Our Students Before Profits Award was created to promote nonprofit colleges and universities offering online degree programs that put students before profits and education before 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 PhD Engineering Programs
#1. Binghamton University
Part of the State University of New York (SUNY) System, Binghamton University is a public doctoral level university located in Binghamton and Vestal, New York. The University was founded in 1946 as a small liberal arts college and has since grown to enroll over 16,800 students. Binghamton has received recognition as a top university by multiple national and international publications including designation as a “Public Ivy” or public educational institution offering a quality of education commensurate with that of the private Ivy Leagues.
Students can earn a Ph.D. in Industrial and Systems Engineering through Binghamton University’s EngiNet, the Watson School of Engineering’s distance education program. Research areas include modeling and simulation, complex systems, machine learning, optimization, intelligent systems, human factors/ergonomics, health systems, supply chain management, and electronics manufacturing processes. A minimum of 60 credits beyond the bachelor’s degree are required for completion of the Ph.D. Up to 30 credits can be transferred in from a M.S. in an appropriate field of study.
Accreditation: Binghamton University is regionally accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.
Tuition: $13,830 – $27,660
#2. Mississippi State University
The Mississippi State University of Agriculture and Applied Science was established in 1878 in Oktibbeeha County; the school is partially located in the town of Starkville and also in an unincorporated area. Known as Mississippi State University, the land-grant university is classified by the Carnegie Foundation as a “comprehensive doctoral research university with very high research activity.” Mississippi State has been recognized by Forbes, Kiplinger’s Personal Finance, and PayScale.com, and has produced Barry M. Goldwater Scholars, Morris Udall Scholars, Ronald Reagan Scholars, George Mitchell Scholars, and Truman Scholars. The school is one of 38 universities recognized by the Truman Foundation as an honor institution.
Mississippi State University offers a variety of Ph.D. programs in Engineering online: Ph.D. in Electrical and Computer Engineering, Ph.D. in Engineering with concentration in Aerospace Engineering, Ph.D. in Engineering with concentration in Civili Engineering, Ph.D. in Engineering with concentration in Mechanical Engineering, and, Ph.D. in Industrial and Systems Engineering are all offered. A minimum of 66 credits beyond a master’s degree are required for completion of these Ph.D. programs and 48 credits beyond a master’s.
Accreditation: Mississippi State University is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools.
Tuition: $20,916 – $28,760
#3. University of South Carolina
Located in Columbia, South Carolina, the University of South Carolina is a public research university classified by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching as an institution with “very high research activity.” Founded in 1801, it is the flagship institution of the University of South Carolina system and it offers more than 350 degree programs at the undergraduate, graduate, and doctoral levels. The university enrolls over 47,700 students.
The University of South Carolina offers several Ph.D. in Engineering programs through online/distributed learning: Ph.D. in Civil Engineering, Ph.D. in Electrical Engineering, and Ph.D. in Mechanical Engineering. Each of these programs requires a minimum of 60 credits for completion including 12 credits of dissertation work of original research. Candidates who hold a master’s degree in a related field may transfer up t 30 credits of coursework toward this requirement.
Accreditation: The University of South Carolina is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools.
Tuition: $18,750 – $37,500
#4. Texas Technological University
Texas Tech University is a public research university located in Lubbock, Texas and is the leading institution in the Texas Tech University System. The school was established in 1923 and was originally known as Texas Technological College. The university enrolls over 35,100 students and offers degrees in more than 150 areas of study. The university is classified by the Carnegie Foundation as an institution with high research activity and has ongoing research projects in areas of epidemiology, pulsed power, grid computing, nano photonics, atmospheric sciences, and wind energy.
The online Ph.D. in Systems and Engineering Management offered at Texas Tech University’s Whitacre College of Engineering is designed to prepare individuals for successful leadership of engineering personnel and projects. The program is open to individuals with a bachelor’s degree in engineering and will require a minimum of 72 credits for completion. Students entering with a master’s degree may transfer in up to 30 credits of graduate level coursework. The Ph.D. program does require two summer residency terms, which means students must be on campus for two weeks each of two consecutive summers taking courses, otherwise all work is completed online.
Accreditation: Texas Tech University is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools.
In-State: $11,340 – $19,440
Out-of-State: $27,678 – $47,448
#5. Michigan Technological University
Located in Houghton, Michigan, Michigan Technological University is a public research university founded in 1885 to training mining engineers to operate local copper mines. Today the university has expanded to offer more than 130 degrees including programs in science, technology, forestry, and business as well as numerous engineering disciplines. MTU enrolls over 7,000 students.
The Department of Mechanical Engineering at Michigan Tech offers a Ph.D. in Engineering Mechanics available through online learning. Research in the department emphasizes interdisciplinary collaboration in initiatives ranging from nanotechnologies, to lean manufacturing and design, to alternative-energy technologies including micro and macro fuel cells, hydrogen power, and wind power. The Ph.D. requires a minimum of 60 credits beyond a bachelor’s degree and 30 credits beyond a master’s.
Accreditation: Michigan Technological University is regionally accredited by the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools.
Tuition: $25,845 – $51,690
#6. University of Southern Queensland
The University of Southern Queensland is a research university located in Queensland, Australia. Established in 1967, the university enrolls over 27,300 students in degree programs in law, health, engineering, the sciences, business, education, and the arts. The University of Southern Queensland has been a leader in distance learning since the 1970s, which has allowed it to serve rural Queensland and international communities through its on campus, off campus, and online programs.
The University of Southern Queensland offers online distance programs leading to both a Ph.D. or Doctor of Professional Engineering in Engineering and Built Environment. The aim of these programs is to enhance the skills of already high performing professional engineers in the areas of detailed technical investigation, applied research and development, innovative design and analysis. The programs allow candidates to develop and demonstrate these essential skills by communicating their significant original professional technical achievements as a substantial body of work in a formal academic format. In addition, candidates are likely to acquire some additional key management knowledge and/or broad technological knowledge. The specific set of knowledge will depend on the candidate’s choice of courses. The Ph.D. degree is awarded for research which demonstrates that the student has the capacity to conduct research independently and make a significant contribution to new knowledge. Entry into the Ph.D. program requires candidates to possess a master’s degree with a significant research component from an accredited institution. Candidates who possess a bachelor’s may be admitted into the professional doctorate program without a master’s degree, but may need to complete additional requirements for graduation. Both programs require 24 units for completion.
Accreditation: The University of Southern Queensland is accredited at the national level in Australia and is one of a few universities in Australia that have received U.S. backed accreditation. While not specifically accredited by a regional body in the U.S., we believe these dual national accretions do provide reasonable assurance of a high quality education.
#7. University of Alabama—Birmingham
The University of Alabama—Birmingham is a public university located in Birminham Alabama and is one of three universities in the University of Alabama System. The school was established in 1936 as an academic extension center and became an autonomous university in 1969. The university enrolls over 18,500 students and offers degree programs in over 140 areas of study at the bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral levels as well as offering professional degrees.
The University of Alabama at Birmingham’s School of Engineering offers a Ph.D. in Interdisciplinary Engineering with concentrations in Computational Engineering and Environmental Health and Safety Engineering available online. This is a unique, cross-disciplinary engineering degree that allows Ph.D. candidates to develop a plan of study and research topic that incorporates coursework and faculty expertise from the School of Engineering and medical and biomedical units,School of Business and Public Health and the College of Arts and Sciences. A minimum of 66 credits post bachelor’s are required for completion of the Ph.D. Students with a maser’s degree in an appropriate related field can transfer in up to 30 credits.
Accreditation: The University of Alabama—Birmingham is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools.
In-State: $15,570 – $27,062
Out-of-State: $34,138 – $61,118
#8. George Washington University
George Washington University in the nation’s capital, is named for the first U.S. president. It has ten undergrad and graduate colleges and schools, plus campuses in Foggy Bottom, Mount Vernon, and Virginia. It receives regular high rankings for its Law, Business and International Affairs schools. It is particularly noted for being a politically active school, with notable alumni including former First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy, former Secretary of State General Colin Powell, numerous senators, House representatives, and ambassadors, amongst others. The online offering for GWU includes undergrad (associate’s, bachelor’s) and grad (master’s, doctoral) degrees, certificates and one-off courses – some exclusively online – and hybrid options. See school Web site for more details.
The School of Engineering and Applied Science at George Washington University offers online degree programs leading to a Doctor of Engineering in Engineering Management, Ph.D. in Engineering Management, and a Ph.D. in Systems Engineering. The D.Eng in Engineering Management is a doctoral level practitioner program consisting of 45 credits. The two Ph.D. programs require a minimum of 54 credits and culminate in the production of an original research dissertation.
Accreditation: George Washington University is regionally accredited by the Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools.
Tuition: $60,750 – $68,850
#9. Colorado State University—Global
Colorado State University’s global campus, known as CSU-Global, is a non-profit, online, public university. Founded in 2007 as part of the Colorado State University system, CSU – Global is a separate and distinct institution headquartered in Greenwood Village, Colorado. Designed specifically for adult students who are unable to travel to a traditional campus, CSU only offers degree completion programs – thereby allowing their students to combine previous college credit and life experience with current course offerings.
The Ph.D. in Systems Engineering offered through Colorado State University Global Campus is designed for senior management and top-level executives The online program offers the advantage of synchronous or asynchronous delivery, allowing students the flexibility to study when and where best works for them. Ph.D. candidates work In consultation with their advisory committee to individually structure the program to fit academic and research goals. The Ph.D. experience culminates in a *dissertation which serves to heighten research and knowledge in the candidate’s area of interest, and demonstrates a solid foundation of systems engineering theory and practice, as well as a multi-disciplinary understanding of systems concepts. A minimum of 72 credits are required for completion of the degree. Up to 30 credits of graduate engineering coursework can be transferred by students who hold a master’s degree in engineering. Students may or may not need to come to campus for presentation of their dissertation.
Accreditation: Colorado State University is regionally accredited by the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools.
Tuition: $41,790 – $71,640
#10. Southern Methodist University
With its main campus located in Dallas, Texas, Southern Methodist University is a private research university founded in 1911 by the Methodist Episcopal Church. SMU also has campuses in University Park, Highland Park, and Plano, Texas as well as Taos, New Mexico. The university enrolls nearly 11,000 students and has recently been highly ranked among national universities by U.S. News & World Report.
Southern Methodist University’s Lyle School of Engineering offers a Ph.D. in Computer Engineering available online. this program is designed for students who seek to significantly advance the state of knowledge in computer engineering through original research. A minimum of 54 graduate level credits are required beyond the bachelor’s degree. Of these a maximum of 30 credits may be transferred if the entering student possesses an M.S. in an appropriate major from another institution.
Accreditation: Southern Methodist University is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools.
Tuition: $32,400 – 72,900
#11. University of Alabama—Huntsville
The University of Alabama in Huntsville is a public research university and a member of the University of Alabama System. The school was founded in 1950 and has since grown to offer 71 degree programs at the Bachelor’s, Master’s, and Doctoral levels. The school enrolls over 7,700 students.
The University of Alabama in Huntsville offers online Ph.D. programs in a variety of engineering disciplines: Engineering Management, Industrial Engineering, Systems Engineering, and Civil Engineering. A minimum of 66 credits beyond a bachelor’s degree are required for completion of these programs. Doctoral candidates may transfer up to 24 credits of graduate coursework from a master’s degree in engineering.
Accreditation: The University of Alabama—Huntsville is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools.
In-State: $22,785 – $35,805
Out-of-State: $50.999 – $80,432
#12. University of North Dakota
Established by the Dakota Territorial Assembly in 1883, six years before the establishment of the state of North Dakota, the University of North Dakota is still located in Grand Forks. The campus sits on over 550 acres. US News and World Report ranked UND among the top 100 public universities in the country.
The University of North Dakota’s John D. Odegard School of Aerospace Science offers an online Ph.D. in Aerospace Sciences. Terminal degreed professionals are needed to guide the next generation of research in the aerospace industry. These positions will be in government entities, private enterprise and institutions of higher education. Graduates of this Ph.D. program will be equipped to develop citing edge research to drive forward the aeronautic industry. Online coursework is administered through a variety of delivery methods including synchronous classes that join together online and on-campus students in a unified learning experience. 90 credits beyond a bachelor’s degree are required for completion of the program and up to 30 credits from a master’s degree from an accredited institution of higher learning can be applied toward the doctoral degree.
Accreditation: The University of North Dakota is regionally accredited by the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools.
In-State: $24,720 – $37,080
Out-of-State: $54,180 – $81,270
#13. Antioch University
Antioch University was founded as a nonprofit college in 1852 and was established according to educator Horace Mann’s dream of a nonsectarian, coeducational, classical institution that emphasizes, to the same degree, science, modern literature, and history. Rather than being intrinsically competitive, the institution encourages students to read what they deem worthwhile, to present papers on topics of their own interest, and to channel their energy into the pursuit of personally significant social, political, artistic, and intellectual issues. Antioch received university status in 1978 and currently operates out of five campuses located across the U.S., including Los Angeles, Santa Barbara, Seattle, Yellow Springs of Ohio, and Keene of New Hampshire.
While not technically an engineering degree, Antioch University’s low-residency Ph.D. in Environmental Studies draws on a wide range of disciplines and integrates them into research that is suitable to the candidates interests and goals. Individuals interested in sustainable and environmentally low impact design engineering might find this program suitable to those interests. The program combines structured coursework, individualized learning contracts and online learning. Each year begins with the sumer semester 8-day on campus intensive. Fall and spring semester classes take place over four three-day weekends duringPhase 1 of the program, three times a semester during Phase 2, and twice a semester during phases 3 and 4. These in person intensives are supplemented with online learning throughout the year. A minimum of 69 credits are required for completion of the degree.
Accreditation: Antioch University is regionally accredited by the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools.
#14. Columbia University
Columbia University is a private Ivy League university located in Manhattan, New York City. The school was established in 1754 as “Kings College” by royal charter of King George II of Great Britain. The university is the oldest in the state of New York and is one of just nine colonial colleges. Columbia University enrolls approximately 28,000 students. It is one of the fourteen founding members of the Association of American Universities and was the first school to grant the M.D. degree.
Columbia University’s Fu Foundation School of Engineering and Applied Science offers a variety of Ph.D. programs in engineering through online delivery: Civil Engineering, Earth and Environmental Engineering, Electrical Engineering, and Mechanical Engineering. Each of these programs require some amount of on-campus time, but coursework can be completed exclusively through Columbia Universities online delivery system, CVN. After completing required coursework via CNV, candidates pursue research and residency requirements as specified by faculty advisors. A minimum of 60 credits beyond a bachelor’s degree are required for completion of the Ph.D. A Master’s degree in a related engineering field from an accredited university may be accepted in the form of advanced standing for 30 credits.
Accreditation: Columbia University is regionally accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.
Tuition: $53,460 – $106,920
#15. Missouri University of Science and Technology
Missouri University of Science and Technology is a public university located in Rolla, Missouri and is part of the Missouri University System. The university was founded in 1870 as a school focused on mining and metallurgy. Primarily recognized as an engineering school, Missouri S&T also offers numerous programs in the humanities, social sciences, arts, sciences, and business. Missouri S&T is known for its repeated success in national engineering design competitions. The university enrolls over 8,600.
Missouri S & T offers a distance program of study leading to a Ph.D. in Systems Engineering. The systems engineering graduate program provides an interdisciplinary approach to managing complex systems and projects. Courses in theory and application of systems engineering and management are combined with specialization areas that allow students to design a program that fits your career goals. The PhD in systems engineering is individually structured by the student in consultation with and approval by the student’s advisory committee. Approximately 60 credits post master’s and 90 credits post bachelor’s will be required for completion of the degree.
Accreditation: Missouri S&T is regionally accredited by the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools.
Tuition: $98,620 – $147,930