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An online master’s in computer engineering provides tech-savvy students with a more robust understanding of computer systems. While this degree may not be required to enter most computer-related fields, such a graduate program can help students obtain more advanced positions. For example, graduates would qualify for a job as a computer hardware engineer, and they can expect an average salary of $128,000.

Most online graduate programs can be completed in as little as one year for accelerated and two years for standard programs. According to the National Center for Education Statistics, such graduate degrees cost an average of $19,792, which is more affordable than the average cost of around $26,000 for students pursuing an undergraduate degree, and you may be able to save money by taking shorter programs offered by public universities.

How to Choose an Online Master’s in Computer Engineering Program

Choose your area of study

While some online master’s in computer engineering programs are more generalized, others will offer concentrations students can choose from, including networks, embedded systems, and software and data engineering. For programs that don’t offer concentrations, it’s still possible to customize your education via the electives that you take.

In some cases, students entering these programs may not know the career they wish to pursue after graduation. If you have a good idea of what you want to do, choosing suitable concentrations and electives can help accelerate your post-graduate career.

Research schools and programs

When researching schools, the first step is ensuring the university is adequately accredited. Beyond that, there are several optional steps to help narrow schools down. For example, you may wish to contact the schools you are interested in to ensure the online education offered is as robust as what you might receive if you attended class directly on campus.

It’s also helpful to research your prospective professors to discover what kind of impact they have had on computer engineering. If you do well in your coursework, these professors may be able to help you find the types of jobs you are looking for and help you establish or further your professional network.

Prepare for tests and applications

While not a universal requirement, it is common for schools offering an online master’s in computer engineering program to require applicants to submit GRE scores. In many cases, a successful applicant must score 146 or higher in verbal reasoning and 155 or higher in quantitative analysis. If you haven’t taken the GRE, it may take up to three months to study for and up to 15 days to receive your test scores. Be sure to consider this when considering the application deadlines of programs you are interested in.

Select your program

Students who discover more than one online master’s in computer engineering program they are interested in will need to apply additional criteria to select the program uniquely suited to their specific needs.

For most students, the primary criterion is budget. It’s essential to apply to schools that are affordable enough that graduates don’t have extensive student debt. In addition to the overall program cost, some schools may be cheaper than others because they offer scholarships, grants, or assistantships that others do not. And if you’re worried about the prospect of online learning, you may decide on a program that offers remote tutoring opportunities and an extended online support system for distance learners.

Determine how you’ll pay for your degree

Even if you can pay for your program, filling out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) each year is advisable. Doing so helps graduate students qualify for federal loan aid that can pay for textbooks, tuition, and your cost of living as a student. Completing this form may also help you to qualify for certain kinds of grants and scholarships, especially if that aid has any income requirement. Because the FAFSA is quick and easy to fill out, it’s good to fill it out each academic year to maximize your chances of getting as much aid as possible.

Best 50 Accredited Online Master’s in Computer Engineering Programs

Best Online Master's in Computer Engineering Degree Programs

NC State University

Georgia Tech Professional Education

Villanova University

Texas A&M University College of Engineering

University of Florida

Purdue University College of Engineering

Virginia Tech

Worcester Polytechnic Institute

Johns Hopkins Engineering for Professionals

Kettering University

Iowa State University Engineering

Stevens Institute of Technology

Michigan Technological University

University of Southern California

Missouri University of Science and Technology

University of Utah

University of Delaware

Syracuse University

Michigan State University

University of New Mexico

University of Idaho

Kansas State University

Florida International University

University of South Carolina

Colorado State University

Florida Atlantic University

Old Dominion University

University of Arizona

University of Michigan at Dearborn

Mississippi State University

Kennesaw State University

University of Virginia

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How We Rank Schools

For this list, we set out to find the best master’s degrees in computer engineering. The most common degrees in this area are Master of Science (MS) and Master of Engineering (MEng). The difference between the two types is that MS degrees typically require a thesis, and MEng degrees do not.

To ensure accessibility for the most significant number of students, we looked for programs delivered entirely or primarily online. Some programs are also offered on campus, and students can take both online and on-campus courses.

This list only includes programs at regionally accredited schools. Many programs also have specialized accreditation from the Engineering Accreditation Commission of ABET.

Once we narrowed our list, we evaluated each program based on faculty, reputation, flexibility, cost, and outcomes. We then calculated an Intelligent Score for each program on a scale of 0 to 100. For a more extensive explanation, check out our ranking methodology.

What Can You Expect from an Online Master’s in Computer Engineering?

An online master’s in computer engineering program teaches students advanced IT and computer engineering concepts. Coursework is structured with the assumption that students wish to work as upper-level computer engineers, so much of the coursework will focus on taking your existing knowledge of this specialized field and obtaining a more advanced position within the industry.

If you choose a concentration, most of your coursework will reflect that. For example, someone specializing in software and data engineering will take fewer networking courses than someone specializing in networking (and vice versa).

However, whether you specialize or enroll in a more general program, all of the coursework provides enough of a core foundation to achieve success as a computer engineer. Students may be able to complete their required coursework in as little as one year via accelerated programs, and the fact that most programs have no in-person requirements helps students meet these needs promptly.

Potential courses you’ll take in an online master’s in computer engineering program

  • Hardware Security. This class helps students learn more about hardware security concerning ASIC and FPGA technologies. As such, students will learn more about the supply chain as it relates to hardware and the various threats to hardware security that may come from counterfeiting, IP piracy, reverse engineering, and more.
  • Internet of Things. This course introduces students to the technology and principles underlying this phenomenon and the challenges facing those trying to develop solutions to inevitable consumer dilemmas. The course covers a wide range of topics related to the Internet of Things technology, from digital sensing to cryptography.
  • Learning From Data. Thanks to the advent of ChatGPT and other AI technology, topics such as machine learning have become more relevant than ever before. This course helps students learn more about machine learning and pattern recognition. From abstract theories to practical mathematics and heuristics, this course prepares students to take advantage of our increasingly data-driven society.
  • Advanced Computer Architecture. As a follow-up to the earlier Computer Architecture course in the program, this class focuses on analyzing titular computer architecture using qualitative and quantitative methods. Students will learn about the memories, processors, and networks that are part of every computer and how the intersection of these three has led to many modern technological advances.

Online Master’s in Computer Engineering Degree Frequently Asked Questions

How do I apply to an online master’s in computer engineering degree program?

To apply to the online master’s in computer engineering program, simply navigate to the website of the school(s) you are interested in and follow the application instructions. These instructions should specify what you need to submit with the application. Typical requirements include undergraduate transcripts, GRE test scores, and letters of recommendation. Some schools may require more paperwork, and some may need less, so review all application requirements carefully.

Contact the school’s admissions counselor if you have any questions or questions. The counselor can verify the exact application requirements and answer any lingering questions you may still have.

How much does an online master’s in computer engineering degree cost?

The National Center for Education Statistics reports that graduate degrees like this cost an average of $19,792, though exactly how much your program will cost will depend on multiple factors. For example, public universities will almost always have cheaper tuition than private universities, and the number of credit hours you take will influence the cost.

In short, the more classes you take and the longer you take to graduate, the more you can expect to pay. However, these online programs will always be cheaper than taking classes on campus because you won’t have to relocate to a brand-new town or pay numerous on-campus fees (including parking and student activity fees).

How long does it take to earn an online master’s in computer engineering degree?

Most online master’s in computer engineering programs are designed to be completed in two years by students who are attending full-time. If you get accepted into an accelerated program or have transferable credits (such as credits from a master’s in computer science degree), you may be able to complete coursework in as little as one year. If you can’t attend school full-time, it’s OK: most programs are flexible enough for online students to work at their own pace until they complete all the work.

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