Mechanical engineering is one of the oldest and most general forms of engineering. It is involved in the analysis, design, and production of any system that has a moving part.
If you like to innovate, a career in mechanical engineering might be for you. Mechanical engineers power the devices you use daily, from electric generators to internal combustion engines, elevators, and even refrigeration systems.
You might design or implement equipment, test or evaluate theoretical designs, or teach others how to think just like you do. Better yet, mechanical engineers are in high demand, with companies all over the country searching for qualified, competent employees.
What kind of mechanical engineering degree should you get?
Graduates from mechanical engineering programs will never be short of work. This is especially true if you pursue and receive an advanced degree. Graduates with master’s degree have the ability to nearly double their salaries over a lifetime–a significant consideration to make when shopping for the best program.
Depending on your needs and lifestyle, most graduate programs in mechanical engineering are available either on-campus or online.
While on-campus study provides the best opportunity for innovative, interactive research, an online degree promotes flexibility for busy working adults or first generation learners. If you’re considering an online program, check out our list of the top online engineering degrees.
How much money do people make with a mechanical engineering degree?
Mechanical engineers are one of the highest paid starting positions in the country, earning a median salary of $83,000, with the lowest earning no less than $50,000. While pay varies depending on level of experience and industry (for example, mechanical engineers working in oil and gas extraction or information services will make the highest salaries), earning potential is high with this degree.
What can you do with a degree in mechanical engineering?
A person with a degree in mechanical engineering has a wide host of career options. Mechanical engineers work in aerospace, automobile, biomedical, construction, power, railway, information services, and even academic industries.
The most in-demand fields are in software, civil, environmental, aerospace, and biomedical engineering. Mechanical engineers work in all sectors, including the government, private and public industry, and academia. Graduates might be hired by companies such as NASA, Google, Boeing Apple, the Department of Energy, or hundreds of other companies.
Employment is expected to grow by about five percent, as fast as average, but will grow higher in more in-demand fields, such as information services.
What are the requirements for a degree in mechanical engineering?
Generally, graduate applicants must have at least four years of undergraduate in a related field. Some schools don’t require a relevant background, but will substitute additional prerequisite courses to make up for potential deficits in mathematics or engineering.
Masters degrees generally take around two to four years, but can be completed more quickly when combined with an undergraduate or doctoral program (often known as 2+3 or accelerated programs). Furthermore, departments will seek graduate candidates who have strong technical and mathematical skills, along with creativity, problem solving abilities, and the ability to work under pressure. Good communication skills are always a plus, too!
What are the best mechanical engineering degrees?
The best mechanical engineering degree will be one that fits your budget, timeframe, and career goals. Some programs allow for flexibility when designing course schedules, allowing students to specialize and customize their degree paths for optimum job search success.
In addition, the best mechanical engineering degrees contain high levels of both theoretical education and hands-on research. Students need both in order to be exposed to the real-world challenges tackled every day by mechanical engineers. A good program will also include ample financial aid (including opportunities for fellowships or assistantships) and professional services, such as career networking and student organizations.
See our rankings methodology page.
College Choice Score: 100
Average Net Price: $16,695
In addition to outstanding undergraduate degrees in various concentrations of engineering, the department offers an exceptional Master’s degree in Mechanical Engineering. For students wishing to study further, two post-master’s degrees are available in Engineering and Doctor of Philosophy. The Mechanical Engineering program provides students with an integration of intellectual and practical experiences, allowing them to work in biomechanical engineering, pollution control, transportation, or other multidisciplinary fields.
Students may undertake research projects throughout their studies at Stanford, namely through classes such as Engineering Problems and Experimental Investigation of Engineering Problems. Leading to a final forty-five units of coursework, other required courses include, but are not limited to:
- Micro/Nano Systems Design and Fabrication
- Design and Manufacturing
- Introduction to Mechatronics
- Smart Product Design Fundamentals
- Internal Combustion Engines
- Computer-Aided Product Creation
- Modeling and Identification of Mechanical Systems for Control
Students at Stanford have access to some of the best academic resources in the country. Experimental facilities include the Structures and Solid Mechanics Research Laboratory, which includes vehicle crash and earthquake simulators, the Center for Materials Research, and dozens of others. Most of these facilities and laboratories are available to support instruction and graduate research work. Significant financial assistance is available to students as well, with a number of fellowships and assistantships available each year.
California Institute of Technology
College Choice Score: 96.06
Average Net Price: $26,839
The research-oriented Master’s in Mechanical Engineering at the California Institute of Technology is selective, but is at the top of our list for a reason. This program promotes high job selection success among graduates, with thirty percent entering tenure-track academic positions, twenty percent continuing on to engage in further postdoctoral research, and fifty percent going on to work in industry.
The program requires fifty-four elemental course units in mechanical engineering, with an additional thirty in free electives and a graduate seminar. Many of these include research as integral components. Sample coursework might include studies in:
- Fluid Mechanics
- Mechanics of Structures and Solids
- Thermodynamics and Statistical Mechanics
- Heat and Mass Transfer
- Mechanical Systems and Design
Nearly every single graduate student in this program receives some sort of financial support. Many receive full tuition remission along with a stipend for living expenses. This is usually offered in the form of a fellowship or assistantship. Graduating with very little debt, graduates tend to work in large firms (usually in aerospace, energy, or semiconductor industries) or for small high-technology startups.
University of California, Berkeley
College Choice Score: 92.17
Average Net Price: $17,160
The Masters of Engineering program at Berkeley prepares professional leaders who understand all technical, environmental, and social issues related to mechanical engineering. This program can be earned in conjunction with a PhD or by itself. In addition, Berkeley has some of the most generous financial aid programs in the country.
A unique feature of Berkeley’s graduate programs is its Student Mentoring and Research Teams program. This groundbreaking endeavor partners graduate students with undergraduates to assist with original research and summer funding. In addition, students will take classes in subjects such as:
- Advanced Tissue Mechanics
- Advanced Structural Aspects of Biomaterials
- Introduction to MEMS Design
- Deformation and Fracture of Engineering Materials
- Experiential Advanced Control Design
- Nonlinear Systems
- Hybrid Systems and Intelligent Control
- Advanced Technical Communication: Proposals, Patents, and Presentations
Berkeley Mechanical Engineering is one of the top ranked public programs in the world. Faculty and students hail from diverse backgrounds and work in the most innovative teaching and research laboratories. Faculty are experts in the field and most continue to conduct critical research in mechanical engineering as they teach. This provides students with the most hands-on experiences possible.
College Choice Score: 90.22
Average Net Price: $30,014
Cornell’s Master of Science in Mechanical Engineering is one of the most hybridized and customizable programs in the country. Graduate students can cross department boundaries to design programs that meet their unique career and academic goals. This program, hosted on campus in the beautiful Finger Lakes region of New York, boasts a diverse student community with many international students. Graduates frequently go on to high-ranked academic, leadership, research, and industry positions.
The program, which takes around two years to complete, combines a strong research element with academic rigor. Students will undertake original research with a field faculty member, which is eventually documented in a master’s thesis. Other required classes, leading to forty-eight total credits, include:
- Mechanical Synthesis
- Introduction to Circuits for Electrical and Computer Engineers
- Introductory Fluid Mechanics
- Heat Transfer
- Mechanics of Engineering Materials
- Experimental and Applied Mechanics of Structures
Nearly five hundred students study in the Sibley School of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering at Cornell. Students engage with tenure-track faculty, lecturers who are industry experts, and technical research staff. The university is committed to diversity, with over fifty percent of the first-year class containing women. The university is ranked thirteenth in the country by U.S. News and World Report, and even allows students to spend a semester or two studying abroad.
College Choice Score: 89.14
Average Net Price: $29,326
The department of mechanical engineering at Northwestern builds on core disciplines in the field, with specific emphasis on the areas of design, biosystems and health, energy and sustainability, multiscale simulation, and nano/micro science technology. At Northwestern, students benefit from the best of both worlds: world-renowned professors who perform cutting edge research, while also teaching small, interactive classes and providing personalized attention.
While most students choose to pursue the stand-alone Master of Science in Mechanical Engineering, Northwestern also offers a myriad of programs in Product Design and Development Management, Engineering Design and Innovation, Robots, and Theoretical and Applied Mechanics. Most programs can lead to an eventual PhD, if desired. Students may pursue specializations within the general degree including:
- Energy and Sustainability
- Simulation-Driven Engineering
- Robotics and Control
- Biology and Bio-Inspired Engineering
Students are given multiple opportunities to succeed at Northwestern, and thrive on a beautiful campus just twelve miles from downtown Chicago. A variety of service programs are available outside the classroom, including Design for America and Engineers for a Sustainable World. Students lead projects like installation of solar panels and founding start-up companies. These experiences provide students with the necessary knowledge of the design of creative and sustainable systems, preparing them for long-term careers and personal advancement.
Georgia Institute of Technology-Main Campus
College Choice Score: 88.27
Average Net Price: $13,340
Georgia Institute of Technology allows students to complete their graduate studies in a variety of settings They may do so at Georgia Tech-Lorraine, Georgia Tech–Savannah, on the main campus in Atlanta, or by viewing video and online course offerings. Most degrees can be completed in a year or two.
Many graduate course offerings are electives, allowing students to take a wide variety of courses. Students may take a non-thesis or thesis option. The thesis option allows students to work with a faculty mentor to work in a laboratory or research environment. Regardless of the pathway chosen, students will take classes such as:
- Designing Open Engineering Systems
- Optimization in Engineering Design
- Computer-Aided Design
- Modeling and Simulation in Design
- Finite-Element Method: Theory and Practice
- Principles of Continuum Mechanics
- Inelastic Deformation of Solids
Georgia Tech is ranked within the top ten public universities in the United States, according to U.S. News and World Report. It is also regarded internationally for its engineering programs, and has been recognized as the “smartest” public college in the United States, based on standardized test scores of its applicants.
Columbia University in the City of New York
College Choice Score: 86.91
Average Net Price: $22,973
Students at Columbia study and research in the most cutting-edge research centers for interdisciplinary research in the world. They work closely in partnership with other departments, experiencing the flexibility to ae classes within the engineering school, or directly at Columbia College. The engineering department is small, with a graduate student to faculty ratio of just seven to one. This allows students to be active participants in their own education, and to become involved in projects, research, and design competitions.
In this program, graduate students have the choice between a standard track or a special track in Energy Systems, Micro/Nanoscale Engineering, or Robotics and Control. Depending on the track, students will customize a schedule including a sampling of the following classes:
- Advanced machine dynamics
- Small scale Mechanical Behavior
- Transport phenomena in the presence of interfaces
- Solar thermal engineering
- Sensors, actuators, and electromechanical systems
- Contact mechanics, lubrication of diarthrodial joints, and cartilage tissue engineering
The mechanical engineering program allows students to integrate a strong liberal arts educational core within their engineering coursework. Additionally, students will work with state-of-the-art equipment in the Computer Aided Design Lab and the Mechatronics Laboratory, among others. Students have the opportunity to branch out and expand their resumes through participation in extracurricular activities such as Solar Splash and Engineers without Borders.
College Choice Score: 86.81
Average Net Price: $19,950
Duke University’s mechanical engineering faculty’s research productivity is within the top 15 in the country, and for good reason. Students and faculty work closely in externally funded materials research centers, and have seen a massive increase in research awards in the past five years. Students at Duke don’t just learn–they learn by doing, and their success is echoed in an 88% job placement rate before graduation even occurs.
The mechanical engineering program at Duke features extensive collaboration with other departments, bridging engineering, science, and management. Students will engage in core management courses, internships, and professional development workshops so that they are fully prepared for career success. Students may choose to concentrate coursework in one of five areas, including:
- Materials Science
- Mechanics, Dynamics and Controls
- Thermal Fluids
Students will engage in cutting-edge research with internationally recognized faculty. There are extensive opportunities for cross-disciplinary research as well. Students benefit from an inclusive, close-knit community with faculty-guided project-based learning. Additionally, becuase the university is located in the largest research park in the United States, there is no shortage of out-of-classroom opportunities.
College Choice Score: 86.39
Average Net Price: $22,061
The Brown School of Engineering at Rice is small, hosting just fifty graduate students each year. These students work alongside eleven tenured faculty, all of whom teach and continue to research extensively in energy, medical research, space exploration, and technology. Students benefit from Rice’s location in Houston, providing them connections to collaborative research projects, summer internships, and contacts for after graduation.
Students will work with a thesis advisor from the very beginning of their studies. This advisor will help students determine the best possible pathways for achieving their career goals. Required classes include:
- Nonlinear Systems
- Numerical Methods
- Finite Element Analysis
- Computational Fluid Mechanics
- Introduction to Hydrodynamic Stability
Rice is consistently ranked among the United States’ top education and research institutions. Students are continuously evaluated to ensure that they are acquiring knowledge and skills, and engage in preliminary candidacy exams, qualifying exams, and thesis proposals. Students provide feedback through town hall meetings and ongoing surveys. Graduate programs are heavily influenced by industry feedback as well.
University of Michigan, Ann Arbor
College Choice Score: 86.28
Average Net Price: $16,107
The University of Michigan at Ann Arbor has one of the largest and most successful graduate programs. In fact, the university’s body of living alumni comprises over 540,000 individuals, one of the largest alumni groups in the world. Students in the Master of Science in Engineering program may pursue a personalized academic specialty. This allows for greater customization of their career paths and research in areas such as automotive, controls, dynamics and vibrations, energy, manufacturing, robotics, and many others.
Students may choose to pursue coursework only, coursework with an individual research project, or coursework with a MSE thesis. All require thirty credits and allow students to communicate with a Graduate Coordinator to develop the best possible course to complete a degree pathway. Required classes include:
- Introduction to Solid Mechanics
- Introduction to Dynamics and Vibrations
- Design and Manufacturing
- Research, Innovation, Service and Entrepreneurship
- Strength of Materials
- Fluid Mechanics
Before graduating, students also have the privilege of completing an independent engineering design, analysis, or research projects. This project is long-term, requiring one and a half years to complete. The university also features easy, seamless pathways for students to transfer from an undergraduate degree to a master’s, as well as from a master’s to a PhD.
University of Southern California
College Choice Score: 83.19
Average Net Price: $32,932
The Mechanical Engineering program at the University provides graduates with the technical education needed for success in industries such as aerospace, automotive, energy, design, and transportation. Students will take a core set of classes in technical areas, along with electives in selected areas of interest. Students may choose from three concentrations: Thermal and Fluid Sciences, Engineering Design, or Mechanics and Materials.
Students learn about and then engage in the process of influencing change on a global scale. Through competitions and awards such as the Viterbi Student Innovation Institute, Hacker House, Maseeh Entrepreneurship Prize, and others, students learn how to develop cutting edge solutions to twenty-first century problems. In addition, students will select from a variety of courses that meet individual career needs. Common course requirements include:
- Engineering Analysis
- Advanced Mechanical Design
- Engineering Information Modeling Units
- Applied Elasticity
- Computational Solutions to Engineering Problems
- Elements of Vehicle and Energy Systems Design
The university is located at the center of a technologically advanced, interactive city. This contributes to the overall diversity and collaborative nature of the program. Students collaborate with each other, along with faculty and experts within the engineering industry. Students have the opportunity to engage in activities and programs outside of class, such as Women in Engineering, Engineers without Borders, and study abroad.
University of Notre Dame
College Choice Score: 82.94
Average Net Price: $26,683
The University of Notre Dame has a prestigious reputation as one of the top universities in the world, in particular for undergraduate education. However, its graduate programs aren’t lacking either, and provide students with interdisciplinary opportunities that break boundaries and prepare them with twenty-first century skills. The Master of Engineering at the University of Notre Dame is designed for students who are interested specifically in engineering management.
Only twenty-four credits are required to graduate, allowing students to finish their studies in minimal time. Required courses include:
- Mathematical Methods
- Organizational Consulting
- Business Intelligence
- Spreadsheet Decision Modeling Technology and Business
- eBusiness Technology
Students are supported by a wide variety of resources at the University of Notre Dame, including the extensive university library system and the Office of Information Technologies. Most services are available twenty-four hours a day, year round. Students also have access to the most advanced research and intellectual laboratories in the country at the university’s various centers.
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
College Choice Score: 81.87
Average Net Price: $16,683
The Master of Engineering in Mechanical Engineering at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign allows students to attain graduate degrees from one of the world’s top engineering institution. This unique Midwestern campus combines collaboration and flexibility to attract the most talented students to the department.
Students in both undergraduate and graduate engineering programs are ranked in the top five, both nationally and internally. The university has a global reputation for its leadership in both research and education. The program is flexible, allowing students to choose between management courses or a capstone project in mechanical engineering. Students may choose specializations in:
- Controls and Dynamics
- Fluid Mechanics and Thermal Sciences
- Nanomechanics and Nanomanufacturing
- Solid Mechanics and Materials
The university also features top-notch career immersion services. Students benefit from career development services offered through the College of Engineering, all of which provide workshops to move students through the job search process. Students are connected each semester with industry experts at various career fairs and networking events.
Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
College Choice Score: 80.88
Average Net Price: $37,434
Rensselaer Polytechnic has offered a unique, innovative technological experience for nearly two hundred years. Program leaders seek to develop learning opportunities that extend beyond the typical classroom boundaries. Graduate students will engage in innovative research and pursue coursework in small classes.
Several concentrations are available in which students may choose to specialize. They may also choose to take a sampling of electives from them all. Regardless, students may take classes such as:
- Advanced Engineering Mathematics
- Mechanical Engineering Foundations
- Introduction to Finite Elements
- Mechanics of Composite Materials
- Topics in Mechanical Engineering, Aeronautical Engineering, Nuclear Engineering, or Engineering Physics
A unique feature of Rensselaer’s graduate program in mechanical engineering is the ability for students to explore opportunities outside of the classroom. Students may choose to enroll in domestic or overseas exchange programs, internships, or even real world work experience. Students work with leading industrialists, government officials, and educators on the close-knit Troy campus.
The University of Texas at Austin
College Choice Score: 78.86
Average Net Price: $16,010
The University of Texas at Austin is recognized for its status as a “Public Ivy,” meaning that it excels at providing the top academic research opportunities and facilities for its students. With over 24,000 faculty and staff, the university is one of the best in the country at providing top-ranked, individualized attention to each and every graduate student.
Within the department of Mechanical Engineering, students may choose to specialize in several different areas of study. This specialization allows students to become educated in the most current societal needs. Specializations include:
- Biomechanical Engineering
- Dynamic Systems and Control
- Manufacturing and Design
- Materials Engineering
- Nuclear & Radiation Engineering
- Thermal / Fluids Systems
The university also offers extensive financial aid to qualified students. Many of these are based on academic performance and faculty recommendations, allowing talented students to obtain graduate degrees with minimal expense. Available opportunities include fellowships, teaching assistantships, and research assistantships.
Purdue University-Main Campus
College Choice Score: 78.64
Average Net Price: $11,693
Purdue University, located just twenty-five miles from the technological hub of Chicago, hosts the second largest student body of any campus in Indiana. Over two hundred programs of study are offered, with mechanical engineering one of the most popular and well-established of the group. Many programs, including engineering, are even offered at an equivalent level of rigor and expense in an entirely online setting.
Graduate students at Purdue will develop individually tailored study plans with the help of an academic advisor. This study plan will allow students to focus on a chosen field along with in coursework relevant to general studies in mechanical engineering. Thirty total credit hours are required, including primary coursework in:
- Advanced Thermodynamics
- Numerical Heat & Mass Transfer
- Intermediate Heat Transfer
- Engineering Acoustics
- Introduction to Wind Energy
- Air Quality Modeling
- Electronics System Cooling
- HVAC & R (Design & Analysis)
Purdue is ranked highly as a result of its small class sizes and easy access that is provided to professors. Students are active in engineering organizations and national competitions, and engage in rich experiential learning, internships, and research. Laboratories are state-of-the-art, and program requirements allow students to earn both an undergraduate and graduate degree within just five years.
University of California, Santa Barbara
College Choice Score: 78.09
Average Net Price: $15,149
The University of California at Santa Barbara hosts a wide variety of resources, each tailored to help each student meet his or her goals. Notable are the Center for Control, Dynamical Systems and Computation, and Materials Research Laboratory. These facilities and outstanding faculty involvement in student research projects have helped the university earn the recognition of the eighth best public university in the United States, according to the U.S. News and World Report.
Students may choose a major specialization field from a STEM-related area, including Computational Science and Engineering, Dynamic Systems, Controls and Robotics, Fluid Mechanics and Thermal Transport, Microscale Engineering, or Solid Mechanics, Materials and Structures. In addition, students are awarded maximum flexibility by being able to gain expertise in cross-curricular fields, such as manufacturing and design. Required coursework includes:
- Applied Dynamical Systems
- Fundamentals of Fluid Mechanics
- Pattern Formation and Self-Organization
- Linear Systems
- Network Systems: Dynamics & Controls
Students may apply for significant financial aid, which include fellowships (which award quarterly stipends, fee remittance, and health insurance), graduate student research positions, teaching assistantships, and need-based aid. In fact, over 90% of the incoming graduate students at the University of California receive full financial support, making this an affordable option for any student.
College Choice Score: 77.70
Average Net Price: $27,478
Lehigh University offers a challenging Mechanical Engineering Master’s in which students work closely with internationally renowned faculty. The program features strong research collaborations with industry partners, along with international faculty. Students work in unique laboratory facilities while pursuing a comprehensive, accommodating curriculum.
Students work towards a comprehensive degree that is grounded in the fundamentals, but also provides hands-on-experience. Students use sophisticated engineering tools to design, simulate, and fabricate a manufactured project. Other required courses include:
- Mathematical Methods In Engineering
- Heat and Mass Transfer
- Advanced Fluid Mechanics
- Linear Systems and Control
- Fundamentals of Solid Mechanics
- Analytical Methods in Dynamics and Vibrations
Each student research team at the university is interdisciplinary and allows students to work in areas such as materials processing and manufacturing, composite structures, or even smart materials. Research projects are sponsored by organizations such as the NSF, NASA, and the U.S. Army Research Office, among many others.
Texas A & M University, College Station
College Choice Score: 76.38
Average Net Price: $15,455
This department, one of fourteen at the College of Engineering, is ranked eighth in the nation for the quality of public programs. Mechanical engineering graduates are some of the most highly recruited in the country. The average graduate receives two or more job offers with higher-than-average salaries before graduation.
Texas A&M University’s Master of Engineering provides advanced classroom instruction culminating in the production of a unique professional portfolio. This portfolio can be used as an employment tool and helps graduates to reflect upon the knowledge they’ve acquired throughout the program. Students may take any ten of the designated core courses. These include:
- Advanced Product Design
- Theory of Elasticity
- Continuum Mechanics
- Engineering Dynamics
- Advanced Engineering Thermodynamics
- Mechanical Vibrations
- Fluid Mechanics
After studying in this program, students are prepared for careers in traditional Mechanical Engineering, along with cross-disciplined careers in research, industry, and academia. Faculty are currently engaged in research in Thermal and Fluid Sciences, Materials and Manufacturing, Mechanics and Systems and Controls. The university also continues to offer professional development opportunities for practicing engineers through continuing education, service, and outreach activities.
University of Maryland, College Park
College Choice Score: 76.24
Average Net Price: $15,757
The University of Maryland’s programs in Mechanical Engineering and Reliability Engineering have a long tradition of providing exceptional education to graduate students. It is ranked in the top twenty nationally by U.S. News and World Report, and also hosts highly ranked doctoral programs. Over three hundred graduate students study at the A. James Clark School of Engineering.
There are several different curricular divisions within the department, allowing students to specialize and venture out as they see fit. These specializations include Design and Reliability of Systems, Mechanics and Materials, and several others. Students will take classes such as:
- Engineering Design Methods
- Engineering Decision Making
- Mechanical Fundamentals of Electronic Systems
- Failure Mechanisms and Reliability
- Advanced Convection Heat Transfer
In addition to the outstanding learning opportunities providing in the classroom, student also have the opportunity to engage in extensive experiential learning opportunities through facilities such as the Terps Racing Program, Solar Decathlon, and other competitive teams, along with worldwide programs such as Engineers without Borders. Graduate students may work in five different interdisciplinary research centers and forty different laboratories, all shared by forty-six dedicated tenure and tenure track faculty.
Ohio State University-Main Campus
College Choice Score: 75.57
Average Net Price: $17,971
Graduate students at Ohio State University receive the opportunity to perform advanced research in state-of-the-art laboratories. The Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering department has been around for over twenty-five years, exhibiting a proven track record of success in conferring well-respected graduate degrees. These degrees are reputed among industry and governmental partners.
According to U.S. News and World Report, Ohio State is tied for the sixteenth best public university in the United States, a testament to its hands-on research programs and high quality of academic content. Within the Mechanical Engineering program, sample coursework might include:
- Engineering Fracture Mechanics
- Constitutive Models in Continuum Mechanics
- Advanced Strength of Materials and Elasticity Theory
- Advanced Topics in Continuum Mechanics
- Nonlinear Dynamics
- Vibrations in Discrete Systems
- Digital Control Engineering
- Control System Labs
Faculty at Ohio State are nationally recognized and widely published in journals, papers, and the news. All research carried out at the university is collaborative, allowing scholars to work with other departments. Because the campus is the third largest in the world, graduate students have the opportunity to network with peers and faculty with highly diverse backgrounds.
North Carolina State University at Raleigh
College Choice Score: 73.27
Average Net Price: $13,066
The Mechanical Engineering program at North Carolina State University at Raleigh prepares graduates for specialized careers in mechanical and thermal systems design, analysis, and manufacturing. In addition to a focused, advanced master’s program in engineering, the school also offers accelerated programs, allowing students to earn an undergraduate and graduate degree in just five years. There is also a direct pathway program from a Bachelor of Science to a PhD, along with a master’s degree available entirely online.
North Carolina State offers state-of-the art facilities and cutting-edge computer resources. Students learn through a combination of theoretical education and practical research, giving them the ability to solve real-world problems both in the classroom and out. Available areas of concentration include, among others,:
- Applied mechanics
- Design and manufacturing
- Dynamic systems and control
- Energy conversion and systems
- Heat transfer
- Mechanics of materials
Students have the opportunity to become involved at a greater level at North Carolina State. The university offers several departmental student organizations, allowing them to network and learn outside of class, as well as a unique co-op experience. This co-op experience provides students with paid on-the-job training while receiving college credits. The university also features global study abroad programs.
Case Western Reserve University
College Choice Score: 73.02
Average Net Price: $33,124
Case Western Reserve offers two options for Master of Science in Mechanical Engineering degrees: a research-oriented degree, and a project-oriented degree. A combined Bachelor of Science/Master of Science, along with a five-year Bachelor of Science and Master of Engineering Management are also available. A fully online program is available to students who wish to study via distance learning as well.
Each student, regardless of whether the research- or project-oriented degree is chosen, must complete at least twenty-seven credit hours. These credit hours are distributed in different ways, depending on the concentration, but might include classes such as:
- Mechanics of Biological Fluids
- Mechanical Vibrations
- Sustainable Manufacturing
- Advanced Heat Transfer
- Finite Element Analysis
- Battery Dynamics and Modeling
- Fire Dynamics
Case Western Reserve’s campus hosts multiple advanced facilities for specialized experimental tasks. These allow students to receive exposure to the latest technology in professional practice. These facilities include the Biorobotics Laboratory Facilities, the Distributed Intelligence and Robotics Laboratory, the Mechanics of Materials Experimental Facility, the Multiphase Flow and Laser Diagnostics Laboratory, the Rotating Machinery Dynamics and Tribology Laboratory, and the Musculoskeletal Mechanics and Materials Laboratories, among several others.
Pennsylvania State University-Main Campus
College Choice Score: 71.22
Average Net Price: $25,055
As part of the Master of Science in Mechanical Engineering at Pennsylvania State University, students will receive a foundational education in engineering. This education prepares graduates for leadership roles in engineering research, as well as for product design and development. Students will become well-versed in reading, interpreting, and assessing written research, as well as in planning and conducting research of their own.
This program offers students the enhanced ability to conduct frequent, well-developed research. It also provides flexible scheduling, making it ideal for working professionals, as well as the option to engage in internships, assistantships, and relevant part-time positions. Students will take classes such as:
- Mathematical Methods in Engineering
- Engineering Optimization
- Refrigeration and Air Conditioning
- Compressible Flow
- Incompressible Aerodynamics
- Microcomputer Interfacing for Mechanical Engineers
- Mechanical Properties of Materials
- Metals in Electronics
This program hosts exceptionally small class sizes, taught by highly qualified and accessible faculty. Research agendas are innovative, and include topics such as robotics and automation, sustainable manufacturing, and creativity in product design. The program prepares students to become technical leaders for a range of organizations through hands-on training and extensive laboratory and computer experiences.
University of Wisconsin, Madison
College Choice Score: 70.45
Average Net Price: $15,874
The University of Wisconsin at Madison is a tier-one research university, meaning that students will work on groundbreaking research funded by grants from both industry and government. Students also have access to distinguished speakers through its seminar series, allowing them to explore current research in academics and industry. Graduates are highly successful, most receiving job offers before graduation, and go on to advanced positions in academia, industry, or research.
The Master’s Degree in Mechanical Engineering is an accelerated, one-year program. Students will graduate with advanced knowledge in computational engineering, along with skillsets in modeling and simulation. Required coursework includes:
- Manufacturing Fundamentals
- Mechanics of Materials
- Elementary Heat Transfer
- Mechanical Engineering Projects
The department also offers programs in automotive engineering, as well as a fully online option in Polymer Science. Many programs are eligible for research assistantships or fellowships, allowing students to obtain top-ranked education at rock-bottom prices. As a result, the university’s mechanical engineering graduate program is ranked seventeenth best in the entire country, according to U.S. News and World Report.
Michigan State University
College Choice Score: 70.41
Average Net Price: $14,970
Located in East Lansing, Michigan’s 5,200 acre campus is located just three miles east of the state capitol. With over 11,000 graduate students and nearly 6,000 faculty and staff, students are well-supported by a small student-to-faculty ratio. The university also hosts a huge alumni base of over half a million strong, connecting students to opportunities both near and far.
The university is supported by nearly $600 million in external funding, receiving monetary support from the Department of Energy, National Science Foundation, Department of Education, and more. The mechanical engineering program requires thirty total credits for degree completion. Sample classes might include those in the following concentrations:
- Dynamical Systems
- Fluid Mechanics
- Solid and Structural Mechanics: Materials Science and Mechanics
- Thermal Sciences: Mechanical Engineering
The department also features a unique international program in Aachen, Germany. This program allows students to participate in advanced mechanical engineering research and to explore European industrial activities. The school also has an outstanding record of students earning prestigious national and international scholarships, including Rhodes, Hollings, Gates, Churchill, and Goldwater awards.
Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University
College Choice Score: 68.98
Average Net Price: $17,190
The Mechanical Engineering M.S. at Virginia Polytechnic provides quality education through faculty expertise, hands-on practices, and innovative research. Upon graduating from this program, students will be more effective at communicating, solving problems, serving others, and leading, both in the industry and academia.
When in the first semester of study, each graduate student will develop a customized plan of study that includes research and tailored course selection. Students may choose to specialize in topics such as acoustics, automatic controls, combustion, heat transfer, propulsion, or many other concentrations. Required courses include:
- Vehicle Propulsion
- Biomechanics of Crash Injury Prevention
- Fuel Cell Systems
- Conduction and Radiation Heat Transfer
- Linear Systems Theory
- Modeling and Simulation of Multibody Dynamic Systems
The Department of Mechanical Engineering is consistently ranked within the top ten percent of graduate mechanical engineering programs in the nation. It has international collaborations with the Technische Universitat Darmstadt, and the 3+2 program with Shandong University in China. An accelerated program is also available.
University of Washington, Seattle Campus
College Choice Score: 68.07
Average Net Price: $10,068
This Master of Science in Mechanical Engineering degree is designed for students who plan to enter into careers as professional mechanical engineers. The program is available on-campus and entirely online, and can be completed either full or part-time, with the option to begin a distance program at any semester of the year. Students who have undergraduate degrees in areas other than mechanical or aerospace engineering may also apply to the program with a few adjustments in course requirements.
On-campus students benefit from studies near the Puget Sound, which is a global hub for advancing science, technological advancements, and powerful industries. Students engage in real-world tasks, such as developing new football helmet technology and building heat converting generators. Students will take classes such as:
- Finite Element Analysis
- Computational Fluid Dynamics
- Convex Optimization
- Voxel Models
- Computational Techniques in Mechanical Engineering
- Applied Linear Algebra and Introductory Numerical Analysis
Students are encouraged to take part in workshops, competitions, and events offered right on campus by industry partners. These include the UW CoMotion and the Buerk Center for Entrepreneurship. All students can take part in departmental clubs or work in the campus’s prototype shops and makerspace. Student researchers can even apply for and receive grants through CoMotion’s Innovation Fund and Amazon Catalyst.
University of Colorado Boulder
College Choice Score: 66.18
Average Net Price: $22,727
The Master of Science in Mechanical Engineering at the University of Colorado at Boulder is ideal for students pursuing a career in either academia or in industry with a research component. Students may easily transition into the PhD program after completing their master’s degrees. The program emphasizes projects and curriculum-driven learning. It can even be completed by working engineers.
Students may choose from five focus areas, or select a flex option that combines courses across the spectrum. It can be completed with or without a thesis. Regardless of the track selected, students will take classes such as:
- Methods of Engineering Analysis
- Environment Modeling
- Mechanics of Composite Materials
- Continuum Mechanics
- Uncertainty Quantification
- Modeling in Applied Mathematics
- Statistical Collaboration (project-component)
- Advanced Data Analysis Techniques
Student in the department conduct diverse research in the environment, energy, robotics, and consumer products. Over 1,200 students study at some level in the Mechanical Engineering department, making the most of extensive, world-class facilities. The university has strong connections to multiple laboratories located in Boulder, allowing students real-world research opportunities. Furthermore, Boulder was voted the number one best college town in America, making it an easy choice for graduate study.
College Choice Score: 65.51
Average Net Price: $17,797
The Master’s in Mechanical Engineering at Clemson provides flexibility in that students can choose from a research-oriented or coursework-only degree. Both are offered on Clemson’s main campus and some elements can be completed online or during the summer term.
Students in this program have the opportunity to conduct research in one of the world’s most advanced energy systems testing and research facilities, the SCE&G Energy Innovation Center. Regardless of the track selected, twenty-four credits are required to graduate. Three of the following courses must be taken:
- Foundations of Fluid Mechanics
- Macroscopic Thermodynamics
- Intro to Finite Element Analysis
- Intermediate Dynamics
- Modern Control Engineering
- Material Selection for Design
- Energy Methods
- Design Methodology
With a student-to-faculty ratio of just sixteen to one, Clemson is a close-knit university that provides the research and industry advantages of a large population campus. It is ranked twenty-first among all public national universities by U.S. News and World Report, largely because students have access to experienced, published faculty and innovative resources.
University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh Campus
College Choice Score: 64.44
Average Net Price: $23,572
The Department of Mechanical Engineering and Materials Science at the University of Pittsburgh offers students an in-depth education in a specific area of interest within mechanical engineering. The university hosts over twenty research labs and provides students with the opportunity to work with multiple industries, ranging from biomedical to aerospace.
In addition to a traditional Master of Science in Mechanical Engineering, the department also offers a professional graduate degree for engineers who are currently working. The department also features a Doctor of Philosophy in Mechanical Engineering to promote career success in industry or academia. In general, students will take classes such as:
- Differential Equations
- Fracture Mechanics for Product Design and Manufacturing
- Advanced Fluid Mechanics
- Nuclear Plant Dynamics and Control
- Hacking for Defense
- Finite Elasticity of Soft Tissues
The department offers several types of financial aid to students with outstanding ability. This includes fellowships, usually in the form of an unrestricted grant, traineeships, teaching assistantships or fellowships, research assistantships, and partial or full tuition scholarships. Many of these awards provide full tuition, and may require students to teach or research in return for this financial compensation, contributing to the building of each student’s individual portfolio and resume.
University of Rochester
College Choice Score: 64.36
Average Net Price: $34,170
The Master’s Degree in Mechanical Engineering at the University of Rochester allows students to complete the degree with either a thesis option, or a coursework option. Most coursework is interdisciplinary and links the department with facilities such as the Laboratory for Laser Energetics, the Department of Physics and Astronomy, the Rochester Center for Biomedical Ultrasound, and the School of Medicine and Dentistry.
While the department connects students with collaborative research opportunities with other departments, most internal research consists of that in solid mechanics-materials science and fluid mechanics-plasma physics. In addition to engaging in innovative, high-quality research, students will also take classes such as:
- Mathematical Methods
- Partial Differential Equations
- Numerical Methods
- Computational Methods Applied to Biological Systems
- Dynamical Systems
- Mechanics of Structures
- Applied Vibration Analysis
The University of Rochester is one of the country’s leading private universities and an integral center for diverse research. Among the faculty are eight Nobel Prize winners. In addition, the school was recently listed as one of the country’s “New Ivies,” according to Kaplan and Newsweek’s “How to Get Into College Guide.” The caliber of the programs at the University of Rochester is so exceptional that its admissions procedures and selectivity rival that of traditional Ivy League schools.
University of Arizona
College Choice Score: 63.79
Average Net Price: $16,466
The University of Arizona features a graduate program in mechanical engineering that allows students to conduct groundbreaking research in fluid mechanics, solid mechanics, dynamic/computational mechanics, control systems, and even thermosciences. The department has a close relationship with the Applied Mathematics Program, allowing for an interdisciplinary blend of material.
Students may choose from a thesis, report, or coursework only option. Depending on the track chosen, students will complete anywhere between twenty-six and thirty-two credits. This option allows each student maximum flexibility in designing a degree path that best meets his or her unique career goals. Required classes might include:
- Intermediate Solid Mechanics
- Intermediate Dynamics
- Intermediate Fluid Mechanics
- Intermediate Heat Transfer
- Orthopedic Biomechanics
The University of Arizona boasts several prominent recognitions, including tis title as the a Center of Academic Excellence in Cyber Defense Research. It has also best listed as one of the “Best Bang for the Buck” universities in the nation. The Mechanical Engineering’s graduate research program is internationally reputed and includes crossdisciplinary studies in topics such as nanotechnology, clean energy, and composites.
University of Delaware
College Choice Score: 61.79
Average Net Price: $15,894
The University of Delaware is well respected for its research-focused initiatives. It offers a wide array of programs, departments, and centers, with a notable recognition as one of Kiplinger’s Best Values in Public Colleges. Furthermore, the university has partnerships with companies such as JP Morgan Chase, Honda, and many others, providing students with the opportunity to collaborate and network with leading industries.
The Master of Engineering: Mechanical at the university requires thirty credit hours of coursework. This can be completed online, or even in the late afternoons or early evenings, making it possible for working professionals to finish their degrees. Core required classes include:
- Intermediate Engineering Mathematics
- Intermediate Solid Mechanics
- Intermediate Dynamics
- Intermediate Fluid Mechanics
- Intermediate Heat Transfer
- Orthopedic Biomechanics
The program is constantly undergoing revision, responding to students’ needs and ensuring that students are given the utmost opportunities to engage with faculty in state-of-the-art research projects. Graduates gain technical knowledge as well as the skills they will need to tackle existing and unforeseen challenges in the industry.
University of Illinois at Chicago
College Choice Score: 61.60
Average Net Price: $11,571
The University of Chicago consistently ranks in the top fifty U.S. institutions for research expenditures, making it a top choice for graduate students looking to continue their education in mechanical engineering. Students have access to a vibrant community of scholars and professionals, both on campus and off, and become part of a long-standing tradition of academic excellence.
This graduate degree is available as a thesis or coursework-only program. If a thesis is chosen, students have a rich array of interdisciplinary research areas from which to choose, including nanoparticles, acoustics, medical imaging, and many more. Students must take a minimum of thirty-six credit hours, regardless of whether a thesis is pursued. Required classes include:
- Advanced Kinematics
- Automation and Robotics Applications
- Dynamic Systems Analysis
- Theory of Gearing and Applications
The University of Chicago is fondly known as “Chicago’s Public Research University.” It is located in the heart of one of the country’s technological hubs, and allows students to experience a rich culture of education, technology, and culture. Students at the University of Illinois of Chicago receive access to excellence, with a campus that is both culturally and ethnically rich.