More, perhaps, than any other field of study, engineering has shaped the way we live now. From modern medicine to modern communications, transportation to energy, engineering impacts every facet of contemporary life. And while business schools have led the way in management programs in areas like technology management, leadership in the engineering field really needs more technical understanding and mastery than a business degree can provide. It needs people who know what engineers do, what engineering can do, and what it takes to help engineers do the best engineering possible.
Why Earn a Doctorate in Engineering?
While engineering is one of the best-paying career paths workers can start with just a bachelor's degree, with an increasingly competitive job market, working engineers and other professionals in engineering-related fields will often find their options limited with just a bachelor's. It's not limited in the variety of work settings, or employers – engineerings are in demand in academic research, government, military and defense contracting, and virtually every industry (from aerospace, biomedical, and computer engineering to zoology). Instead, the limitations are on the vertical axis: you're not going to move up very far with just a bachelor's degree, when you're competing with master's and doctorate holders.
Engineering offers one of the highest entry-level pay rates of any profession, but to take on higher-level leadership positions, a graduate degree will usually be the standard. Some managerial roles may only require a master's degree, but a doctorate in engineering may be the key to real authority and the highest levels of pay (well into six figures, according to Payscale). While doctor in management programs may offer specializations in areas like technology or computer science, administrators who understand engineering may have far more value working with engineers. Today, it's becoming more and more common for current professionals to do it all online.
Ranking the Best Online Doctor of Engineering Programs
Fortunately, many universities have recognized the demand for engineering doctorates and made the process easier for working professionals (as easy as a doctorate in engineering can get, anyway). Engineering doctorates comes in many forms, including those focused on research, programs oriented toward teaching, or managerial and leadership-focused programs. Whether you're looking for an online PhD Systems Engineering program, or a doctorate in engineering management distance learning, options are out there.
To rank the best online doctor of engineering programs in the US, Online PhD put together a list of universities offering fully online, hybrid, and low-residency engineering doctoral programs. These schools – which include public research universities, private institutions, and fully-online virtual colleges – are then ranked according to three criteria:
- Cost: Current graduate tuition rate (from IPEDS data)
- Reputation: Niche rating
- ROI: Average alumni salary (from College Scorecard data)
All but one of the programs ranked in the Top 40 Doctorates in Engineering are regionally-accredited, and all have established national and even international reputations as online educators. For working professionals in engineering, this is the place to start for a convenient, online doctorate that will show a reliable return on investment.
1. Colorado State University – Fort Collins, CO
Colorado's public, land-grant research university, Colorado State University was founded in 1870, six years before the Colorado Territory was even admitted to the union, and it was a crucial part of establishing the territory. As a land-grant institution, CSU was designed around agriculture and engineering, and that legacy has made CSU one of the nation's top research institutions for the applied sciences. In fact, CSU is one of the top public institutions for research spending among colleges without a medical school, especially in the areas rooted in the fields related to agriculture and engineering, including veterinary medicine, biomedical engineering, and energy.
With Colorado's large size and spread-out populations, CSU has also become a leader in online education, and the CSU online PhD in Systems Engineering degree program demonstrates why. This fully online degree program is unusual, focused on the needs of working professionals rather than academics or researchers. Students are prepared to work in multi-disciplinary teams, bringing the insights of engineering to solving complex, real-life problems such as risk analysis, security, and operations. The program is designed for high-level managers and executives, preparing students for careers in leadership, as well as contributing new and original knowledge to the field. All coursework is fully online, making CSU's online PhD systems engineering program ideal for working professionals.
Degree & Specialization: PhD in Systems Engineering
2. Missouri University of Science & Technology – Rolla, MO
Founded as Missouri's land-grant research institution, Missouri University of Science & Technology – better known as Missouri S&T – was the first technology institute founded west of the Mississippi, bringing modern engineering education to the frontier in 1870. However, for almost its first century, Missouri S&T was considered a branch of the University of Missouri, becoming an independent university only in 1964. During that time, the school developed programs in all areas of engineering, becoming one of the Midwest's leading institutions for applied sciences education and research; the university even started the first working nuclear reactor in Missouri. Today, MS&T remains ranked highly for its laboratories and its engineering programs.
Missouri S&T's online PhD in Systems Engineering degree program gives busy working professionals the opportunity to earn their terminal degree without having to attend on the Rolla campus. This interdisciplinary program gives students a strong grounding in areas like data analytics, modeling and simulation, risk assessment, and numerous other skills that make graduates valuable in a wide range of settings – business, academic research, government, and more. Mixing theory courses, specialized courses, and hands-on, original dissertation research, students in MS&T's online PhD systems engineering program are well-prepared to solve problems with strong engineering-based reasoning and leadership.
Degree & Specialization: PhD in Systems Engineering
3. University of Maryland – College Park, MD
Long named one of the Public Ivies – the esteemed public universities with the quality of the Ivy League – the University of Maryland is also Maryland's flagship land-grant research institution, key to learning and research in virtually every discipline in the state. Founded in 1856 as an agricultural college, UMD has built on its land-grant tradition to make some of the highest-ranked and most accessible applied science programs in the nation, especially through the excellent Clark School of Engineering. Descending from the mechanical arts programs that were there at the start of UMD, the Clark School has long been ranked one of the top public engineering schools in the US, frequently placing in the top 10.
UMD's online PhD in Reliability Engineering degree program is designed for convenience and accessibility, providing working engineers with the means to continue their studies without leaving their current careers. Students in the online engineering doctoral program learn the specialized aspects of reliability engineering, from probability and statistics to materials and cost effectiveness. To make the program more attractive to working professionals, all coursework is fully online, delivered through digital recordings of on-campus classes. However, students are responsible for having all exams independently proctored (for instance, by arranging with their company's HR department). In an age of disposable products, reliability is an in-demand engineering specialty.
Degree & Specialization: PhD in Reliability Engineering
4. Worcester Polytechnic Institute – Worcester, MA
From its founding in 1865 as one of the first polytechnic schools in America, Worcester Polytechnic Institute pioneered the study of engineering and technology, and continues to innovate, lead, and transform the applied sciences. Following its original mission, WPI had a powerful impact on education in New England, making the combination of classroom learning and apprenticeship into an early model of hands-on learning, and that tradition has continued throughout a century and a half. Today, WPI is regularly ranked in the top tier of national universities, and one of the top engineering educators in the world; the university has been particularly praised for its high return on investment, and for its success with international students.
WPI's online PhD in Systems Engineering is offered in a blended format for the convenience of working professionals in the engineering field. The blended hybrid delivery style allows students to maintain their current positions and study part-time in a distance format; almost all courses are online, research seminars can be taken in an interactive electronic environment, and students interact closely with their advisors. Even better, WPI helps financially support students' travel for national conferences where they can present their research. Students will also be expected to travel to Worcester for a public, on-campus dissertation defense. With WPI's reputation for ROI, graduates can expect good things from the online phd systems engineering program.
Degree & Specialization: PhD in Systems Engineering
5. Texas Tech University – Lubbock, TX
One of the leading universities in the West, Texas Tech University began in 1923 with the mission to meet the specific and unique needs of West Texas, a vast, primarily agricultural area dominated by cotton farms and ranches. That meant that Texas Tech began as a technological college, focused on practical engineering, agricultural, and what was then known as home economics – useful programs that were immediately applicable to the people of West Texas. Over the following century, Texas Tech grew into a research powerhouse, reaching the top tier of the Carnegie Classification and earning a reputation as one of the top public research universities in the US. The Whitacre College of Engineering is particularly well-regarded, building on Texas Tech's early mechanical engineering programs into a 21st century model in fields ranging from aerospace engineering to cotton processing and turf grass.
Texas Tech's online PhD in Systems and Engineering Management degree program is specifically designed for working engineering professionals who are currently in managerial or other leadership positions, or who intend to move into a management career. The PhD program supplements engineering knowledge with an understanding of areas such as decision theory, operations analysis, simulations, and other skills for leading diverse teams. Almost all required courses will be taken online, but students will be required to attend a 2-week intensive residency each summer for the first two years (4 weeks on-campus altogether). Texas Tech also provides special support for veterans and current military personnel, making it one of the best online PhD engineering management programs for vets as well.
Degree & Specialization: PhD in Systems and Engineering Management
6. Stanford University – Stanford, CA
Regularly named at the top of students' dream colleges, Stanford University is one of the world's leading private research institutions and the academic heart of Silicon Valley. Founded in 1885, Stanford was intended to provide the West Coast with a university that could rival the Ivy League, and was called the "Cornell of the West" early in its history. However, Stanford really came into recognition after WWII, when the university made a concerted effort to foster the entrepreneurial goals of its faculty and graduates. That effort became Silicon Valley, the center of computer technology and innovation, and the primary element that attracts students to Stanford.
Stanford's PhD in Management Science and Engineering degree program is equally effective for working professionals who want to move into high-level leadership positions, or to take on research or academic positions. With a focus on leadership within the sciences, rather than engineering itself, the MS&E PhD gives students an advanced understanding of areas like risk analysis and decision making, security, and entrepreneurship, specifically tied to engineering theory and process. While the degree is not officially online, most required courses can be taken in a distance format, though students will have to come to campus for oral exams and to defend their dissertation. Standford's reputation and connections, of course, are second to none, and students can expect their online PhD engineering management program to give them a strong entry into whatever facet of the engineering industry they choose.
Degree & Specialization: PhD in Management Science and Engineering
7. Columbia University – New York, NY
Columbia University is one of just 9 Colonial Colleges, the institutions founded before the American Revolution; it began in 1754 as King's College, and stands today as an esteemed member of the Ivy League. Columbia has been at the center of research and learning in New York City for more than two and a half centuries, but the university has never rested on its laurels, maintaining a reputation for innovation and discovery throughout its history. In particular, Columbia led the Ivy League in developing distance education programs, launching the Columbia Video Network in 1986 to help working professionals learn remotely. Today, the CVN remains in effect as one of the top online education networks in the world.
Columbia's online doctor of engineering programs are available through the CVN system. Designed with the experienced engineering professional in mind, all courses are available in a fully online format, giving students the chance to earn the highest degree in the field without ever having to come to campus. Currently, students can earn doctoral degrees in Earth and Environmental Engineering, Electrical Engineering, or Mechanical Engineering through the CVT system, working with faculty members to develop their original research for their dissertation. It's an accessible way to earn an elite degree, providing the top professionals all over the nation with access to one of the leading names in higher education.
Degree & Specialization: PhD in Earth and Environmental Engineering, Electrical Engineering, or Mechanical Engineering
8. Auburn University – Auburn, AL
Alabama's land-grant, public research institution, Auburn University has been at the center of technology, applied sciences, and research for the Deep South for a century and a half. Founded as a Methodist college in 1856, Auburn became a public land-grant college under the Morrill Act, specializing in agriculture and mechanical engineering. Eventually, Auburn expanded into the region's leading polytechnic university, and finally into a major public research university. Today, Auburn ranks among the top 50 public universities in the US, and is especially known for the Ginn College of Engineering, one of the largest undergraduate and graduate engineering schools in the nation.
Knowing the need for well-trained engineers and scientists in the Deep South, Auburn has also become a nationally-recognized online educator, offering online and hybrid degree programs in many areas to help working professionals reach higher. Auburn's online doctor of engineering programs allow engineers to earn their PhD in a primarily online hybrid format, including aerospace engineering; Auburn is particularly recognized for its aerospace and aeronautics programs, with its own regional airport, NASA funding, and a half-dozen astronaut alumni. Other online programs include chemical, civil, materials, and mechanical engineering, all taught by Auburn's expert faculty and offering access to world-class research.
Degree & Specialization: PhD in Aerospace Engineering, Chemical Engineering, Civil Engineering, Software Engineering, Electrical & Computer Engineering, Industrial & Systems Engineering, Materials Engineering, or Mechanical Engineering
9. Michigan Technological University – Houghton, MI
Founded in 1885, Michigan Technological University's first mission was providing engineering education for the copper mines of the Upper Peninsula. Michigan Tech was the UP's first college, and its heritage as a mining school gave MTU the foundations to become a leading institution for technology research, development, and education. In addition to its influence in engineering and the applied sciences, Michigan Tech is known for fields like computer science, forestry, environmental science, business, and other areas related to Michigan's professional and industrial economy. U.S. News recognizes MTU as a top-tier public university, while the Princeton Review has named Tech one of the top universities in the Midwest.
Michigan Tech's online PhD in Mechanical Engineering degree program is intended for working professionals in the field who want to advance in their careers; in fact, 80% of graduates go into research and development careers in industry, rather than academia. This interdisciplinary approach to mechanical engineering allows students to focus on a broad range of specializations, from alternative energy to nanotechnology. Coursework can be completed in a distance format, though only students in the US are eligible to apply; students can also choose to earn a certificate in hybrid vehicles or automotive systems, valuable specializations in Michigan's industrial sector.
Degree & Specialization: PhD in Mechanical Engineering
10. University of Minnesota-Twin Cities – Minneapolis-St. Paul, MN
Minnesota's flagship public research institution, the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities is also recognized as a Public Ivy, and is rated at the highest tier of the Carnegie Classification. Founded in 1851 to bring educational opportunity to the Minnesota Territory, UMN actually predates Minnesota's statehood, and played a major role in growing the city of Minneapolis into one of the nation's largest metropolitan areas. UMN has been crucial to educating Minnesota's professionals and leaders, from medicine and nursing to the arts and humanities, but the university is especially known for its science and engineering, disciplines that go back to the very beginning of UMN's land grant.
The University of Minnesota has also rightfully earned a reputation for online education, a must for a public university in such a large state, with spread-out rural areas to serve. Many of UMN's online programs are delivered by UNITE Distributed Learning, an online platform specifically designed for working professionals in the sciences and engineering. Nearly all of the coursework for UMN's online doctor of engineering programs can be completed through UNITE, including programs in biomedical engineering, industrial engineering, mechanical engineering, and electrical engineering. UNITE uses a multi-faceted format including video lectures, podcasts, and other online tools to make distance learning effective and convenient.
Degree & Specialization: PhD in Biomedical Engineering, Electrical Engineering, Industrial Engineering, or Mechanical Engineering
11. Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University Worldwide
Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University is in a class of its own – quite literally, as there is really no other school quite like it. Founded in 1925, ERAU began as a small flying school for a regional airport in Ohio; after moving to Florida, the school took off by educating pilots for WWII in a partnership with the University of Miami. Today, Embry-Riddle is that world's largest and most prestigious aeronautics-focused university in the world, with campuses in Daytona Beach, Prescott, AZ, and online, as well as branches at more than 100 military bases and other locations. One of the first names in aeronautic and aerospace engineering, ERAU is also one of the world's top online educators with Embry-Riddle Worldwide.
Embry-Riddle's PhD in Aerospace Engineering degree is one of the most respected in the industry, and one of the most in-depth. With one of the most prime locations possible – neighboring Daytona Beach International Airport, and just miles from the Kennedy Space Center – Embry-Riddle attracts some of the top researchers and educators in the field, and all of that expertise and resources are available to engineering PhD students. While the program is designed for a traditional on-campus student, working professionals in the industry and government are encouraged to work with the university to develop a low-residency plan that will work for their needs.
Degree & Specialization: PhD in Aerospace Engineering
12. University of Michigan – Ann Arbor, MI
Michigan's oldest university, and one of the oldest in the Midwest, the University of Michigan dates back to 1817 – two decades before the Michigan Territory even became a state. With that much of a head start, UM became central to education, professional training, and research for the state, and made its home in Ann Arbor (after some time in Detroit) into one of the most recognized college towns in the nation. UM is well known for its high-level STEM programs, especially engineering, with the College of Engineering pioneering the discipline since 1854. Engineering at UM is ranked among the best in the nation in nearly every specialization, from aerospace and biomedical to the world's oldest material science program.
The University of Michigan PhD in Design Science degree program, offered by the College of Engineering, brings working professionals the highest level of experience and knowledge possible. This interdisciplinary program allows students to develop their own plan of study, applicable to their current career or to their prospective career; with each plan built around at least two or more disciplines, students have access to the full range of design as a discipline. That means, for working engineering professionals, UM's PhD program allows a full integration of engineering and design for cutting-edge research and practical experience (including a required internship or practicum).
Degree & Specialization: PhD in Design Science
13. University of Colorado Boulder – Boulder, CO
The University of Colorado Boulder is a testament to the leadership of the Colorado Territory, which knew, back in 1876, that education would be the deciding factor in Colorado's development. When the Territory became a state, the legislators made room in the budget for three schools – an agricultural college (which became Colorado State), a mining school (which remains today as the Colorado School of Mines) and a traditional university in Boulder. Today, CU Boulder is the state's flagship university, regularly ranked among the top public research universities and most innovative institutions in the nation.
CU Boulder is well known for its engineering programs, a staple of professional education in Colorado, and has earned national acclaim as an online educator. In that vein, CU offers numerous online doctor of engineering programs focused on the needs of the working engineering professional, including fully and mostly online PhD programs in Aerospace Engineering, Electrical Engineering, and Civil, Environmental, and Architectural Engineering. Students can also specialize in areas like Water Engineering and Management or Engineering for Developing Communities, depending on their career paths.
Degree & Specialization: PhD in Aerospace; Civil, Environmental, and Architectural; or Electrical Engineering
14. Clarkson University – Potsdam, NY
Founded in 1886, Clarkson University was built on engineering technology. A memorial to industrialist Thomas Clarkson, who died in an accident in one of his stone quarries, Clarkson University was intended to educate the workers of the Potsdam region, an area dominated by rock quarries and industry. With its focus on business and engineering, Clarkson has regularly been named one of the most entrepreneurial schools in the US, as well as one of the best for return on investment and alumni salaries. Ranked as a top-tier national university, Clarkson's reputation is solid and steadily rising.
With its reputation for innovation, Clarkson is also earning national recognition as an online educator. Clarkson offers two fully online doctor of engineering programs: the online PhD in Civil and Environmental Engineering degree program, which is ranked one of the best in the nation by U.S. News & World Report; and the online PhD in Mechanical Engineering. Both programs are designed for working professionals already in the field, although prospective students who have a degree in a discipline other than engineering may be admitted on a case-by-case basis. Students who are near the Potsdam campus can also choose a hybrid format, but all coursework can be completed entirely online.
Degree & Specialization: PhD in Civil and Environmental Engineering or Mechanical Engineering
15. Mississippi State University – Mississippi State, MS
One of Mississippi's flagship universities, along with Ole Miss, Mississippi State University began in 1878 as the state's land-grant agricultural and mechanical school, playing a crucial role in modernizing Mississippi's agricultural industry after the Civil War. Over time, MSU grew into one of the most significant public research institutions in the Deep South, especially in engineering fields. In addition to being recognized as a best value and a powerful influence on social mobility in Mississippi – educating generations of professionals, scientists, and researchers – Mississippi State has also been cited by the National Science Foundations for their support of engineering research.
MSU has also made major investments in online education, realizing that distance education is the best way to reach out to the state's busy professionals. Mississippi State's online doctor of engineering programs provide many opportunities for engineering professionals looking for advancement, including online programs in Aerospace Engineering, Civil Engineering, Computational Engineering, Electrical & Computer Engineering, Industrial & Systems Engineering, and Mechanical Engineering. Coursework is online, and students have the opportunity to take part in sponsored research programs; students can also choose thesis or non-thesis options.
Degree & Specialization: PhD in Aerospace, Civil, Computational, Electrical & Computer, Industrial & Systems, or Mechanical Engineering
16. University of Alabama at Birmingham – Birmingham, AL
Alabama's only Carnegie Classification R1 public research university, the University of Alabama at Birmingham began humbly as an extension campus for the UA flagship in 1936. However, being located in Alabama's largest city caused UA Birmingham to grow by leaps and bounds, until it was not only the largest university in the state, but the largest employer in the state as well. In addition to housing Alabama's largest medical complex, UAB is a research leader, ranking in the top 20 for federal research funding, and performing more STEM research than all of Alabama's other universities combined.
UAB has also become Alabama's online education leader, as the UAB online PhD in Interdisciplinary Engineering demonstrates. This unique approach to online doctor of engineering programs gives students full access to Alabama's largest research institution and its many schools, departments, and research centers for an engineering doctorate that combines at least two or more disciplines. Students may, for example, develop their degree in partnership with the medicine and public health schools. UAB's Interdisciplinary Engineering PhD is a hybrid program; the first 30 credits can be completed part-time and by distance, but students must have at least one year in residency to work on their dissertation.
Degree & Specialization: PhD in Interdisciplinary Engineering
17. Binghamton University – Binghamton, NY
Founded in 1946, the State University of New York at Binghamton – better known as Binghamton University – began with the mission of providing opportunity to WWII veterans going back to school on the GI Bill. What began as a satellite campus for Syracuse University became a major public doctoral university in its own right in less than two decades, and today SUNY Binghamton is a top 100 national university with recognition as a Public Ivy. Binghamton is particularly crucial to professional education in the Southern Tier region, providing the highest level of STEM and professional training for the people of the NY-PA border through traditional and online programs.
Binghamton University's online PhD in Systems Science degree program brings together transdisciplinary skills and knowledge to give working engineers and other professionals the skills they need to model and develop complex systems in a wide variety of settings. Students learn the most current theory and practice in areas like computer simulation, machine learning, game theory, decision making, and more. Coming from the Watson School of Engineering and Applied Science, Binghamton's online phd systems engineering program is delivered through the EngiNet system, with lectures recorded live and coursework uploaded within 24 hours of the on-campus class.
Degree & Specialization: PhD in Systems Science
18. George Washington University – Washington, DC
Founded in 1821 by an act of Congress, George Washington University was the culmination of one of the first president's strongest wishes – a national university that would legitimize the nation's capital as a place not just for government, but for learning and culture. Today, GWU is not only one of the nation's most politically influential universities (with alumni in Congress, the judicial system, and virtually every industry), but one of its most accomplished research institutions, regularly ranked in the top 50 or higher. A top-tier research institution, GWU is a leader in STEM research and education just as much as in political science, business, and law.
GWU's online doctor of engineering programs bring the university's internationally-acclaimed engineering programs to working professionals in a convenient distance format. The GWU Doctor of Engineering in Engineering Management degree program gives students a practice-oriented, applied doctorate that helps them apply advanced learning and knowledge to real-world problem solving. The GWU PhD in Systems Engineering degree, on the other hand, is ideal for researchers, leaders, and public servants to develop their understanding of the workings of complex systems, the better to lead and educate. Whether its the online PhD systems engineering program, or the online PhD engineering management program, GWU's online doctorates are a significant investment.
Degree & Specialization: Doctor of Engineering in Engineering Management or PhD in Systems Engineering
19. Louisiana State University – Baton Rouge, LA
Louisiana's flagship university, Louisiana State University is a top-tier public research institution and one of the most influential colleges in the Deep South. Founded in 1854, LSU was originally a military academy and agricultural college, landing the state's federal land-grant funding in 1874. With a strong foundation in the mechanical arts (one of the main missions of the land grant), LSU built up a strong reputation for engineering and applied sciences over the course of the 20th century. Named one of the most entrepreneurial institutions in the US by Entrepreneur magazine, LSU's College of Engineering is also ranked one of the best in the nation.
The Turner Department of Construction Management offers the unique LSU online PhD in Construction Management degree program, an interdepartmental engineering science doctoral program. Unusual among online doctor of engineering programs, the Construction Management PhD provides students with fully online coursework in an accelerated 7-week format, giving working professionals in construction and related fields a fast and convenient way to increase their research skills and applied knowledge. Students will complete and defend a dissertation for the Construction Management PhD
Degree & Specialization: PhD in Construction Management
20. University of Alabama – Tuscaloosa, AL
The University of Alabama is one of the foremost public research universities in the Deep South, Alabama's flagship, and a top-50 national public university. Founded in 1820, Bama was one of the first institutions of higher learning in what was then the frontier – part of the territory claimed by the US from the Louisiana Purchase, and taken from Spain after years of contention. In many ways, it was Bama that made Alabama, and that influence continues even today. In the 21th century, in particular, Bama by Distance has also emerged as a force to be reckoned with, earning recognition as one of the leading online educators in the nation.
The University of Alabama's online PhD in Aerospace Engineering and Mechanics builds on one of Bama's strengths. The Bama by Distance online program is designed for working aerospace professionals with at least 5 years of experience, allowing them to continue full-time in their careers while working to a terminal degree part-time. All coursework is fully online, though students must schedule a meeting with their advisor at least once a semester; otherwise, the program is exactly the same as the traditional on-campus PhD, complete with a dissertation and defense. It's one of the best value online doctor of engineering programs available in the South, or anywhere in the US.
Degree & Specialization: PhD in Aerospace Engineering and Mechanics
21. Southern Methodist University – Dallas, TX
Often named among the Southern Ivies – the elite, private research universities that stand as the South's equivalent to the Ivy League – Southern Methodist University is a pillar of professional life, education, and research in Dallas, TX. SMU was founded in 1911 by the Methodist Church with the express purpose of creating a leading urban institution like Vanderbilt and Emory for Texas. Just over a century later, that mission continues, and SMU is regularly ranked among the top national research universities, especially in areas that dominate the Dallas economy, just as business, law, and engineering.
The Lyle School of Engineering at Southern Methodist is one of the nation's most prestigious, and a pioneer in professional distance education in engineering. The SMU PhD in Computer Engineering degree program is not precisely an online doctor of engineering program; rather, students can access much of the program through the Lyle Distance Education Program, which uses streaming video to allow busy professionals to attend class virtually, without having to come to the Dallas campus. A doctoral dissertation is required, and students will have to work closely with their advisors to make the most of a world-class doctoral engineering program.
Degree & Specialization: PhD in Computer Engineering
22. University of North Dakota – Grand Forks, ND
The University of North Dakota is the state's flagship public research university, and one of the top up-and-coming research institutions in the Midwest, building a strong reputation for STEM education and research. Founded in 1883 by the Dakota Territory, UND grew into one of North Dakota's largest employers, with an economic impact on the state of more than $1 billion, but the university has truly come into its own in the 21st century. With North Dakota's many rural communities, UND has become a center for online education, using modern technology to reach out to the working adults throughout the state who need advancement.
UND's online doctor of engineering programs are many, including Aerospace, Energy, and Petroleum – some of the most in-demand and highest-paying specialities in engineering. With its many online PhD programs, UND is dedicated to providing the strongest interdisciplinary training possible for working professionals, using the online format to bring together experts from a variety of fields to help North Dakota's engineers and scientists increase both their knowledge, and their job market strengths. Depending on the specialization and the choice of part-time or full-time study, an online PhD from UND can take anywhere from 2 to 7 years, allowing students to work at a pace that works for them and their other life responsibilities.
Degree & Specialization: PhD in Aerospace Sciences, Biomedical Engineering, Electrical Engineering, Energy Engineering, Environmental Engineering, or Petroleum Engineering
23. University of Alabama in Huntsville – Huntsville, AL
The University of Alabama in Huntsville began in 1950 as an extension campus for the University of Alabama; still under the system of racial segregation, Huntsville was home to two historically black colleges, but no college for white students. UAH became central to higher education in the state, however, when the Marshall Space Flight Center came to Huntsville in 1960. Suddenly, the extension campus became central to engineering education, producing a locally-educated funnel of engineers for the MSFC and quickly creating one of the leading engineering schools in the nation. While UAH is just an R2 in the Carnegie Classification, it is one of the nation's leading research institutions for NASA, the military, and other engineering-related industries.
Not surprisingly, UAH has made its expertise accessible to distance education students in a number of areas as well; UAH's online doctor of engineering programs include programs in civil, industrial, and systems engineering, as well as an online PhD Engineering Management program. All of these programs are presented primarily online, though they will require some on-campus visits (for instance, to defend the dissertation). UA Huntsville's reputation for online education is growing quickly, earning national attention from a wide range of publishers, and combined with the UAH reputation in engineering, working professionals will see an online PhD Systems Engineering or doctor of engineering management online program pay off.
Degree & Specialization: PhD in Civil Engineering, Engineering Management, Industrial Engineering, or Systems Engineering
24. East Carolina University – Greenville, NC
Founded as a teacher training school in 1907, East Carolina University clearly filled a need for the largely rural region; in just over a decade, the school had become a college. Today, ECU is the third-largest student body in the University of North Carolina System, with nearly 30,000 students, and ECU is an essential part of educating the state's professional workforce. ECU is especially crucial for working adults, and as a result, the university has built up a strong reputation for online learning. While ECU, from historical experience, is well known for teacher education, it is also the southeast's leading regional institution for health and nursing, as well as technology, computing, and, increasingly, engineering.
ECU is part of a unique consortium that includes Bowling Green State University, North Carolina Central University, and several other partners to offer ECU's online PhD in Technology Management degree program. Coming from the College of Engineering and Technology, the Tech Management PhD draws on the expertise of all 5 consortium members, with ECU supplying faculty in digital communication and manufacturing systems. With the Tech Management PhD, students learn and practice skills in research, leadership, and education to take on roles in industry and academia. Fully online coursework and a strong reputation makes ECU's online management PhD a solid investment.
Degree & Specialization: PhD in Technology Management
25. Florida Institute of Technology – Melbourne, FL
The Florida Institute of Technology, much like UA Huntsville, was born out of the Space Race; at its founding in 1958, FIT's primary mission was educating engineering and technology personnel for the many facilities that make up Florida's Space Coast. FIT was also a pioneer and leader in distance education, from its first outreach programs to the Navy in the 1970s, to highly developed, fully-online degree programs at every level, from certificates to doctorates. Its excellence in a wide range of engineering fields, and a growing national reputation for online education, makes FIT a college to watch.
FIT's PhD in Systems Engineering degree program gives working professionals in engineering and technology fields the credentials they need to take on high-level leadership positions. With a focus on real-world, practical problem-solving, applied research, and collaboration, FIT's PhD Systems Engineering distance learning options are not fully online, but are designed to be flexible for adults to keep their current careers while learning part-time. Students have access to some of the most advanced laboratory resources in the region, along with current research being performed by an interdisciplinary team of researchers. With all of FIT's opportunities, graduates can expect good things to come of the systems engineering doctorate.
Degree & Specialization: PhD in Systems Engineering
26. North Carolina A&T State University – Greensboro, NC
The largest historically black university in America, and the second-highest ranked public HBCU, North Carolina A&T State University began in 1891 as the state's land-grant institution for African-American students. With its roots in agricultural and mechanical education, like other land-grant colleges, NC A&T has a strong foundation for STEM education and research, and has emerged as one of the top public research universities for black students in the US. In fact, NC A&T is the nation's top institution for black engineering graduates, as well as many other professions such as accounting and business.
The university has also earned national attention for its excellent online programs, reaching out to working adults across the state and US. NC A&T works in partnership with Indiana State University (as part of the same consortium with East Carolina University) to offer a technology management doctorate program in a distance education format. NC A&T's online PhD in Technology Management degree program pulls together experts and knowledge from computer engineering, business, human resources, and other related disciplines to prepare students for leadership in the technology industry. The program is especially useful for engineering professionals who are interested in an alternative career path from conventional engineering.
Degree & Specialization: PhD in Technology Management
27. University of Tennessee/UT Space Center – Knoxville and Tullahoma, TN
The University of Tennessee, Knoxville, is the state's flagship public research institution; one of the oldest public universities in the US, UTK was founded in 1794, when Tennessee was still just a territory not long since separated from North Carolina. That means UTK has been there through it all, playing a major role in educating the professional class and leadership of Tennessee, from politics and culture to the sciences. One of UT's greatest innovations is the University of Tennessee Space Center, a dedicated campus in Tullahoma, TN, dedicated to education and research related to the aerospace industry, especially engineering.
The University of Tennessee offers several options for online doctor of engineering programs through UTK and the Space Center. Students interested in an online PhD systems engineering or engineering management degree can look to the UT Space Center for the online PhD Industrial Engineering-Management degree program. The UTK online PhD in Mechanical, Aerospace, and Biomedical Engineering programs focus on the needs of working practitioners in the field, and are also offered by the Space Center. UTK's online PhD in Industrial & Systems Engineering also allows for an Engineering Management Concentration.
Degree & Specialization: PhD in Mechanical, Aerospace, and Biomedical Engineering; PhD in Industrial & Systems Engineering
28. Bowling Green State University – Bowling Green, OH
When Bowling Green State University was founded in 1910, the reasoning was simple; there was no dedicated teacher training school in the state, and at the turn of the century, the state's existing universities were too remote for the rural areas of Ohio. BGSU and Kent State University took up the challenge of bringing teacher education – and, as time passed, bachelor's and graduate degrees in all kinds of fields – directly to the people. Bowling Green State continues that tradition with a strong online presence, one that is steadily earning the university national attention.
Students interested in an online PhD engineering management program can look to BGSU's online PhD in Technology Management degree, an interdisciplinary program that brings together technology, engineering, and business management to train leaders in the technology sector. The online Tech Management PhD is offered through a consortium led by Indiana State University, giving students access to the expert practitioners and teachers of five different institutional partners. Students can specialize in Construction Management, Digital Communications, Human Resource Development, Manufacturing Systems, or Quality Systems, with all coursework fully online and convenient for busy working professionals.
Degree & Specialization: PhD in Technology Management
29. University of Maine – Orono, ME
Maine's flagship university, and the state's only Carnegie Classification public research institution, the University of Maine began in 1865 as a land-grant agricultural and mechanical college. With that foundation, UMaine is the state's largest university, and is known for its education and research in STEM, especially in engineering fields related to environmental science, sustainability, energy, and biology. As the state's only nationally-ranked research university, UMaine's responsibility to the people of Maine is significant, and its online degree programs have allowed the university to reach more people more conveniently.
The UMaine online PhD in Biomedical Engineering degree program is a challenging, research-focused program dedicated to making students into the most accomplished research professionals possible. Students are not only expected to perform original research; professional publication is required for graduation, and students must submit abstracts to present at national or international conferences. Students must also attend the Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences and Engineering Annual Meeting each year of their program. While all coursework is online, students must complete 3 laboratory rotations while working on their dissertation; because of this requirement, the program is only available in distance format for students in Maine.
Degree & Specialization: PhD in Biomedical Engineering
30. University of Central Missouri – Warrensburg, MO
Like many regional universities, the University of Central Missouri began as a small teacher's training school, working to prepare schoolteachers for rural areas where there were no colleges. Founded in 1871, UCM has been crucial to learning in the region for nearly a century and a half, and today, with nearly 15,000 students, UCM makes a significant impact on Missouri's professional workforce. In addition to teacher education and business, UCM is earning a national reputation for science and technology, especially in applied research; the College of Health, Science, and Technology is highly focused on entrepreneurship and leadership in STEM.
With its mission to meet the needs of Missourians wherever they are, the University of Central Missouri has become well-known nationally for its online degree programs. UCM's online PhD in Technology Management degree comes from an exceptional consortium partnership with Indiana State University (which also includes East Carolina, NC A&T, and Bowling Green State). With all 5 campuses linked, providing expertise and resources to one another, Central Missouri students get access to more resources than any one college could provide, making for an exceptional online PhD engineering management program.
Degree & Specialization: PhD in Technology Management
31. University of South Carolina – Columbia, SC
The University of South Carolina is not only South Carolina's flagship public research university; it is one of the oldest and most respected public universities in the South, founded in 1801 to solidify South Carolina's place in the new United States. A top-tier Carnegie Classification research institution, USC has also been named an up-and-coming university by U.S. News & World Report, with a reputation is that growing well beyond the South. In particular, USC is becoming known for its outreach, as its selection of fully online programs grows, and as many degrees reach top national rankings.
Engineering is one area where the University of South Carolina is truly showing its growth in status. USC's online doctor of engineering programs including fully online programs in Civil and Environmental Engineering, Electrical Engineering, and Mechanical Engineering (with available specializations in Aerospace or Nuclear Engineering). Students in Civil and Environmental Engineering can specialize in Environmental, Geotechnical, Structures, Transportation, or Water Resources.USC uses a system called APOGEE for its online courses, allowing distance students to view the class through streaming video; all coursework is available online. USC's steadily growing reputation means that online students will see the value of their investment continue to climb.
Degree & Specialization: PhD in Civil Engineering, Electrical Engineering, or Mechanical Engineering
32. Capitol Technology University – Laurel, MD
Founded in 1927, Capitol Technology University began as a radio technology training school providing correspondence courses from a retired Naval radio officer. It was, nearly a century ago, the height of modern technology, and CTU has always made a point of staying at the front of the curve, no matter how technology changes. Located in the Washington, DC metro area – where government agencies and contractors create an incredibly high concentration of tech jobs – CTU is a nonprofit, regionally-accredited university focused entirely on technology, building relationships with government agencies like the NSA and Homeland Security to become one of the most innovative tech educators in the region.
CTU's online PhD in Technology degree program gives distance education students access to the university's primary strength. Designed for the convenience of working professionals, the online PhD is built around original research, preparing students for careers in fields ranging from academic research to NGO think tanks to defense contracting and government agencies. Students are expected to work independently to produce publishable research and writing, while preparing to take on leadership roles. There are two paths, depending on the students' curren education level – one for students who already have a master's degree, and those who do not. In either case, CTU gives students what they need to meet the challenge.
Degree & Specialization: PhD in Technology
33. Rowan University – Glassboro, NJ
Rowan University began as a normal school (a teacher-training program) in 1927, helping to meet the growing need for well-prepared teachers as the state's industrial sector boomed. While the teacher's college became known as a pioneer in areas like special education and education for working adults, Rowan truly took off as an independent institution when philanthropist Henry Rowan donated $100 million (setting a record for gifts to a public university). The fruit of that gift, the Rowan College of Engineering, has been named one of the top engineering schools in the US, while Rowan University has earned a national reputation for its impact on social mobility in New Jersey and beyond.
Rowan's online doctor of engineering programs include 6 possible specializations: Biomedical, Electrical & Computer, Chemical, Civil & Environmental, Materials, and Mechanical. With a focus on high-level research, writing, teaching, and publication, the online PhD programs prepare students for academic or industry careers. Students not only complete a dissertation, but are urged to publish, present in conferences, and create valuable intellectual property through their original research. With so many options, and so much opportunity afforded by one of the Northeast's top STEM institutions, graduates can expect to see rewards.
Degree & Specialization: PhD in Biomedical Engineering, Electrical & Computer Engineering, Chemical Engineering, Civil & Environmental Engineering, Materials Science & Engineering, or Mechanical Engineering
34. Indiana State University – Terre Haute, IN
Indiana State University has been providing exceptional educational opportunity for the people of Indiana for more than a century and a half; since its founding as a teacher training school in 1865, ISU has put Hoosiers front and center. While it has its roots in a teacher's college, Indiana State spent the 20th century expanding its programs and offerings well beyond that start, and today stands as one of the most crucial public institutions in the Midwest. ISU has long been named one of the best regional universities in the Midwest, but more importantly, Indiana State is known for its outreach – as one of the top service learning universities, ISU is recognized on the President's Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll.
Indiana State also emphasizes educational outreach, becoming one of the Midwest's top online educators. ISU leads the Consortium Universities of the PhD in Technology Management degree program, partnering with four other universities all over the US to provide a fully-online, top-ranked doctorate in tech management program. Pulling together the expertise of East Carolina University, NC A&T University, Bowling Green State University, and the University of Central Missouri, the Tech Management PhD is one of the most innovative and unique online PhD engineering management programs in the nation, and a valuable investment for working professionals.
Degree & Specialization: PhD in Technology Management
35. Nova Southeastern University – Fort Lauderdale, FL
Nova Southeastern University had its start in 1964, opening as a small graduate program in Fort Lauderdale, FL, dedicated to technology. After finding its campus home on a decommissioned air base, Nova struggled for the first few years, but found its footing in the 1970s when it began its pioneering distance education programs. Well before the internet, Nova began making its name by reaching out to professionals who wanted to earn a higher degree without leaving their careers, and today, NSU is one of the premiere names in online education. Nova Southeastern is steadily earning a reputation as a national university on the rise.
Nova Southeastern's online PhD in Information Systems degree program comes from a place of strength for NSU. Students in the Information Systems doctoral program work on developing their skills for leadership, research, and real-world problem-solving, using a hybrid "cluster" format that combines traditional and distance education. Students complete eight online courses, along with two research courses, before completing their dissertation, and the skills they practice will put them in good stead for careers as varied as project management, information security, and systems engineering.
Degree & Specialization: PhD in Information Systems
36. Western New England University – Springfield, MA
With a history dating back to 1919, Western New England University began as an extension campus of Northeastern University, with classes meeting at a YMCA in Springfield, MA. The original classes were made up of working adults in the area who studied accounting, business, and law in the evenings, and WNEU's commitment to accessible education for nontraditional students has never wavered. Today, WNEU is a comprehensive university regularly ranked among the best regional universities in New England, offering extensive opportunities for working professionals across New England to increase their credentials and advance their careers.
WNEU's PhD in Engineering Management degree program is not fully online, but makes use of a traditional-online hybrid format to make the degree more accessible to working professionals in the field. All lectures are captured by the echo360 system and supplied for online study, while online learning modules also supplement the traditional lectures; while some classes require on-campus attendance, others do not (international students, however, must attend on campus). Students learn and contribute to the most current research on optimizing human-technological systems, from healthcare to the shipping industry, and can expect a significant advantage in their career.
Degree & Specialization: PhD in Engineering Management
37. Naval Postgraduate School – Monterey, CA
Founded in 1909, the Naval Postgraduate School has spent more than a century providing military officers and civilians with the highest levels of education and training for service. With a focus on technical programs that are of advantage to the military – such as engineering, management, and public policy – NPS doesn't just prepare officers for leadership and combat; it also produces valuable, applied research for the Defense Department, branches of the military, and defense contractors. Engineering was NPS's first mission, and it remains central to education at the school, complete with a whole array of distance learning programs.
NPS's online PhD in Systems Engineering degree program is available for officers in the US military, for civilians working for the federal government, or for international students who meet certain requirements (such as serving in an allied nation's military). Students working in the online PhD Systems Engineering program have access to a variety of distance learning options, including synchronous and asynchronous courses, video teleconferencing, and discussion boards, among other possibilities. While NPS's programs are primarily designed around a military context, systems engineering graduates have a multitude of career options in industry, academic education, and research.
Degree & Specialization: PhD in Systems Engineering
38. Atlantic International University – Honolulu, HI
Atlantic International University is a for-profit, internationally accredited (by the UK-based Accreditation Service for International Schools, Colleges and Universities) distance learning institution based in Honolulu, HI. Developed with an international focus, and based on the United Nations principal that education is a basic human right, AIU operated on self-directed learning, with students developing their curriculum the correspond to their current careers or career goals. With its emphasis on self-motivation, AIU caters to adult learners, generally those who already have careers in their chosen field, and want the opportunities that come with an advanced degree.
AIU's online doctor of engineering programs offer working professionals in engineering several potential paths to a terminal degree. Students may build their learning around a Doctor of Science in Engineering, a PhD in Engineering, or a Doctor of Engineering degree. With each curriculum independently and uniquely designed, students may specialize in whatever area they choose, from electrical and computer engineering to industrial or mechanical engineering. These programs are intended primarily to working researchers who want a doctorate degree that will qualify them for leadership positions.
Degree & Specialization: Doctor of Engineering, PhD in Engineering, Doctor of Science
39. Northcentral University – San Diego, CA
Founded in 1996, Northcentral University was one of the nation's first fully online universities, getting into distance education well ahead of the curve. With that jump on the competition, Northcentral was able to establish itself as a reputable, respectable option for adult learners and working professionals at a time when online education was still not quite understood. Rare among its peers, Northcentral earned not only regional accreditation (the standard for higher education in America), but program-specific accreditations in a number of fields. Northcentral's primary focus is on the needs of working adults, and its programs are designed specifically for use and applicability to students in their current careers, or their future paths.
NCU's online PhD in Engineering Management degree program is intended for working research and educational professionals in the engineering field who want to move into higher-level leadership positions. With that end in mind, the online PhD Engineering Management program brings together systems and technology expertise with business and management skills to help students encourage innovation and success. Whether students are in government or academia, industry or nonprofit, the doctor of Engineering Management online program gives a fully-developed curriculum that can be applied to any engineering organization.
Degree & Specialization: PhD in Engineering Management
40. Antioch University New England – Keene, NH
Antioch University New England began in 1964 as an extension campus of Antioch College, the famed liberal arts college known for its educational experimentation and focus on activism and social justice. Originally intended to provide practical degree programs for working adults, the Antioch system grew to include campuses all over the US. Today, after separating the adult education programs from Antioch College into an independent organization (the Antioch University System), Antioch New England is a private graduate school devoted to cooperative, applied learning.
While Antioch University's hybrid PhD in Environmental Studies isn't precisely an online doctor of engineering program, but it can be quite valuable for working engineers who want to move their career into a more sustainability-focused direction. This low-residency program requires students to attend an 8-day summer intensive for the first two years of the program, as well as attending weekend classes; the residency requirement lowers for each year of the program, from 4 weekend classes a semester to just two. The combination of on-campus activities and online coursework gives students both connection, and convenience, helping working professionals hone their interpersonal and career skills.
Degree & Specialization: PhD in Environmental Studies
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