Online Engineering Courses Learn today’s engineering skills with online classes

expert contributor
Ron
Dr. Ron Eaglin Dr.Ron Eaglin is Chair of the Engineering…Read full bio

In a rapidly-changing field like engineering, getting the right education can be critical to staying relevant in the job market. There’s much more to online engineering education than just college degrees; there are also plenty of other online learning options for prospective engineers or those simply interested in gaining a deeper understanding of engineering theories and applications. On this page, you’ll learn about engineering open online courses, apps, podcasts and more, and get expert advice on how to succeed in online engineering studies.

Search for Online Engineering Courses & Classes

With the vast number of engineering courses available online, it’s important to choose the right one before diving in. Use the search tool below to browse through 100 online engineering courses from across the web. Course listings provide information on price, institution, length, and starting date.

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Which Type of Online Engineering Class Should You Take?

One of the great features of online engineering courses, particularly of the open online variety, is that they are designed to serve a number of different purposes, depending on the goal of the individual student. There are three basic outcomes offered through online engineering courses: those that award credit upon completion, ones that award a certificate of completion or others that simply enhance one’s knowledge of the subject. Many courses offer all three learning-style options. Here’s a breakdown:

Certificate For-credit Informational
Description
Engineering certificates are available, typically for a fee, with a substantial number of open online courses. Certificates verify that the holder successfully completed the course. A relatively small number of open online engineering courses offer college credit, typically through certain postsecondary institutions. Always confirm credit acceptance your school of choice before beginning an online engineering course. Engineering courses without credit or certificates often provide the same instructional content as those with credit or certificates, typically free-of-charge.
Who takes this type of course?
Engineering students and professionals seeking to enhance their resumes and verify their knowledge in a particular engineering topic, but without the time to pursue a traditional college course or degree program. Individuals who intend to continue their educations in a more traditional college degree program, and who wish to accumulate college credit at low-cost or at no-cost. Individuals who are interested in the course subject matter to improve job skills, or simply for the love of learning engineering.

10 Best Engineering Courses from Across the Web

Online engineering classes, including open online courses, are in high-supply. Below is a sample of some of the best open online engineering courses available:

Basic Electrical Engineering – Secrets Revealed
  • Offered by: Udemy
  • Price: $50
  • Length: Self-paced
  • Format: Lectures, video
  • Eligible for college credit?: No

This course consists of 15 lectures designed to teach students secrets “not being taught in schools” to enhance their understanding of the basics of electrical engineering. Topics covered include: three-pin plug internal construction and safety; the power triangle mystery – KVAr explanations; insulation resistance; animated circuit breaker working and construction; and more.

Circuits and Electronics 1: Basic Circuit Analysis
  • Offered by: Massachusetts Institute of Technology via edX
  • Price: Free; optional verified certificate for $99
  • Length: Five weeks, six hours per week
  • Format: Video, textbook readings, homework, online labs, tutorials (optional) and a final exam
  • Eligible for college credit?: No

The first of three courses in circuits and electronics. Topics covered include: resistive elements and networks; independent and dependent sources; linearity; superposition; Thevenin & Norton methods; digital abstraction; combinational gates; and MOSFET switches and small signal analysis.

Elements of Structures
  • Offered by: Massachusetts Institute of Technology via edX
  • Price: Free; optional verified certificate for $100
  • Length: 10 weeks, 10 to 12 hours per week
  • Format: Video, written materials, quizzes
  • Eligible for college credit?: No

Introduction to the principles of structural analysis and strength of materials in applications to three essential types of load-bearing elements: bars in axial loading; axisymmetric shafts in torsion; and symmetric beams in bending. Students study the fundamental concepts of continuum mechanics, including internal resultants, displacement fields and strain.

Energy Within Environmental Constraints
  • Offered by: Harvard University via edX
  • Price: Free; optional verified certificate for $125
  • Length: 10 weeks, three to five hours per week
  • Format: Video
  • Eligible for college credit?: No

The course examines the current energy system and how its environmental performance can be improved. It focuses on a working understanding of energy technologies, environmental impacts of the energy system (air pollution, climate change, land use) and emphasizes quantitative comparisons and tradeoffs.

Engineering Mechanics for 1st Year Engineering Students
  • Offered by: Udemy
  • Price: $20
  • Length: Self-paced; 14.5 hours of lectures
  • Format: Video
  • Eligible for college credit?: No

This 16-section course is designed to prepare first-year engineering students. Topics include: centroid of areas, the moment of inertia, concurrent forces, non-concurrent forces, friction, forces in space, kinematics of particles, projectile motion, relative velocity, kinematics of rigid bodies, kinetics of particles, work-energy principles, and impact and collision.

Introduction to Aeronautical Engineering
  • Offered by: Delft University of Technology (TU Delft) via edX
  • Price: Free; optional verified certificate for $49
  • Length: 84 hours, self-paced
  • Format: Lecture videos (transcript available), exercises and demonstrations
  • Eligible for college credit?: No

The course introduces fundamental aeronautics using the history of aviation as a story line. It employs examples taken from the beginning of aviation (the Montgolfier brothers, Wright brothers) through to the current Airbus A380 and into the future. Three major topics are covered: aeronautics, aerodynamics and flight mechanics.

Introduction to Electrical Engineering
  • Offered by: Khan Academy
  • Price: Free
  • Length: Varies; Self-paced
  • Format: Video presentations, text
  • Eligible for college credit?: No

An introduction to the fundamentals of electrical engineering. Topics include: math and science preparation for studying electrical engineering; numbers in electrical engineering; current and current direction; voltage; basic electrical quantities – current, voltage and power; defining the standard electrical units and conventional current.

Robotics Specialization
  • Offered by: University of Pennsylvania via Coursera
  • Price: $49 per course, $264 for complete six-course program
  • Length: 18 weeks (Three to five hours per week, depending on the class)
  • Format: MATLAB platform (provided free), videos, text and a capstone project
  • Eligible for college credit?: No

Robotics Specialization introduces how robots sense and reason; plan three-dimensional movements in a dynamic environment and adapt to environmental uncertainties. Courses conclude with capstone projects in which students learn how to program robots to perform a variety of tasks.

Systems Engineering
  • Offered by: Alison
  • Price: Free
  • Length: Two to three hours
  • Format: Text, final assessment
  • Eligible for college credit?: No

The course offers a comprehensive understanding and knowledge of systems engineering. Topics covered include: modern engineering; systems methodologies, systems concepts, ways of thinking, and systems modeling and diagramming. Of particular interest for students interested in the use of diagrams, risk assessment and problem solving.

Quantum Mechanics for Scientists and Engineers
  • Offered by: Stanford University
  • Price: Free
  • Length: Nine weeks, seven to ten hours per week
  • Format: Lecture based
  • Eligible for college credit?: No

A course specifically designed for technical professionals from a range of science and engineering backgrounds. Topics covered include: Schroedinger’s wave equation; mathematics of quantum mechanical waves; movement in quantum mechanics – wave packets, group velocity and particle current; atomic orbitals and much more.

Key Advantages to Online Engineering Classes

There are still some people out there that regard distance learning as second-rate to traditional face-to-face courses. Their numbers are dwindling, however, as more highly-reputable colleges and universities enter the online education market. Consumers, too, are discovering that online courses and classes have some distinct advantages over their on-campus counterparts. Three of the biggest:

1 Cost of an engineering degree

Let’s face it: college is prohibitively expensive for a lot of students. That goes for individual courses and full degree programs. While it would be incorrect to say online engineering degree programs are cheap, they are typically less expensive than those earned on campus once one accounts for additional costs like housing. And when it comes to open online engineering courses, costs drop significantly. Sometimes to zero.

2 Hone in on specific engineering topics

Online coursework lends itself well to engineering students who wish to concentrate on a specific topic or issue. On-campus students are limited to the course subjects offered by their particular institutions. Even if courses include the topic of interest, on-site students must concern themselves with other topics of less interest.

3 Flexible format

On first glance, one might think that there would be distinct disadvantages to studying engineering online. How is lab work handled, for example? Online engineering courses that require lab work overcome the problem by providing access to local lab facilities or through mail-in lab kits completed at home. That gives online students a chance work through lectures and lab assignments at their own pace.

Top Apps & Podcasts for Engineering Gurus

Apps

The popularity of apps in the engineering and tech world hardly needs to be explained. They’re incredibly powerful and versatile tools, and there’s at least one for virtually every possible need you can imagine, whether educational or professional. Below is a sample list of a few of the best apps out there today for engineers and engineering students:

Autodesk ForceEffect

Free
See Description
Autodesk ForceEffect

A mobile engineering app that simulates design concepts. Features allow users to: do freehand sketching of elements and constructions lines with snaps, constraints and inferencing; object dimensioning, global scaling, units and constraints; import image as background; create joints; break element at joints; create fixed, grounded and sliding supports; and much more.

ElectroDroid

Free
See Description
ElectroDroid

This app offers electrical engineers and students a handy collection of electronic tools and references, like decoders, calculators and converters. The pro version, available for $2.99, includes more features and is ad-free.

Mechanical Engineer

$8.99
See Description
Mechanical Engineer

Mechanical Engineer contains over 300 important mechanical engineering formulas, 300 additional conversion formulas and 70 area formulas. Areas included: actuators, bearings, belts, brakes, elevators, fluid power, gears, heat transfer, internal combustion, kinetic energy, plates, plumbs, power plants, refrigeration, shafts, springs, vehicle drive and more.

Wolfram Alpha

$2.99
See Description
Wolfram Alpha

An enormous clearinghouse for information on practically every science, math and engineering topic imaginable. The app answers use queries using algorithms and data. If you have an engineering question, Wolfram Alpha will find the answer.

Podcasts

Podcasts are another great source of engineering knowledge and insight. There are literally hundreds of them accessible online in virtually any engineering-related topic. Engineering podcast listeners can not only learn something but find themselves thoroughly entertained as they go. Here are some sample podcasts for engineering professionals and students

A very popular podcast series providing engineering career support and advice. Topics include job search, goal setting, communications skills, locating a mentor, networking, public speaking, organizational skills, productivity, leadership and more.

The Engineering Commons Project Jeff Shelton, Carmen Parisi and others Recent Episode to Try: Engineering Sensibilities

Podcast covering all issues and topics concerning engineering. A fine choice for those who want to follow current engineering-related issues. There are over 110 episodes available.

Podcast series aimed at providing “practical insights and inspiration for young engineers around the world.” The hosts interview engineers from all sectors of the profession for insights into creative design, time-management, teamwork, project management, business acumen and more.

Talking Machines Katherine Gorman and Ryan Adams Recent Episode to Try: AI Safety and The Legacy of Bletchley Park

Podcast series dedicated to the subject of machine learning. Here you’ll find interviews with experts, industry news and answers to listener questions. Currently over 35 episodes from which to choose.

Expert Advice for Taking Online Engineering Courses: Ron Eaglin

What is the most challenging aspect of taking an online engineering course compared to a traditional in-class course?
Ron Ron Eaglin

Self-discipline.

Do online courses present logistical challenges?
Ron Ron Eaglin

Online actually solves a lot of logistical problems because you no longer have the problem of a student physically making it to a classroom. But, with sufficient self-discipline, a well-designed and organized online class is not going to be any more challenging logistically than one actually held in a classroom. If the class is not well-designed and organized, there’s the sense of being completely and utterly lost. From the [instructor’s] point of view, that’s the biggest challenge.

How do you test an engineering student’s course performance?
Ron Eaglin

In engineering, it’s way more than just knowing the answer to some question. You have to test the depth of knowledge. And for that, you typically do things that are more project-based. In other words, you have this knowledge that needs to be learned but you really can’t measure from a test or a lecture. So, you really have to come up with something else to do that.

Do you have any advice for students considering online engineering courses?
Ron Eaglin

Well, the first thing to decide is if engineering if for you. Then the issue becomes: let’s see if you can handle online [learning]. Here’s a way to look at it. If you are sitting and eating dinner with your family, and you’re done, do you stand up and start taking the dishes over or do you let somebody else do it? It’s as simple as that. The people who know that something’s got to be done and they do it do well online.