An online Ph.D. in Engineering Management is a degree that is in high demand from both graduate applicants and employers. With so many construction and expansion plans taking place, both in the public and private sectors, professionals with the proper education are sorely needed. And with the industry projected to grow at six percent through 2026, as reported by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, it is more important than ever to provide students with avenues to earn this degree.
Online degrees for this position are plentiful, but many are expensive. Still, a handful of schools have found a way to make the degree accessible and affordable for those applicants who have demonstrated their unique talent and passion for the field. The ten schools listed below represent the best online options available and includes state, public, and private universities.
The methodology used for this ranking includes the data available from the National Center for Education Statistics' College Navigator. This database offers information on everything from student retention rates to tuition rates to average length to completion of the degree, enabling a full analysis to be made for each and every program that was considered. Out of an initial pool of 130 schools, 10 schools were selected based on in-state graduate tuition, distance learning offerings, and accreditation.
Ranking Low-cost Online Engineering Management PhD Programs
10. George Washington University
Doctor of Engineering in Engineering Management
George Washington University enrolls more than 26,000 students. The school's doctor of engineering in engineering management can be earned completely online. The school employs distance learning technology that lets students participate in live class sessions from any location. Lectures are also recorded for students to review later. The program requires students to earn at least 45 credits and consists of a classroom phase (which can be completed remotely) and a research phase. The classroom phase consists of 10 three-credit courses. The research phase requires students to complete a praxis or case study that addresses a challenge in the field.
9. Western New England University
Online Ph.D. in Engineering Management
Western New England University offers a hybrid engineering management Ph.D. program, a practice-based degree that focuses on both research and implementation of new technologies in the real world. Since this is a hybrid degree, students are required to attend lectures on campus, so students that already live in the area are best suited for this degree. With a total of 87 credit hours of coursework required, as well as a qualifying exam and a dissertation, students will have up to seven years to complete the degree. The program also requires research, providing students with the ability to work on real-world projects while earning their degree. Sample courses for this program include Engineering Supply Chain, Advanced Engineering Cost Estimation, and Project Management.
8. University of Bridgeport
Online Ph.D. in Technology Management
Students who are looking for an online Ph.D in Engineering Management need look no further than the University of Bridgeport. This school confers the Ph.D in Technology Management as a hybrid program, with students required to make appearances on campus based on courses related to their dissertation. Its stated focus is on new technology venture creation as well as emerging technologies. It is a business-based degree in that the bulk of the research and coursework combines interdisciplinary skills with a discussion of the business and technology industries. The Ph.D requires 45 credit hours of course and dissertation work that is completed within seven years of the original start date. Sample courses include Technology New Venture Creation, Strategic Management of Technology and Innovation, and Intellectual Property Management.
7. Bowling Green State University
Bowling Green, Ohio
Online Ph.D. in Technology Management
Bowling Green State University confers an online engineering management Ph.D that will satisfy the needs and goals of full-time students. This is a web-based program that is conferred by a consortium and was designed specifically for online education. The Ph.D in Technology Management comes with five specializations: construction management, digital communications, human resource development and training, manufacturing systems, and quality systems. The degree requires 66 credit hours of coursework; students can complete these hours either at BGSU or another consortium university. A dissertation and a qualifying exam are also required. Students should note that they must complete a total of 18 credit hours at the university; most take the courses in the first two years of the program of study.
6. Northcentral University
San Diego, CA
Online Doctor of Business Administration, Management of Engineering and Technology
Northcentral University confers the DBA in Management of Engineering and Technology, an online degree that combines business and technology into a practical education. Students will learn how to utilize both disciplines to their advantage when they move into the workplace, finding positions as engineering managers and business owners. This degree has no residency requirements and therefore can be completed entirely online. Students will complete 54 credit hours of coursework, research, and a dissertation, all of which can be completed within 39 months; however, students have up to seven years to complete the requirements. Sample courses include Business Leadership and Strategy, Directed Qualitative Research, and Introduction to Business Research Design and Methodology.
5. Old Dominion University
Online Doctor of Engineering, Engineering Management and Systems Engineering
Old Dominion University confers a Ph.D in Engineering Management online with hybrid requirements for ambitious students. This is a practice-based degree, meaning it has been designed specifically for students who wish to enter the field as professionals. Graduates will be able to work in the government, public, and private sectors as engineering managers. This program has residency requirements for the completion of the dissertation, but many of the courses needed to complete the 48 credit hours can be done online. Additionally, a dissertation is also required and takes up to half the time a student spends at the university and accounts for 24 credit hours of work. Sample courses include Optimization Methods, Cost Engineering, and Enterprise and Complex System Dynamics.
4. Indiana State University
Terre Haute, Indiana
Online Ph.D in Technology Management
Indiana State University works with a consortium to provide an online Ph.D in Engineering Management. This degree is supported by four other schools as well, enabling students to take courses from five universities with the intention to complete their degree as quickly as possible. This is a practical degree that provides students with the opportunity to do research, complete a dissertation, and work on real-world projects, all while completing the majority of their requirements online. ISU, along with the consortium, requires a residency, however; students must complete two semesters of nine hours of coursework each in order to complete the degree. The entire degree requires 66 credit hours of coursework, a research project, qualifying exam, and a dissertation. Courses include International and Cultural Technological Development, Legal Aspects of Industry, and Technological Assessment and Innovation.
3. Texas Tech University
Online Doctor of Philosophy in Systems and Engineering Management
Texas Tech University has an unsurpassed reputation for being the best institution of higher learning for online students. It confers the Ph.D. in Systems and Engineering Management, a degree that is practice-based and with a goal of preparing graduates to take on leadership positions in the public and private sectors. This degree includes 72 credit hours of coursework that can be completed online; a dissertation is also required for the degree. There are four courses, however, that students must take at the college; these are taught exclusively during the summer and take one month each to complete. Sample courses include Systems Management Global Environment, Systems Theory, and Advanced Theoretical Studies in Systems Management.
2. Oklahoma State University
Online Ph.D in Industrial Engineering and Management
Oklahoma State University confers an online Ph.D in Engineering Management that specializes its graduates in the realm of industrial engineering. It is designed for students who wish to become managers and leaders in the industry. This is a hybrid program that requires a length of residency that depends on a student's prior work and educational experience, so students are advised to speak with the department prior to applying for this program. Students will also find that an at-campus dissertation defense is also necessary. This is a 60-credit hour degree that includes 18 hours of dissertation research and one doctoral seminar; an at-home qualifying exam is also required.
1. East Carolina University
Online Ph.D in Technology Management
East Carolina University is a member of a consortium, along with Bowling Green University and Indiana State University, that confers a hybrid Ph.D in Technology Management. The degree, which requires two semesters of on-campus study, comes with five specializations: construction management, digital communications systems, human resource development, manufacturing systems, and quality systems. This practice-based degree is a good choice for students already working in a specialization that would like to move into leadership positions. Along with an excellent virtual portal that links all five universities and their courses together, students will have the opportunity to learn from leading professionals with years of experience in the field.
Frequently Asked Questions
What are the Career Options for an Online Doctorate in Engineering Management Degree?
An online Ph.D. in Engineering Management can open a lot of doors for those who earn the degree, but it's important to understand that many degrees come with career-based options. This enables programs to specify its curriculum and program outcomes to serve students with a stated pathway.
Programs that are designated "practice-based" refer to degrees that will pave a way forward towards working in the business sector as an engineering manager. Students may also find work in leadership positions in companies that work in the engineering industry. It is also possible to work as a contractor for the government or as a consultant that freelances for the business sector.
Universities that confer an "academic-based" degree enable students to work as academics and researchers in the field of engineering management. These programs can help students get jobs as professors at universities or work as a researcher in a think tank or company that works in research and development. It is also possible to work for the government as an analyst, helping solve infrastructure problems.
Graduates of either type of degree can also find work as authors, whether for nonfiction books or publications. They can also contribute to textbooks. Both types of graduates can also go into business in the technology field as entrepreneurs, although some business acumen is required.
What is the Salary Expectation for Engineering Management?
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median pay for engineering managers was $134,730 in 2016. However, because students have different pathways after earning a doctoral degree in the field, salaries may differ based on the technical recognition of their degree.
Academic-based degrees are designed for professors and researchers. The salaries are difficult to pinpoint, but university professors make an average of $75,430 per year while researchers can begin their career making around $55,000. Salaries increase depending on specialty, work experience, and cost-of-living in different regions in the country.
As stated above, engineering managers can make six figures at an entry-level position. However, the salaries rise based on career length and past work experience. These professionals, who have a practice-based degree, can often earn as high as $250,000 because they can work in the private business sector, increasing their chances of earning a leadership position at a major corporation.
What are the Various Disciplines of Engineering Management?
Because engineering management is a field that pairs engineering and business together, there are a variety of disciplines that students may find in their curriculum program. These include engineering, computer science, research, science, math, and more.
But not all degrees focus on the same approach or the same field. As discussed above, there are different pathways that offer different disciplines for each type. This is because those students will be involved with various disciplines throughout their career, and these must be taught at the university level. For example, a practice-based degree has disciplines that range from business to management to accounting. Some programs also require cultural courses to help students who may wish to work for a multinational company. In that same vein, prestigious schools offer language courses at an advanced level.
Academic-based degrees, on the other hand, focus more on research and academia. This enables students to learn about different theories and put them into practice in the lab. This degree also requires an understanding of the history of engineering and includes the discipline of academic writing, economics, finance, statistics, and more.
What are Some Requirements for Applying for a Doctorate in Engineering Management?
No two online Ph.D. in Engineering Management programs are exactly the same, but many of the requirements are shared by all universities.
- An ABET-accredited undergraduate or graduate degree
- Personal Essay
- One to three years of work experience in the engineering industry
The final requirement on this list, the GRE, is often hotly debated as a standard requirement for doctoral programs. Many schools will allow some students to forgo this application requirement, a standard that has been building for years; this could be because many students enter a doctoral program after finishing a graduate degree, which many in the field feel renders this requirement obsolete.
Does Accreditation Matter for Doctorate Degrees?
Most students will know that accreditation is incredibly important for all types of degrees, not just bachelor degrees. In fact, doctorate programs that aren't accredited by an independent body are often a detriment to graduates who are looking for a job. Most employers prefer students who have an independently accredited degree.
Pursuing a program that holds recognition from the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology is advantageous for students. Not only does the ABET accreditation bolster that program's reputation, and therefore a student's work application, it also signals an industry standard that is shared by that program's curriculum and program outcomes. It is also the mark of a comprehensive and rigorous degree that introduces students to that advanced concepts that are general knowledge in the field.
Accredited programs are often more competitive, meaning that a student will have to fight for their spot in the college. This competition paves the way for a better focus on education and internships, enabling them to earn work experience while still earning their degree.
Employers prefer accredited degrees, regardless whether the program was conferred traditionally or online; therefore, it makes sense for a student to do their best to earn a place at a university that holds that recognition. Now that accredited programs are far easier to find online, all a student has to do is to start their research focusing on only universities that hold ABET recognition.
Earning an engineering management doctorate online is a good option for students who are cultivating a career but want to continue their education. With the help of the GSH staff, these graduate applicants get a sense of what these online programs are like, from the month/year rotation to different courses and specializations that are available. The above schools are not only the most affordable, but are also highly respected when it comes to online Ph.D in Engineering Management degrees.