered online, students must visit the University of North Dakota campus for two days each semester. Students in this PhD engineering online program will study geomechanics, geophysics, seismic analysis, and many other areas of petroleum engineering research. A total of 90 credit hours are needed to complete this degree. Students can expect to finish this program in just four years. Courses in this program include data mining in petroleum engineering, natural gas engineering, reservoir geophysics, practical seismic processing, and many others. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median salary of petroleum engineers is $138,000/year.

Tuition: $34,560

Score: 99.5

#4. Rowan University

Online PhD in Engineering

Glassboro, New Jersey

Those who plan to study at Rowan University can enroll in this Online PhD in Engineering degree. This program of study is offered primarily online. Students can choose from several concentrations, including Biomedical Engineering, Electrical & Computer Engineering, Engineering Education, Chemical Engineering, Civil & Environmental Engineering, Materials Science & Engineering, and Mechanical Engineering. These programs are made available primarily online, but some program components are required to be completed in person. The Middle States Commission on Higher Education has provided Rowan University with accreditation for this degree.

Tuition: $53,160

Score: 99

#5. University of Alabama at Birmingham

Online PhD in Interdisciplinary Engineering

Birmingham, Alabama

The University of Alabama at Birmingham offers this Online PhD in Interdisciplinary Engineering. Through this program, students can develop their understanding of a variety of 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 of this program does require students to visit the University of Alabama at Birmingham. Students can expect to complete this degree in about four years. The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges has provided the University of Alabama at Birmingham with accreditation for this program.

Tuition: $63,960

Score: 98.75

#6. Columbia University

Online Doctorate of Mechanical Engineering

New York City, New York

Offered online, this Online Doctorate of Mechanical Engineering is made available to students at Columbia University. Students in this PhD systems engineering online program will study courses related to mechanical engineering, including aerodynamics, fluid mechanics, combustion, energy systems, and much more. This program of study 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 PhD is a great option for students looking for more flexible online engineering doctoral programs.

Tuition: $65,880

Score: 98.5

#7. Texas A&M University

Online Doctor of Engineering

College Station, Texas

Offered entirely online, this Online Doctor of Engineering is made available by Texas A&M University. This degree program is identical to the PhD program offered on-campus. In fact, 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 this PhD engineering online program, which is one of the best online engineering PhD programs available. Texas A&M University has received accreditation for this degree from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges. Those who complete this degree will have the research experience needed for a career in engineering. 

Tuition: $73,260

Score: 98.25

#8. University of the South Carolina

Online PhD in Nuclear Engineering

Columbia, South Carolina

Those who wish to study at the University of South Carolina can enroll in the school’s Online PhD in Nuclear Engineering. Through this distance learning PhD engineering program, the University of South Carolina will provide students with all the knowledge and training needed for a career in nuclear engineering. Courses in this program include nuclear cycles, radiation shielding, reactor systems, and much more. Students in this program are also allowed to earn a specialization in Nuclear Fuels and Structural Materials, Thermal Hydraulics, and Advanced Modeling and Simulation. The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges has provided the University of South Carolina with accreditation for this program, which is one of the top online engineering doctoral programs. 

Tuition: $74,400

Score: 98

#9. Michigan Technological University

Online PhD in Mechanical Engineering

Houghton, Michigan

This Online PhD in Mechanical Engineering degree is offered to students by Michigan Technological University. This online PhD in engineering is perfect for students who want to advance their careers in mechanical engineering without interrupting their current careers, and is one of the top online PhD engineering degrees. Courses in this program of study include autonomous systems, intelligent systems, alternative fuels & renewable energy, and many others. Michigan Technological University has received accreditation for this degree from the Higher Learning Commission.

Tuition: $77,160

Score: 97.5

#10. Colorado State University

Online Doctor of Systems Engineering

Fort Collins, Colorado

Students at Colorado State University can enroll in this Online Doctor of Systems Engineering degree. This PhD systems engineering online degree is designed to be completed entirely online. A total of 72 credits are needed to earn this degree, which is one of the best online PhD engineering degrees available. Students in this program will become experts in how different engineering systems interact with one another. 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.

Tuition: $78,120

Score: 97.25

NPCO Staff

May 2021

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This concludes our ranking of top online engineering PhD programs.