Best Online Master’s in Mechanical Engineering Degrees

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Mechanical Engineers conduct research, design and develop prototypes, and test their devices.

Best Online Master's Mechanical Engineering Badge

They use creativity and good listening skills to solve problems. Engineers have high aptitudes for mathematics, sciences, and mechanicals. Engineers work at least full-time with 33 percent exceeding the standard 40-hour work week.

Top 10 Best Online Master’s in Mechanical Engineering Degrees


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Why should I study mechanical engineering?

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects the field of mechanical engineering will grow 9 percent between the years 2016 and 2026. This statistic fits within average growth rates. Anticipate higher rates at engineering firms and in automotive design for hybrids, electric cars, and driverless vehicles.

Look for emerging careers in robotics, alternative fuels, and nanotechnology. The latter field includes medical device engineering and designing the latest computer components. One key to job stability is keeping abreast of the latest software for designing and running simulations. Industry experts advise students to learn 3-D printing.

How much can I earn by studying mechanical engineering?

The BLS tracks salaries in all career fields. For the year 2016, the median wage for all Mechanical Engineers was $84,190. Reported earnings ranged from $54,420 to $131,350.

Salaries also vary by industry. Engineers in research and development bring in a median of $96,360. Electronics manufacturing yields $89,330.

Architectural engineers report $87,670. The vehicle manufacturing industry pays a median of $84,940. Finally, machinery manufacturers pay $75,480.

Information from the BLS tells us which states hire more Mechanical Engineers (MEs). At the top of the list is Michigan with 42,080 MEs (mean salary $88,700). Next, California has 24,830 MEs ($102,650). Texas ranks third with 19,690 MEs ($103,060). Ohio has 14,920 ($78,770), and Illinois comes in fifth with 14,500 ($92,290).

Alaska pays the highest salaries to Mechanical Engineers with an annual mean wage of $138,370 for 530 jobs. The District of Columbia pays $108,340 (780 MEs). New Mexico’s MEs make $108,140 (1,200 MEs). Louisiana’s 1,990 MEs report earnings of $104,020. Texas makes the list in fifth place with $103,060 (19,690 MEs).

 
 

Where can I find a job with a mechanical engineering degree?

Any industry that develops working parts needs engineers. A few well-known companies hiring Mechanical Engineers:

  • General Electric
  • Boeing
  • Lockheed Martin
  • Northrop Grumman
  • General Motors
  • Chrysler
  • Medtronic

Industries with high numbers of Mechanical Engineers include aerospace, automotive, biotechnology, electronics, and energy. MEs have skills for many careers including project management, software development, cybersecurity, healthcare, and intellectual property rights.

What are the requirements for a mechanical engineering degree?

All Mechanical Engineers start with a Bachelor’s degree in Mechanical Engineering or a closely related field. Engineering majors take a heavy load of coursework in mathematics, science, design, and engineering. Seek out programs accredited by ABET.

A Master’s degree in Mechanical Engineering provides upward mobility into Team Leader and Project Manager roles. Some Master’s programs focus on advanced engineering methods. Others take an interdisciplinary approach with other sciences or business classes.

All states require engineers who work with the public to hold a license. To become a licensed Professional Engineer, obtain a degree from an ABET-accredited program. Next, pass the Fundamentals of Engineering (FE) exams.

Each state has its own requirements for work experience. Expect to need four years of engineering employment. States may require engineers to pass continuing education classes for license renewals. Licenses usually work across state lines if both states have similar licensing requirements. Professional societies provide certificates, classes, volunteer opportunities, and conferences.

What are the best colleges for an Online Master’s in Mechanical Engineering?

CollegeChoice.net studied each college and university. We considered the net price of a Master’s degree, graduation rates, and the school’s reputation in producing great engineers. Many of the best schools require graduate students to submit a high GPA, solid GRE scores, and letters of recommendation.

Important factors in deciding on a great Mechanical Engineering program include research expenditures, faculty qualifications, and the variety of offered courses. Online courses should be taught by the same faculty as on-campus classes. A low student-to-faculty ratio, livestreaming video, and online labs indicate successful degree programs. Those interested in online education should check out College Choice’s Best Online Colleges and Universities.

Finally, we consulted experts at U.S. News, the National Center for Education Statistics and its IPEDS database, the Bureau of Labor Statistics, and ranking websites like OnlineCollege.org. Each institute, college, and university provided invaluable access to their schools of engineering and programs for graduate students.

And now, we present the 25 best Online Master’s degrees in Mechanical Engineering for 2018.

Ranking

See our rankings methodology page.

  1. Georgia Institute of Technology
    Location

    Atlanta, GA

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Overview

    Georgia Tech, as it is widely known, handed out its first Master of Science in Mechanical Engineering in 1925. Today, the school’s program ranks sixth in U.S. News “Best Engineering Schools” for 2017. Note that Georgia Tech boasts the second lowest tuition in the top six programs ranked by the magazine. Within its graduate program, 39 percent of students complete their degrees fully online.

    Program Features

    To obtain a Master of Science in Mechanical Engineering (MSME), candidates must complete 30 credit hours. Students have both a thesis and non-thesis option.

    Courses of interest in the MSME program at Georgia Tech:

    • Advanced Orbital Mechanics
    • Rotary Wing Aerodynamics
    • Turbulent Combustion

    Notables

    The faculty of the George W. Woodruff School of Mechanical Engineering hold over 200 patents. The National Science Foundation has honored 34 staff members with its Faculty Early Career Development (CAREER) and Presidential Early Career Awards for Scientists and Engineers (PECASE) awards.

  2. Johns Hopkins University
    Location

    Baltimore, MD

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Overview

    Johns Hopkins, a Maryland Quaker and abolitionist, bequeathed $7 million to fund the university and hospital we know today. The Whiting School of Engineering awarded its first degrees in 1915. In the U.S. News rankings of “Best Online Graduate Engineering Programs,” Johns Hopkins moved from number 21 to 19 in the last year.

    Program Features

    Johns Hopkins requires students to choose a focus area in Manufacturing, Robotics and Controls, Solids/Mechanics of Materials, or Thermofluids. Students have options to finish their degrees fully online or utilizing both online and campus classwork.

    Courses in the Master of Mechanical Engineering program at JHU:

    • Kinematics and Dynamics of Robots
    • Orthopedic Biomechanics
    • Symmetries of Crystalline Solids

    Notables

    The typical graduate student in engineering earned a 3.3 GPA as an undergraduate. To receive the Master’s degree, each candidate successfully passes ten courses. Engineering majors have five years to finish their graduate degree.

  3. University of Southern California
    Location

    Los Angeles, CA

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Overview

    The University of Southern California (USC) graduated its first engineer in 1908. Today’s Viterbi School of Engineering hosts 5,600 graduate students. The DEN@Viterbi system gives students the chance to earn 40 different graduate degrees online.

    Program Features

    MSME candidates specialize in one of the following: Thermal and Fluid Sciences, Engineering Design, or Mechanics and Materials. To graduate, students must pass 27 credit hours with a 3.0 GPA. Course requirements vary depending on whether the student takes the thesis option.

    Interesting classes in USC’s Mechanical Engineering catalog:

    • Applied Elasticity
    • Creep
    • Dynamics of Incompressible Fluids

    Notables

    The admissions staff requires applicants to provide transcripts, GRE or GMAT scores, GPA, and grades in undergraduate engineering classes. The university lists several sources of scholarships on its Tuition and Funding page. Master of Science graduates enter careers in various industries including aerospace, biomedicine, and nuclear power.

  4. University of California Los Angeles
    Location

    Los Angeles, CA

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Overview

    The University of California Los Angeles (UCLA) created the Henry Samueli School of Engineering and Applied Science in 1945. The school proclaims itself the Birthplace of the Internet. U.S. News ranks UCLA in second place for “Best Online Graduate Engineering Programs.”

    Program Features

    The Mechanical Engineering program at UCLA provides an online Master’s degree only for its non-thesis track. Students complete 36 units and choose from two options. One is a Capstone Project, and the other requires passing three examinations in three separate classes in Mechanical Engineering.

    Courses available to graduate students in Mechanical Engineering at UCLA:

    • Composites Manufacturing
    • Dynamics of Structures
    • Material Failure in Mechanical Design I: Power Transmission

    Notables

    Students graduate in two full school years plus one additional quarter. They enroll in two sessions during the summer. Refer to the school’s degree requirements for more information.

  5. Columbia University
    Location

    New York, NY

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Overview

    One of the oldest Mechanical Engineering departments in the country resides within Columbia University in New York City, New York. The school builds its reputation upon research into control theory, thermofluids, and biomechanics. The graduate-student-to-faculty ratio is 7:1. BestColleges.com ranks Columbia’s online Master’s program in engineering fourth in the country.

    Program Features

    Students in the Fu Foundation School of Engineering and Applied Science need 30 points to graduate. These consist of a minimum of ten classes over two to three semesters full-time. Graduate students choose from the Standard Track, or Special Tracks in Energy Systems, Micro/Nanoscale Engineering, and Robotics and Control.

    Courses available for the M.S. in Mechanical Engineering:

    • Carbon Nanotubes
    • Mechatronics and Embedded Microcomputer Control
    • Turbomachinery

    Notables

    Check out the Columbia Video Network to learn more about obtaining an online engineering degree. The Fu Foundation faculty also teaches online classes. Columbia uses rolling admissions but requests two months for the application process.

  6. North Carolina State University
    Location

    Raleigh, NC

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Overview

    North Carolina State University (NCSU or NC State) started its engineering program in the 1920s. U.S. News ranks NC State ninth in “Best Online Graduate Engineering Programs.” The school hosts 625 graduate engineering candidates. About thirty percent of all graduate students take classes online according to the IPEDS database.

    Program Features

    Mechanical Engineering students complete 30 credit hours with no thesis, no need for campus presence, and no oral examination at the end of the program. All students take course MAE 586, Project Work in Mechanical Engineering.

    Courses for the online Master of Science in Mechanical Engineering at NC State:

    • Acoustic Radiation
    • Airfoil Theory
    • Finite Element Analysis

    Notables

    Online students receive material through videos. NCSU’s WolfWare site facilitates communication with faculty and peers. Students take tests at proctoring sites or online.

  7. Boston University
    Location

    Boston, MA

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Overview

    OnlineCollege.org awarded Boston University for “Best Online Master’s Degree in Mechanical Engineering in Faculty Accessibility.”U.S. News ranks BU’s Engineering program eleventh for research investments. The magazine also places Boston’s engineering school in the top twenty percent in the nation.

    Program Features

    Graduates working on their Master of Science in Mechanical Engineering need 32 credit hours. Students take three classes in the Mechanical Engineering Core, two in engineering management, and three electives in engineering or science.

    Courses in Mechanical Engineering at Boston University:

    • Advanced Aerodynamics
    • Phase Transformations
    • Skeletal Tissue Mechanics

    Notables

    Students in Distance Learning at BU may select live video conferencing, video streams after class, or attending the occasional class on campus. Enrollments in the university’s Master’s program jumped 70 percent in the last four years.

  8. Lehigh University
    Location

    Bethlehem, PA

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Overview

    Located in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, Lehigh University was founded in 1865. The school attracts 1,979 graduate students to its programs. Admission for the online Master’s degree in Mechanical Engineering requires official transcripts, two letters of recommendation, and an undergraduate GPA of 3.0.

    Program Features

    Students enrolled online need 30 hours of credits. There are thesis and non-thesis options.

    Courses in Mechanical Engineering at Lehigh University:

    • Advanced Fluid Mechanics
    • Heat and Mass Transfer
    • Integrated Product Development

    Notables

    The non-thesis program requires 15 credit hours in Mechanical Engineering and Mechanics. A thesis option consists of 15 credits in core classes and nine credits in electives. Completing the thesis earns another six credits. The university accepts up to nine credits for transfer students.

  9. University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
    Location

    Champaign, IL

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Overview

    Since 1870, the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (UIUC) offered degrees in engineering mechanics and mechanical engineering. The department added theoretical and applied mechanics in 2006 to become the MechSE Department. U.S. News ranks the university thirteenth in “Best Online Graduate Engineering Programs.”

    Program Features

    The thesis option takes 32 credits while non-thesis students need 36 credit hours. Non-thesis students enroll in an Independent Study course for the additional four credits.

    Courses in Mechanical Engineering at UIUC:

    • Advanced Gas Dynamics
    • Combustion Fundamentals
    • Energy Conversion Systems

    Notables

    For admission into the graduate program in the MechSE Department, candidates need an undergraduate degree in engineering. The minimum GPA is 3.25. In addition to transcripts, applicants need three letters of recommendation.

  10. Stevens Institute of Technology
    Location

    Hoboken, NJ

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Overview

    Located in Hoboken, New Jersey, Stevens Institute of Technology focuses on research. Current work in the Department of Mechanical Engineering includes nano/microfabrication, robotics, plastics/polymers, and sustainable energy. A Master’s degree in Mechanical Engineering can be completed on campus or fully online.

    Program Features

    The thirty credits needed for graduation break down into two core classes, four classes in a concentration, and four electives. Students at Stevens tailor their Master’s degree with one of seven concentrations.

    Courses in Mechanical Engineering at Stevens Institute of Technology:

    • Finite-Element Methods
    • Power Plant Engineering
    • Solar Energy-System Designs

    Notables

    Graduates pursue careers as civil, mechanical, aerospace, and automotive engineers. Stevens provides a Graduate Enrichment Series free of charge to all graduate students. Faculty of the institute have held talks on technical writing, formatting a thesis, and many other topics. Many of the lectures can be accessed online.

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