US News’ Top 10 Online Engineering Masters of 2015
Shawn Wasserman posted on January 08, 2015 | 10490 views

Did your Online Engineering Program make the Top 10?

US News has released their Online Program rankings for 2015. For the past four years, the list has helped working adults and students narrow down their educational program options and assist in the decision-making process.

Brian Kelly, Editor and Chief Content Officer of U.S. News said, "There are now hundreds of online programs out there for students to choose from, but students have few resources to turn to for unbiased information on distance learning … Much like we've done with Best Colleges, we're collecting and analyzing data to help students answer their questions and identify programs that support their education and career goals."

US News’ Top 10 Online Engineering Masters Programs:

1.       University of California – Los Angeles (Samueli)

2.       Columbia University (Fu Foundation)

3.       University of Southern California (Viterbi)

4.       Purdue University – West Lafayette

5.       Pennsylvania State University – World Campus

6.       University of Wisconsin – Madison

7.       University of Tennessee – Chattanooga

8.       New York University

9.       University of Michigan – Ann Arbor

10.   Cornell University

For a more complete list of the Online Engineering Masters Programs see US News.

For a school to qualify, it must grant a predominantly online degree from a regionally accredited school. The rankings are based on admissions, faculty credentials, student services & technology, and student engagement. The list also includes information on costs and tips for online students.

In addition to the Online Engineering Masters list, there is a list for online bachelor’s degrees and masters’ in business, education, nursing and computer IT.

Should you care if your Engineering Program didn’t make the Top 10?

Though the US News rankings are worth noting when looking for a Masters, it is important to realize that the list is not program specific. A high ranking from US News doesn’t necessarily translate from one concentration to the other; a school might excel at electrical engineering but fall short in engineering management. Additionally, the criteria may not reflect your personal preferences. If a high ranked school doesn’t have the specific course you need then that school is not an option. Thus, it is always best to do one’s homework. A good place to start and find some more in-depth information might be ENGINEERING.com's Masters Discovery Tool.

For instance, Purdue University is ranked 4th on the US News’ list. Given their impressive interdisciplinary program I am not surprised with this high ranking. The program offers students over 160 online courses to choose from when completing their masters. This exhaustive list allows for quite a lot of freedom when tailoring the program to fit your needs. It is worth noting that the program's degree title will not be linked to a specific concentration.

Conversely, Johns Hopkins offers many online programs in various STEM fields, including Computer Science, Systems Engineering, Engineering Management, Environmental Engineering, Electrical & Computer Engineering, and Technical Management. These impressive programs are specialized for their field or for a specific career path. If your goals require a masters in a specific concentration then perhaps Johns Hopkins, ranked 12th by US News, might be a good decision.

Another thing to keep in mind when assessing this list is that not all “online” programs are fully online. For instance, studying Engineering management from Ohio University (ranked 36th) will be 100% online. Alternatively, the University of Texas’ online program (rank not published) requires students to attend a class on campus one Friday and Saturday a month.

This means that students attending Ohio University can theoretically study from anywhere around the world, but University of Texas students cannot stray too far from the mother ship. If you live too far from Austin then this could force the University of Texas off your short list. However, if you do live near Austin, the semi-online experience would allow you to meet your classmates and instructors in person, which might interest you.

Other schools can offer more freedom when mixing online and on-campus. For instance, Lawrence Tech (ranked 20th) gives students the option to study a course 100% online, 100% on-campus, or transfer between them from term to term. Whereas Johns Hopkins’ Virtual Live program blurs the lines between asynchronous vs. synchronous and online vs. on-campus learning. The program allows students to come directly into the classroom, learn any time of the day online, or watch and participate online with the live class.

Flexibility between online and on-campus should be encouraged and permitted on the US News rankings. So remember to double check if a program will require you to be on-campus and what might be good for US News may not be best for you.

Source US News.

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