Best Online Master’s in Mechanical Engineering Degrees
| Staff Writers
Are you ready to find your fit?
Mechanical Engineers conduct research, design and develop prototypes, and test their devices.
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
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?
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?
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Interesting classes in USC’s Mechanical Engineering catalog:
Dynamics of Incompressible Fluids
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.
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:
Dynamics of Structures
Material Failure in Mechanical Design I: Power Transmission
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.
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.
Courses available for the M.S. in Mechanical Engineering:
Mechatronics and Embedded Microcomputer Control
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.
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.
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.
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:
Skeletal Tissue Mechanics
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.
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.
Students enrolled online need 30 hours of credits. There are thesis and non-thesis options.
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.
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.”
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.
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.
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.
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.
Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) was established in Worcester, Massachusetts, in 1865. The school hosts 2,210 graduate students. Of those, 21 percent take all courses online while 11 percent enroll in one or more distance classes.
Courses in Mechanical Engineering at Worcester Polytechnic Institute:
Applied Numerical Methods in Engineering
Control of Linear Dynamical Systems
Fundamentals of Axiomatic Design of Manufacturing Processes
Graduates with a Master’s degree from WPI report average salaries of $71,149 right after leaving school. Just a few of the employers hiring WPI graduates are Tesla, BAE Systems, Fitbit, Nissan, the U.S. military, and Otis Elevators.
Southern Methodist University (SMU) bills itself as a global research university. The Lyle School of Engineering educates more than 1,000 graduate students every year. The Engineering program boasts an 11:1 student-to-faculty ratio. The Lyle School offered distance education as early as 1967.
Graduate students in the program select from three concentrations: Design and Dynamic Systems and Controls, Mechanics and Manufacturing, and Thermal and Fluid Sciences. The LOGin learning management system streams video to anywhere in the world.
Texas Tech wants unofficial transcripts and GRE scores attached to its online application. Only after acceptance will students need to produce official documents. Whitacre specifically requires three reference letters from all applicants in Mechanical Engineering.
Auburn University ranks fifteenth in the U.S. News list of “Best Online Graduate Engineering Programs.” Nineteen percent of graduate students take all of their classes online according to the IPEDS database. Veterans should look into the school’s Post-9/11 GI Bill Benefits package for graduate students.
Auburn’s Master of Mechanical Engineering (M.M.E.) requires no thesis, residency, foreign language, or minor. Students coordinate a plan of study with their three-person advisory committee. Thirty credit hours include 21 hours in Mechanical Engineering courses and 9 credits of independent study.
Courses for the M.M.E.:
Analysis of Plates and Shells
Boundary Layer Theory
Friction, Wear, and Lubrication
Candidates for the M.M.E. need to submit GRE and TOEFL scores, if applicable. Students living near the Auburn campus may utilize research laboratories. Facilities include robotics, acoustics, a vibration lab, and thermal/fluid testing.
The Case School of Engineering began 125 years ago. In that time, it produced impressive alumni such as the engineer behind Gmail, Herbert Dow from Dow Chemical, and the originator of Craigslist. Online students earn a Master’s degree in 16 to 20 months.
Graduate engineering students take nine classes for 27 credit hours. In addition to seven core requirements, each student selects two technical electives.
Bio Manufacturing and MEMS (Micro-Electro-Mechanical Systems)
Theory and Design of Fluid Power Machinery
Vibration Problems in Engineering
CWRU’s Case School of Engineering awards scholarships of $10,000 to $15,000 to graduate students. They added this incentive for online students in the 2017-18 school year. Graduates of the program enter careers in research and development, product design, government, and education.
The online Master of Mechanical Engineering (MSME) requires 30 credit hours. Choose a thesis or non-thesis option. An Interdisciplinary Master of Science in Engineering with a focus on Mechanical Engineering has the same requirements as the MSME.
Courses in Mechanical Engineering at Purdue:
Air Breathing Propulsion
Human Motion Kinetics
Applicants need three recommendation letters, a Diversity essay, and a statement of purpose. All candidates need GRE scores, resumes, and transcripts. International applicants need a TOEFL score at or above 77 or an IELTS of 6.5 and higher.
Texas A&M ranks eighth in the U.S. News list of “Best Online Graduate Engineering Programs.” The College of Engineering invests over $200 million in research and conducts 5,000 research projects. Online labs and videos provide the same quality of instruction as campus students receive.
The College of Engineering enrolls more students than any other department at A&M. The American Society for Engineering Education (ASEE) ranks the college fifth in graduate enrollment. Engineering students make up 60 percent of A&M’s National Merit Scholars.
The University of Houston (UH) grew from humble beginnings in 1927 to a large public university serving over 43,000 students. The school offers 120 Master’s degrees. Ten percent of graduate students take some or all of their courses online.
UH’s M.S. in Mechanical Engineering focuses on the energy industry. Graduate students need 30 hours with a GPA of 3.0 or better to receive their degrees. UH requires the GRE.
Courses in Mechanical Engineering at the University of Houston:
Control System Analysis and Design
Convection Heat Transfer
The Cullen College of Engineering lists projected salaries with a Master’s in Mechanical Engineering. The national mean salary is $75,391. In Houston, where UH is located, the mean salary for entry-level employees is $85,000.
Graduates of the Master’s program find careers in healthcare, aerospace, energy, design, and manufacturing. All students choose electives best suited to their career goals. Diplomas are conferred after the completion of 30 credits.
Mississippi State University (MSU or MSState) began as a land-grant institution in 1878. The original mission included Mechanics, Agriculture, Horticulture, and Military Science. Today, the Department of Mechanical Engineering enrolls 114 graduate students. Twenty-nine percent of all graduate students complete their degrees online.
Thesis students need 24 credit hours of classwork and 6 credit hours for the thesis. Non-thesis students complete 33 hours of classwork. The school also offers an online PhD in Engineering with a focus on Mechanical Engineering.
At the University of Texas at Arlington (UTA or UT Arlington), the goal is growing a reputation for research excellence. The College of Engineering spends over $31 million on research activities annually. A total of 2,700 enrolled in Master’s programs in the Fall of 2017. Forty percent of UT Arlington’s graduate students take all classes online.
The College of Engineering has a long tradition of raising banners to its rafters to recognize the country of each student who ever enrolled. Currently, over 150 banners hang overhead in Nedderman Hall. The College graduated two astronauts who flew in space shuttles: Kalpana Chawla and Robert L. Stewart.
Since its inception in 1963, the University of Central Florida (UCF) has expanded to 66,000 students. Twenty-four percent of graduate students enroll only in online classes. In addition to its online programs, UCF has campuses in Orlando and 12 other sites in Central Florida.
The Master of Science in Mechanical Engineering (MSME) offers three tracks. The Accelerated B.S. to MSME allows for dual Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees. A Mechanical Systems track focuses on math, mechanics, dynamics, and continuum mechanics. Finally, the Thermofluids track concentrates on math, heat transfer, thermodynamics, and fluid mechanics.
Courses for the MSME at the University of Central Florida:
Mechanical Behavior of Materials
Polymer Science and Engineering
Forty-four percent of all students graduate without any debt. The Carnegie Classification system rates UCF in Doctoral Universities with the Highest Research Activity. Seventy-eight percent of the faculty have doctoral degrees.
The University of Idaho (UI) began in 1889 in Moscow, a city in northern Idaho. One quarter of all graduate students take 100 percent of their classes online. Engineering Outreach is the school’s online engineering program.
Classes in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Idaho:
Robotics: Kinematics, Dynamics, and Control
To be admitted, present a Bachelor’s degree in Mechanical Engineering or a similar field. The Department of Engineering wants a minimum 3.0 GPA. GRE scores are optional if the undergraduate degree program was ABET-accredited.
Plasma-Aided Manufacturing and Materials Processing
Secure and Reliable Control Systems
Sustainable Product Design
Graduates from UCR find work in transportation, fabrication, electronics, design, hydraulics, and aerospace. They gain the knowledge to move into management roles. UCR has been designated as “Military Friendly 2018” by Victory Media.
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