Complete Guide to Top Online Systems Engineering Degrees
Online systems engineering degrees are available at the bachelor's, master's, doctoral, and certificate levels at 69 accredited colleges and universities. Systems engineering students use advanced mathematical and scientific principles to understand how systems of all sizes operate. They are trained to think critically and analyze the individual parts of a system as well as the whole and can then take this knowledge and use it to help systems run more effectively and efficiently. People who study systems engineering may find work in a wide variety of industries, such as the government, retail, manufacturing, and finance.
Continue reading for more information about careers in the field and the importance of choosing an accredited degree. We also provide a list of top-ranked online programs in systems engineering to help you explore your options.
Comprehensive List of Accredited Online Schools - Systems Engineering Degrees (69)
2018 Top Online Schools Offering a Master's in Systems Engineering
These 16 colleges represent the best value schools for online master's in system engineering programs based on annual cost and scholarly merit. Ranked #6, Georgia Institute of Technology leads these schools in academic strength at 87%. With an annual tuition rate of $7,680, Arizona State University has the lowest tuition of the group.
|Rank||School||Annual Tuition||Academic Strength|
|#1 University of Alabama in Huntsville||Annual Tuition $8,595||Academic Strength 75%|
|#2 George Washington University - Engineering||Annual Tuition $10,320||Academic Strength 81%|
|#3 Arizona State University||Annual Tuition $7,680||Academic Strength 69%|
|#4 Old Dominion University||Annual Tuition $8,608||Academic Strength 64%|
|#5 University of Kentucky||Annual Tuition $10,110||Academic Strength 70%|
|#6 Georgia Institute of Technology||Annual Tuition $16,300||Academic Strength 87%|
|#7 University of California - Los Angeles||Annual Tuition $15,451||Academic Strength 83%|
|#8 Colorado State University-Fort Collins||Annual Tuition $14,775||Academic Strength 72%|
|#9 Regis University||Annual Tuition $13,500||Academic Strength 66%|
|#10 Pennsylvania State University||Annual Tuition $16,740||Academic Strength 74%|
|#11 University of Wisconsin - Madison||Annual Tuition $19,500||Academic Strength 81%|
|#12 Southern Methodist University||Annual Tuition $20,250||Academic Strength 82%|
|#13 Lehigh University||Annual Tuition $22,400||Academic Strength 83%|
|#14 The University of Texas at Arlington||Annual Tuition $18,428||Academic Strength 63%|
|#15 Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University||Annual Tuition $23,257||Academic Strength 75%|
|#16 Texas A & M University-College Station||Annual Tuition $25,301||Academic Strength 73%|
Online Systems Engineering Degree Overview & Career Information
Our guide to online systems engineering degrees covers bachelor's, master's, doctoral, and certificate programs. Students who complete an online bachelor's in systems engineering will have met the minimum requirement needed to get started in the field.
Online master's degrees in systems engineering are more widely available. Graduates of these programs will be competitive in the workforce and may be able to find work as systems engineers in a variety of fields. An online master's will also prepare them for management and leadership roles within the industry. An online doctoral degree prepares professionals for careers in research and education at the university level. Online certificate programs are also available, and are typically completed by those who are already working in the field of engineering and want to add systems engineering to their skill set.
Online bachelor's degrees in systems engineering teach students the skills they need to analyze various systems—whether they be production systems, technology systems, or societal systems—and apply engineering concepts to them. While earning their bachelor's degree in systems engineering, students will take such classes as Engineering Experiment Design, Simulation Modeling and Analysis, Systems Engineering Concepts, and Human System Interface. A capstone project may also be required.
Upon completing systems engineering bachelor's degree programs, graduates may find work in a variety of settings such as construction, homeland security, manufacturing facilities, and the automotive industry. The field of systems engineering is diverse and there are many opportunities open to those who have a degree in this field. Students enrolled in a systems engineering program can expect to complete as many as 133 credit hours of study, and this type of program tend to involve a few more classes than the typical bachelor's program. Tuition will likely run more than $10,000, but less than $20,000, but this can vary greatly depending on the school.
Online master's programs in systems engineering are available at universities and usually take one to two years to complete. Typically this type of degree will consist of 30 to 36 credit hours of work. Students enrolled in one of these programs will take such classes as Creativity and Problem Solving, Technical Project Management, Systems Analysis Behavior and Optimization, Principles of Project Leadership, and Software Architecture. In order to be admitted to an online systems engineering master's degree, an applicant must have a bachelor's degree in either engineering or another field that provides them with a solid background in math and science. Other common requirements include letters of recommendation, a 3.0 undergraduate GPA, a personal statement or essay, a resume, and GRE test scores.
Graduates of one one these programs will be competitive in the job market, and may able to find work as systems engineers in plenty of different fields from aerospace to healthcare to government, where they will spend their days using their engineering knowledge to solve complicated problems at all levels of production. Tuition for a master's degree in systems engineering will vary depending on the school, and can fall anywhere from $13,500 to close to $30,000 a year.
For those seeking to attain the highest possible level of education in their field, an online doctoral degree in systems engineering may be a good option. Students enrolled in an online doctoral program will spend three or more years completing standard coursework as well as research and a dissertation. Classes that participants may be enrolled in include Electrical Power Engineering, Advanced IT Project Management, Systems Theory, Simulation Models for Operations Analysis, and Cybersecurity for Systems Engineers. Total coursework requirements vary between 30-60 graduate credits. Upon completing the program, graduates may be prepared for advanced positions within in the field. Examples of the types of fields that doctorate holders can work in include government, environmental agencies, and the automotive industry, as well as in research and teaching at the university level.
In order to be admitted to one of these programs, applicants must have at least a bachelor's in a related field, though some programs will require prospective students to have already completed a master's. Other requirements include letters of recommendation, work experience, and GRE test scores. Systems engineering doctoral programs can be found at the university level. Costs will vary depending on the program and how long it takes a student to complete their studies, with tuition at some schools running as much as $25,000 or more a year.
There are also certificate programs in systems engineering available in an online format. Online certificates are designed for those who have a background in engineering and who are working in the field who want to gain experience in systems engineering. Classes may include Engineering Risk and Decision Analysis, Creative Problem Solving in Design and Manufacturing, Advanced IT Project Management, and Overview of Systems Engineering Processes. Certificates can usually be completed in a year or less. This type of program is offered at the graduate level, meaning that an applicant will have to have an undergraduate degree in order to be admitted.
A graduate certificate in systems engineering could be earned alongside a master's degree or on its own, or it could also be earned before a master's program and the student could choose to apply the credits to a master's degree at a later date. Upon completing their certificate programs, graduates will be able to continue working in their field while applying their newly acquired systems engineering skills. Tuition for one of these program will vary depending on the school, but will likely run at least $13,000.
The Importance of an Accredited Online Systems Engineering Degree
One thing that prospective students should keep in mind when choosing a school for an online degree is accreditation. There are three main types of accreditation: national, regional, and programmatic. National accreditation is usually given to vocational or other non-degree granting schools, while regional accreditation is given to colleges and universities that grant degrees. Students should be sure to attend an accredited online school for several reasons, including being able to access federal financial aid, ease of transferring credits, and an assurance that their future employers will view their online degree as legitimate.
Programmatic accreditation is also important. This type of accreditation comes from organizations that specialize in evaluating programs in specific academic areas. For example, the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET) accredits programs in the fields of computing, engineering, technology, and engineering technology. Employers may prefer to hire graduates from ABET-accredited programs over non-accredited programs, as they know that students coming from these accredited programs will be well-prepared. ABET offers accreditation at the associate, bachelor's, and master's level, so students looking for online engineering degrees at one of these levels should strive to attend an ABET-accredited program. A list of all programs that have received this accreditation is available on ABET's website.
Systems Engineering Careers
Students with online degrees in systems engineering may use their advanced knowledge of various engineering principles and apply them to different types of systems in order to make those systems more efficient. There are opportunities for students with online degrees in systems engineering in a variety of fields. Some fields that a systems engineer may be able to find work in include telecommunications, healthcare, energy, manufacturing, aerospace, defense, and finance. Because the field of systems engineering is so diverse, the exact day-to-day job duties of a systems engineer will vary depending on what industry they work in. For instance, a systems engineer working in manufacturing may analyze the various systems in place to make sure the products are being made efficiently and meeting quality standards. With advanced education, a systems engineering can move up to more supervisory and management roles, or find work in research and education.
- Accreditation. ABET. Accessed November 9, 2016. http://www.abet.org/accreditation/.
- Associate in Science in Pre-Engineering. Columbia College. Accessed November 8, 2016. http://www.ccis.edu/degrees/?program=ASPE.
- Associate of Pre-Engineering (APE) Degree Requirements. Weber State University. Accessed November 8, 2016. http://www.weber.edu/engineering/Degree_Requirements.html.
- Bachelor of Science in Systems Engineering. University of Arizona. Accessed November 7, 2016. http://www.sie.arizona.edu/bachelor-science-systems-engineering.
- Doctor of Philosophy in Systems & Engineering Management. Texas Tech University. Accessed November 9, 2016. https://www.depts.ttu.edu/elearning/doctoral/systems-engineering/.
- Doctor of Philosophy in Systems Engineering. George Washington University. Accessed November 9, 2016. https://online.gwu.edu/doctor-philosophy-systems-engineering.
- Frequently Asked Questions - Systems Engineering. UNC Charlotte. Accessed November 9, 2016. http://seem.uncc.edu/systems-engineering-faqs/9.
- Graduate Certificate in Systems Engineering. Wayne State University. Accessed November 8, 2016. https://engineering.wayne.edu/ise/programs/gc-se.php.
- Industrial and Systems Engineering (B.S.). Liberty University. Accessed November 8, 2016. https://www.liberty.edu/academics/engineering&computationalsciences/?PID=14456.
- M.Eng Distance Learning. Cornell University. Accessed November 8, 2016. http://www.systemseng.cornell.edu/academics/meng_distance/.
- M.S. in Systems Engineering Career Opportunities. Drexel University. Accessed November 8, 2016. http://drexel.edu/engmgmt/syseng/academics/ms/career-opportunities/.
- Master of Engineering - Systems Engineering. ASU Fulton Schools of Engineering. Accessed November 8, 2016. https://asuengineeringonline.com/online-degrees/master-engineering-systems-engineering-meng.
- Master of Engineering in Systems Engineering. Penn State Online. Accessed November 8, 2016. http://www.worldcampus.psu.edu/degrees-and-certificates/systems-engineering-masters/overview.
- Regionally Accredited vs. Nationally Accredited: What's the Difference?. American Intercontinental University. Accessed November 9, 2016. http://www.aiuniv.edu/blog/june-2015/regionally-accredited-vs-nationally-accredited.
- Systems Engineering Certificate Overview. Colorado State University. Accessed November 8, 2016. http://www.online.colostate.edu/certificates/systems-engineering/.
- Systems Engineering, Ph.D. Colorado State University. Accessed November 9, 2016. http://www.online.colostate.edu/degrees/systems-engineering-phd/.
- Tuition and Fees. Colorado State University. Accessed November 8, 2016. http://www.online.colostate.edu/faqs/tuition-fees.dot.
- Tuition and Fees. Columbia College. Accessed November 8, 2016. http://www.ccis.edu/online/admissions/tuition.aspx.
- Undergraduate Program. UNC Charlotte. Accessed November 7, 2016. http://seem.uncc.edu/undergraduate-program.