How To Choose An Engineering Program

You have made the decision to pursue an engineering degree so the first thing you need to do is make the decision about which engineering program you wish to study. This may be in mechanical, electrical, architectural, bio-medical or one of many other specialties. With whatever program you choose, you will want to find the best school for that specialty based on your personal needs.

Next you will need to investigate the schools that offer courses in your desired engineering specialty, and create a list of the schools that offer what you are looking for. Then you may begin to narrow the list down based on a number of variables. You will want to know whether you plan on attending school on-campus of if an on-line school better fits your schedule and lifestyle. On-line schooling can be very convenient, but requires a high level of self-discipline.

After you have a short list of schools that fit your initial requirements, you may begin applying some filters to the list to eventually find the one school you wish to attend. The process of filtering should consider a list of what is most important to you and fits your needs.

To begin this process, you want to consider the accreditation of the schools, and how they each appear to employers and future clients. The reputation of the school can make all the difference in your future success. The degree that the school offers in your program should be accepted by the industry as one of high value. Some schools offer degrees that are not looked upon as highly and might not be of value in the future. Also, some schools will not accept prior credits and may not even transfer credits to another school should you choose to switch schools or seek a further degree.

Scheduling and curriculum are both important aspects of schooling and you will want to choose a school that offers schedules that meet your lifestyle and that have the curriculum that will allow you to make progress at a good pace.

One very important thing to consider is if the school offers student co-op work opportunities. This can be an extremely valuable resource for you especially in the latter half of your schooling. The experience gained by working for a firm or employer as you continue your schooling will be a big selling point on your resume and will give you valuable insight into what parts of the curriculum you may need to pay particular attention to.

If you plan on attending on-campus, then the location of the school will be of major importance. In this case, you may be able to commute to school, but if the school chosen is further away you will need to think about relocation and living accommodations.

If you have made the decision to attend schooling on-line, you need to be aware of the advantages and difficulties this will bring. Attend on-line is convenient and can be scheduled to fit your needs, but it also requires a level of commitment and self-discipline. You will have little or no direct motivation and will need to have good communication with your school adviser, instructors and classmates. You will also want to be particularly careful in evaluating the schools degree, course offerings and support available.

Engineering is a huge field and has many benefits, but also has quite a large amount of competition and the choices you make early in the process will affect your career and future as an engineer.

The 10 Best Online Masters in Engineering Management (MEM)

Earning a master’s in engineering management is a great way to boost earning power. A master’s degree usually requires two years of study and is completed after a bachelor’s degree. Engineering management is a specialized field that focuses on applying engineering principles to business operations. The career combines the technological savvy of engineering with management abilities. Engineering managers need to have knowledge and experience with engineering and business. Online schools have classes that focus on accounting, six sigma, human resource management, mathematical modeling and industrial psychology.

At an online university, students can improve their job skills. Universities allow students to finish assignments, dialogue with instructors and other students and complete tests. The education complements a traditional undergraduate degree, and an M.S. in engineering management, also known as an MEM, prepares professionals for a rewarding career in a variety of industries. Management of technology, decision engineering, information technologies and operations research are a few of the specializations that are available.

Here are 10 of the top online Masters of Engineering Management programs:

10. Colorado State University

Colorado State University Engineering

This university offers a number of Masters in Engineering Management options for students. Students need to spend 30 semester hours in approved courses. The work is formal in nature, and there is no thesis, research or internship available. Graduates need to have at least 24 credits at the 500-level of classes. At least 15 hours need to be spent in the schools’ mechanical engineering department. The university has a number of financial aid options, and military personnel, spouses and veterans are eligible for a 15 percent discount. The online Masters in Engineering Management program relies on DVDs and online presentations. Students can supplement the learning experience with assignments, readings and online discussions. Nonresident students need to pay $1,142.90 per credit. Instate students have to pay $466 per credit hour. Filling out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is advised because there are numerous ways for students to find money for tuition, fees and living expenses.

9. Texas A & M University


Students can apply for an M.S. in engineering systems management at the school. The degree is offered through the Dwight Look College of Engineering and the Mays Business School. The program consists of 36 to 40 semester hours of course work. Students need to have at least two years of undergrad or work experience and must provide letters of recommendation. The university has an extensive financial aid office and works with the G.I. Bill to provide funding for soldiers and veterans. Tuition for non-residents is $6,321.48 per semester, and residents need to pay $2,878.48.

8. Ohio University


The college offers an online Master of Science in Engineering Management that consists of 10 courses. The program can be finished in 20-months and includes a number of specialized courses. Students will need to study engineering statistics, Six Sigma, quality systems, writing and project management. At the university, residents need to pay between $21,990 and $24,090 for their education. Non-residents will see their costs run from $22,636 and $24,736, and international students’ tuition runs from $22,641 to $24,741.

7. Gannon University


Gannon has a 36-hour Masters of Engineering Management curriculum that focuses on business knowledge and engineering subjects. Students spend time learning about economics and organizational behavior. These management courses are added to engineering to ensure students are ready for the challenges of a professional career. Gannon offers practical experience that is designed to promote leadership and prepare students for today’s job market. Gannon has a number of programs in effect to help students pay for their education. The school offers a variety of scholarships, grants and financial aid. Awards are offered to most students, and employer tuition reimbursement is also available.

6. University of Colorado – Boulder


CU Boulder is one of the leading research universities, and the College of Engineering and Applied Science is ranked in the top-40 engineering graduate schools by the U.S. News & World Report. The school’s M.S. in Engineering Management is a practical alternative for engineers, technical specialists and scientists who want to move into management. The program is based on business basics. Courses cover finance and accounting as well as quality management. In addition, students have options to take elective courses in Six Sigma, product management and research and development. The University has a needs-based tuition discount program. Students are eligible for a 50 percent reduction for up to three courses. Students at the online engineering school learn through streaming videos and online lectures. The tuition for distance students is $2,334 per three credits. To graduate with a Master’s in Engineering Management, students need to complete 30 hours of course work.

5. Robert Morris University


Robert Morris has an online MEM program that is perfect for busy adults. Students can work with the SEMS Research and Outreach Center during their studies. This center works with local industries and promotes engineering careers in local schools. Engineering management tuition costs $815 per credit. Students need to complete at least 30 hours at the school to earn their master’s degree.

4. Drexel University


The Drexel MEM program is designed for professional scientists and engineers who want to enter the management field. The program focuses on analysis and management. The graduate school was founded in 1960, and the distance engineering management program is designed to provide professional improvement. This program consists of 17 graduate classes and is scheduled in 10-week quarters. For the 2012-2013 academic year, students will need to pay $1,045 per credit hour, and there are a total of 51 hours for the degree.

3. Lawrence Technological University


The Lawrence Master of Engineering Management degree combines the latest engineering education with business management skills. The program is designed for full-time professionals and can be completed in as little as 36 semester hours. LTU is ranked in the Top 40 engineering schools by the U.S. News & World Report. The college is also within the heart of automation alley and allows access to professional engineers that work in the local industry. Tuition payment plans are available, and the school accepts the FAFSA and employer reimbursement plans.

2. Penn State University


Penn State has a long history of distance education and has more than 100 years of experience in the field. The college has more than a decade of experience with online learning, and students can focus in a number of specialty areas. Students can choose a variety of MEM tracks at Penn state, and the school works with the medical, environmental, scientific and government fields. The U.S. News & World Report consistently ranks Penn State as one of the leading engineering programs in the country. Students need to complete 33 credits to graduate, and tuition is $912 per credit. The school offers a number of flexible financing options and is ideal for working professionals.

1. Duke University


U.S. News & World Report ranks Duke second for admissions selectivity. The online Master of Engineering Management Program is offered in conjunction with the Fuqua School of Business and the School of Law. Students will have an opportunity to engage in various management issues that affect professional engineers. The distance program is designed for working professionals and relies on classroom participation to provide insight and knowledge. Tuition for the 2012 – 2013 year is $21,240 per semester. This is for a full load of four courses during a semester. The Duke program is a professional degree, and most students pay for tuition with personal funds. The school does work with the Federal Stafford Loan Program. Students can receive up to $8,500 per year from the Stafford program.

That concludes our list of the best online Masters in Engineering Management programs. We advise students to only use rankings as a guide for narrowing down choices, and then from there choose the school that’s a best fit for your particular interests. Each of the schools in our ranking of the top online MEM programs will offer you a quality, accredited education and a degree that is respected by future employers.


Top 10 Online Civil Engineering Programs

Civil engineering is a term that refers to the constructions of roads, canals, bridges, dams and other structures within the natural environment. A variety of machines—bulldozers, scrapers, graders, excavators and others—are widely used in modern civil engineering, which can be one of the highest-paying careers that anyone can get. Fifteen percent of all jobs in the United States are in this field. Civil engineers incorporate knowledge and skills in other subjects into their work, much of which involves environmental protection; thus, biology and geology necessarily form an integral part of the study plan for anybody who wants to make civil engineering his or her career. Indeed, the departments at many universities devoted to the subject also include environmental engineering under their umbrella. They also provide aid in the projects of architects, urban designers and others.

1) Auburn University

The Samuel Ginn College of Engineering at Auburn University, in the city of the same name in Alabama, has the largest such program in that state. Its graduate programs have been highly rated by U.S. News and World Report. Students can specialize in any of the following seven areas:

  • Construction Engineering and Management—enhancing the effectiveness of tools and methods; covers basics of construction, both vertical and horizontal
  • Environmental Engineering—concerns itself with the protection of public health
  • Geotechnical Engineering—brings together disciplines like soil mechanics and pavement materials engineering
  • Hydraulic Engineering—solving water problems by applying the principles of fluid mechanics
  • Pavements and Materials Engineering—shows how to design, construct and maintain pavements; the student learns all about the materials used for paving and how they behave
  • Structural Engineering—improving “load resistance” when designing structures; students learn how deformable materials behave
  • Transportation Engineering—involves planning and designing facilities for all modes of transportation

Auburn also has two off-campus civil engineering programs, but only one of them counts towards a degree, although the other provides continuing education units.

2) Colorado State University

CSU’s Department of Civil and Economic Engineering has both undergraduate and graduate programs, with the latter divided into eleven disciplines:

  • Environmental Engineering
  • Geoenvironmental Engineering
  • Geotechnical Engineering
  • Groundwater Engineering
  • Hydraulic Engineering/Stream Restoration and River Mechanics
  • Hydrologic Science and Engineering
  • Irrigation and Drainage Engineering
  • Structural Engineering and Structural Mechanics
  • Water & International Development
  • Water Resources Planning and Management
  • Wind Engineering and Fluid Mechanics

3) Iowa State University

At Iowa State University, off-campus students can get take Engineering-LAS Online (ELO) Learning and Certificates. Four programs are available:

  • Construction Engineering and Management (endorsed by Associated General Contractors of America—only four other schools in the country have received such an honor)—focuses on construction operations and methods and management techniques
  • Environmental Engineering Graduate Certificate—This and the other certificate programs allow the student to use advanced study to perfect his or her technical skills without pursuing a degree.
  • Construction Management Graduate Certificate
  • Environmental Systems Graduate Certificate

4) Kansas State University

Both graduate and undergraduate studies in civil engineering are available. The undergraduate can take part in several curricula, each of which also includes courses from other departments—mathematics, biology, chemistry and others. Civil engineering classes, all of which may be taken online, include:

  • Economics of Design and Construction
  • Advanced Reinforced Concrete Theory
  • Responsibility in Engineering: Leadership and Development
  • Structural Dynamics
  • Waste water Engineering: Biological Processes
  • Pavement Design

5) Mississippi State University

Mississippi State University is right now in the middle of constructing a new Civil and Environmental Engineering Complex with the cooperation of two other schools. Its civil engineering department offers eight specialties, three of which are Materials Engineering, Urban Planning and Water Resources. The second of these covers various aspects of city design—where the sewers should be located, how the streets should run, determining where residential and industrial growth should take place and the design of utilities infrastructures.

6) North Carolina State University at Raleigh

North Carolina State offers the Master of Civil Engineering degree online; only students who will not be writing a thesis, however, may follow this plan. The individual who wishes to take the distance learning MCE degree program must register online at the page of the civil engineering department. It should be noted that the student does not need to be enrolled in a degree program in order to take online classes for credit.

7) Norwich University

Norwich University, in Northfield, Vermont, has an online MCE degree program, and the student taking it has a choice of four specialties to concentrate on:

  • Structural Engineering
  • Environmental and Water Resources Engineering
  • Construction Management Engineering
  • Geotechnical Engineering

It can take as little as eighteen months to complete the program. In the meantime, the student can continue actively with the career at which he or she is currently working.

8) Old Dominion University

Franklin Batten College of Engineering and Technology is part of Old Dominion University, which is located in Norfolk, Virginia. The university’s undergraduate programs in civil engineering include a B.S. degree and five-year accelerated BS/MS and BS/ME programs. There are also two schedules for the graduate—one in transportation engineering and one for a coastal engineering certificate, with the latter consisting of courses in dredging and beach engineering. Only the M.S. degree may be taken online, and a thesis is required. Information on the online curriculum may be found here.

9) Trine University

Trine University’s (formerly Tri-State University, located in Angola, Indiana) Allen School of Engineering and Technology is one of the most reputable institutes of its kind anywhere. The requirements for its M.S.C.E. program are based on the body of knowledge report of the American Society of Civil Engineers. To get information on the course of study, fill out the form at the university website.

10) University of Central Florida

Civil, environmental and construction engineering are all taught at the University of Central Florida. The three undergraduate civil engineering degrees awarded are:

  • B.S. in Civil Engineering—can be divided into four main areas: structures (analyzing the behavior of steel and concrete and the structures made from them, fiber reinforced plastics); geotechnical (soil dynamics, foundation design, subsurface testing, soil contamination); water resources (stormwater management and open channels are emphasized here, as are reservoirs, hydrologic characterization and groundwater systems); and transportation (planning and designing highways, airports and railroads, research in traffic safety and advanced traveler information systems).
  • B.S. in Construction Engineering
  • B.S. in Environmental Engineering

For the master’s degree, two options are available. The student can choose to pursue the research- or non-research-based program—if the latter, then no thesis is needed. Only those who are receiving a fellowship or a GRA from the department have the thesis option open to them.

Robot Raven So Advanced It Fools Hawk

Robotic Raven

We want to highlight incredible feats of engineering here at BOED, and today we have an amazing robot bird developed by the robotics department at the University of Maryland. The robo-raven can perform any aeronautic maneuver imaginable – all thanks to wings that move independently of one another.

It’s possible the robot raven could have real world uses such as reconnaissance or surveillance, but it would really be sweet to see these sold to consumers as backyard toys. Check out this video, especially at the 1:49 mark where the robot bird has an encounter with a hawk, which attacks it in mid air:

Movin’ on up


Skyscrapers, once the domain of businesses, are more and more becoming places to call home, with more than 15 super high-rise buildings constructed in the past couple of years and more than 20 in the works.

Rooms with a View

These 15 residential buildings reach higher than any others in the world. Want to get in on the action? Better visit Dubai.

Building City and country Height (feet) Floors Built
Princess Tower Dubai, United Arab Emirates 1358.3 101 2012
23 Marina Dubai, United Arab Emirates 1289 90 2012
Elite Residence Dubai, United Arab Emirates 1250 91 2012
The Marina Torch Dubai, United Arab Emirates 1142 80 2011
Q1 Gold Coast, Australia 1058 80 2005
HHHR Tower Dubai, United Arab Emirates 1040 72 2009
Ocean Heights Dubai, United Arab Emirates 1017.1 84 2010
Infinity Tower Dubai, United Arab Emirates 1005 76 2013
Etihad Tower 5 Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates 1001 80 2011
Gramercy Residences Makati, Philippines 991 68 2012
Capital City Moscow Tower Moscow, Russia 989.5 76 2010
We’ve the Zenith Tower A Busan, South Korea 987.5 80 2011
Eureka Tower Melbourne, Australia 975.3 91 2006
Emirates Crown Dubai, United Arab Emirates 971.1 63 2008
i’Park Marina Tower 2 Busan, South Korea 962 72 2011

Air America?

Only two of the 40 tallest residential buildings in the world are in the United States, and both are in New York. Here are the tallest residential buildings in the United States.

Building City Floors Height (feet)
Trump World Tower New York City 72 861
Barclay Tower New York City 56 673
340 on the Park Chicago 64 672
55 East Erie Chicago 56 647
Lake Point Tower Chicago 70 645
River East Center Chicago 58 644
Grand Plaza Apts. Chicago 57 641
One Rincon Hill San Francisco 54 641
Heritage @ Millennium Chicago 57 631
Central Park Place New York City 56 628

While most of the high-reaching residential buildings in the U.S. are concentrated in major cities like New York and Chicago, that doesn’t mean the rest of the country doesn’t see its share of skyscrapers.
State City Building (feet) Built Purpose
Alabama Mobile RSA Battle House Tower 745 2007 Office
Alaska Anchorage Conoco-Phillips Building 296 1983 Office
Arizona Phoenix Chase Tower 483 1972 Office
Arkansas Little Rock Metropolitan National Bank Tower 546 1986 Office
California Los Angeles U.S. Bank Tower 1,018 1989 Office
Colorado Denver Republic Plaza 728 1984 Office
Connecticut Hartford City Place I 535 1984 Office
Delaware Wilmington Chase Manhattan Centre 330 1988 Office
Florida Miami Four Seasons Hotel & Tower 789 2003 Office/Residential/Hotel
Georgia Atlanta Bank of America Plaza 1,023 1992 Office
Hawaii Honolulu First Hawaiian Center 429 1996 Office
Idaho Boise US Bank Plaza 267 1978 Office
Illinois Chicago Willis Tower 1,451 1974 Office
Indiana Indianapolis Chase Tower 811 1990 Office
Iowa Des Moines 801 Grand (The Principal Building) 630 1991 Office
Kansas Wichita Epic Center 320 1989 Office
Kentucky Louisville AEGON Center 549 1993 Office
Louisiana New Orleans One Shell Square 697 1972 Office
Maine Portland Franklin Towers 204 1969 Residential
Maryland Baltimore Transamerica Tower 529 1971 Office
Massachusetts Boston John Hancock Tower 790 1976 Office
Michigan Detroit Renaissance Center 750 1977 Hotel
Minnesota Minneapolis IDS Center 792 1973 Office
Mississippi Biloxi Beau Rivage Casino Hotel 347 1999 Hotel
Missouri Kansas City One Kansas City Place 624 1988 Office
Montana Billings First Interstate Center 272 1985 Office
Nebraska Omaha First National Bank Tower 634 2002 Office
Nevada Paradise The Palazzo 642 2008 Hotel & Casino
New Hampshire Manchester City Hall Plaza 275 1992 Office
New Jersey Jersey City 30 Hudson Street 781 2004 Office
New Mexico Albuquerque Albuquerque Plaza 351 1990 Office
New York New York City One World Trade Center 1,776 2013 Office
North Carolina Charlotte Bank of America Corporate Center 871 1992 Office
North Dakota Bismarck North Dakota State Capitol 241 1934 Government
Ohio Cleveland Key Tower 947 1991 Office
Oklahoma Oklahoma City Devon Tower 850 2012 Office
Oregon Portland Wells Fargo Center 546 1972 Office
Pennsylvania Philadelphia Comcast Center 973 2008 Office
Rhode Island Providence Bank of America Building 428 1927 Office
South Carolina Abbeville Prysmian Copper Wire Tower 373 2009 Office
South Dakota Sioux Falls Qwest Tower 174 1962 Office
Tennessee Nashville AT&T Building 617 1994 Office
Texas Houston JPMorgan Chase Tower 1,002 1982 Office
Utah Salt Lake City Wells Fargo Center 442 1998 Office
Vermont Burlington Decker Towers 124 1970 Residential
Virginia Virginia Beach The Westin Virginia Beach Town Center 508 2007 Residential/Hotel
Washington Seattle Columbia Center 932 1985 Office
West Virginia Charleston West Virginia State Capitol 293 1932 Government
Wisconsin Milwaukee U.S. Bank Center 601 1973 Office
Wyoming Laramie White Hall 200 1960 Residential


15 Must See TED talks on Engineering

TED is a nonprofit that started out in 1984 as a conference bringing together the leading figures in Technology, Entertainment, and Design to give short talks for their peers with a strict 18 minute time limit. A single ticket to these exclusive conferences costs thousands of dollars, but in recent years, the internet has allowed TED to post videos of every talk on Youtube and for free. Presenters have included past Presidents, authors, CEOs, famous researchers, inventors, and several Nobel Prize winners.

For your consideration, here are 15 awesome talks related to engineering.

1. Aubrey de Grey: A roadmap to end aging

With his thin frame, British accent, and a beard that reaches below his chest, Cambridge researcher Aubrey de Grey looks more like a wizard than a scientist. In one of the most discussed TED Talks, de Grey forcefully argues that what we consider aging is merely a disease whose effects can be mitigated or even cured altogether. We wouldn’t stand for any other disease that kills 100% of people who live long enough to get it, so why are we so dismissive of the scientific possibility that, someday soon, we may not have to age at all?

2. Adam Sadowsky engineers a viral music video

Musical group OK Go created one of the earliest viral videos of the broadband era when they filmed themselves doing a synchronized dance on moving treadmills, gaining over 50 million views. For one of their follow up videos, they asked Adam Sadowsky to create a humorously overcomplicated machine like those imagined by Rube Goldberg. The catch was that the room-sized contraption would have to actually perform its ridiculous functions in a 4 minute video with no cuts. Sadowsky explains how they got a working take… 85 attempts later.

3. Amy Smith shares simple, lifesaving design

Engineering is often thought of as being high-tech, complex designs which lead to lucrative or at least impressive inventions. Mechanical engineer Amy Smith takes the opposite approach, using simple, almost common-sense devices that a regular person in poor countries can make for low cost with local supplies. More than two million children are killed every year in the developing world by toxic fumes from indoor cooking. In this talk, Smith explains a simple tool that turns farm waste into clean-burning charcoal.

4. Arthur Ganson: Moving sculpture

Replete with working examples of his art, this involving and intensely personal talk is done little justice by its simple title. Sculptor and engineer Arthur Ganson is perhaps an even more impressive raconteur, infusing his talk about the intersection between machines and art with more humor and emotion than some stand up comedy sets.

5. Bertrand Piccard’s solar-powered adventure

Having already circled the Earth in a hot air balloon, aeronautical adventurer Bertrand Piccard proposes an even more audacious idea–making the same trip in a solar powered airplane that keeps flying even in the black of night. The inspiring talk finds many metaphors for regular life outside of flying and tries to challenge the limits of our thinking at every point. His more optimistic claims are backed up with real examples of how rapidly innovation makes its way into the mainstream, such as 200 passenger flights across the Atlantic a mere 20 years after Charles Lindberg barely did it in a single person aircraft.

6. Burt Rutan sees the future of space

“It’s not good enough for us to have generations of kids that … look forward to a better version of a cell phone with a video in it. They need to look forward to exploration.” Legendary spacecraft designer Burt Rutan gives a passionate talk that roasts the stagnation of NASA and asks private entrepreneurs to take up the torch of extending humanity to the stars. Rutan won the $10 million X-Prize in 2004 for SpaceShipOne and is working with Virgin Galactic at the forefront of space tourism.

7. Christien Meindertsma: How pig parts make the world turn

Christien Meindertsma wrote a book called “Pig 05049″ which explores how parts of an ordinary pig made it into over 185 non-pork goods ranging from ammunition to artificial human organs. Using art and craft, the captivatingly beautiful Meindertsma exposes the disconnect between modern man and the lifesaving animal-derived products he uses every day. Considering all the surprising ways they benefit us, Meindertsma thinks it’s “odd that we don’t treat these pigs as absolute kings and queens,” and after watching her talk you might just agree with her.

8. David Damberger: What happens when an NGO admits failure

In a startling talk, David Damberger discusses his work with Engineers Without Borders and how he went from using his engineering skills to make minor improvements to photocopiers to working on saving lives in Africa. Far from the usual self-congratulatory nature of these sort of talks, Damberger brings serious issues to light and asks whether or not billions of dollars of foreign aid to the developing world even works. He concludes that NGOs need to adopt the accountability, creativity, and agility of entrepreneurs.

9. David Hanson: Robots that “show emotion”

David Hanson went from being a Walt Disney Imagineer (the people who design robotic George Washingtons for the Hall of Presidents)to starting his own robotics company with the goal of creating robots with the same social graces as humans. In this short, five minute talk, Hanson explains why, as robots become more commonplace, it’s more important that they don’t just behave like humans, but actually understand us as humans.

10. David Keith’s unusual climate change idea

Environmental scientist David Keith begins by reminding us climate change is not a recent concern. It’s been making headlines since the 1950s and in that time, we’ve accomplished “nothing.” With climate change proceeding faster than the most “Chicken Little” environmental models have predicted, Keith proposes a radical and counterintuitive solution that would also be cheap and effective. All we have to do is mimic a massive volcano by injecting a huge cloud of ash into the atmosphere to deflect light and heat from the sun.

11. Eric Giler demos wireless electricity

From the earliest radio to broadband internet over WiFi, we’ve had wireless data transmission for so long that most of us can barely life without it. The bane of these powerful devices is that they still need to be plugged into a wall and remain tethered by a cord when their batteries run down. Eric Giler begins his talk by noting wireless power has been in the works since the days of Tesla. His own work at MIT indicates we won’t just be wirelessly charging our iPads and cellphones, but implants like pacemakers as well.

12. Dennis Hong: My seven species of robot

Whether they serve us like the friendly C-3PO or hunt us down like The Terminator, robots are the future. In this talk, Dennis Hong demos seven species of highly effective and mobile robots with roots in nature as well as science fiction literature. How could a three-legged “Strider” on stilts straight out of Half-Life 2 be inspired by nature? Watch and learn.

13. Leah Buechley: How to “sketch” with electronics

In this short, playful talk from TEDYouth 2011, MIT electronics designer Leah Buechley demonstrates how her team developed tools that merge the cumbersome, expensive, and slow world of circuit boards with something intuitive, cheap, and fast–simple pen and paper. For one of the more charming demos, an artist draws several squiggly lines on a sheet of paper, then plays the lines like piano keys with her finger tips. While the “sketch you can play” may seem like a mere toy, Buechley’s ideas open the door to rapid prototyping.

14. Neil Gershenfeld on Fab Labs

Although this video is over 6 years old, remains relevant in a world where some people still think of 3D printing as a gee-whiz fad, rather than the future. Gershenfeld gives a wide ranging TED Talk that compares the march of miniaturization and mainstreaming of computer mainframes to the same process of 3D printing facilities, while treating conventional wisdom about both with absolute irreverence. To wit: “Computer science is one of the worst things that ever happened to either computers or to science.” An example of what one of his students at MIT gets a laugh: a web browser for parrots that lets parrots talk to other parrots. Just as blogging takes communication that was once done by monolithic newspapers, he argues the future is personal fabrication for a market of one (you). In the 80s and 90s, the computer democratized printing, but now “Fab Labs” and 3D printers will do the same thing for physical creations, blurring the line between the digital and physical spaces. Gershenfeld is entertaining and inspiring, but has an annoying habit of showing several videos at once and even talking over them sometimes. When he slows down long enough to talk about one thing at a time, he’ll blow your mind.

15. Anthony Atala: Printing a human kidney

In this talk, surgeon Anthony Atala takes the 3D printing technology shown by Neil Gershenfeld a step further, asking, “Can we grow organs instead of transplanting them?” That’s exactly what his lab at the Wake Forest Institute for Regenerative Medicine is doing. Thanks to a technology similar to the one he demos onstage, one of Dr. Atala’s young patients received a newly engineered bladder 10 years ago. How is the patient doing? Find out when he joins Dr. Atala on the TED stage.

Top Online Computer Engineering Programs

Computer engineers design the hardware, software, and network systems that support the operations of today’s modern businesses. This segment of the information technology sector experienced the greatest amount of job growth during the last decade and projections by the Bureau of Labor Statistics indicate continued steady growth in this fast-paced career field. Those wanting entrance into the field of computer engineering rely on rigorous education and training programs developed by leading universities in this industry segment. Prospective students find online computer engineering programs popular primarily because of their flexible curricula. Here is a list of the top online computer engineering schools ranked by program reputation, flexibility of degree program, extensiveness of curriculum format, and over all best value for the price.

Ranking The Top 10 Online Computer Engineering Programs

#1 Grantham University – Bachelor of Science in Computer Engineering Technology

Overview: Grantham University’s computer engineering degree program is completely flexible and 100% online. It took the top spot because of its in-depth curriculum, adjustable degree format, and affordable price. Students complete coursework around their own work hours and normally finish the degree within two years. A sampling of the courses offered by Grantham in its comprehensive computer engineering technology program include programming, computer networking, and challenging labs in electronics and circuits.

Price Tag: $265 per credit hour

Unique Characteristics: This university steers military and federal employees to a variety of grants and scholarships to pay for its already affordable degree program tuition.

#2 Kaplan University – Bachelor of Science in Information Technology-Information Systems

Overview: Students participating in Kaplan University’s Bachelor of Science in Information Technology degree program specializing in Information Systems learn the foundational applications programming, database management, and network security elements of computer engineering. Qualifying students receive special in-house Kaplan University scholarships and other grants to offset the school’s moderately priced tuition fees.

Price Tag: $371 per credit hour

Unique Characteristics: Kaplan University demonstrates the adaptability of its computer education curriculum to the latest industry trends by offering course work about mobile computing. Mobile computing includes mobile communication technology, mobile hardware design, and software development.

#3 Walden University – Bachelor of Science in Information Technology

Overview: Walden University offers students a curriculum that focuses on the software development and network design aspects of computer engineering. Since information security skills are highly desired in today’s workforce, its undergraduate curriculum includes security and forensics courses that prepare students to design secure computer system networks and detect suspicious data about cyber crimes.

Price Tag: $290 per credit hour and $1760 technology fee for the entire four years of study.

Unique Characteristics: Walden University is a leader in online degree programs and has programs in many disciplines including business. The university leverages its expertise in business education within its bachelor of science in information technology program. Students not only learn the solid technical skills of computer engineering, but they benefit from knowing the business motivations for information technology decision-making.

#4 American Intercontinental University – Bachelor Of Information Technology

Overview: American Intercontinental University offers a variety of information technology degree specializations. Its Bachelor of Information Technology with a specialization in Network Administration teaches computer engineering courses such as programming, hardware development, and network design principles.

Price Tag: $302 per credit hour

Unique Characteristics: American Intercontinental University realizes that computer engineering is a tough career field to enter. That is why they provide students with tutoring sessions to help improve understanding of the challenging subject matter. Additionally, the school offers students challenge exams to test proficiency at any time of class room lessons learned.

#5 Colorado Technical University – Bachelor of Science in Information Systems Software Engineering Management

Overview: Requirements engineering, systems analysis, and user interface design techniques are main elements of Colorado Technical University’s Bachelor of Science in Information Systems Software Engineering Management degree program. Although the degree focuses on the software engineering side of computer engineering, the program covers the elements of network design, systems architecture, and system security as electives to broaden the skills of participating students.

Price Tag: $325 per credit hour

Unique Characteristics: Colorado Technical University is aware that most students participating in their bachelor of science in information systems software engineering management do so for the practical reason of finding a great paying job. They also know that its a tough job market even for engineering and technology graduates which is why they offer comprehensive career services for students. The services include career consultation, resume writing assistance, interview preparation, professional networking opportunities, and even access to prospective employers.

#6 Strayer University – Bachelor of Science in Information Systems Software Engineering Management

Overview: Strayer University’s Bachelor of Science in Information Systems Software Engineering Management degree program provides students with a solid foundation in systems analysis, systems engineering, and software development which are fundamental in the field of computer engineering. In addition to advanced programming techniques, students learn requirements identification methods, the industry standard unified modeling language, and the elements of project plans and engineering documentation.

Price Tag: $378 per credit hour

Unique Characteristics: Strayer University’s Bachelor of Science in Information Systems Software Engineering Management degree program is structured for maximum flexibility and effectiveness. For example, the entire program is online, but students choose to attend synchronous courses taught by instructors real-time or asynchronous computer based interactive classes available anytime.

#7 DeVry University – Bachelor of Science in Engineering Technology-Computers

Overview: Students participating in DeVry University’s Engineering Technology-Computers degree program learn the foundational principles of hardware, network, and software engineering. This computer engineering degree program seems to have a strong software bent that includes application design, code development, and integration testing of software with associated hardware.

Price Tag: $555 per credit hour

Unique Characteristics: The stated mission of DeVry University’s Engineering Technology-Computers degree program does not beat around the bush at all but declares that the program is for obtaining gainful employment within the computer industry with commensurate title and compensation. Their rigorous course curriculum reflects the program’s mission.

#8 University of Phoenix – Bachelor of Science in Information Technology Software Engineering

Overview: An important part of computer engineering is software design and development and that is the main emphasis of the University of Phoenix Bachelor of Science in Information Technology Software Engineering degree program. This degree program includes electives that cover systems analysis, network design and administration, and computer network security.

Price Tag: $585 per credit hour and $95 electronic material fee per course

Unique Characteristics: University of Phoenix recognizes that the field of computer engineering and information technology is a fast-moving one, and a specially appointed Faculty Advisory Council annually reviews the school’s curriculum for relevance.

#9 Drexel University Online – Bachelor Of Science in Computing and Security Technology

Overview: Drexel University Online’s Bachelor Of Science in Computing and Security Technology teaches students the principles of computer engineering concerning network administration, web development, operating system protocols, and network security principles. Their traditional information technology and engineering courses are highly rated, and the school guarantees that its online program is of the same high quality.

Price Tag: $680 per credit hour

Unique Characteristics: Drexel University promotes the higher education goals of military members. This fact is reflected in the discounted tuition rates offered to veterans and active duty service members. Additionally, the school provides a special military counselor to guide service members through the admission’s process, military financial benefits, and federal financial aid.

#10 Post University – Bachelor of Science in Computer Information Systems – Software Development Management

Overview: Post University’s Computer Information Systems with a specialization in Software Development Management is a comprehensive computer engineering program that includes the study of systems architecture, database management, software engineering, and project management. Students begin Post University’s flexible online curriculum for computer engineering on six optional start dates within the year and typically finish the program within 32 months.

Price Tag: $525 per credit hour

Unique Characteristics: Post University founded in 1890 is known for providing quality online degree programs, and they were the first in the New England region to offer them.

Engineering Degrees you can get Online

If you have an aptitude for science and math and enjoy applying their principles to real-world problems, engineering may be the right career for you. It’s a fast-growing professional field with application across dozens of industries, meaning job prospects for new graduates are quite positive. In order to fulfill the high demand for engineering professionals, many engineering programs have become more flexible in recent years by offering online degree programs, which are especially great for working adults looking to start a new career in the growing field of engineering.

Although there are more than a dozen engineering specialties available, each with its own unique coursework and expectations, the degrees listed below are in particular demand in today’s workforce. More importantly, each can be acquired through online educational programs.

Computer Engineering

Computer engineers work in a field that essentially integrates computer science and electrical engineering. These engineers work to analyze and solve computer-oriented problems, both based in hardware and in software. They invent ways to make computers smaller, faster and more powerful, and they often work to integrate computers into other machinery and systems in order to make them more efficient and productive. In their degree programs, computer engineering students take a multitude of courses, including electromechanics, computer architecture, digital imaging, programming, software design, microprocessors and electrical circuits.

Computer engineers often receive some of the highest starting salaries of all the engineering specialties because of their necessity in so many industries. They may work in computer software companies, in cybersecurity divisions for private companies or for the federal government, in the biomedical sciences or even in automotive design. As computers continue to permeate every product industry, prospects for computer engineering jobs will see further positive growth.

Civil Engineering

Civil engineers tend to work on big-picture projects and structures, both natural and man-made, which affect our everyday lives and our physical safety. From design to supervision, they oversee large construction projects such as bridges, tunnels, dams, highways and even water and sewage treatment systems for cities. The work they do is integral in keeping transportation systems safe and functioning in every city and state in the nation. While they are most often working in offices, civil engineers also visit construction sites to advise on building projects and oversee their safety and progress. To earn their degrees, civil engineers will take classes such as highway engineering, earthquake engineering, hydraulics, geophysics, surveying and construction safety.

Civil engineers have high median salaries and the field is expected to continue to grow over the next several years. Many are employed by governments spanning from small municipalities to federal transportation agencies, but many private construction companies also employ civil engineers to oversee projects. This field of engineering is expected to see modest growth in coming years, creating positive job prospects for new graduates.

Electrical Engineering

Electrical engineers study and work with any devices or systems that rely on electricity and electromagnetics in order to function. They may work to develop new products that produce electricity, or they may work to redevelop existing technologies and machines so that they use electricity more efficiently. Electrical engineers study courses ranging from circuits and embedded systems to wave electronics and telecommunications in order to earn their degrees.

Electrical engineers have a broad spectrum of industries to choose from when applying for jobs, making this degree one of the most versatile in the field of engineering. These engineering professionals may work in medical technology, steel production, vehicle production and design, mobile device technology and even air traffic navigation or radar technology. As our electrical systems continue to advance, the need for more electrical engineers will grow.

Electronics Engineering

Electronics engineers are a sub-set of electrical engineers who design and redesign electronic devices and, in doing so, impact many areas of everyday life. They may invent new technologies like global positioning systems, or they may enhance existing technologies for car stereo systems or digital watches. While earning their degrees, they study areas such as device physics, audio visual design, integrated circuit design, instrumentation engineering, robotics and telecommunications.

Electronics engineers are in high demand across many industries, as Americans continue to use electronic devices at a high rate. Entry level graduates in this field typically begin working under more experienced professionals before taking on larger roles in design or management projects. They may find work in the aerospace industry, biomedical research industry or in computer hardware engineering, and industry trends show positive growth potential in this engineering specialization.

Student Loan Guide for Aspiring Engineers

Managed correctly, student loans are a solid financial tool for aspiring engineers. With a variety of government and private grants and loans available, you can have enough money for college and defer repayment until you find work. Keep in mind, that excessive borrowing can lead to financial difficulty, and you can often reduce your debt load while gaining experience by working in your chosen field while you are a student.

The FAFSA process
The first step in obtaining financial aid is to fill out the federal Application for Student Aid (FAFSA) to see if you qualify for federal funding. You can complete your FAFSA online at or turn it in to your school’s financial aid office. Visit the site to learn more about federal loan requirements and benefits.

Government loans for engineering programs
After filling out your FAFSA, you should see what government loans are available to you as an aspiring engineer. The four types of federal students loans are Stafford loans, Perkins loans, PLUS loans, and consolidation loans. Stafford and PLUS loans are the most common types of student financial aid, while Students with the greatest financial need can apply for Perkins loans. You may want to consider a consolidation loan when you graduate to lump all of your loans into a single interest rate and payment. Government loans are often easier to obtain than private loans, have lower interest rates, more repayment options, and better forgiveness programs. Try to get as much of your financial aid through government loans as you can.

Discounted Stafford loans
The private institutions that fund government subsidized Stafford loans sometimes offer discounts for prompt payment, direct deposit, and academic performance. These discounts can add up to thousands of dollars in savings over the life of your loan.

Private loans for engineering programs
If your savings and federal loans are not enough to cover your tuition and living expenses while in school, you may want to consider a private student loan to make up the difference. Banks and other lending institutions provide private loans to engineering students and may have different requirements than federal loans. Unlike need based federal programs, private loans are based on your credit history. Interest rates are variable, and depending on your credit score, you may need a cosigner.

Loan forgiveness programs
The government forgives federal student loans for various reasons. People who teach in certain low-income schools for at least five years can have a portion of their loans forgiven. Loans can also be cancelled for people who have made at least 120 monthly payments and work in a public service job. Perkins loan holders can have some or all of their debt repaid through service in the peace corps or ACTION program, through work in the armed forces, or employment in fields such as teaching, law enforcement, child and family services, and early intervention programs. Student loans are almost never discharged during bankruptcy; however, federal loans do have forbearance and deferment options to help people in financial difficulty.

Local loan forgiveness and cancellation programs
Private loan forgiveness is rare, but there are options for debt forgiveness. One of the most common debt elimination solutions is through an employer. Many larger companies offer student loan repayment as a benefit to their employees after a certain number of years of service. Options range from partial payments for studies in any area to complete loan repayment for studies directly related to the employee’s line of work.

Student loans provide opportunities for students pursuing an education in an engineering program. It is best to use government loans for the majority of your expenses and private funding to fill in any shortfall. Always remember that while deferment options exist for some loans, eventually you have to replay what you borrow. Enjoy your college experience, but learn to be frugal so that you will still have financial freedom when you graduate.