This blog is prompted by an e-mail from Rich Zuc, who wanted to know why there were no undergraduate degrees in engineering offered at a distance. With his permission, his letter is reproduced below, with my answers.
I am a resident of Hamilton Ontario and I am interested in online and distance learning (DL) as I am seeking to pursue an undergraduate program in engineering/science.
I left university in my early 20s, in the mid 1990s, due to family commitments and never had the opportunity to complete an undergraduate engineering degree. Back then I started looking for an engineering/science degree offered via distance learning by a Canadian university; I did carry out extensive internet searches but to no avail. I have kept on searching ever since. Now, with 2010 just around the corner the online/DL situation in Canada, with respect to providing science and engineering degrees, has not changed at all!! There are very very few traditional brick and mortar Canadian universities that offer online/DL 4 year honours undergraduate degrees in the Arts and Social Sciences and practically no traditional brick and mortar institution offers an online/DL honours degree in engineering/science!!!
Do you expect that opportunities in engineering and science, via online/DL programs offered by traditional brick and mortar Canadian schools, are likely to remain as they are…that is non-existent!! Or based on your experience do you foresee some change in the not too distant future? Do you feel that this has to do mainly with: resistance by universities’ committees, boards, governing bodies or faculty members?
You raise an important issue here. As far as I know (and I’m not an engineer) you are correct – there are no undergraduate engineering degrees that are offered entirely online or at a distance in Canada, and very few at undergraduate level in the USA. Some organisations, such as Stanford University, offer graduate engineering programs online. You can do several certificate programs in ‘hard’ engineering from the British Columbia Institute of Technology by distance. I’m not sure whether you can transfer these courses into a regular undergraduate degree, thus shortening the time on campus, but generally you can in British Columbia. (Whether Ontario institutions will accept them is much more problematic). Have a look at the BCIT Civil Engineering site which has good questions and answers on the distance programs they offer. There are computer science programs available online from a limited number of Canadian institutions, but I know of no whole undergraduate programs in the ‘hard’ engineering areas, civil, mechanical or electrical.
This is not because it would be impossible to design a high quality engineering distance education program, using a combination of online teaching, simulations and limited laboratory time at an accredited local institution. There are successful design models for this in other professions, such as medicine.
There are several reasons for why there are no undergraduate engineering programs offered by distance delivery. The main obstacle is the professional accreditation agencies, who require students to have a very high level of laboratory classroom time in a program before accepting a degree for professional accreditation. There is a belief that engineering is very much a hands-on profession and needs personal supervision within a laboratory context.
A second obstacle is the very high cost of designing laboratory simulations in engineering that might replace physical labs for online students. Some progress is being made in this area, but the whole area lacks sustainable business models – it’s a chicken and egg situation: lack of recognition for online learning limits large scale applications.
Interestingly, there is growing evidence that engineering can be taught successfully online in apprenticeship programs – or at least mainly online. Vancouver Community College runs a very successful program for apprentices in car body work repairs (E-pprentice), reducing a 13 week semester course to three weeks on campus at the end of the course, with the rest being done online. BCCampus is now managing a program funded by BC’s Industrial Training Agency for flexible delivery of trades training across the province that combines online learning with local supervision of hands-on skills development.
However, I cannot see the universities moving in this direction unless there is a real crisis in getting engineering students. There are no incentives for them to offer alternative delivery. The focus of most engineering professors is on research and they would prefer to have fewer rather than more students, as teaching interferes with research. There are in North America still plenty of well qualified applicants for undergraduate campus-based engineering programs.
Having said this, engineering does compare badly to another professional area, medicine. The medics have been much more innovative in using distance education. For instance in BC, a partnership between the main hospitals, UBC, UNBC, and University of Victoria has resulted in a distributed education model for the M.D. program in the province, so people don’t have to move to Vancouver where the only medical school is located. What drove this was the need to retain doctors in the regions, rather than have them all move to Vancouver. Note again though that this is a graduate, distributed learning program, and is not fully online.
Now over to you, readers. Can you answer the following questions:
1. Name one North American university that offers an entire undergraduate civil, mechanical or electrical engineering by distance that is accepted for accreditation by a professional engineering organization.
2. Do you agree that it would be possible to design and deliver a high quality undergraduate engineering degree for entirely distance delivery (allowing for perhaps local hands-on supervision by employers or summer school at a regular university)?
2. If so, why are there no or so few undergraduate programs at a distance in engineering?
It would be really good to hear from some engineering faculty on this topic.
In the meantime, take a look at: Best Online Graduate Engineering Programs 2016 from U.S. News (only institutions in the USA, though).
I am surprised to not see Cape Breton University (CBU) here. They offer an online BTech Manufacturing degree. The only thing is that the exams will be invigilated by an authorised person at a local college/university.
I went to Georgian College, Barrie for Mechanical Engineering Technology and it turns out Georgian and CBU have an articulation, so I will be able to get the degree by completing only 10 courses. I do realize that this is a BTech. and not a BEngg program, but hey its something better than nothing right. With the lack of a feaseable option, in terms of both tuition and accessibility (UND’s tuition is some US$912 PER CREDIT for anywhere outside Manitoba & Sask. in Canada) this sounds like a good option at an aprox. CAD700 PER COURSE.
One other thing, I did join UofMcMaster, for their BTech. Manuf., but their lack of “customer service” and the fact that diploma holders need 24 courses (many of which are the same ones I did in college) to attain a degree is a turn-off for me.
Maybe someone here could talk about their experience at CBU.
Many thanks for this, Gagan. Let’s hear from the folks at Cape Breton – sounds a good option to me.
Gagan and myself have completed the Btech program (Manufacturing) from Cape Breton. My goal is to apply for P.ENG status but I think that I will do so in the next 4-5 years as I hope that may reduce the number of exams that I may have to take. I am in the time being looking at master’s (M.ENG course based) option but so far all the universities that I have inquired with require a 4 year undergrad degree.
I would like to ask if you were able to find a masters program after completing the btech from CBU.
I to am another engineering enthusiast, and similarly, I don’t have the luxury of being able to attend school full-time nor have the time and finances to travel vast distances to attend school part-time. .
I am confident that engineering can be taught through online means. Within the engineering field, it is work experience that matters most, and if the student can work in the field while being taught, that alone should substitute for any missing engineering lab components that are required to complete the engineering program. Traditional students that graduate don’t even have the experience that non-traditional students have.
Online engineering programs can simply require the student to work under the supervision of a P.Eng and can easily co-ordinate their lab component with the students ongoing work experience in a linear order. In fact, I heard of someone completing an online civil engineering degree through the UK system by doing the exact same thing.
Now, as a Canadian and a architectural appreciate, I would now like to use the RAIC Syllabus as an example. Please look it up if you wish. Completing the RAIC Syllabus is an alternative method of becoming an architect through distance learning rather then attending traditional school. The student is required to work, and login, a fixed number of hours, under the supervision of a registered architect to complete the program, while completing their online courses. Although the program is a lot longer then traditional school, the methodology of completing the program can be transferred to engineering programs.
I honestly believe that Canadians are being given raw deal in terms of the integration of technology to access education. Yes, there are some programs online, but not enough, if any, of the more professional programs. I believe a lot of it has to do with the business behind and interlinking these institutions, politicians and accreditation councils.
There needs to be more public pressure on the politicians to address this issue with academic institutions and accreditation councils. If need be, have them threaten to remove their government funding and subsidies if they fail to comply.
I mean, you can get a fully accredited online law degrees from the UK that will allow the student to sit the bar and practice any where in the commonwealth. Where is this in Canada? Are we not a developed nation, just as advanced? We have the methodology and technology, so why are we being treated like this?
I am sure that anyone with a deep pocket and a half fast lawyer can sue the respective organizations that are stagnating and preventing the accessibility of these programs in Canada with discriminating the under-privileged, working class, remote living from obtaining a higher education.
Thanks for the comment, Dennis. I agree that the professional accreditation bodies, especially in engineering and law in Canada, have been very reactionary about approving online and distance courses in principle. (Medicine/health and accountants on the other hand have been much more receptive). However, professional accreditation bodies are independent bodies, not funded by government, but by dues from members and employers. The pressure to accept online learning therefore must come from within these professions if things are to change. So don’t blame educational institutions or government (although they too could do more to lean on professional bodies about this.)
I fully agree with you arguments, Dennis, it is unimaginable that in this “developed” country working class people don’t have full access to higher learning and qualifications, because the accrediting bodies and professional associations will not accept distance learning/training for engineers….I guess it’s a case of being so far ahead and still so so far behind.
Greetings everybody. I am a South African who also searched for a university offering online undergraduate engineering degrees (four year Honours BEng Washington Accord degrees) if that matter is still of interest to this group. My search as led me to identify only three universities in the world: University of North Dakota, and Charles Darwin and Southern Queensland. The last two are Australian institutions. While they all offer distance online learning from start to end, they all have one thing in common: they insist on the relevant practicals being done on campus, requiring approximately two weeks per year. Maybe that’s a smallish price to pay for a good degree. Regards.
Several US-based universities offer ABET-accredited online degrees in engineering. The ABET website has a list, but it’s not complete. (Why? Some programs have a small on-campus portion, making them not “fully online.” Some fully-online programs are so new that no cohort has graduated yet.)
You asked for one example, so here you go: Arizona State University (ASU) offers an online “Bachelor of Science in Engineering, Electrical Engineering” program. I’d include a link but I suspect that would cause a red flag, so just search for it.
Bonus: Check out all the online engineering bachelors degrees offered by the University of North Dakota (UND).
Many of the programs require the students to come to their campus to do labs, as it’s tricky getting around those, but not all courses have labs. Those labs can be done in the summer, and can be anywhere from an intense five days up to a whole semester, depending on the university.
It’s also worth noting that Canadians can take those US-based online engineering bachelors degree programs.
Thanks, Timo. That’s very helpful and much appreciated
“It’s also worth noting that Canadians can take those US-based online engineering bachelors degree programs.”
Except that they won’t be recognized in Canada, so you would be wasting your money. See the quote below:
“Furthermore, PEO does not recognize online or distance education.”
Senior Admissions Representative
Professional Engineers Ontario
101-40 Sheppard Ave. W.
North York, ON M2N 6K9
I know this is coming in months after but,
“If you do not have an undergraduate degree in engineering from a program accredited by the CEAB, your academic background will be assessed by PEO to determine whether it is equivalent to the established standards. PEO will assign technical exams to give you an opportunity to confirm (Confirmatory Examination Program) that your academic preparation is equivalent or to remedy any identified deficiencies (Specific Examination Program).”
Could the PEO assign technical exams for applicants to confirm that they have a valid academic background?
Hi. Sorry for the late reply.
That’s exactly what they do, but they will assign you 18 exams, not just one or two.
I have a 3-year diploma in Computer Programming + a 4-year degree (post diploma) in Information Systems (which is just another name for Computer Science). Both were taken at accredited Canadian colleges and universities. I am a Canadian born citizen with English as my native language. I have lived in Canada all of my life.
I was assigned 18 exams.
Bottom line: Nothing is good enough, and they will always evaluate you to require the maximum number of exams to get licensed.
Also: They don’t count work experience prior to completing the exams. If you work for 20 years as a software developer, they count that as 0 years of experience. The experience “clock” doesn’t start running until you pass the final exam they assign you.
I know this article is ancient, but this discussion is too good to pass up.
Aren’t ABET accredited online programs automatically approved by Engineers Canada because of the Washington Accord? And… isn’t the requirement of professional membership (limited licenses aside) with all provincial engineering bodies that the applicant graduate from a program accredited by Engineers Canada?
What am I missing here?
Thanks for this article Tony. I have been looking around for an online electrical engineering program for a year or so now. I am a licensed electrician and wound up working for a company where I am in an office doing tech support and helping out with designing systems and not in a financial setup where I could take the time off to do a full time course.
I do believe that there could and would be the demand for online courses and I do not see why the “hands on” portion could not be done via the wonderful technology of the internet. I do understand that the cost of the initial programming of the course would be time consuming and expensive. However I don’t see why a program could not be developed to be the base program for the manipulation to any different engineering course.
Apologies for the late reply. University of Arizona has an online EE program which is accredited with ABET.
Just a further piece of information on this issue. The New York University Tandon School of Engineering grants online graduate and immersion certificates and master’s degrees in more than a dozen fields. The school’s online unit was recognized this year (2015) by the Online Learning Consortium for outstanding success in furthering online learning programs in engineering. OK, it’s not an undergraduate program, but…
February 3, 2016: The University of North Dakota will now be offering a Master of Science in Electrical Engineering fully online (see http://dakotastudent.com/7477/news/und-launches-online-masters-in-electrical-engineering/)
“UND’s Department of Electrical Engineering receives numerous requests from recent graduates who are already in their careers, but still wanted to further their education,” said Sima Noghanian, associate professor and chair, said in a statement. “This online program allows them to pursue a master’s degree while continuing their careers.”
Hello all, great conversation… in search of a Civil Tech/Civil Diploma course online as well. Too bad about BCIT ending theirs in 2010! I had no idea. Just posting in hopes of being updated for any future posts.
Thanks to all
You might be able to do those online from the US. Should check with the regulation boards for Technologists in your province.
AB – ASET
BC – ASTTBC
If you find a program in the US, make sure it is ABET accredited and then I believe it should be transferable to Canada under the Sydney Accord.
I am the perfect person to offer an opinion on this.
The reason there are no online/distance programs in engineering is because the regulatory agencies that oversee the P.Eng credential in Canada will not accept them. Period. Here is a quote from a letter I received from Esther Kim of the PEO (Professional Engineers Ontario) when I tried to pursue my P.Eng:
“Furthermore, PEO does not recognize online or distance education.”
Senior Admissions Representative
Professional Engineers Ontario
101-40 Sheppard Ave. W.
North York, ON M2N 6K9
That’s pretty definitive isn’t it? The problem begins and ends with the regulatory bodies that oversee the profession. They are stubborn, out of touch with the times, and they will never change.
If anything, engineering is perfectly suited for online/distance study because it’s math and design work. The work is done almost entirely on computers. It could easily be done from home.
I have tried everything to make change happen, even going to politicians for support. Nothing has worked. These organizations are above the law, and they answer to no one.
Please feel free to contact me for more information.
Further to Chris’ comments above, I live in Alberta and am wanting to do distance learning, and I have received this from APEGA regarding distance learning:
“The current Board of Examiners practice is that they do not recognize distance learning programs. ”
“Canadian engineering programs accredited by the Canadian Engineering Accreditation Board (CEAB) are recognized by the Board of Examiners. The link below provides a list of CEAB accredited programs:
“ABET accredited degrees are evaluated on a course-by-course basis against APEGA syllabi and course equivalents.
I think the universities from the US offering these programs should appeal to the governing agencies in Canada if they want to attract more students from here.
It appears that Association of Professional Engineers and Geoscientists of Manitoba (APEGM) is accepting the University of North Dakota’s distance education-based engineering program because it is ABET-accredited. I found this information on Professional Engineers of Ontario website (see link http://www.peo.on.ca/index.php/ci_id/28734/la_id/1.htm
“Minutes of the January 17, 2014 Regular Meeting
Under Item 7.4 Distance Education – Introduced by Seimer Tsang, Bob Dony stated that the Association of Professional Engineers and Geoscientists of Manitoba (APEGM) is accepting the University of North Dakota’s distance education-based engineering program because it is ABET-accredited. This will probably create a discussion at the Canadian Engineering Accreditation Board (CEAB) of whether or not the CEAB will start accepting more distance education components, or at what point it will accept distance education as an entire degree. The Chair remarked that PEO should advise the CEAB that this is not acceptable to PEO. The Chair and Bob Dony agreed to discuss this matter further off-line.”
I would recommend a potential Canadian applicant to University of North Dakota’s undergraduate degree to confirm that with Association of Professional Engineers and Geoscientists of Manitoba (APEGM). If it s true then at least one of the provinces is onboard, and I hope the remaining will follow.
Chris see below my reply to Jeff’s post.
Canadian engineer boards are having to consider the implications of distance education, yet until a decision became official (across CEAB & each association) boards will discourage any external applicant from using distance education(I learnt this from APEGA) to fulfill academic requirements (for example to exempt from any technical exam). Yet accredited engineering programs across Canada allow distance courses in liberal studies and now at University of Toronto & Mcmaster University, actual engineering courses (intro. materials sci. -chemistry, electronic circuits & devices). While the online course from U of T is part of their 1st year -engineering curriculum, the Mcmaster course is from year 2, electrical engineering. Labs are taken using home kits.
Thanks for sharing your conversation, I’ve learned a lot from reading. I am thinking about becoming a municipal engineer. I agree with you that it would be hard to design a high quality engineering program from a distance. When I go to school, I want to be close to my teachers.
This is awesome. I’m glad I’m not the only person looking to do this online and noticing the lack of online courses available to even work towards the degree. I was planning to make this a 10 year plan which is apparently not possible. I’ve emailed a few Universities in my area and was informed that I would have to attend full time. Like the rest of you I have other obligations, kids to feed clothe and house, that make it impractical if not impossible unless I win the lottery in the near future. Does anyone know of any backdoor routes? I have three trades and was hoping all of my College credits and years of experience would be worth something. I read a study out of BC that was talking about trades to academic transfer but have not been able to find any programs that actually do it beyond looking at your college transcript. I had also been told at one point that some Universities will accept a red seal in place of 2 years worth of credits. Has anyone else heard of anything like this?
Go to the British Columbia Council forAdmissions and Transfer web site: http://www.bctransferguide.ca/search/course. Just type in whatever courses you have taken and it will show you which colleges/universities will accept them for credit transfer.
Good luck and let us know how you do.
Hi everyone. I am wondering if anyone found a solution to this? Did anyone find an online program for engineering in Canada. I took Architectural Technology after high school and am now working in a structural engineering firm. I love the atmosphere and would like to pursue engineering. I do not want to quit my job to go back to school full time. Any suggestions to this?
Hi, Jess (and Mike)
There are now a few engineering programs that can be taken fully online in Canada. The most notable is Queen’s University (Ontario) that is now offering a B.Tech in Mining Engineering fully online. McMaster University (also in Ontario) is offering a B.Tech in Software Engineering in partnership with Mohawk College (two years at Mohawk, two years at McMaster). I’m not sure if the Mohawk part is fully online but the McMaster part definitely is. These are both prestigious Canadian universities.
Any other examples?
Athabasca University has an accredited online Architectural degree, with a post diploma stream.
I have been looking everywhere for an online Computer Science program in Canada but I can’t find any. There are a number of American options but as a Canadian, these would be far too expensive. Western Governors University offers a BSc in Software Development and for the cost, it is rather tempting but I fear the lack of a GPA from competency education might limit options for pursuing a Masters later on. Many schools are offering a MS in Computer Science. Unlike engineering, Computer Science doesn’t require the same kind of lab work but instead consists more of projects.
All I have found is Athabasca and Thompson Rivers but both are not a true Computer Science degree. Athabasca offers a BSc in Computing and Information Systems and judging by the course options, it is quite similar to a CS degree.
Alternatively Thompson Rivers has a Bachelor of Computing Science degree. Unfortunately the course selection is too limited to complete the degree entirely at Thompson Rivers and one is forced to take a good portion of the degree through letter of permission making it quite difficult logistically to complete.
To me it is very surprising that a school like Athabasca despite nearly all the required courses for a Computer Science degree do not offer a BSc in Computer Science.
What is keeping Canadian universities so far behind the US in this area?
You are right. There are very few online programs in computer science available at a bachelor’s level in Canada. However, McMaster University in Ontario is offering an online version of its Software Engineering B.Tech. The program is targeted towards students who have completed a diploma and want to continue with a Bachelor’s degree. For more details, click here . The online versions should begin this fall. However, you should check with the university to make sure that this program is now in place, and you will probably need a diploma from a two-year college in order to enter the program.
Does anyone else know of any other online bachelor degrees in computer science or software engineering offered in Canada?
As far as I know, all online offerings are either a variant of information technology/information systems which is quite different from Computer Science/Software engineering.
However, as far as I know the following American institutions do accept Canadians but at a very steep price with the exception of WGU:
Old Dominion University (CS):
Dakota State University (CS):
Oregon State University (CS):
Brigham Young Idaho (Software Engineering):
Baker College (CS):
Arizona State University (Software Engineering):
Western Governors University (Competency based Software Development)
University of Illinois – Springfield (CS):
I’ve been reading this article for awhile now because this is something that I’ve struggled with. In speaking with APEGBC, what I found that “works” for me is finding a program that is accredited by the local engineering society and that has signed the Washington Accord. This accord gives “Mutual recognition of accredited engineering programmes”. The course I decided to take was out of USQ in Australia. I am currently taking their Electrical Engineering program and have written exams all over the world, as my job demands me to travel. This does require me to take a few trips down to Australia for lab work but they work hard to condense these resident schools into a week or two. The one downfall is the current regulations on international tuition and not being able to write any of that off on my taxes. This makes the international cost of schooling to be far harder to swallow.
I would love to take my program here in Canada but the “old guard” of engineering societies here won’t look to the future.
Thanks, Grant – very helpful information and good luck with your studies
That Washington Accord sounds promising, but I cannot find any information online confirming PEO or APEGBC accepts Accord programs on either website.
This if from APEGA (Alberta)
a graduate of a university program that meets one of the following requirements:
– is recognized by the Canadian Engineering Accreditation Board or the Washington Accord (for engineering applicants)
I took the initiative and emailed APEGBC because I found the same as you. This is what I they replied on Feb 2016
“If the university and program is accredited under the Washington accord it will be considered accredited by APEGBC.”
I hope that helps.
Let me know if you find more information regarding the Washington accord, I’m in my final year of my EE at UND. Looking to apply with PEO within the next 6 months.
Hey Carl, is this the North Dakota program you are taking through correspondence? How has your work life balance been? How much has it cost you? How long has it taken you to complete the program and how many hours do you put in each week?
I’ve emailed PEO. As per the ABET website things look promising as well. So as per all the above, the UND program is the closest option for Electrical Engineering correspondence program, and is accepted through APEGA and APEGBC. The accreditation for the UND program appear to include their online program. Of course, for anyone reading this, please do your own research before you embark on spending thousands for these programs.
Please keep us updated with the response from PEO. I’m also attending UND, in their DEDP and living in Ontario. I would like to eventually get the P. Eng designation but from what I’ve seen and read so far it seems unlikely. My goal is to at least get my BSc. in Mech Eng. and UND seems to be the only choice with my full time job obligations.
I think you are going to have trouble with the PEO – see below as per my recent correspondence with admissions as of this morning. You are probably best to switch provinces and get registered in BC, AB, or MB where the UND program is recognized as PEO is behind the times. They will let you get registered in another province though and switch. Maybe you can register as an EIT in one of the other provinces then move. It looks like P. Eng won’t be a problem.
Question: Is there any point taking the North Dakota course if I want to work as a registered engineer in Ontario?
Answer: Please be advised that PEO does not recognize online or distance education.
Question: If I was able to be registered with APEGA or APEGABC, then decided to move my practice to Ontario later with PEO, would I run into issues?
Answer: If you become a full P.Eng. in good standing then you can apply to PEO for a transfer. But you must be a P.Eng. in good standing for it to be considered a transfer.
Can you give us more info on the program for UND like work life balance, how many hours you are putting in a week plus completion?
I’m roughly 35 credits into my DEDP EE degree at UND. I absolutely love it. I’m also Active duty Air Force and have deployed twice since I started, and am married with two girls, ages 1 and 3. With my schedule i’ve found it hard to take more than one class at a time. Right now i’m taking Calc III non-semester based and semester based Statics. I have been signing up for one class a semester and also enrolling in correspondence classes for Calc I through III. Doing that enables me to put the math on the back burner if my schedule gets crazy. The correspondence classes give you nine months to finish. I finish Calc III next month and am not sure if i’m going to do Diff Eq through the same format. Anyway, to answer your question regarding hours put in a week, I’d say probably 15-20 hours a week per class. That may sound like a lot, but I feel i’m able to get a good grasp on the material spending that much time.
It is most disheartening that in this era of technology and the great advances being made daily, that persons are still being forced into sitting in a class rooms in an effort to be awarded higher level qualifications.
Being from a third world country, I’ve always thought it would have been the norm in this, and other first world countries, for one to obtain higher educational qualification without having to leave one’s job, which most of us cannot afford to do.
Without the benefit of emperical data, I am of the belief that there exist a hugh untapped market for part time full degree programs. These types of programs would open the door to higher qualifications for a large number of persons that does not have the financial latitude to do full time programs.
This, to me, should be a no brainer for university operators and administrators. In places like Jamaica and other Caribbean countries, one can earn a full degree through part time studies in engineering, business, architecture, to name a few. The same degree courses that are offered full time can be offered on a part time basis but would require part time students doing an extra year or two to complete the requisite courses for award of the qualification.
As well I do belielve that the colleges would find that their income, from partime degree programs, would far out strip that of full time programs because more people, who need to work while studying, would be enrolled.
Its about time the Canadian universities and colleges invest in this area and open the doors education to more people than presently obtains.
Good evening, there is a lot of great information here, I’m looking for an online program or distance program in both petroleum engineering and mechanical engineering. Does it matter where it comes from as long as it is accredited
Thanks for the information, it mat certainly prove useful. I’m currently in the final year of an in-class Civil Engineering Technology program at an accredited institution. Does anyone know if the hands-on aspects of such a program offset the lab requirements of an online degree program?
Another year passes and the status of engineering programs in Canada remains the same. Here are some key points I forgot to mention previously:
– PEO offers courses online in engineering which I believe can be used for credit towards a P.Eng
The irony? They don’t accept online or distance education from anyone else. Basically, the regulatory body has now become its own university, and will seek to put competitors like AU out of business. The government has nothing to say about this issue.
– If you don’t have a CEAB accredited degree from a bricks and mortar university in Canada, then you will have to write 18 exams in order to get your P.Eng.
These exams are written either at PEO headquarters in Toronto, or at a supporting university such as McMaster in Hamilton. The University of Waterloo (incredibly) is not a PEO exam centre. Region of Waterloo residents, enjoy the drive to Hamilton! (Parking at McMaster is also ~$30, so bring plenty of coins.)
PEO will only reveal the required exams in their P.Eng program one phase at a time, however I do have to complete exam list to show what they can pick from.
Also note the material for these exams is learned entirely through distance/self-study. There are no courses or assignments. You pay a fee ~$200 and then write the exam. That’s it. Again, isn’t it ironic that PEO will not accept online/distance ed but their entire program to get licensed as a P.Eng is distance ed?
Basic Studies (Phase 1):
04-BS-2 Probability and Statistics
04-BS-4 Electric Circuits and Power
04-BS-5 Advanced Mathematics
04-BS-6 Mechanics of Materials
04-BS-7 Mechanics of Fluids
04-BS-8 Digital Logic Circuits
04-BS-11 Properties of Materials
04-BS-12 Organic Chemistry
04-BS-16 Discrete Mathematics
Professional Level Exams Specific to Software Engineering (Phase 2)
04-Soft-A1 Algorithms & Data Structures
04-Soft-A2 Computing Structures
04-Soft-A3 Software Design
04-Soft-A4 Real Time Systems
04-Soft-A5 Requirements and Specifications
04-Soft-A6 Software Quality Assurance
04-Soft-A7 Software Process
04-Soft-B1 Advanced Object Oriented Design
04-Soft-B2 User interface
04-Soft-B4 Reliability and Fault Tolerance
04-Soft-B5 Software Modeling & Verification (Formal Methods)
04-Soft-B6 Advanced Software Project Management, Life Cycle Methodologies
04-Soft-B7 Reverse Engineering, Maintenance & Evolution
04-Soft-B8 Distributed Systems
04-Soft-B9 Parallel Computing
04-Soft-B10 Networking and Communications
04-Soft-B11 Process Control Systems
04-Soft-B12 Scientific Computation
04-Soft-B13 Performance Analysis & Simulation
04-Soft-B14 Safety Critical Systems
04-Soft-B15 Artificial Intelligence/Intelligent Systems
04-Soft-B17 Programming Language Paradigm
04-Soft-B18 Computer Graphics/Imaging/Visualization
COMPLEMENTARY STUDIES (Phase 3)
98-CS-1 Engineering Economics
98-CS-2 Engineering in Society – Health, Safety, and the Environment
98-CS-3 Management Concepts for Engineers
PPE – Professional Practice Exam
Many thanks for this, Chris – very useful information.
I graduated in Bachelor of Engineering Manufacturing in CBU, I have learned a lot , and I compare this program to
the another one is running in McMaster, and one of friend of mine is graduated recently from McMaster , he believes, he didn’t gain enough, the reality is that in the past the universities were the center of the sciences of all kind, and nobody had access to that science, because Internet was not available ,only full time student had chance to learn something, but today the science market is changed, now internet is the center of science, all universities relying their knowledge to the Internet, it means you have access know to the any knowledge you are looking for from your house !!
Then the universities should change their structure , is anyone can tell me ,that what type of lab is available in university and is not available in industries or in google.
All Lab the universities are using know are outdated or is not possible to be install in university , the best Lab ,located
in your workplace ,or industries, to me CBU is one of the best university , the classes are running daily ,you can attend
to the classes if you want too and improve your knowledge , if you are working in the same field then talk to instructor meet the requirement to do it online
We must remember Steve Jobs was a Inventor (iPhone,and iPad), he was just a Technologist,he was not Graduate from Ryerson or UFT, or Harvard, he Just graduated from a community college, those years that most of the successful people were from Harvard ,or UFT,or Ryerson is over now, those graduated student working under the
supervision of experienced people , that’s what I learned during in 30 years experience , every week I have
client which they are P.Eng, and need to talk to me to solve their problem ,good for me and Good for CBU have
First of all I would like to thank the people who took their time to write in this thread which is helpful in guiding people like me.
I read in this thread somewhere that someone mentioned about the University of North Dakota Civil Engineering Bachelors course which is accredited in Engineering Society (Washington Accord). I have already applied for it and hope to get enrolled soon. But my question is that after I am done with that course do I have to enrol in as an EIT or do I have to enrol into some other Province’s Professional Engineering Body as I live in Ontario and I don’t know if PEO will accept my degree from there.
I also already have a 2 year diploma from Seneca College and I have been working as a Drafter/Detailer/Estimator for Structural Steel fabrication company for 2 years. Can someone please guide me that if I am eligible to apply for EIT or not. If not then when will I be able to apply as an EIT.
I was unable to get a proper answer from the people from PEO so if someone could help me with anything that would be great.
Make sure the program you are going to take down there is ABET accredited or you’re wasting your money.
Great thread…. I’m planning on taking the Chemical Engineering program at UND. I live in BC so will contact APEGBC to see what they say…. the program is ABET accredited and it will take me at least 5 years to complete so I feel like there is time for change and progress here!
Would love to hear fro others about amount of time spent studying and how many credits are realistic with work and family life. Or if there is another blog / site about this, please do share!
Good luck with your studies, Juvarya.
It breaks my heart really. I immigrated from South Africa and was studying Nated Courses (N1, N2 ,N3 … Up to N6 and then Btech) at a local technical college at the time we immigrated. I complete my N4 and two subjects at N5 level( Fluid Mechanics and Strength of Materials and Structures). My decision to give my wife and daughters a better life in Canada was no question when choosing between the two. I am a qualified Automotive Technician and have followed this topic and tread for some time. My qualifications don’t transfer over to any recognized qualification in Canada which is very disappointing but I think what is even more so is the fact that my dream of becoming a recognized Engineer is rapidly deteriorating. I have been in contact with UND and their online Mechanical Engineering degree would be perfect for my situation. I am just concerned that I get my degree and it is not recognized here or I cannot transfer it with the Washington Accord Agreement, thus once again “waisting” time, effort, money. Unless we move to the USA and get registered as an Engineer there. I’m putting this out there in hopes someone has some good news for me, lol.
Where in Canada are you? I have a feeling you might be able to take ASET’s (Alberta) new fundamentals of technology exam and become a CET and then a P.Tech. P.Tech is a limited license for technologists to practice engineering in Alberta. You may also meet the requirements to apply for a P.L. Eng with APEGA
FYI the Sydney Accord is like the Washington Accord, but for Technologists
University of North Dakota online courses are $973.78/Credit for Non-Resident students. You need to complete 129 credits. It is too costly compare to Canadian universities.
Anyone know if there is a fully online program for Civil Engineering? C.E.T.
I took Civil Engineering Technology from NAIT and I’m a registered CET with ASET. An Engineering program would be easier to offer online than a technology program. The Civil Technology program requires access to specialized testing equipment which is only available in geotechnical labs. As such, I do not know of a single online Civil Engineering Technology program in North America . That being said, I believe there is an ABET accredited Construction Engineering Technology program at the University of Southern Mississippi.
Here is a list of ABET accredited programs which in theory should be covered under the Sydney and Washington Accords and transfer to Canada.
I had a conversation with ASU regarding their online Engineering programs and their degree (the piece of paper) and transcripts are indistinguishable from their “brick and mortar” programs.
I have come across an online degree in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Alabama (Bama-by-distance), it is offered at Bachelor’s level and is 95% online apart from lab work that will need to be attended on campus. Basically just like UND except at around $330/ credit US, it’s a lot more affordable. If anyone has completed or is currently registered in this program please share your experience with us as this seems like a better option for me. It is also closer to where I am located in Ontario, Canada.
Did you pursue a distance degree through the University of Alabama? If so, it would be great if you could share your experience.
Does the University of Alabama’s program coincide with the Washington Accord? I am not sure how UND offers one at allegedly $130,000 U.S. versus $43,000 at U of A. Wondering what the catch/difference is…
I see a lot of comments regarding PEO’s lack of acceptance for the UND/Online Degree and have read a bit about APEGA in Alberta being iffy?
Does anyone have any info regarding APEGA’s official stance?
University of Alabama has online Bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineer.However, it has the following rates:
Distance Learning* Student Tuition Rates
-Undergraduate Rate: $355 per credit hour
-Graduate Rate: $375 per credit hour
-Undergraduate Rate: $970 per credit hour
-Graduate Rate: $1,060 per credit hour
Please could you contact The University of Alabama for further questions 800-467-0227.
Out of State rate changes.
Just thought I would put forward my situation and experience to date. I currently study Mechanical Engineering at the university of southern Queensland and I live in Canada. I originally researched the degree to make sure it ticked all the boxes and was certain it did after reading the Engineers Australia and Washington Accords agreements. I am now 2.5 years into it and out of curiosity I began to ask engineers Canada about my future credentials. To my dissapointment the are not willing to recognize the degree.
I am now currently trying to talk with all parties, EA, EC, APEGBC, USQ and IEA to try and work out what is the case. When I speak to the university they say it is good. And indeed that is how it is marketed. When I speak the APEGBC they say they are not ready to accept distance education.
I would be interested in meeting with anyone that has any more information on the subject or is in the same situation.
I should perhaps give a little more context to my situation. I am Australian however I live in Canada now. I used to live close to USQ when I resided in Australia, so I know it is a respected university. I am a mature aged student and already a qualified tradesmen. At the time I enrolled in the university it wasn’t clear if I would stay in Canada permanently. however, as I mentioned in the last post, I felt I had done the required research on the degree. The Washington Accord is basically the reason I truly believed this degree via distance was going to be accepted. It clearly states it, USQ references it in the marketing of the degree and there is no where in the Accord that says otherwise. (As far as I can see).
I have actually been back for two on campus residential schools. One of the things that struck me is the amount of students that are doing this for the same reason, they are tradespeople wanting to further themselves, one guy came from a company that actually requires you to not only become a qualified tradesmen but also study a degree at the same time! My first thought about that was “this will be the new standard” tradesman and engineer.
Happy to answer questions
I’m curious whether your degree (the paper) and your transcripts would be distinguishable from their “brick and mortar” program? What would happen if you didn’t tell them? They don’t ask in application.
They are the exact same degree and it does not distinguish if you were external or on campus. With regard to becoming Canadian certified, the governing body does a thorough education background check from what I have found out.
I am still in the process of trying to sort this out. I have someone at Engineers Australia looking into it.
At this stage, my recommendation to anyone is that if you are Canadian then I wouldn’t pursue this path at this stage. The reason I am still doing this is that I’m Australian and can go back if Canada won’t budge on this thing.
I had already spoken with Cliff directly but I thought I’d share this with everyone here. I’ve completed my studies at USQ and applied and accepted with EGBC as an EIT without any issues. Did I flaunt that I did my studies externally – no, but I also wasn’t asked at all.
I still believe this was the best choice for myself having already completed a trade and working in a Engineering like role for many years.
Hopefully this gives some people some hope.
Hi Cliff, very interesting. I have enquired to various associations and boards regarding the online degrees and it seems like APEGA might consider it and if accepted you could transfer your registration as a professional engineer to another province in Canada. Any further news?
Thanks for the input, I have found the same thing. It’s encouraging but not a certainty. No update yet. But there is a Grey area here for sure, I’m not sure if you are aware of the Washington Accord? Basically it’s a group of countries that agree to accept each other’s degrees. (There is more to it than that) this is where it gets “Grey”. They will accept USQ’s on campus engineering degrees but won’t accept external students degrees. Let me be clear, this is the exact same degree, same material, lectures, exams, assignments, the only area that’s different is on campus students do lab work throughout the semesters. External students are required to go back for residential schools and do the exact same lab work.
So if Canada won’t accept these degrees, such as the BSc EE degree I’m looking at from ASU, the answer is – leave Canada and go work in a real country, isn’t it?
Personally I don’t to be in backwater Canada anyways, so my reason for pursuing a degree may be different from others (my previous 4 years of University mean nothing nearly 15 years later anyways). I have no degree, manage groups of Engineers for a living, make considerably more money than any of them do or ever will, but so many international management positions require a Bachelors plus experience, and I’m missing the former.
I have yet to find a Canadian institution that will allow someone with an E-Tech diploma to pick up and carry it towards a degree. The method that almost every other country on the planet allows – 2 years gets you technologist, 2 more gets you a Bachelors.
I mean, if Canada doesn’t want to support realistic education of it’s citizens, then screw Canada.
There are a few institutions in Canada that offer a post diploma engineering degree or transfer that I know of:
Yes, but the question on this board is regarding completion of a degree by distance education while maintaining a career. All of those options you have listed require full-time on site attendance.
I would like to consider the ability of saying thanks
to you for your professional instruction I have constantly enjoyed
viewing your site. I’m looking forward to the actual commencement of my
college research and the complete prep would never have been complete without visiting your blog.
If I could be of any assistance to others, I would be ready to help by way of
what I have discovered from here.
Any updates on courses online for engineering? I’m looking for Mechanical Engineering or engineering science. The company I work for is building a 63 floor building in downtown toronto in the next 6 years, it would be great for me to have the opportunity to see and study such development. Unfortunately, I can’t go to a full time. It’s so sad that people with jobs can’t study in Canada. Any input or information is welcomed.
I think it’s just because of the exams. They won’t believe in multiple choice evaluation. So maybe they could combine online learning with proper and hard physical exams. Just a simple opinion. Thank you.
There really should be more online engineering courses available in Canada and USA.A couple of reasons for that are:
• More and more people are looking to learn different things. Specializing isn’t really much sought after. Online teaching enables that.
• The cost of studying engineering needs to be curbed desperately.
Very good website you have here but I was wanting to know if you knew of any forums that cover
the same topics discussed here? I’d really like to be
a part of group where I can get responses from other experienced individuals that
share the same interest. If you have any suggestions, please let me know.
I am very glad that you have provided your guidance on this topic because I was in a dilemma that what the career options I can choose after mechanical engineering but after reading this article got a clear view about these numerous fields to choose so thanks a lot.
Just reviving this Thread. Thanks for all the info, I’ve read everything and I am checking all the links.
If anybody has any updates on options for online studying for electrical engineering or similar please share.
News flash, the PEO is taking a serious look at distance engineering education and its evaluation.
Sheridan College-Brampton, Ontario , Electro-Mechanical Technician Diploma Graduate here.
When I realized that I cannot pursue my bachelor’s degree full time I was very depressed, haha.
Although finding online options and reading all these answers really makes me feel better. I so far have found numerous recognized programs in the US. by ABET as previously mentioned. The Engineers Canada Bilateral MRA does seem promising. If there is an agreement between CEAB and ABET, would that not make the process easier for licensing with the PEO? The UND website specifically mentions that there would be no indication on your final degree that you did your education through correspondence, might seem silly but I just thought I would throw that out there.
PS. Spiros, any update on the PEO’s latest development with considering distance education?
Hello Ahmed & Everyone,
To answer your question, not that I can tell, yet this does present a major shift in there view and how they evaluate such programs.
PEO would now have to consider the B.Tech in Software engineering Technology (McMaster U.) and the B.Tech in Mining technology (Queens’s U.) in the near future.
Nothing directly new, here is the updated reference.
I am a graduate out of Canada and my documents have been evaluated by Peng. I have 4 technical exam to take. anyone recommend anywhere in Toronto to get instruction?
I think two very important factors can effect answer to this question. for example in my home country sites like https://monex724.com/ provide great value for training software engineers. in Iran we don’t have a such good universities in this field and also curriculum is outdated. and online courses provide great opportunity for us. Regards
Has PEO changed their position?
Does PEO recognize online courses?
Yes. PEO is not concerned with how an individual learns but, rather, with what they learn. Any course that has content addressing at least one of the five core engineering competencies is acceptable. The core competencies are:
A – Apply engineering knowledge, methods and techniques
B – Use engineering tools, equipment or technology
C – Awareness of the risks and impacts of engineering work
D – Manage engineering activities
E – Communicate engineering information
Also the following may be of interest to this conversation:
As institutions make contingency plans in response to what remains a fluid situation, we are aware that programs and institutions may opt to move their in-person classes to an online environment. The Accreditation Board criteria do not limit accreditation to any particular mode of delivery. The CEAB encourages programs to review the Interpretive statement on distance learning found in Appendix 6 of the CEAB Accreditation Criteria and Procedures. Programs that temporarily move courses that would normally be delivered in-person to an online learning environment are not required to submit a notice of significant change to the CEAB.
Thanks, Rad. It is really important that this discussion remains current, as, hopefully, the context is constantly changing, so I really appreciate this new information.
Just checking in with the forum everyone. I have been employed as an Electrical Designer and am studying at UND. From Ontario the rates are expensive so I am only taking one self-paced course at a time while living my daily life. I wish Canada would provide the same level of accessibility. I think the pandemic is shifting the conversation in our favor, hang in there. Hope you are all well and safe.
Did you transfer some credits from your previous studies?
I’m considering UND mechanical Engineering. I studied mechanical eng technology in bc canada.
Yes, I studied 2 years of a bachelor in chemical engineering in a Canadian university and I did a 2 year diploma from a Canadian college as well and they transferred all the courses that were over D+ in grade.
Some of them did not count to my program but it does help, also make sure you do the 102 Course in engineering which is a portfolio that includes experience and education outside of your UND experience which may qualify you to waiver some courses depending on the faculty at your department.
Good luck and stay safe Tom.
As COVID-19 has forced many Canadian universities to do remote learning, does anyone have any examples of doing engineering courses online through Canadian universities over the past 14 months?
Last fall I attended McMasters University’s course in Statics & Dynamics, it was offered via Zoom meeting and there web platform. So limitations were difficulty/limitations in demonstrations.
I took Engineering Economics at Ryerson University, it was Zoom lecture with written notes and exams via there web platform. The exam was multiple choice. Before 2010, they did have a true distance version.
Currently I’m taking Numerical Methods via their web platform, it is designed as a web class. Only the tutorials are zoom meetings.
As you can see I’m filling in engineering science (basic studies exams) & complimentary study exam topics.
Memorial University offers the BTech completion degree for Diploma holders. In the UK it is possible to do a Higher National Certificate then a Diploma and gain entry to the final (third) year of an engineering degree by Distance Learning for a reasonable cost. It is called the top-up degree and is offered by many universities.
Checking with you guys on the status of things.
Has Covid helped with providing some momentum for our cause to push for online engineering degrees in Canada in terms of learning institutions providing and regulatory bodies accepting that manner of delivery?
Still taking courses at UND for undergraduate electrical engineering while working full time myself here but I am looking forward to seeing some Canadian options popping up similar to UND’s accessibility.
How have you found doing the degree through UND? Any thoughts/insight would be helpful. Thanks.
It’s super encouraging to hear interested questions about a Canadian online engineering bachelor experience.
The UND system for the Self Paced courses is GREAT so you can utilize that to knock down a lot of courses off your degree. (I got all of my math courses at a 1000 dollars approximately each, I finished also some liberal arts classes with that system.)
Currently I am taking a self paced course for ENGL-130 (Liberal arts class) and at the same time, I coordinated a permission letter between the registrar at Ryerson and UND to let me take physics-1 and Physics 2 at a Canadian institution so I don’t have to pay international rates. So I am studying Pcs-120 at ryerson (Chang school) and intend to transfer it. The best part about the process I went through is now if anyone else considers doing the same as me and taking the physics courses in the ryerson Chang school of continuing education then you can easily transfer them to UND.
PS. If you are interested in further details just let me know and I would be happy to help. (Can’t write walls of text lol.)
Stay safe out there.
How is it going at UND so far? I am also in a similar boat because I landed on this thread by ultra deep google research.
To add a another curve ball, I do not have the high school requisites for studying an engineering degree so i am going to be starting there and then move into part time/online engineering degree probably.
Your story so far has been inspiring to me.
Thanks for the info. Do you know if the online UND degree will be recognized in Canada? I have read the posts above and there seems to be some doubt.
That is a good question. Your degree will require a bit of certification work but nothing different from the B.Tech that McMaster offers which is also not recognized by PEO (Professional Engineeers of Ontario) even though it’s a Canadian program.
Furthermore the Washington accord which Engineers Canada signed recognizes the UND program and that can be something yo include in your certification request from your local organization.
Honestly I would rather take my
Chances with a bachelor of applied science from a widely recognized American school (Fully respected and treated online.) than suffer an extra day at ryerson lol. Currently I’m taking physics 1 and 2 at the Chang school in ryerson and it is a very unpleasant experience. I’m taking those because they are offered to me at local rates not 3x international rates.