Accelerated Online Bachelor’s to Master’s Program in Engineering: How to Earn Your Bachelor’s and Master’s Degrees in Engineering in 5 Years

While the online master’s degree in engineering is a popular option for working professionals seeking to advance in the field, there is also an excellent path for prospective college students and undergrads who wish to earn both their bachelor’s and master’s degrees as part of a single program. Some colleges and universities will offer engineering students the chance to bundle their undergraduate and advanced degree studies into a single program called an Accelerated Bachelor’s to Master’s Engineering Degree. This is sometimes also referred to as an Accelerated 4+1 degree program because enrollees can earn an online bachelor’s degree in engineering in four years and a master’s degree in just one additional year, for a total five-year commitment. This duration is shorter than the typical amount of time spent completing traditional back-to-back bachelor’s and master’s degrees in engineering.

Typically a 5-year engagement, the accelerated 4+1 bachelor’s/master’s degree in engineering is an excellent option if you anticipate pursuing a management, leadership, teaching, or specialized role in the field of engineering. This can be a challenging program, and many colleges will require you to meet certain academic performance thresholds during your undergraduate studies before you can be enrolled. However, if you are up to the challenge, an accelerated 4+1 online bachelor’s and master’s degree program in engineering could be a great way to catapult you into contention for some excellent leadership opportunities immediately upon graduation.

If you’ve already earned an associate degree, or you’ve accumulated some credits in an online bachelor’s degree program in engineering, you might be better served by a degree completion program. Check out our look at Online Engineering Degree Completion Programs to learn more.

Otherwise, read on to find out how you can enroll in an online accelerated bachelor’s to master’s degree program in engineering.

What Is an Accelerated 4+1 Engineering Degree?

Accelerated 4+1 programs are those that combine the pursuit of an undergraduate and graduate degree into a single, continuous program. Whereas a bachelor’s degree in engineering usually requires a minimum of four years for completion and a master’s degree can require a minimum of two years for completion, bundling these degrees into a single program may allow you to earn both degrees over the course of just five years.

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What Is an Accelerated Online Bachelor’s to Master’s Engineering Degree?

An accelerated online bachelor’s to master’s degree in engineering, or an accelerated 4+1 degree in engineering, is an online program which bundles undergraduate and graduate studies into a single continuous program that can be completed in as little as five years. For the first two to three years, you would typically pursue remote introductory and core courses on the way to your online bachelor’s degree. In your senior year, you would begin to balance your undergraduate courses with online graduate level courses, and would thus begin to earn credits toward your online master’s degree in engineering while still completing your bachelor’s degree. This headstart will typically give you a chance to focus on completing your master’s degree program, and all attendant research, over the course of a single year.

Though this is an online program, be aware that some online accelerated programs will require you to visit campus on one or two occasions per semester for in-person laboratory work. In some cases, you may be allowed to complete this component through an internship in your locality. The requirements for every program differ slightly. Be aware of your online program’s requirements for in-person responsibilities before enrollment.

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How Long Does It Take To Complete an Accelerated Bachelor’s and Master’s Engineering Degree?

Whereas the traditional bachelor’s degree in engineering is typically completed in a minimum of four years and the traditional master’s degree in engineering is completed in two to three years, for a minimum total of six to seven years, an accelerated 4+1 degree program can be completed in as few as five years.

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What Are the Benefits of an Accelerated 4+1 Online Bachelor’s to Master’s Engineering Degree?

The biggest benefit of an accelerated online bachelor’s to master’s degree program is that you’ll minimize the amount of time spent in graduate school, which is typically more expensive than an undergraduate program. By essentially cutting your grad school time commitment in half, you’ll be substantially lowering the cost of a master’s degree in engineering.

You’ll likely also save money by bypassing the application process and entrance exams that often accompany the search for a suitable master’s program. By enrolling directly through your undergraduate program, you may be spared many of the expenses that come with these steps.

Moreover, by pursuing your accelerated 4+1 program online, you can avoid additional costs such as housing, transportation, campus fees, and much more.

Taken together, these benefits underscore the most important fact, that an accelerated online bachelor’s to master’s degree program in engineering can put an advanced degree in your hands and place you on the fast-track to paying work as a leader in a dynamic professional field.

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How Can I Be Eligible for an Accelerated 4+1 Online Bachelor’s and Master’s Engineering Degree?

The eligibility requirements and terms of enrollment differ from one program to the next. There are typically three circumstances under which you might be able to enroll in an online accelerated bachelor’s to master’s degree in engineering program:

  • You are a high-school graduate applying to an accelerated 4+1 program at the outset of your higher education experience;
  • You are a transfer student with a number of college credits accrued, and plan to complete both your undergraduate and graduate degrees at a new school; or
  • You are already enrolled in an undergraduate engineering degree program, but you have applied to continue directly into a master’s degree in engineering program at your current school.

Additional conditions for eligibility may include the completion of certain prerequisite courses, recommendations, and/or retention of certain academic performance thresholds. For instance, some schools will require that you have maintained at least a 3.0 GPA in your undergraduate studies before admitting you into this rigorous program. And because this program includes a master’s degree component, some schools may also require you to pass the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) specific to engineering. You may also be required to pass an admission examination issued by your university in order to enroll in this specialized program.

Offerings and eligibility vary from one school to the next. Whichever of the above categories describes your situation, be sure that you are aware of your school’s offerings and the conditions for eligibility.

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What Else Should I Know About the Accelerated 4+1 Online Bachelor’s and Master’s Engineering Degree?

Online bachelor’s to master’s programs operate at an accelerated pace, moving swiftly through course material and offsetting shorter semesters with longer lecture periods. This means that you will be challenged, and you will be expected to keep up with this rigorous pace. Be sure that you are up to the added challenges of an accelerated 4+1 program. If you are, it could be tremendously beneficial.

If this sounds like the right path for you, start by checking out the very best Online Bachelor’s Degrees in Engineering. Contact the schools on your list to find out who offers this specialized degree opportunity.

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