2024 Best Online PhD in Computer Engineering Programs [Doctorate Guide]

By Annastasia Marburger
Edited by Briana Sukert
Updated on June 17, 2024
Edited by Briana Sukert
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A PhD in Computer Engineering combines creativity with technical expertise to help you understand and develop new and inventive technology.

Best Online PhD in Computer Engineering Programs

As we continue to learn about the capabilities of computers, this degree may help put you at the forefront of the digital age. Innovative problem-solving, critical thinking, and technical analysis are all skills that are highly relevant to the modern world.

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For a degree program that will help you develop these talents and many more in the field of technology, you might consider a doctorate in computer engineering.

Universities Offering Online PhD in Computer Engineering Degree Program

Methodology: The following school list is in alphabetical order. To be included, a college or university must be regionally accredited and offer degree programs online or in a hybrid format.

Florida Atlantic University

Florida Atlantic University offers a PhD in Computer Engineering that can be earned on campus or online. This degree program is designed to prepare students for careers in research or higher education. There are pathways available for students who already have master’s degrees and those whose highest education is a bachelor’s degree.

FAU is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

Michigan Technological University

Michigan Technological University offers a PhD in Computer Engineering. Michigan Tech provides students with a close-knit community and expert faculty mentorship. Students in the program are given opportunities to conduct research in a working laboratory. Select courses are available online for convenience. Students may enter the program with or without an MS.

Michigan Tech is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

Mississippi State University

Mississippi State University offers a Doctor of Philosophy in Electrical and Computer Engineering. The program requires the completion of 48 credit hours, 24 of which are dedicated to the dissertation and dissertation research. Some courses are available online, and online courses are taught by the same faculty as those on campus.

Mississippi State University is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

Wright State University

Wright State University’s PhD in Computer Science and Engineering program has courses available in the daytime, evening, and online. Classes may be taken part-time or full-time.

Students in the program are given opportunities to conduct original research in state-of-the-art laboratories and publish their work in peer-reviewed journals. The coursework covers theoretical knowledge and applications for both hardware and software.

Wright State University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

Online PhD in Computer Engineering Programs

Online PhD in Computer Engineering Programs

A doctoral degree program in computer engineering combines elements of computer science and electrical engineering. It focuses on the advanced principles of computer systems, hardware, and software design. As a student in the field of computer engineering, you can learn to use microprocessors, operating systems, and applications to design and create the technology of tomorrow.

Traditional PhD programs tend to be heavily dependent on research and scholarship. Computer engineering PhD programs may focus on driving independent research in order to solve problems in the field of computer engineering in unique and innovative ways. Classes in on-campus or online computer engineering programs may be offered through the electrical and computer engineering departments as well as the computer science department, depending on your research interests.

You might choose to concentrate on specialties like embedded systems or nanotechnology, among other focuses. Other topics covered include:

  • Computer architecture
  • Artificial intelligence
  • Advanced digital communications
  • Robot design

Since computer engineering is a broad subject that’s relevant in many domains, it often overlaps with other related technological degrees and careers. PhD holders may also wish to pursue teaching or research positions in academia. As technology advances and companies include computer chips in more and more products, the demand for computer engineers will continue to increase.

Computer Engineering Careers & Salaries

Computer Engineering Careers & Salaries

Reliable and efficient computer systems are the backbone of our security systems, vehicle technology, and many other electronic devices we use every day.

Computer engineers are responsible for the design, testing, and implementation of the computer systems that help us live comfortable, safe, and convenient lives. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, here are a few career paths related to computer engineering, along with their median salaries.

Careers Annual Median Salaries
Computer and Information Systems Managers $159,010
Computer and Information Research Scientists $131,490
Computer Hardware Engineers $128,170
Software Developers $120,730
Computer Network Architects $120,520
Data Scientists $100,910
Top Executives $98,980
Computer Programmers $93,000
Network and Computer Systems Administrators $80,600
Postsecondary Teachers $79,640

Computer engineers can play essential roles in the development of new technology. If a company wants the latest in cutting-edge hardware and processing, then they need a qualified computer engineer to design and implement it.

Since computer engineering is the foundation of the technology sector, a wide array of specializations and career opportunities are available with this degree. Holding a PhD is also a common requirement for teaching at the postsecondary level.

Computer Engineering Doctorate Curriculum & Courses

Computer Engineering Doctorate Curriculum

The following are examples of courses you may encounter while pursuing your degree:

  • Introduction to Numerical Electromagnetics: You’ll learn about the applications for shielded transmission lines as well as commercial software design and analysis.
  • Social Media Mining: This course is an introduction to new developments in social networks and multidisciplinary approaches to web mining.
  • Robot Design Studio: This course covers the hands-on design and build of electromechanical systems.
  • Electromechanical Systems: You’ll learn the theory and application of mechanical devices and their control systems.
  • Digital Forensics: You’ll learn the tools, protocols, and functions of network forensic services as well as the corresponding methods, legal requirements, and ethical policies.
  • Data Intensive Computing and Storage: You’ll explore case studies of existing systems for computing and storage platforms.
  • Real-Time Multimedia Systems: You’ll learn the basic and advanced treatment of multimedia components, systems, and applications with an emphasis on networked computers.
  • Advances in Information Systems Engineering: This course covers different types of securities as well as the principles of adequate protection, operating system, and database security.
  • Embedded Systems: This course addresses comprehensive topics in embedded systems technologies, including embedded computing platforms, operating systems, and real-world interfacing through sensors.
  • Dissertation Research: Completing dissertation research may count as a credit toward your degree, and you can meet regularly with a faculty member who will advise you on research methods and writing your dissertation.

By combining topics in both engineering and computer science, computer engineering offers coursework that covers both advanced theory and real-world application.

Admissions Requirements

Computer Engineering Doctorate Requirements

Different programs have different criteria, but here are a few general admissions requirements for a doctoral degree program in computer engineering:

  • GRE or GMAT scores (only some schools require them)
  • Bachelor’s degree in computer engineering or related field
  • Letters of recommendation
  • Outline of your research interests and intended concentration
  • Writing sample

Holding a master’s degree in a relevant field may also increase your chances of admission. Some programs admit students who hold a degree in a separate discipline, but these students are typically required to complete several prerequisite courses to be considered.

Computer Engineering PhD Accreditation

Computer Engineering Doctorate Accreditation

Choosing the right school for you may be overwhelming, but at the end of the day, it’s beneficial to verify that the school you choose will provide you with a high-quality education.

Regional accreditation ensures that institutes of higher learning meet pre-determined quality standards. To receive regional accreditation, a school is reviewed by an outside organization to determine that their staff, educational offerings, and student services meet the necessary criteria.

Attending an accredited school ensures that you will receive a credible degree and an education that meets or exceeds rigorous standards of excellence.

Financial Aid and Scholarships

Computer Engineering PhD Financial Aid

When it comes to paying for a Ph.D. in Computer Engineering, you can explore your financial aid options to see if you qualify.

You may be eligible to receive grants or student loans from the federal or state government. To apply for government aid, you can fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Once you’ve completed this step, you’ll receive an aid offer that explains the type and amount of aid you’re eligible for.

Aside from government assistance, you can also explore any available merit-based and need-based scholarships. Your school’s financial aid office may help you find and apply for relevant scholarships.

What Can You Do with a PhD in Computer Engineering?

PhD in Computer Engineering

One of the many benefits of a doctorate in computer engineering is its versatility. As technology continues to advance, an increasing number of fields are in need of qualified computer engineers to design and build new products. While the majority of computer engineers work for computer design companies, many others work in manufacturing or government jobs.

A PhD may qualify you for more leadership and managerial roles, but it can also give you the experience to perform hands-on tasks or research. Some PhD graduates even go on to pursue teaching or conducting research at universities. The direction you go often depends on your experience, your specialization, and your personal goals.

How Long Does It Take to Get a PhD in Computer Engineering Online?

PhD in Computer Engineering Online Degree

Every doctoral program is different, so the amount of time it takes you to complete your doctorate in computer engineering may vary. Usually, a PhD takes between 3 years and 5 years to complete, depending on the number of credit hours and whether or not a dissertation is required.

If a doctorate program does not require a dissertation, it can often be completed in 3 years with full-time study. Doctoral degree programs in computer engineering do tend to require a dissertation as well as a comprehensive exam.

What’s the Difference Between a PhD in Computer Science vs. Software Engineering?

While they are very closely related, there are a few key differences between a PhD in Software Engineering and a PhD in Computer Science.

Computer Science Software Engineering
  • Focuses on machine learning and AI
  • Understands and designs computational processes
  • Studies computer performance in relation to mathematical and theoretical tasks
  • Deals with the creation of new and innovative computer theory
  • Research-based study of software design
  • Understands the construction and design of software systems
  • Studies processes for testing and analysis of software applications
  • Deals with the development of new software products

At the end of the day, you will be investing a lot of time and energy completing your PhD, so it’s strategic to choose the field that most inspires you.

Is a PhD in Computer Engineering Worth It?

PhD in Computer Engineering Careers

Yes, a PhD in Computer Engineering is worth it for many students. The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects 6% job growth for architecture and engineering occupations and 13% job growth for computer and IT jobs over the next ten years.

Here are some of the benefits to studying computer engineering in depth:

  • It is relevant to the modern world. As time goes on and technology continues to advance, the need for computer engineers will likely advance right along with it.
  • It allows you to be creative. You’ll have many opportunities throughout your studies and your career to exercise your mind and develop creative innovative solutions to modern problems.
  • It is a meaningful field. New technology is vital to our current culture. Healthcare information systems, vehicle safety features, and advanced forms of communication have all made our society healthier, safer, and more connected than ever before.

A doctoral degree program in computer engineering combines the innovative thinking of computer science with the technical skill and knowledge of engineering. If you are a creative thinker with a passion for technology, then you might consider advancing your knowledge and qualifications in this field.

Getting Your Doctorate in Computer Engineering Online

Doctorate in Computer Engineering Online

Earning a doctorate in computer engineering is an investment of your time, money, and energy. The potential pay-off is the opportunity to qualify for a lucrative job in a fast-paced and rewarding career field.

Pursuing your engineering degree online could even allow you the flexibility to maintain your current work or life responsibilities. A PhD can often help professionals qualify for senior, management, or executive positions. Some graduates of the best computer engineering schools spend their time researching and developing new technology to better the world around them.

You can start exploring accredited universities today to find the computer engineering doctoral program that best aligns with your goals and interests.

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