Engineering Management Online Programs

Graduate online Engineering Management degree programs, much like business administration, cover basics like finance, management science, leadership and human resources. However, they are narrowly concerned with how to apply these practices to the technology and engineering sectors. Degree seekers could therefore study things liked technology strategy and product innovation, combining technical knowledge with management know-how.

Engineering Management Online Programswritten by Rana Waxman

Online engineering management degrees may be available at various levels, from Masters through to Doctor of Philosophy (PhD). Or, those seeking shorter, more concentrated programs might consider certificates. The variety of options, combined with the flexibility of online programming, might make online engineering management programs an accessible option for engineers looking to take their careers and skills to the next level.

Why Earn an Online Engineering Management Degree?

Online Engineering Management Degree Programs could help at-work engineers develop the knowledge, skills and tools needed to lead technical projects, operations and teams. Delivered through web-based courses, students could conveniently study to build managerial skills while they maintain a busy lifestyle.

Engineering Management Courses

Students who pursue their engineering management degree online could take courses that mirror that of their on-campus peers. Topics vary of course, but could delve into accounting, engineering economics, quality control, funds flow and human resources. Programs with more of a technology focus could cover operations and project management, statistics and computer applications.i

Format and Structure

An online engineering management degree program could be fully online or include some online and on-site courses. Fully online programs may be completed from anywhere with internet access, while

hybrid programs entail visit(s) to campus at specified intervals.

Login or Live Stream

While formats vary from school to school, you may be able to log into courses at your own pace, if you submit your assignments when due. Some schools live stream their campus classes and post them to the course management system after the session. Others might develop their programs specifically for the online platform. Either way, there is usually a computer based learning platform in place. This platform is where you ‘go’ to find and submit homework, contact fellow students and faculty, view your courses and engage in discussion.


In 100-percent online engineering management graduate programs, students could engage with course content through various digital tools, some of which could be interactive. For example, some distance programs blend in real-world, project-based instruction. This could involve group work where students are presented with a scenario (e.g. product development) and must take part in decisions throughout the project’s life cycle.

Interact on a Global Scale

Because some online engineering management degree programs may be available to students worldwide, students may find they can connect and network on a global scale. Online learners typically interact with faculty and classmates, regardless of location, through mediums such as course announcements, instructor discussion, assignment feedback and online office hours.

Online Student Resources

Many schools provide online students with similar resources as their campus counterparts. Some of the features you might find could include career services, live office hours (e.g. Skype), academic advising, student e-mail, digital libraries, live library support, and tech support. Resources for online students vary. Make sure to look at individual schools to see what assistance is in place.


Employment of engineering managers is expected to grow by 12 percent up to 2024.i

Types of Online Engineering Management Degree Programs

Online Masters in Engineering Management programs are often planned-out for those who already have a degree in engineering, math, physical science, computer science or related field. A further step, the PhD in Engineering Management is often designed to build on a master's degree and professional work experience. At each level, students could expect different admissions and degree requirements.

Online Masters in Engineering Management Programs

Online Masters in Engineering Management (MEM) programs could award the Master of Science in Engineering Management, or in short form, MSEM degree. Most online MSEM degree programs require students to complete from 30 to 36 credits. Full-time degree seekers might complete their program in about 2 years, although some students could choose a part-time program. Part-time programs may give students five years or so to finish, but these parameters are set by individual universities.

Admissions: Aside from a bachelors degree in a STEM field, some schools stipulate a minimum GPA and could want to see transcripts and GRE scores. While it depends on the university, an online MEM degree programs could require students to have some relevant work experience, detailed on a resume. Letters of reference, personal statements and other material could be needed as well.

Curriculum: One of the ways to assess an online MEM degree program is to check out a college’s curriculum. Usually, students take a series of core and required classes, electives, and possibly, commit to an area of emphasis.

Essentially, core topics could help learners develop well-rounded skills to lead high-tech staff and bring emergent ideas to fruition. These courses might cover aspects of professional development such as marketing oneself, as well as business basics for engineers. They could also explore things such as federal regulations, contract negotiation and the strategic analysis of technical projects. While each program has its own types of classes, below are some general examples of what you might study online.

  • Statistical Analysis
  • Engineering Systems Simulation
  • Design Project Management
  • Leadership Methods
  • Capital Budgeting

Contact individual schools for a full course list.

Concentrations: Some grad schools could offer areas of emphasis where students take extra courses set around a specific theme. An emphasis might help students tailor their program to interests and personal career goals. Through a concentration, students could understand the technology that goes into engineering projects, as well as the management process through which the technology is applied.

We have highlighted a few possible topics but there are more to be discovered. Check through individual schools to see what is available.

Technical Project Management courses could help students learn how to effectively take a project through its life cycle. Topics could include risk assessment and management, planning, and communication with team members and other executives.

Systems Engineering courses could delve into electrical and computer engineering. Students might study discrete math, software engineering and system architecture. Or, you might look for a school where you could investigate cloud computing, artificial intelligence and information assurance.

Management Science courses could discuss things like labor issues that affect the industrial environment. Students could learn how to plan and execute strategy, or grasp global economics.

Structural Engineering courses could help current structural engineers develop a supervision model for disasters and catastrophes. Students could study, for example, things like earthquake engineering and bridge design.

Optics and Photonics courses could cover topics such as intermediate electro-magnetics and laser fundamentals. Students might also take further electrical and computer engineering courses.

Applied Physics courses could cover electronic materials and electronic packaging. Students might also study materials science, sensors and the physics of climate.

Logistics courses could help students develop their grasp of supply chain management. Students might explore topics such as purchasing for logistics, global logistics and transportation management.

Electives: Elective courses could take the place of an emphasis or add to one. It depends on the school and how they frame degree requirements. Electives could allow students to explore a specific interest or expand their understanding of related fields. Sometimes, topics could be selected, with approval from faculty, from other school departments – the business school for instance. Some electives may have prerequisites associated with them, so it is always a good idea to check this ahead of time.

Capstone: Students could be required to complete some type of capstone. This could be a field project, an analysis of case studies, oral exam or another specified final project, designed to bring all the topics from the program together.

Online PhD in Engineering Management Programs

Students who want to earn a terminal and research-based degree might look for an online PhD in Engineering Management Program. While program lengths and course credits could differ, an online PhD typically entails about 60 to 72 credit hours. Students might choose to work towards their PhD on a full or part-time basis. Therefore it could take some students about 4 to 7 years to complete. Each school generally provides an estimated time of completion, as well as the maximum time they allot for all the requirements to be satisfied.

Admissions: Admission to an online PhD in Engineering Management program could vary between schools. In some cases, students could need a masters degree to apply, and must meet the general admissions criteria. Other schools may require students to have earned a MS degree with a minimum GPA (e.g. 3.5) and could want to see GRE scores, letters of reference and other material.

Curriculum: The course of study in any PhD program depends on the university that offers it and students' personal interests. Generally, coursework is both broad and specific, as students usually need to show comprehensive knowledge of the field, as well as expertise in one area.

In their core classes, Engineering Management PhD degree seekers might examine technology and innovation from the point of view of leadership. Classes could therefore delve into how to manage risk, create technology policy and keep information private and safe.

To further build expertise, students might then take emphasis courses. These topics vary by school and program, although some general examples are listed below.

  • Quality Management
  • Engineering Law
  • IT Project Management
  • Systems Analysis

In addition, PhD candidates usually study research methods, statistics and other subjects to help them carry out their inquiry. At the same time, students might explore technical subjects such as computer networks and business intelligence.

Dissertation: As a final project, PhD students typically present their scholarly research in a written paper, or dissertation. In it, the candidate contributes new theory or insight into their chosen topic.

Online Graduate Certificates in Engineering Management

An online Graduate Certificate in Engineering Management program could allow distance learners to complete a shorter series of coursework relevant to their specific needs. Rather than being required to complete all the course requirements for an MSEM degree, students may take about four courses (12-credit hours) that usually targets a single topic.

As an example, students who seek a Graduate Certificate in Systems Engineering Management might study risk analysis, project and systems management, and systems engineering. Through their courses, students might learn about operational feasibility and how complex engineering projects should be managed over the life cycle of the project. Also, they could learn how to describe and prepare a System Engineering Management Plan (SEMP).

A certificate may act as a stand alone credential. However in some cases, course credits could apply to a full MEM program, should you decide to continue later. One could also earn more than one certificate or work on a certificate and masters degree at the same time. 

Admission: Prerequisites and admission requirements for certificate programs often mirror those of an online masters in engineering management program.  Usually, applicants need a bachelors degree, minimum GPA of 3.0, personal statement and resume. Furthermore, because certificates consist of graduate courses, students may need to apply to the graduate school even if they just want to earn the certificate. Contact schools to learn about their specific requirements.


Many regionally accredited colleges and universities offer online engineering management degree programs. Regional accreditation applies to a school as a whole, and is awarded when an outside, regionally-based agency determines that it meets certain educational standards.

The Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET) accreditation is a possible next layer of approval, although they accredit programs, not institutions. Program accreditation is granted when a specific engineering program meets standards of an academic nature. Contact schools and accrediting bodies to learn more.

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