Best Master’s in Engineering Degrees

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A Master’s in Engineering Degree can prepare you for the rapidly transforming world economy.

Engineering is a steadily growing industry that offers excellent starting pay as well as exciting opportunities to work with new technologies.

It is a diverse field which covers a wide range of areas and careers. Engineers work on creative solutions to the world problems by using a mix of mathematics, science, and technology.

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Top 10 Best Master’s in Engineering Degrees

What Kind of Master’s in Engineering Degree should you get?

A Master’s in Engineering will provide you a professional degree in the vast field of engineering. Generally, this degree requires two years of coursework and once complete you will be far along in propelling your new career as an engineer. Looking for online engineering options? Check out our ranking of the Best Online Engineering Degrees.

How much money can you make with a Master’s in Engineering Degree?

The engineering profession isn’t recession-proof, but it does weather economic downturns very well compared to other fields. The average salary for an engineer with a bachelor’s in $85,900 per year. For engineers with master’s degrees, that number jumps up significantly, to $95,576.

In terms of pay, it’s also worth considering which branch of engineering to study and practice. Ocean, cost management, petroleum, safety, and minerals and metals are the highest-paid fields. Engineers with these specialties average well over $100,000 in annual salary.

What can you do with a Master’s in Engineering Degree?

A graduate of a master’s in engineering program will be well placed to succeed in almost any engineering-related setting. It all depends upon thinking strategically about which classes and certifications to pursue. And don’t choose a program based on the name recognition alone. You need to make sure they have the programs you’re interested in.

If you’re not yet sure of which specialty you want to pursue, spend some time doing research. Everyone knows about mechanical, civil, and electrical engineers. But consider some of these less well-known engineering professions:

  • Marine Engineering
  • Metallurgical Engineering
  • Network Engineering
  • Packaging Engineering
  • Solar Engineering
  • Telecommunications Engineering

It’s in specialties like these that you’re most likely to be able to distinguish yourself and command a high salary.

What are the best Master’s in Engineering Degrees?

In compiling these rankings we took in factors that include academic reputation, overall cost, and success of graduates in the post-college job market. Each of these factors were weighted equally in our ranking and data was derived from a variety of publicly available sources, including U.S. News & World Report, the National Center for Education Statistics, and PayScale.

Rankings

See our rankings methodology page.

  1. Stanford University
    Location

    Stanford, CA

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Overview

    Two parents founded Stanford University in 1891 as Leland Stanford Junior University. Leland Stanford was their teenaged son who succumbed to typhoid fever. Located in Stanford, California, the university sits between San Francisco and San Jose. This private not-for-profit boasts a 10:1 student to faculty ratio.

    Within the first 18 units of study, the Master’s candidate applies to customize their studies. Students submit a statement of objectives for their plan of study. They outline the connection between their chosen courses, and they explain why their degree path differs from existing Engineering programs at Stanford. A member of the faculty must approve the plan and agree to act as an adviser.

    Program Features

    To graduate, students require 21 credit units in the School of Engineering at level 200 or above. Total coursework must equal or exceed 45 units. The Master of Science in Engineering is an interdisciplinary, non-thesis degree.

    Courses for the MS in Engineering at Stanford University:

    • Linear Control Systems
    • Advanced Micro and Nano Fabrication Laboratory
    • Transformative Design
    Notables

    The Honors Cooperative Program allows engineers and scientists employed near Stanford to attend graduate school part-time. These students take online coursework through the Stanford Center for Professional Development. The Stanford Center offers 250 courses.

    Some of the interdisciplinary research centers at Stanford are the Army High Performance Computing Research Center, the Center for Integrated Systems, the Energy Modeling Forum, and the Stanford Technology Ventures Program.

  2. Massachusetts Institute of Technology
    Location

    Cambridge, MA

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Overview

    Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) was the first school in the country to offer a major in Electrical Engineering in 1882. Thomas Edison donated a dynamo and lamps to the program five years later. Today, MIT welcomes over 11,000 students. Of those who graduated in 2015-2016, 583 received their Master's degree in Engineering.

    The deadline to apply to the Engineering program is December 15. A candidate's GPA carries less weight than the classes taken and the grades received in classes related to engineering. Admittance to MEng requires a Bachelor's degree in either Engineering or a similar field. Most applicants rank in the top ten percent of GRE scores.

    Program Features

    The Master of Engineering (MEng) in Civil and Environmental Engineering lasts nine months. Candidates for graduation need 90 units: 66 units at graduate level, and a 24-unit thesis. MEng students should not anticipate research assistantships or teaching assistantships due to the demanding schedule of coursework.

    Courses for the Master of Engineering (MEng) in Civil and Environmental Engineering:

    • Advanced Soil Mechanics
    • Physical Limnology
    • Transportation Policy, the Environment, and Livable Communities
    Notables

    MIT has neither online degrees nor part-time schedules. MEng students need to locate private sources of funding. Earning a MEng from MIT leads to careers as consultants or in engineering firms. Others continue their graduate studies in engineering.

  3. Georgia Institute of Technology-Main Campus
    Location

    Atlanta, GA

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Overview

    Georgia Tech ranks second in the CollegeFactual.com list "2018's Best Aerospace and Aeronautical Engineering Colleges in the U.S." U.S. News ranks the school first in Industrial Engineering, second in Aerospace/Aeronautical Engineering, second in Civil Engineering, and seventh overall. As a public institute, Georgia Tech outranks most private universities.

    Program Features

    The Master of Science in Aerospace Engineering (MSAE) requires 33 credit hours in both coursework and research. Students opt for either a thesis or a non-thesis track. Besides the traditional campus coursework, flexible options include an online degree and a dual Bachelor/Master Honors program.

    Courses:

    • Warehousing Systems
    • Organizational Behavior
    • Scheduling Theory

    Online options for the Masters of Science in Aerospace Engineering, Analytics, Electrical and Computer Engineering, Medical Physics, Operations Research, and Mechanical Engineering. Master in Industrial Engineering ranked #1 by U.S. News. 30 credit hours with no thesis. Requires a Bachelor's degree, preferably in a STEM field. Admissions wants to see undergraduate classes in statistics, calculus, linear algebra, and probability.

    Notables

    Aerospace majors have the option of a Master in Computational Science and Engineering. Sixty-five percent Georgia Tech's population majors in engineering fields. Slightly more graduate students attend full time (55 percent) versus part time.

  4. Columbia University in the City of New York
    Location

    New York, NY

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Overview

    The Fu Foundation School of Engineering and Applied Science (SEAS) covers ten departments and teaches 2000 graduate students. Options include the dual Masters in Journalism and Computer Science or the MBA/MS in Earth Resources Engineering. U.S. News ranks Columbia eighth in Industrial Engineering and third in "Best Online Graduate Engineering Programs."

    Students surveyed by U.S. News rank Columbia first in online education. These programs utilize online labs and lectures. Candidates for graduate degrees averaged a 3.7 GPA as undergrads. GRE scores average 160 Verbal, 165 Quantitative, and 4 in Analytical Writing.

    Program Features

    Columbia has Masters in Biomedical, Chemical, Electrical, Mechanical, and Civil Engineering. Other options include Industrial Engineering and Operations Research, and Earth and Environmental Engineering. Programs last one year or longer and require at least 30 credits.

    Courses in Electrical Engineering:

    • Semiconductor Device Physics
    • Topics in Networking
    • Detection and Estimation Theory
    Notables

    Columbia University hosts dozens of research centers such as the Center for Life Cycle Analysis and Columbia Water Center. Sponsors provide programs in Urbanization Challenges, Earth Engineering, and Optics and Quantum Electronics for Sustainability.

    Twelve online MEng degrees span 160 courses. The typical length of study is 3 years and 88 percent graduate within that period. Certified instructional designers create the online curriculum.

  5. Carnegie Mellon University
    Location

    Pittsburgh, PA

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Overview

    Andrew Carnegie came to America from Scotland and taught himself after his factory shifts. He went on to become a magnate, founding the biggest steel manufacturer in the world. He funded the future Carnegie Mellon with a $1 million donation in 1900, and he intended the school to educate the working class in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

    The Carnegie Technical Schools offered engineering programs from their inception. Today, the Institute for Software Research within Carnegie Mellon offers graduate engineering degrees. These programs attract working professionals with one or more years of experience.

    Program Features

    The Master of Science in Information Technology-Embedded Software Engineering (MSIT-ESE) blends electrical and computer engineering, computer science and software engineering, and systems engineering. Degrees are conferred after sixteen months of full time study. Students need a minimum grade of B- in core coursework plus a B- for the required Capstone project.

    Courses for the MSIT-ESE:

    • Embedded Real-Time Systems
    • Analysis of Software Artifacts
    • SIT Project I and II
    Notables

    Candidates should have experience in embedded systems domains or plan to enter the field of embedded software engineering. Application materials include a Statement of Purpose, a one-page summation of your relevant work experience, and a current resume. The school expects three letters of recommendation, a video essay, and all transcripts from both undergraduate and graduate coursework. Domestic students submit the GRE; International students need TOEFL scores.

  6. Cornell University
    Location

    Ithaca, NY

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Overview

    U.S. News has ranked Cornell thirteenth in its list of “Best Engineering Schools.”

    Master of Engineering within Cornell Computing and Information Science. Two semesters. Prerequisites for admission include a Bachelor in Computer Science or closely related field, or display competency in programming and data structures, computer systems organization, discrete structures, calculus, and linear algebra. Deadlines for admission October 1 for spring and Feb 1 for fall. Online applications only. Two letters of recommendation, statement of purpose, college transcripts, GRE, TOEFL if international, with minimum score of 20 in Writing, 15 in Listening, 20 in Reading, and 22 in speaking.

    Program Features

    Cornell tailors the Master of Engineering (MEng) in Computer Science to experienced professionals with Bachelor's degrees in Computer Science. Graduate students complete six classes and one project.

    Courses in Engineering at Cornell University:

    • Engineering the Microbiome
    • Engineering Principles for Drug Delivery
    • Current Practice in Tissue Engineering
    Notables

    Cornell published the employment outcomes for its 2016 graduates with the MEng in Computer Science. Of 74 alumni contacted, 97 percent responded to the survey. According to the study, 93 percent of MEng graduates found employment. Their median income equals $106,000.

    Graduates work at Airbnb, Amazon, Cisco Systems, Facebook, Goldman Sachs, Microsoft, Twitter, Uber, Yelp, and other well-known corporations. They carry titles such as Software Engineer, Senior Manager of Data Analytics, Research Scientist, and CTO. Most work in California, Maryland, Washington, and New York.

  7. University of California-Berkeley
    Location

    Berkeley, CA

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Overview

    The University of California at Berkeley ranks in the top six Engineering programs in the country, according to U.S. News:

    • #1 in Civil Engineering and Environmental Engineering
    • #2 in Chemical Engineering and Computer Engineering
    • #3 in Electrical Engineering, Industrial Engineering, and Mechanical Engineering
    • #5 in Materials Engineering and Nuclear Engineering
    • #6 in Bioengineering

    Admissions requirements include GRE scores averaging 90 percent in Quantitative, 70 percent for Verbal, and greater than 3.5 in Analytical Writing. International applicants average over 100 on the TOEFL (Internet version) or 7/9 on IELTS. Undergraduate GPA scores average 3.7. UC at Berkeley accepts 12 percent of graduate school applications.

    Program Features

    UC Berkeley presents a Master in Engineering (MEng) program with full-time study over one school year. Limited class sizes include a cross-departmental cohort with four other engineering specialties. Choose a concentration in Electrical Engineering or Computer Science.

    Classes available in Electrical Engineering:

    • Control and Optimization of Distributed Parameters Systems
    • Societal-Scale Cyber-Physical Systems: Machine Learning and the Internet of Things
    • Advanced Topics in Electrical Engineering: Mems, Microsensors, and Microactuators
    Notables

    New Capstone Design Experiences added this fall include Physical Electronics and Integrated Circuits, and Visual Computing and Computer Graphics. Students enroll in an introductory class for fall and the Capstone project in spring.

    Research conducted at UC Berkeley led to the inventions of the MRI, microwave, laser, and acoustic wave technology. All kitchens and bathrooms in America contain GFI power outlets that originated in a laboratory on the Berkeley campus.

  8. Harvard University
    Location

    Cambridge, MA

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Overview

    Established in 1636, Harvard is the oldest university in America. The university has graduated 48 Nobel Laureates, 32 Heads of State, and 48 recipients of the Pulitzer Prize. Famous American graduates of Harvard include President Barack Obama, Chief Justice John Roberts, President George W. Bush, Vice President Al Gore, Chief Justice William Rehnquist, President John F. Kennedy, President Franklin D. Roosevelt, President Theodore Roosevelt, President Rutherford B. Hayes, President John Quincy Adams, and President John Adams.

    Program Features

    Harvard offers graduate students the Master of Engineering (ME) in Computational Science and Engineering. Students complete a two-year program with a required thesis. The second year heavily emphasizes research.

    Courses for the MEng:

    • Computational Physics
    • Bayesian Data Analysis
    • Statistical Sleuthing Through Linear Models
    Notables

    Thesis students must submit the MEng thesis proposal by February 15 of year one. Any student whose proposal was not accepted cannot continue into year two. Students may tailor the project to their field of interest, but the work must address a problem with a strong focus on computation.

  9. University of Michigan-Ann Arbor
    Location

    Ann Arbor, MI

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Overview

    Founded in 1817, U-M now ranks as the top public school in the United States, according to Business First. Forbes Magazine ranks Ann Arbor the “#1 Best College Town,” and it earned the title “Best City to live in America” by Niche.com. U.S. News awards the Engineering program high honors: first in Nuclear Engineering, second in Industrial Engineering, fourth in Environmental Engineering, and fifth in Aerospace Engineering. Furthermore, Computer Engineering, Mechanical Engineering, Electrical Engineering, Civil Engineering, and Materials Engineering all rank in the top nine. U.S. News gives U-M fifth place in “Best Engineering Schools” in the country.

    Program Features

    U-M grants both Masters of Science in Engineering (MSE) and Masters of Engineering (MEng) degrees. The MSE is for recent graduates holding a Bachelor of Science in Engineering. The MSEng is a professional degree for experienced engineers. Programs usually require 30 credits and finish in 12 months (full-time).

    The university offers online degrees in several Engineering specialties including Automotive, Energy Systems, Manufacturing, and Global Automotive and Manufacturing Engineering.

    Classes in the top-rated Nuclear Engineering program include:

    • Advanced Radiation Measurements and Imaging
    • Detection Techniques of Nuclear Non-proliferation
    • Intermediate Plasma Physics
    Notables

    Students planning to continue toward their PhD should consider omitting the Master's degree and applying directly to the PhD program. PhD candidates receive 100 percent funding plus a stipend whereas Master's candidates are self-funded. PhD candidates still earn their Master's degree after the first two years of the program.

  10. Northwestern University
    Location

    Evanson, IL

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Overview

    The McCormick School of Engineering was founded in 1909 with a goal of collaboration and solution-driven education. By the autumn of 2015, enrollments averaged 96, keeping the cohort small and more likely to interact. Students average 31 years of age, and 77 percent of graduate students come from the United States. They average 8 years of work experience.

    Admissions requirements are a Bachelor in Engineering or another STEM field and a 3.0 or higher GPA (undergraduate). Northwestern requires the GMAT/GRE if applicants spent less than 3 years in the workforce. Submissions must include transcripts for undergraduate and graduate coursework, three letters of recommendation, and a personal statement.

    Program Features

    The Master of Engineering Management (MEM) is a professional degree designed for full-time working engineers and scientists. The program blends the management curriculum of the MBA with the tools of engineering. The duration is nine to fifteen months full-time or two to three years part-time.

    Courses for the MEM include:

    • Accounting for Engineers
    • Product Development
    • NUvention Web
    Notables

    NUvention is a series of classes teaching students how to create a successful startup. The study plan for the MEM includes 7 MEM core classes, 2 classes in Advanced Methodology in Engineering, and 3 electives for 12 final credit hours. Application deadlines roll through three rounds beginning in January. A third round only occurs if any spots are still unclaimed.

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