Bachelor's Degrees in Engineering: Online and Campus-Based Programs
Review your options for earning a bachelor's degree in one of the many specialized areas of engineering. Learn about on-campus, online, and hybrid degree programs in engineering, and find out how online education works. Explore some of the course topics you'd study as an undergraduate engineering student, and get info about your job options in the engineering field. Check the licensure requirements for engineers.
What Are the Requirements for a Bachelor's Degree in Engineering?
Bachelor's degrees in engineering programs typically do not have many prerequisites, but you will need a strong science (chemistry, biology and physics) and math (algebra, geometry, calculus and trigonometry) background and to have completed general education courses. Some programs require you to have an associate's degree in engineering technology or a related field.
As an undergraduate engineering student, you'll need to complete a designated number of credit hours for your program. Most schools will require you to maintain a grade point average (GPA) of 2.0 or higher. You may also be required to participate in on-campus programs or internships.
|Prerequisites||Background in math and science, general education courses; an associate's degree may also be required for some programs|
|Common Courses||Mathematics, physical and life sciences, economic effects of engineering, professional assessment and evaluation|
|Licensure||You must earn licensure as a professional engineer to work with the public; this requires an accredited degree, work experience, and examination.|
|Post-Graduation Options||Pursue graduate school or a career in a specialized field, such as biomedical or civil engineering|
|Distance Learning Opportunities||Bachelor's degrees in engineering can be earned on-campus, online, or in a hybrid format; online programs may require on-campus lab courses or field experience.|
|Median Salary (2020)||$83,160 (for all architects and engineers)*|
Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
What Courses Will I Take?
The curriculum for most engineering programs includes math, physical and life science courses, as well as a concentration in a specific engineering specialization. Depending on the school, you may also be required to take a lab or computer class with a design course, as well as non-engineering related courses, such as humanities or social science.
In a 4-year engineering program, the first two years are devoted to courses in science, math, humanities, and introductory engineering, with the last two year spent studying specialized engineering courses. Depending on your specialty, typical topics of study may include:
- Planar kinetics and dynamics
- Machine element designs
- Science of engineering materials
- Engineering economic analysis
- Electronic spreadsheet applications
- Economic effects of engineering
- Manufacturing method analysis
- Engineering specifications and contracts
- Professional assessment and evaluation
Will I Need a License?
In addition to coursework, all states require you to be licensed as a professional engineer (PE) if you're planning to work directly with the public. To earn licensure, you must have a degree from an engineering program accredited by Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET), four years of related work experience and must complete the State examination, which is a 2-step process.
Upon graduation, you'll need to take the Fundamentals of Engineering exam to become an engineering intern (EI) or engineer in training (EIT). Once you've gained sufficient work experience, you can take the Principles and Practice of Engineering exam. Depending on your state, continuing education may be required to maintain licensure.
What Can I Do With My Degree?
Engineering is a field that offers many specialties, including civil, agricultural, biomedical, mechanical, aerospace, and industrial engineering, among others. Overall employment of engineers, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), was projected to increase up to 3% from 2019 to 2029, with certain specializations in the higher range (www.bls.gov).
Most entry-level jobs require a bachelor's degree in engineering. In addition to offering many career opportunities on its own, a bachelor's degree in engineering can act as a foundation for graduate studies in engineering, business, medicine, and law.
Can I Earn this Degree Online?
Bachelor's degree programs in engineering are offered as on-campus, hybrid, or fully online programs. Online programs offer the convenience of earning your degree while continuing to work and gain experience in your field. You'll take many of the same courses through distance learning as you'd take if you were participating in an on-campus program.
As an online student, you'll need a computer with Internet access and an e-mail address. Your coursework will be delivered through e-mail and a Web-based course delivery system, such as Blackboard. Before you enroll in an online engineering program, it's important to make sure that all your courses are offered online. While your program may be listed as online, you may be required to participate in workshops, internships, or hands-on laboratory experience.