What are the benefits of UCR?

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Student completing coursework online

The University of California, Riverside (UCR), one of 10 campuses within the University of California (UC) system, is a widely recognized research university, as well as a leader in online education. Founded in 1954, UCR is currently the educational home to more than 23,000 students and approximately 1,100 institutional faculty.

In 2017, Washington Monthly ranked UCR as one of the top 25 comprehensive research schools in the U.S. and top 15 public research institutions. The Princeton Review also included UCR in its August 2018 list of the 382 best colleges in the country.

In addition to its prominence in major rankings, UCR has also distinguished itself as an institution committed to extending educational opportunities to students far beyond its 1,200-acre inland campus in Riverside, California. For example, UCR offers multiple options for online engineering degrees, with seven specializations as of June 2018.

As online learning becomes a more popular option (especially among working professionals seeking maximum flexibility in their schedules), UCR offers distinctive advantages due to its status as a major research university and pioneer in online education. Let’s look at what students can expect from their time at UCR.

A glance at UCR: Student population, faculty and staff

In the fall of 2017, UCR officially enrolled 23,278 students. Of that number, 3,209 were graduate students. Nearly one-third (31.9 percent) of graduate students at that time were international, demonstrating the appeal of UCR worldwide.

Moreover, the Education Trust—in two separate reports—has recognized UCR as a leader in Latino and African-American student access. UCR was one of only three institutions to rank near the top of both reports, and the only one in California among the top 18 colleges and universities for high graduation rates for African-American students.

The UCR faculty and staff bring a broad spectrum of experience to guide students through their educational journeys. Some of their notable distinctions include:

  • 48 Fulbright Scholars
  • 49 Fellows in the National Endowment for the Humanities
  • 19 Guggenheim Fellows

Plus, current UCR faculty have been awarded more than 10 percent of all existing University Professorships, the highest instructor distinction conferred by the UC system. The UC Board of Regents reserves these titles for tenured faculty members who are both exceptional teachers and internationally renowned scholars.

Online engineering degrees at UCR

In 2013, UCR launched an online Master of Science in Engineering degree program. Originally focused on bioengineering (biomedical engineering), the offering has since expanded to seven total specializations:

  • Bioengineering
  • Data Science
  • Electrical Engineering
  • Environmental Engineering
  • Materials at the Nanoscale (Nanotechnology Engineering)
  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Chemical Engineering

Between them, these degree tracks provide a wide range of options for engineers seeking career advancement. Students enrolling in an online program at UCR will benefit from:


The online engineering degrees at UCR are truly and fully online, with 100 percent internet-based formats. That means no required residency, time-consuming travel to campus, or need to set up potentially expensive housing near campus. Students can work comfortably from anywhere they have an internet connection, while realizing potentially substantial savings on transportation, housing and class materials.


There are three different start dates to choose from each year, giving interested students options for setting schedules that work for them. Admissions are also flexible. Although there are requirements for items such as a bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution and official transcripts, others like the GRE and Fundamentals of Engineering may be waived if students can demonstrate substantial professional experience (i.e., two years or more) at an engineering organization while also possessing a BS in a relevant field.


Decades ago, there was uncertainty about whether online degrees could produce comparable academic and professional outcomes to traditional degree programs. With time, the quality of well-designed online degrees has come to light. For instance, a major 2015 study in International Journal for the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning found no significant differences in exam scores between subjects taking classes on-campus and online. At UCR, we design our online degrees to provide comprehensive and practical training for engineers, through four core courses and additional concentration-specific classes. The core consists of the following requirements:

  • Engineering in the Global Environment: Explores concepts in collaboration, teamwork, and communications skills for today’s globally distributed engineering teams.
  • Introduction to Systems Engineering: Surveys common engineering systems to further develop technical competencies and complement soft skills.
  • Principles of Engineering Management: Examines the administrative and managerial aspects of modern engineering, in keeping with the program mission to balance engineering and business-related expertise.
  • Technology Innovation and Strategy for Engineers: Dives into the effects of technological change on engineering organizations, with a look at how actual firms have responded to key innovations.

Once they complete the UCR engineering program, regardless of specialization, students will be prepared to pursue advanced positions in the field. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) professionals see some of the most substantial pay increases from a master’s degree over a bachelor’s degree—up to 13 percent for mechanical engineers and engineering managers. An online master’s degree from UCR can be an important differentiator in the search for rewarding opportunities.

Beginning your educational journey at UCR

UCR is a distinguished and diverse institution with much to offer students at all stages of their journeys. Whether you are looking to become an electrical engineer, specialize in nanomaterials, or pursue another route in engineering, UCR can provide the instruction and guidance necessary to help advance your goals.

For admissions requirements, be sure to check out the main program page. There, you can also answer a few simple questions about your engineering-specific interests to receive our free program brochure with additional information.

Recommended Readings:


What You Can Learn Within the Master’s in Engineering – Bioengineering Program

What You Can Learn Within the Master’s in Engineering – Environmental Engineering Program




About UCR

UCR Student Statistics

Ranks and Facts

Regents Policy 2304: Policy on University Professors

Online Engineering Master’s Degree Launched

Learning Outcomes in an online vs traditional course