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Best Online Master’s Degrees in: Engineering Management

Editor’s Picks: Online Schools for Engineering Management

Value

The University of Michigan won our award for best value of colleges that offer an online master’s degree program in engineering management. According to PayScale.com, the University of Michigan’s annual return on investment (ROI) — the amount a student pays for tuition versus what they receive in lifetime earnings — is 10.4%. The university’s ROI increases to 11.8% if financial aid is considered.

Flexibility

Kansas State University earned our award for flexibility. College Prowler ranked the university 16th in its list of most flexible curriculums, which shows the degree to which a student can enroll in the courses they want to while still earning their degree. Kansas State University’s online engineering management curriculum consists of 30 credit hours, half of which are electives. The university offers courses in civil, chemical, electrical, mechanical, and software engineering.

Career Support

The University of Michigan also won our award for career support. Students and alumni can access the university’s career center, which offers such services as resume building, job and internship postings, and career fairs. The career center also offers guides that offer advice on network building, researching employers, and writing resumes and cover letters. Master’s students can also access the university’s career center connector, an online system that includes job and internship postings.

Financial Support

Ohio University claimed our award for best financial support. According to the National Center of Education Statistics (NCES), 89% of Ohio University’s full-time beginning undergraduate students received financial aid in the 2010-2011 school year. The university offers all federal Title IV need-based financial aid programs and other grants, loans, and scholarships. The school’s website includes information about these programs, important deadlines, and online services including a cost calculator and a financial aid estimator.

Technology Support

The University of Wisconsin – Madison claimed our award for the best technology support. U.S. News & World Report placed the University of Wisconsin – Madison first in its rankings of student services and technology of the top online graduate engineering programs. Online students have access to 24/7 live technical support, live tutoring, a smartphone application, and at least some of the course content is delivered by live streaming video.

Student Engagement

The University of Wisconsin – Madison also won our award for student engagement. U.S. News & World Report ranked it first in student engagement and accreditation of the top online graduate engineering programs. Students of the online program can expect a response to a question from their professor within 24 hours, instructors have two dedicated office hours per week, and they track student logins.

Disability Support

Kansas State University received our award for disability services. The university’s office of disability support services seeks to provide equal opportunity and access for every student. Students with disabilities have access to a wide range of accommodations, including alternative text, assistive listening devices, and more. Online students, regardless of physical location, can receive accommodations from the university which may include a change to the technology used in a class or a modification of the course materials.

Library/Research Support

Penn State University’s online library system claimed our award for library and research support. The school’s University Libraries system is the seventh largest research library in North America with more than 100,000 e-books. Online students can use the online University Libraries system to search for books, articles, e-journals, and through databases and course reserves. The library also has digitized collections – which include multimedia, image collections, maps, and manuscripts – and research guides.

Faculty Credentials

The University of Wisconsin – Madison earned our award for best faculty credentials as well. U.S. News & World Report placed the university fifth in its faculty credentials and training ranking of the top online graduate engineering programs. According to U.S. News, 89% of the university’s faculty have at least two years of online teaching experience. The university also finances an online instruction training program which professors are required to complete.

Faculty Accessibility and Involvement

Penn State University won our award for faculty accessibility and involvement. College Prowler gave Penn State University a grade of “B+” for academics, which demonstrates the school’s professor’s knowledge, accessibility, and the degree to which they care about their students. In determining the grade, College Prowler also considers class size, how engaging the classes are, and how well professors communicate with their students.

Alumni Engagement

Colorado State University received our award for alumni engagement. Members of the alumni association receive discounts at certain stores and they have access to the alumni insurance program, which includes short-term and long-term health, home, renters, and automobile insurance. Graduates can also take advantage of Colorado State University’s career services, which includes access to an alumni business connection networking tool, a job and internship search, and information about career fairs.

New Student Orientation

The University of North Carolina – Charlotte earned our award for new student orientation. The university’s distance education website features a new and current student guide that offers information on a wide range of topics, including how to find an academic advisor, register for courses, technical requirements for using the school’s online course program, and more. Video tutorials that show how to participate in class sessions and how to view and download course materials are available as well.

Explore a Master’s Degree in Engineering Management

Engineering management covers the business concepts for engineering, including management, performance improvement, finance and accounting, research and development, and ethics. Engineering management master’s degrees usually require a background in engineering, computer science, physics, mathematics, or another related field. Most engineering management master’s programs are designed for experienced engineering professionals who possess a minimum of a bachelor’s degree from an ABET-accredited school of engineering, and are a good fit for engineers who want to advance their careers. Engineering managers must be detail-oriented and organized, and have a strong background in advanced mathematics. An engineering management master’s degree may require 33 credits to complete over two years.

Class Curriculum

A master’s degree in engineering management consists of course work in engineering economy, financial management, accounting, industrial and human resource management, industrial psychology, and quality control. Students may also complete course work in human factors, safety, and systems simulations. In addition, students may take course work in statistics, systems modeling and analysis, ergonomics, and globalization. The following are a few courses an engineering management graduate student may take:

  • Statistics. Engineering management master’s degree students may take a few statistics courses throughout their degree program for concepts in probability like random variables and probability distributions, mathematical expectation, discrete probability distributions, sampling, and confidence intervals. Advanced statistics may cover hypothesis testing, linear regression, multiple regression, variance, and non-parametric statistics. Course work may introduce application to engineering and industrial problems like quality control.
  • Systems Modeling and Analysis. Systems modeling and analysis covers dynamic systems through the development of state space and transfer function models of physical systems. Students analyze systems for stability, controllability, and performance, and design feedback controllers through numerical techniques and software.
  • Globalization and Engineering. Globalization and engineering covers the forces driving globalization and their impact on engineering, including migration, trade, competition, technology, education, and capital free flow. Lectures may cover research and development investment, supply chains, outsourcing, education, and global and environmental responsibility.

An engineering management master’s degree may require reading in management, accounting, and economic strategy. Students may also be required to collaborate with peers through managerial practices or other concepts learned in course lecture.

Building a Career

A master’s degree in engineering management may lead to advancement opportunities in one of the many engineering disciplines, which vary in wage and employment. For example, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that agricultural engineers had a median annual wage of $71,090 in 2010, while petroleum engineers had a median annual wage of $114,080.

As managers, engineers may have higher earning potential. The BLS reports that architectural and engineering managers from all disciplines had a median annual wage of $119,260 in 2010. Remember, however, that wage and employment figures will depend on where you live, your employer, your level of experience and skill, and your position. Employment for architectural and engineering managers is expected to increase by 9% between 2010 and 2020.

While not all engineers are required to be licensed, engineering licensure is required for government engineering contracts. Licensure requires a degree from an ABET-accredited engineering program, a passing score on the Fundamentals of Engineering (FE) exam, and a passing score on the Professional Engineering (PE) exam. Obtaining a degree from an ABET-accredited engineering program qualifies you for the FE exam; the PE exam may be taken after successfully completing the FE exam.

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