Distance learning in engineering

Written by barbie carpenter
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Distance learning in engineering
Distance-learning programs in engineering allow students to take classes on the computer. (computer image by Orlando Florin Rosu from Fotolia.com)

A distance-learning engineering program benefits nontraditional students, such as professionals who work full-time while pursuing an advanced degree. They are also useful for adults seeking a career change, perhaps hoping to earn a second bachelor’s degree in engineering or a graduate degree in the field. Many universities with on-campus engineering programs offer comparable programs online. There are a number of considerations students should make when considering an engineering distance-learning program.


Schools across the country offer distance-learning programs in engineering. With a distance-learning program, location is not a factor, so a student in Oregon can earn an engineering degree from a school in Florida.

Schools such as the University of Virginia, the University of Arizona, Texas Tech University and North Carolina State University offer engineering distance-learning programs. In addition, online schools such as Grantham University offer engineering programs on the web.

Degrees and Programs

Students in engineering distance-learning programs can earn both bachelor’s and master’s degrees in the field. The University of Virginia offers master’s degrees in chemical, civil, electrical and computer engineering as well as materials science and engineering and mechanical and aerospace engineering.

North Carolina State offers 14 engineering master’s degrees in areas such as aerospace engineering and nuclear engineering. Grantham University offers a bachelor’s degree in electronics engineering technology.


Distance-learning engineering students make use of several different technologies to “attend” classes. For example, the University of Virginia makes classes available via video conference, where students and instructors can interact in real time.

Texas Tech engineering students take classes asynchronously over the Internet. Such courses are more flexible than traditional college classes, allowing students to “go” to class at a time that is convenient for them.


Admissions requirements to distance-learning engineering programs are comparable to requirements for traditional, on-campus programs.

Grantham University’s bachelor’s program in electronics engineering technology requires high-school transcripts and an admissions application.

Graduate engineering students have to submit official college transcripts, an application and Graduate Record Examination scores at a minimum. Letters of recommendation and personal statements are other common requirements for engineering distance-learning program admissions.

Technology Requirements

Because engineering distance-learning programs rely on technology, it is important that students have the right tools to complete courses. Computers with speakers, Internet access and the ability to view videos are a necessity for students in these programs.

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