United States Hybrid Engineering Graduate Programs & Grad Schools
Hybrid online engineering graduate degrees offer engineers seeking advanced knowledge and technical competence the opportunity to earn a graduate certificate, master’s or doctorate degree in a convenient, low residency format. Often called ‘blended online’ programs, the appeal of a hybrid degree program is that students can boost their credentials with minimal disturbance to an ongoing engineering career and the responsibilities of a personal life.
Hybrid Online Engineering Graduate Degrees: Basics
As with other learning formats, hybrid online engineering graduate degrees are offered at many engineering colleges, technical universities and graduate schools. Most graduate programs cater to the student with an undergraduate degree, usually a Bachelor of Engineering in a specific type of engineering (E.g. civil, mechanical, aeronautical or electrical). However, whereas a Bachelor’s degree in some cases qualifies students for entry-level career options, this is not always the case. As such, there are many potential benefits to earning a graduate degree in engineering.
Wondering Whether to Earn an Engineering Graduate Degree?
If you are wondering whether to invest your time and energy into another engineering degree, you might find out what your ideal type of engineering career requires from an education standpoint. Here are some points to consider:
- Some entry-level nuclear engineers are required to have at least a Master’s degree in Nuclear Engineering and sometimes even a Ph.D[i]. In fact, statistics show that 32% in this engineering field (includes systems engineers) have a Master’s degree. [ii]
- A graduate degree will allow an engineer to work as a university professor or to conduct research and development[iii]
- Mid-career engineers seeking engineering management or technology management roles tend to need a Master’s degree[iv]
- Some engineering career fields show better wages for professionals with a Master’s degree in their field (E.g. civil engineering, mechanical engineering and engineering managers)[v]
Potential Features of Hybrid Online Engineering Programs
While each engineering college offering the hybrid online engineering graduate programs is likely to have its own unique features, there are some common components to this type of learning format.
- Use of computer technology: Many colleges of engineering use video streaming to record lectures for their online students. This means you get 24/7 access to your course material via a web-based blackboard system and can view it as many times as you need to. All you need is a computer and Internet.
- Digital Resources: Access to your university library’s online publications and e-books, sometimes you can download the lecture notes
- Case Studies: Some programs make it possible for engineering graduate students to complete their case studies at their workplace; this makes learning experiential
- Communication: Connection to faculty and classmates through email, the web portal or video conferencing; often this type of program format encourages participation in online communities
- Virtual Classrooms: Offer scheduling flexibility for the working student without the commute
- Courses: Often the same courses are offered in the hybrid/online programs as in the regular campus programs
- In-Person/On-Campus: Depending on the graduate school, hybrid online engineering graduate programs may have an on-campus requirement such as an intensive or course where you have to be present at certain times, or, it could mean that a student has an online account and can either go to the class on campus or attend virtually
Hybrid Master’s Degree in Engineering Programs
Typically 1 to 2-years of study after a Bachelor’s degree, there are a variety of Master’s degrees in Engineering to choose from depending on your background or whether you prefer:
- an academic/research master’s degree (advanced knowledge, platform to PhD)
- a technical engineering master’s degree (specialization in your field of engineering)
- a management engineering master’s degree (leadership)
In addition to coursework with industry-specific topics, there could be a practicum, internship or thesis.
Hybrid Doctorate Degree in Engineering Programs
Typically 3 to 5 years or longer, the PhD, or Doctorate Degree in Engineering is usually intended for the Engineer who wants to:
- Contribute research in the specialization area
- Teach engineering at a university
- Lead or design complex systems
In addition to coursework, doctoral students are usually required to successfully complete a dissertation conducted in conjunction with a professor and orally defend it amongst his/her peers.
Hybrid Graduate Certificates in Engineering
Sometimes called ‘add-ons’ hybrid engineering graduate certificates are a shorter term (about 1 year) way of acquiring credentials, however they are not degrees. If you want a focused program that targets a specific area in engineering, or are interested in boosting skills in an area, for instance leadership training, a certificate may be a great way to do so.
Accreditation for Engineering Graduate Programs
Accreditation is an important topic for the prospective engineering grad student. Since hybrid online engineering graduate degrees are offered by engineering colleges, often the technical engineering, engineering technology, applied science and computing programs are accredited by ABET[vi]. Graduating from an ABET-accredited undergraduate engineering program is often a requirement for entry into graduate school. As well, the U.S. Department of Education and the Council for Higher Education Accreditation have resources where other legitimate programs-specific or institutional accreditation agencies are listed.
Take the Next Step
Search for Hybrid Online Engineering Graduate degrees by scrolling through the listings for Masters, Doctorate or Certificate. Alternatively, use the location tabs to enter your preferred city, state or country. Contact the schools to inquire about their unique features, and to keep yourself organized with respect to application deadlines.
sources; [i] bls.gov/ooh/architecture-and-engineering/nuclear-engineers.htm |[ii] onetonline.org/link/summary/17-2161.00 |[iii] bls.gov/ooh/architecture-and-engineering/aerospace-engineers.htm |[iv] bls.gov/ooh/management/architectural-and-engineering-managers.htm |[v] bls.gov/careeroutlook/2015/article/should-i-get-a-masters-degree.htm#STEM |
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