What is the cost of a typical MSEE degree?

Started by Rick Lyons 4 years ago12 replieslatest reply 4 years ago342 views

Hi. Recently I received an e-mail from the Coursera online education web site announcing a new online Masters of Science Degree in Electrical Engineering (MSEE) degree program offered by the University of Colorado Boulder.

In a YouTube video describing the new online MSEE program the lady said the program's $20,000 cost was significantly lower than the cost of the on-campus version of the same MSEE program. If $20,000 is considered "low cost" then what on Earth is the typical cost of an on-campus MSEE program?
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Reply by napiermDecember 17, 2019

I did the evening MSEE program at Mercer University.  Required 30 semester hours to finish.  Private school.  In the 90's I think it was ~$500 per semester hour.  Work would reimburse me but it was taxable so call it 60% back.  Now that tuition is ~$1000 per semester hour including fees.  So call it $30K in tuition.

Not bad really. It let me redefine my skill set and has got me in a lot of doors since then.  Well worth it.

For comparison my daughter is an undergraduate at Kennessaw State and that is around $9K per year in-state.

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Reply by lamabrewDecember 17, 2019

Northeastern in Boston (where I have one child in an undergrad eng. program ) is $52K for tuition (only) for a MSEE. A room in a shared apartment is another $12K+ year, plus fees, books, food, etc.

So yeah, $20K is a comparative bargain. Though I wonder how you do labs online...virtual instruments and simulations only get you so far.

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Reply by gmedranoDecember 17, 2019

The price of a similar MSEE in Spain is under 2000€ for two years of tution so I reckon Coursera and platforms like it won't be cashing up very well here.

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Reply by Rick LyonsDecember 17, 2019

Hi lamabrew. $52k, ...Whew!! It's a crime against the students (and their parents) what universities did with their tuition costs once the U.S. Gubment started handing out student loans. Measured in 2019 dollars my BSEE cost me roughly $20,000. (I worked my entire time in college to pay my tuition, so I had no student loans.)

As for the online MSEE course's lab work, the course's administrators know that a lack of lab work is a shortcoming of online engineering education. Although for some of their courses the student does have to buy some electronic parts, from DigiKey, and do some hands-on experimenting. But those parts should cost less than $100.

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Reply by KnutIngeDecember 17, 2019

5 years of University/MSEE tuition: $0

Plus public scholarships and loans sufficient for moderate housing/food/books/... during those years (I was left with ~$30.000 to downpay 15 years ago).

Of course, we have to pay a higher tax rate to finance this system (and others like it). Total tax revenue is about 42% of GDP according to some google hit.

People have embraced Amazon and Uber and Google. If there is a player that is perceived as giving the best service, that can centralize production cost, hire the best people, and scale at low cost to offer the service around the world, local and established players ought to take notice.

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Reply by Rick LyonsDecember 17, 2019

Hi Knutlnge. If your MSEE tuition was zero dollars how is it you had a $30,000 debt to pay 15 years ago? Do you live in Germany?

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Reply by KnutIngeDecember 17, 2019

While tuition is free, eating and sleeping is not. Scholarship + loans covering cost of living added up to a debt of about $30.000. This loan is different from a private loan in some respects. E.g. if you become sick or unemployed, interests can be frozen. If you finish some degrees in time (among them EE), a fraction of the loan is converted to scholarship post graduation. If you choose to live in certain rural areas, 10% of the loan is deleted per year.

As long as you have the grades to get into University (and avoid failing your exams) you can get a Master no matter who or what your parents are. As a result, 34% of the population have a higher education (2018), 1% have a PhD. Source:


I live in Norway. I did, BTW work through Uni because I wanted more toys and beer than afforded by the government. In retrospect I would have wished that employers were more interested in hiring MSc students early in the education so as to get more and wider industry-relevant practice (even if this had meant worse pay than the blue-collar jobs I had).

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Reply by dudelsoundDecember 17, 2019
I also paid 0$ for my 5 years of university in electronic engineering (Diplom - German predecessor to the masters degree). And I think that today I would be paying about 400€ (~$450) a month for shared living. I figure that living in Germany does have some advantages to it...
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Reply by Rick LyonsDecember 17, 2019
Hi dudelsound. I can thnk of several advantages of living in Germany:
Nurnberger bratwursts, Kaiser brotchen, volkswandern, schnitzel, clean streets, the Autobahn, and 2,000 different German beers.
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Reply by toddmoonDecember 17, 2019

State universities can cost a lot less.  In-state tuition at Utah State University is about $3000/semester.  Out-of-state tuition costs more, but it still gives very good value compared to a lot of other programs.

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Reply by weetabixharryDecember 17, 2019

My 4-year "undergraduate Masters" at Imperial College London (2005 - 2009) cost around £3,600 total in tuition. I believe it's now £9,000/year tuition for EU students and significantly more for non-EU. The 1-year postgraduate Masters is, I believe, much more expensive.

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Reply by jtp_1960December 17, 2019

Here (Finland) tuition is commonly 0€/semester (some private academy may have tuition) and state benefits (depends on martial status) for a (single) student are:

housing benefit up to 412€/month (depends on rent costs and location)
study grant up to ~250€/month (depends on degree)

and guarantees a student loan which is up to 650€/month. 

Payback time for the loan is usually 2 years + 2 times the set duration of degree but, when you don't get employed after graduation, as for an example, then you have to pay just the interest on the loan (then when low incomes, state pays all the interest on the loan as well)).

BTW, Finnish government is planning to speed up the graduation times by forgiving big deal of the loan for those who graduates in set time.