By GSH Staff
April 2016

In this article, we profile the 30 most affordable online master’s degree programs in engineering at top institutions.

According to U.S. News and World Report and the National Society of Professional Engineers, earning a graduate degree in engineering provides a solid return on investment, especially in general disciplines such as civil, industrial, and mechanical. Graduate engineering degrees are especially important if you plan to pursue management and leadership roles. Today, some of the most prestigious and highly regarded institutions are offering online graduate degrees in engineering. Students do not have to disrupt their employment to return to school. In fact, many master’s in engineering programs are offered entirely online with no required campus visits.

Methodology

We looked at 126 accredited universities and colleges that offered at least one online master’s degree program in engineering. Then, we reviewed school rankings with major publications like Forbes magazine, The Princeton Review, and U.S. News and World Report. We only included programs at institutions with national or regional rankings from a major publication. From these, we selected the 30 most affordable schools based on graduate tuition price and fees as published by NCES College Navigator.

The 30 most affordable schools offering accredited online master’s in engineering degree programs are listed below.

#30 – Cornell University

Online Master’s in Systems Engineering

Ithaca, New York

Website
Cornell University - 30 Online Master's in Engineering
Graduate Tuition/Fees: $29,581

Cornell University offers an online master’s in systems engineering through their distance-learning program. Core courses include model-based systems engineering, principles of project leadership, and systems analysis behavior and optimization. Cornell is highly ranked with major publications like Forbes magazine, The Princeton Review, and U.S. News and World Report. In fact, the 2016 edition of Best Colleges ranks Cornell as the 15th best national university and the 17th best value school in the country. Cornell’s graduate engineering school ranks #12, and the online graduate engineering programs rank #8 out of 1,200.

More information on Cornell University

#29 – Worcester Polytechnic Institute

Online Master’s in Engineering

Worcester, Massachusetts

Website
Worcester Polytechnic Institute - 30 Online Masters in Engineering
Graduate Tuition/Fees: $24,648

Worcester Polytechnic Institute’s offers eight online graduate degrees in engineering through the school’s WPI corporate and professional education programs. Engineering programs include electrical and computer engineering, environmental engineering, fire protection, mechanical, power systems, robotics, system dynamics, and systems engineering. Online education has been active at WPI for approximately 40 years and offers the same rigorous curriculum as found on campus. Worcester Polytechnic is ranked as among the best national universities in the country. In fact, U.S. News and World Report ranks WPI as the 57th best national university. Additional rankings include #46 for best value schools, #87 for best graduate engineering schools, and #36 for best online graduate engineering schools.

More information on Worcester Polytechnic Institute

#28 – Pennsylvania State University World Campus

Online Master’s in Engineering Management

University Park, Pennsylvania

Website
Penn State World Campus - 30 Online Master's in Engineering
Graduate Tuition/Fees: $19,832

Pennsylvania State University’s World Campus offers an accredited online master’s in engineering management degree program that is designed to blend business, management, and engineering curriculum. Engineering management courses include economics and financial studies for engineers, engineering management science, ethics and values in sciences and technology, organizational behavior, and technical project management. The average completion time for the degree is two years. Penn State is nationally-ranked by major publications like Forbes magazine and U.S. News and World Report. In fact, U.S. News ranks the college as the 47th best national university and the 14th top public school in the country. The institution’s graduate engineering school is ranked #27.

More information on Pennsylvania State University

#27 – Rutgers – State University of New Jersey

Online Master’s in Engineering

New Brunswick, New Jersey

Website
Rutgers - 30 Online Master's in Engineering
Graduate Tuition/Fees: $18,346

Rutgers State University of New Jersey offers two online master’s degrees in engineering – chemical and biochemical engineering and biomedical engineering. Both programs are designed to offer flexible learning through distance education with courses taught by the same professors that teach on campus. Engineering programs are offered on a part-time or full-time basis, with classes taking place year round. Rutgers is a nationally ranked institution. Major publications like Forbes magazine and U.S. News and World Report have ranked the school. In fact, U.S. News lists Rutgers as the 72nd best national university and the 28th top public school in the country. Other rankings include #57 for best graduate engineering schools.

More information on Rutgers State University

#26 – Villanova University

Online Master’s in Engineering

Villanova, Pennsylvania

Website
Villanova University - 30 Online Master's in Engineering
Graduate Tuition/Fees: $17,219

Nine online master’s in engineering degree programs are available at Villanova University, including biochemical, chemical, civil, electrical, and mechanical engineering. Villanova’s College of Engineering is recognized as one of the top schools in the United States. In fact, U.S. News and World Report ranks the institution as the #1 best regional university in the North, and the online graduate engineering programs as #27 in the nation. The online engineering master’s degree programs are designed to provide flexible learning to students working in the field of engineering. Students have access to a virtual reference library.

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#25 – University of Virginia

Online Master’s in Engineering

Charlottesville, Virginia

Website
University of Virginia - 30 Online Master's in Engineering
Graduate Tuition/Fees: $17,094

The University of Virginia (UVa) offers online professional masters degrees in engineering in six areas of discipline. Students may earn graduate degrees in chemical, civil and environmental, electrical and computer, materials science, mechanical and aerospace, or systems engineering. Students may sign up for the entire program, or take individual classes. Courses are taught by the same faculty members that teach on campus. UVa is a nationally ranked institution. In fact, U.S. News and World Report ranks the school as the 26th best national university in the 2016 edition of Best Colleges. Additional rankings include #39 for best graduate engineering schools and #22 out of 1,200 for best online graduate engineering programs.

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#24 – University of Illinois

Online Master’s in Engineering

Urbana, Illinois

Website
University of Illinois - 30 Online Master's in Engineering
Graduate Tuition/Fees: $16,527

The University of Illinois has a 19-year history of offering online education. Today, four master’s degree programs and 18 specialized certificates are available entirely online. Students may earn online master’s degrees in aerospace engineering, civil engineering, or mechanical engineering. Online courses are taught by the same distinguished professors who teach on campus so that students gain a similar educational experience in the virtual classroom as they would on school grounds. The University of Illinois at Urbana is ranked #41 for best national universities according to U.S. News and World Report. Other rankings include #11 for top public schools, #33 for best colleges for veterans, and #7 for best engineering schools.

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#23 – Virginia Tech University

Online Master’s in Engineering

Blacksburg, Virginia

Website
Virginia Tech - 30 Online Master's in Engineering
Graduate Tuition/Fees: $14,116

Virginia Tech University offers several online master’s degrees in engineering. Master’s degrees are available in aerospace, civil, computer, electrical, environmental science, and systems engineering. Most of the online graduate engineering programs require a thesis and/or special project. Course requirements vary depending on the degree program. For example, an online master’s in electrical engineering requires courses in advanced fiber optics, electromagnetic waves, and power management circuits. U.S. News lists the school as the 70th best national university and the 26th top public school. The graduate engineering school is ranked #21 and the online graduate engineering programs are ranked #9.

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#22 – University of Maryland

Online Master’s in Engineering

College Park, Maryland

Website
University of Maryland - 30 Online Master's in Engineering
Graduate Tuition/Fees: $12,896

The University of Maryland’s Office of Advanced Engineering Education and A. James Clark School of Engineering offers online master’s in engineering degrees in a variety of programs. Available online master’s degree programs include bioengineering, cybersecurity, energetic concepts, fire protection, project management engineering, sustainable energy, and transportation systems. The institution is ranked by U.S. News and World Report as the 57th best national university in the country. Additional rankings include #24 for best graduate engineering schools and #16 for best online graduate engineering programs. University of Maryland is also recognized as having the 69th best engineering school in the world.

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#21 – Washington State University

Online Master’s in Engineering and Technology Management

Pullman, Washington

Website
Washington State University - 30 Online Master's in Engineering
Graduate Tuition/Fees: $12,745

Washington State University offers an online master’s in engineering and technology management degree tailored for working professionals who desire career advancement. Online lectures are available from anywhere and anytime. Degree requirements include courses in financial resource management, project management, and quality control and reliability. Electives may include classes such as applications of constraints management, legal concepts for engineering and technology managers, program and facilities management, or system engineering analysis and practice. WSU is a nationally ranked institution by major publications like U.S. News and World Report. In the 2016 edition of Best Colleges, U.S. News ranks WSU as the 140th best national university, the 80th best graduate engineering school, and the 37th best online graduate engineering school in the country.

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#20 – University of California

Online Master’s in Engineering

Los Angeles, California

Website
University of California - 30 Online Master's in Engineering
Graduate Tuition/Fees: $12,629

The Henry Samueli School of Engineering and Applied Science at University of California (UCLA) offers an online master’s in engineering degree program with the same courses, instructors, and grading standards as found on campus. The online MS in Engineering degree is designed for working or busy students who require flexibility while attending school. Students may take classes in computer sciences, electrical engineering, mechanical engineering, or systems engineering, depending on interest areas. UCLA is ranked by major publications like Forbes magazine, The Princeton Review, and U.S. News and World Report. U.S. News ranks the school as the 23rd best national university and the 2nd top public school. Other rankings include #14 for best graduate engineering schools. UCLA is ranked as having the #1 best online graduate engineering programs in the nation.

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#19 – The Ohio State University

Online Master’s in Global Engineering Leadership, Welding Engineering

Columbus, Ohio

Website
Ohio State University - 30 Online Masters in Engineering
Graduate Tuition/Fees: $12,425

The Ohio State University offers two online graduate engineering programs – master’s in global engineering leadership and welding engineering. The master’s in global engineering is a professional program designed for practicing engineers who want to increase their technical skills and management acumen. The online master’s in welding engineering is for students who want to develop their welding knowledge and advanced engineering skills. Both programs may be completed entirely online. Ohio State is a nationally ranked institution. In fact, U.S. News and World Report ranks the school as the 52nd best national university in the country. Additional rankings include #31 for best graduate engineering schools and #25 out of 1,200 for best online graduate engineering programs.

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#18 – University of Wisconsin

Online Master’s in Engineering

Madison, Wisconsin

Website
University of Wisconsin - 30 Online Master's in Engineering
Graduate Tuition/Fees: $11,870

University of Wisconsin offers ten online master’s degrees in engineering. The award-winning engineering program provides graduate degrees in applied computing, electrical engineering, engineering management, manufacturing systems, and sustainable systems. All engineering degree programs are designed to provide work-friendly flexibility with 24/7-technology. This means students may access lectures and class materials at any hour of the day. The institution is ranked as the 41st best national university in the country by U.S. News and World Report. In the 2016 edition of Best Colleges, U.S. News lists UW’s graduate engineering school as #14 and the online graduate engineering programs as #6 out of 1,200.

More information on University of Wisconsin

#17 – Arizona State University

Online Master’s in Engineering

Tempe, Arizona

Website
Arizona State University - 30 Online Master's in Engineering
Graduate Tuition/Fees: $11,304

Arizona State University (ASU) offers various online master’s in engineering degree programs that are designed for practicing engineers and those interested in advanced engineering careers. Students may earn master’s degrees in electrical engineering, embedded systems, engineering management, industrial engineering, or systems engineering. Engineering courses vary depending on the area of specialty. ASU is ranked as the 129th best national university in the country by U.S. News and World Report. Additional rankings include #62 for top public schools and #1 for most innovative schools. The graduate engineering school ranks #43 and the online graduate engineering programs rank #12 out of 1,200.

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#16 – Florida International University

Online Master’s in Engineering

Miami, Florida

Website
Florida International University - 30 Online Master's in Engineering
Graduate Tuition/Fees: $11,097

Florida International University offers three online master’s degree programs in engineering. Students may live anywhere in the country to take advantage of online video-based courses offered. Available online engineering degrees include computer engineering, construction management, and engineering management. The school prides itself in offering affordable tuition and, according to the program website, offers up to $3,500 in scholarship money for some engineering programs. Florida International is a nationally ranked institution. According to U.S. News and World Report the school is ranked #389 for best global universities. FIU’s online graduate engineering programs are ranked #41 out of 1,200 in the 2016 edition of Best Colleges.

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#15 – Missouri University of Science and Technology

Online Master’s in Engineering

Rolla, Missouri

Website
Missouri University of Science and Technology - 30 Online Master's in Engineering
Graduate Tuition/Fees: $10,537

Missouri University of Science and Technology’s Distance and Continuing Education department offers several online master’s degrees in engineering that do not have residency requirements. Graduate curriculum is taught by the same faculty who teach on campus. Students may earn online master’s degrees in aerospace engineering, civil engineering, computer engineering, electrical engineering, engineering management, environmental engineering, explosives engineering, manufacturing engineering, mining, and systems engineering. Programs are designed to prepare students for career advancement or entry into a doctorate degree program. The university is ranked nationally by U.S. News and World Report as the 147th best national university in the country. The online graduate engineering programs are ranked #9 out of 1,200.

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#14 – University of South Florida

Online Master’s in Engineering Management

Tampa, Florida

Website
University of South Florida - 30 Online Master's in Engineering
Graduate Tuition/Fees: $10,428

University of South Florida’s College of Engineering offers two online master’s degree programs in engineering – Engineering Management (MSEM) and the MS in Electrical Engineering. Both programs are administered entirely online and designed for highly motivated professional students who want to advance their engineering careers. Students may earn their master’s degree in as little as two years. MSEM degree requirements include engineering analytics, principles of engineering management, operations research for engineering managers, and technology and finance. Major publications like U.S. News and World Report ranks the institution. In fact, the 2016 edition of Best Colleges ranks University of South Florida as the 156th best national university. Additional rankings include #100 for best graduate engineering school and #20 out of 1,200 for best online graduate engineering programs.

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#13 – Auburn University

Online Master’s in Engineering

Auburn, Alabama

Website
Auburn University - 30 Online Master's in Engineering
Graduate Tuition/Fees: $10,418

The Samuel Ginn College of Engineering at Auburn University offers graduate online engineering programs designed for busy students. Available online master’s in engineering degree programs include aerospace, chemical, civil, computer science and software, electrical, industrial and systems, materials, and mechanical engineering. Auburn is a nationally ranked school by major publications like U.S. News and World Report. In fact, U.S. News ranks the institution as the 102nd best national university and the 46th top public school in the country. The graduate engineering school ranks #62 and the online graduate engineering programs rank #27 out of 1,200.

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#12 – North Carolina State University

Online Master’s in Engineering

Raleigh, North Carolina

Website
North Carolina State University - 30 Online Master's in Engineering
Graduate Tuition/Fees: $10,224

North Carolina State University’s College of Engineering offers accredited online master’s degrees in engineering programs in various disciplines. There are approximately 16 master’s degree programs in engineering available to online students. Some of the available degrees include MS in aerospace engineering, master’s in civil engineering, MS in computer engineering, master of engineering, master’s in environmental engineering, and master’s in nuclear engineering. Online programs are designed for professional engineers who desire to advance their skill set and enhance their career trajectory. NCSU is ranked #89 among the best national universities, according to major publications like U.S. News and World Report. The graduate school is ranked #27 and the online graduate engineering programs are ranked #12 out of 1,200.

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#11 – University of Alabama

Online Master’s in Aerospace Engineering and Mechanics

Birmingham, Alabama

Website
University of Alabama - 30 Online Master's in Engineering
Graduate Tuition/Fees: $10,170

The University of Alabama offers an online MS in aerospace engineering and mechanics program that is designed for working students who want to earn a graduate level degree in engineering. Established in 1837, the UA College of Engineering was one of the first engineering schools in the country. The online MS in aerospace engineering degree program may be completed with a thesis or non-thesis option. Required courses include advanced dynamics of flight, continuum mechanics, intermediate dynamics, orbital mechanics, and space systems. The University of Alabama is a nationally ranked institution. In fact, U.S. News and World Report ranks the school as the 149th best national university and the 79th top public school in the country. The online graduate engineering programs rank #33 out of 1,200.

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#10 – Purdue University

Online Master’s in Engineering

West Lafayette, Indiana

Website
Purdue University - 30 Online Master's in Engineering
Graduate Tuition/Fees: $10,002

Purdue University offers various online master’s in engineering degree programs that allow students to attend class from home and continue working. Available online graduate engineering degree programs include master’s in aeronautics and astronautics, computer science, electrical and computer, engineering management, industrial, interdisciplinary, and mechanical engineering. The online engineering programs at Purdue are consistently ranked among the top ten by U.S. News and World Report. In fact, U.S. News ranks Purdue as the 61st best national university, the 21st top public school, and the 21st most innovative school in the country. The graduate engineering school ranks #9 and the online graduate engineering programs rank #5 out of 1,200.

More information on Purdue University

#9 – Kansas State University

Online Master’s in Engineering

Manhattan, Kansas

Website
Kansas State University - 30 Online Master's in Engineering
Graduate Tuition/Fees: $9,972

The College of Engineering at Kansas State University offers various online degree programs in engineering that are designed for working students with busy lives. Flexible online courses allow busy students to complete online master’s degrees in chemical, civil, electrical and computer, industrial, mechanical, nuclear, or software engineering. Engineering management is also available at the graduate level. The school’s global campus allows students from anywhere in the world to take online classes and earn an accredited master’s degree in engineering. Kansas State is ranked by major publications like Forbes magazine and U.S. News and World Report. In fact, U.S. News ranks the school #146 for best national universities. Other rankings include #100 for best engineering schools and #22 out of 1,200 for best online graduate engineering programs.

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#8 – University of Colorado

Online Master’s in Engineering

Colorado Springs, Colorado

Website
University of Colorado - 30 Online Master's in Engineering
Graduate Tuition/Fees: $9,916

The University of Colorado offers four engineering programs that may be completed entirely via distance education. Designed with the professional engineering student in mind, online master’s programs include energy engineering, engineering management, space operations, and systems engineering. Students must have a bachelor’s in engineering to enroll in one of the programs. All coursework is administered online. Sample classes include topics in case studies in engineering management, leadership for engineers, project management, and processes engineering. The institution is ranked by major publications like U.S. News and World Report as the 46th best regional university in the West. The online graduate engineering programs rank #29 out of 1,200.

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#7 – Ohio University

Online Master’s in Engineering Management

Athens, Ohio

Website
Ohio University - 30 Online Master's in Engineering
Graduate Tuition/Fees: $9,510
Ohio University offers an online master’s in engineering management that is designed to equip students with advanced leadership, management, and engineering skills. Courses are administered entirely online so that students may continue working while attending school. The average completion time for the program is five semesters, although students may graduate earlier. Sample courses include database information systems, engineering law, engineering management project, lean thinking methods, project management, and quality systems. Ohio University is ranked as the 135th best national university by U.S. News and World Report. Additional rankings include #133 for best graduate engineering schools and #29 for best online graduate engineering programs.

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#6 – University of Nebraska

Online Master’s in Engineering Management

Lincoln, Nebraska

Website
University of Nebraska - 30 Online Master's in Engineering
Graduate Tuition/Fees: $8,556

The College of Engineering and Office of Online Distance Education at University of Nebraska offers an online master’s in engineering management (M.E.M.) program that is designed for working professionals. Class topics include evaluation procedures, organizational structure and development, process and economic analyses, project management, and statistics. The program offers classes entirely online for full-time engineering professionals who want flexible and convenient course schedules. The University of Nebraska is a nationally ranked institution. In fact, U.S. News and World Report ranks the school as the 103rd best national university and the 47th top public school in the country. The graduate engineering school ranks #92 and the online graduate engineering programs rank #12 out of 1,200.

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#5 – University of Arkansas

Online Master of Science in Engineering

Fayetteville, Arkansas

Website
University of Arkansas - 30 Online Master's in Engineering
Graduate Tuition/Fees: $8,096

The University of Arkansas offers an online master’s in engineering (MSE) degree program that is designed for engineering professionals and those who want to enhance their engineering skill set. The online courses incorporate various engineering disciplines including biological engineering, chemical and computer, civil, electrical, industrial, mechanical, and operations management engineering. Core requirements include classes in engineering applications, maintenance management, and operations management and global competition. U.S. News and World Report ranks the school as the 129th best national university in the country. The graduate engineering school ranks #112 and the online graduate engineering programs rank #33 out of 1,200.

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#4 – California State University

Online Master’s in Engineering

Fullerton, California

Website
California State University Fullerton - 30 Online Master's in Engineering
Graduate Tuition/Fees: $7,703

California State University (Cal State) offers four fully online and one hybrid master’s degree programs in engineering. The online programs include MS degrees in environmental engineering, fire protection engineering, quality assurance, and transportation engineering. The hybrid program consists of an MS degree in electrical engineering. Cal State is a regionally ranked public institution. In fact, U.S. News and World Report ranks the school as the 37th best regional university in the West. Additional rankings include #7 for top public schools and #16 out of approximately 1,200 for best online graduate engineering programs.

More information on California State University Fullerton

#3 – Mississippi State University

Online Master’s in Engineering

Mississippi State, Mississippi

Website
Mississippi State University - 30 Online Master's in Engineering
Graduate Tuition/Fees: $7,502

The James Worth Bagley College of Engineering at Mississippi State University offers a convenient and flexible online graduate degree in engineering. Students take all classes online and receive the same curriculum as is offered on campus. No core courses are required as part of the master’s of engineering degree program. In fact, students are able to take classes that adhere to special interests and career goals. Special topic courses may include aerospace engineering, civil and environmental engineering, coastal and water management, management and leadership, and structural and mechanical engineering. U.S. News and World Report ranks the school as the 161st best national university and the 88th top public school. The online graduate engineering programs rank #7 out of 1,200.

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#2 – Texas Tech University

Online Master’s in Engineering

Lubbock, Texas

Website
Texas Tech University - 30 Online Master's in Engineering
Graduate Tuition/Fees: $7,390

Texas Tech University’s online master’s in engineering degree program provides interdisciplinary studies that are designed for practicing engineers. Courses are completed entirely online so that students may continue working while attending school. The non-thesis program is available on a part-time or full-time basis. The university also offers master’s degrees in software engineering and systems and engineering. Texas Tech ranks with major publications like Forbes magazine and U.S. News and World Report. In fact, U.S. News ranks the school as the 168th best national university in the country. The graduate engineering school ranks #92 and the online graduate engineering programs rank #16 out of 1,200.

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#1 – University of North Carolina Charlotte

Online Master’s in Engineering Management

Charlotte, North Carolina

Website
University of North Carolina Charlotte - 30 Online Master's in Engineering
Graduate Tuition/Fees: $7,032

The University of North Carolina at Charlotte offers an online MS in engineering management degree program that is designed to prepare students for career advancement and acquire leadership roles in the engineering field. Course delivery is 100% online, so there is no need for students to interrupt their work schedules to attend classes. Course requirements include advanced project management, energy analytics, logistics engineering and management, systems reliability engineering, and techniques and intelligent tools for engineering decision support. Several concentration areas are available and require the completion of 12 credits. These areas include energy systems, lean six sigma, logistics and supply chains, and systems analytics. UNC at Charlotte is ranked by U.S. News and World Report as the 194th best national university in the country. The graduate engineering school ranks #139 and the online graduate engineering programs rank #19 out of 1,200.

More information on University of North Carolina at Charlotte