2021 Best Online Masters in Mechanical Engineering

Ready to start your journey?

Completing an online masters mechanical engineering degree program can open up an array of diverse job opportunities.

Online Masters in Mechanical Engineering

Mechanical engineers typically have math skills and a fascination for building, tinkering with, inventing, designing, or testing machines and mechanisms of all types.

Editorial Listing ShortCode:

Traditional career options include working for industries that make heavy machinery, cooling and heating systems, or airliners. In these times of innovation, professionals can also work with emerging technologies, such as solar power arrays, autonomous vehicles, drones, or robots.

Online Masters in Mechanical Engineering Programs

Online Masters in Mechanical Engineering Programs

An online mechanical engineering graduate program can offer advanced knowledge about technological concepts as well as hands-on training experiences, much like a masters in civil engineering online or one in chemical engineering can.

You can typically select from among any number of online programs from accredited schools, and many programs provide a variety of curriculum designs and course concentrations.

You may want to explore your options and consider your own aptitudes, career goals, interests, and work history, if applicable. Course selections can differ by school and can highlight different industry and technology sectors.

Editorial Listing ShortCode:

You can choose to stick with programs emphasizing more traditional courses, such as solid and fluid mechanics and structural analysis methods. On the other hand, you might be attracted to programs that emphasize new technologies, such as advanced digital sensing tools, machine learning, biomechanics, or robotics.

Whichever industry path interests you, enhancing your mechanical engineering skills and knowledge can help you prepare for new job opportunities and better earning potential.

Mechanical Engineering Careers & Salaries

Mechanical Engineering Careers & Salaries

A mechanical engineering master’s degree can open doors to various job opportunities. Some mechanical engineers work in research and development roles while others pursue leadership roles, supervising or managing industrial production work. Mechanical engineers can also or work in the lucrative testing and analysis sector of the field.

Some engineers even choose to apply their specialized knowledge in roles as sales or marketing experts for specialized products or materials. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, mechanical engineers and those in closely related fields generally earn higher than average salaries.

Careers Annual Median Salaries
Architectural and Engineering Managers $144,830
Petroleum Engineers $137,720
Aerospace Engineers $116,500
Nuclear Engineers $113,460
Sales Engineers $103,900
Mechanical Engineers, Research and Development $101,780
Materials Engineers $93,360
Bioengineers and Biomedical Engineers $91,410
Mechanical Engineers $88,430
Industrial Engineers $88,020

Candidates with online bachelor’s in engineering degrees may qualify for many of these roles as well, so a master’s degree can help you gain a competitive advantage when vying for the best jobs and the best pay.

Your own career pathway might be influenced by the concentration you choose to study. For example, a graduate who specialized in structural engineering and aerospace may pursue jobs related to developing, building, or testing aircrafts, airliners, satellites, or rockets!

You might decide you want to study a topic in emerging fields, such as machine learning and robotics. Your career options could vary significantly based on the branches of mechanical engineering you choose to specialize in. You may want to keep this in mind as you explore accredited online engineering masters programs.

Mechanical Engineering Master’s Curriculum

Mechanical Engineering Master’s

Course offerings vary widely by school and can reflect a range of rapidly evolving technologies, but here’s a sampling of courses you might encounter:

  • Materials and Structures: You’ll learn about properties and dynamics of diverse materials for their reliability and efficiencies in a range of structures, applications, and mechanical and industrial operations or processes.
  • Modeling and Design: This course is an overview of key concepts, methods, and sophisticated tools for use in modeling, prototyping, and design work.
  • Solid Mechanics: This course covers solid materials and their properties and dynamics in relation to various structural designs and physical forces or conditions.
  • Fluid Mechanics: You’ll learn about the properties and mechanics of various fluid substances, such as liquids, vapors, gases, and plasmas, in relation to a range of mechanical or industrial processes or applications.
  • Biomechanics: You’ll study ways in which living forms and processes inform mechanical design.
  • Digital Mechanics: You’ll learn about microelectronic systems, digital sensors, digital controls, and digital signal processing.
  • Introduction to Robotics: You’ll study mechanical engineering concepts and principles related to design and development innovations in the field of robotics.
  • Power and Energy Systems: You’ll learn about materials, concepts, and designs related to a range of power and energy systems, including innovations in electrical generation, transmission, and storage technologies.
  • Developmental Design and Production Planning: This course is an introduction to topics, methods, and practices used for managing product development and production planning in a business context.
  • Advanced Testing and Analysis: This course covers methods, principles, and tools used for a range of mechanical and developmental testing applications, such as structural analysis, materials testing, or component and systems testing.

Mechanical engineers study a wide range of topics, and you can ultimately choose from a wide range of concentrations based on your professional goals and preferences.

Admissions Requirements

Admissions to an online mechanical engineering masters will require you to have a BA or BS degree in addition to other application materials. Other materials typically include letters of recommendation and all college transcripts.

Editorial Listing ShortCode:

Many schools’ admissions requirements include specified undergraduate majors and prerequisite courses. Some online graduate programs are designed to help you make up certain prerequisite courses in conjunction with your enrollment.

Most accredited online masters in mechanical engineering programs require:

  • BA or BS degree in related major
  • Prerequisite courses
  • GRE or GMAT test results, if required

If you have concerns about your readiness and admissions qualifications, you can check with the school’s admission office for more information. You can also look for programs at accredited schools that are designed to help you overcome these obstacles as quickly as possible.

Accreditation

Online Masters in Mechanical Engineering Accreditation

You may want to only consider fully accredited schools and programs. Regional accreditation can help you avoid programs that don’t satisfy recognized standards for academic integrity or that lack the appropriate educational resources and services.

If you plan to apply for financial aid, attending a fully accredited school can be one of the qualifying factors. Regional accreditation can also help ensure that your degree is honored by other schools and by prospective employers.

The Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA) has more information about accreditation and about finding accredited schools and programs.

Financial Aid and Scholarships

Online Masters in Mechanical Engineering Financial Aid

If you need help paying for your online mechanical engineering degree program, there are different types of need-based assistance available to qualifying students.

Typical forms of financial assistance include federal and state aid programs or education grants, employer-based tuition assistance programs, need-based and merit-based scholarships, and, of course, student loans.

It’s not uncommon for a need-based financial aid package to rely heavily on student loans, so it’s always helpful to review all financial aid offers carefully. The assistance you qualify for can vary based on demonstrated need, your education level, available federal and state funding, and other factors.

If you plan to seek out need-based assistance, you can submit the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) as a first step.

What Do Mechanical Engineers Do?

Mechanical Engineering Subfields

Mechanical engineering has a broad field of applications, so there are lots of roles that mechanical engineers support across a range of engineering subfields.

Mechanical engineers often work in developing or manufacturing light or heavy machinery. This can include mechanical systems for use in large buildings, power generation equipment, automobiles, and airplanes, among many other mechanical products or systems.

Mechanical engineers can also specialize in specified roles in their industry. Some mechanical engineers specialize in the use of computer-assisted design tools for design, modeling, and simulation work. Others may specialize in materials research and testing or in structural analysis work.

Inspections, testing, and quality control are other important areas of work for some mechanical engineers. A mechanical engineer in a managerial role can help monitor or improve industrial processes or manage design and development work. Mechanical engineering expertise can also be useful when working on a specially trained sales team.

Is Mechanical Engineering Hard?

Mechanical Engineering Work

Mechanical engineering work and its challenges can vary by area of specialization. That said, most mechanical engineering roles require advanced math skills and the application of highly technical concepts, methods, and principles.

Mechanical engineers may also need to apply diagnostic methods and complex analytic calculations on the job. Their analysis work and calculations can involve concepts from advanced math or knowledge of electronics or physics.

Editorial Listing ShortCode:

Part of what can make mechanical engineering both fascinating and challenging is the effort and expertise needed to consider various dynamics at work together. These dynamics can include materials, structures, power systems, and critical physical forces or conditions.

Mechanical engineers need to properly analyze and calculate these various components of mechanical structures and systems in order to achieve safe and reliable outcomes.

Where Do Mechanical Engineers Work?

Mechanical Engineers

Many mechanical engineers work in large manufacturing industries or enterprises. The automotive and aerospace industries are common industrial fields that employ mechanical engineers. Professionals can also work in the emerging industries of robotics and autonomous vehicles.

Mechanical engineers can work on the production of heavy machinery, such as farm or mining equipment, large power generation systems, and heating and cooling systems. Research labs, testing facilities, managerial settings, sales teams, and research universities are other areas where mechanical engineers might find work.

What Can I Do with a Masters in Mechanical Engineering?

A masters degree in mechanical engineering can help you gain the expertise and credentials to pursue a number of career or advancement opportunities in a variety of fields. Your area of specialization may open up additional career paths.

Graduates tend to pursue careers as mechanical engineers, materials engineers, engineering managers, sales Engineers, and industrial engineers.

How Long Does It Take to Get a Masters Degree in Mechanical Engineering?

Masters Degree in Mechanical Engineering

Programs vary by school, and how long it takes to earn your degree can depend on the course requirements and the time it takes to complete any capstone project, if one is required.

A masters degree program typically takes about 2 years. Some programs may allow you to finish in 1 year, though, especially if you study full-time on a regular semester basis or on an accelerated 8 week semester format.

Semester lengths and time to completion can vary by university and program. Some online master’s mechanical engineering programs offer more than one study option or pacing option.

What Is the Difference Between Mechanical Engineering vs. Electrical Engineering?

Mechanical Engineering vs. Electrical Engineering

Mechanical engineering focuses on the study and industrial use of materials and motorized or static mechanical systems.

Some mechanical engineers choose a concentration in electrical engineering domains. Some work alongside electrical engineers by specializing in electrical concepts that might apply to developing digital controls and sensors.

Electrical engineering focuses on electrical components and their use and compatibility within different kinds of electrical systems.

Editorial Listing ShortCode:

Electrical engineers can help with the design of a range of electrical and digital components and control systems for use in other mechanical systems. For example, these components and systems can be used in airplanes and automobiles or in computer and robotic circuitry.

Electrical engineers deal with currents and the design, development, and testing of electrical components. Examples of electrical components include power systems, monitors, consoles, audio systems, and digital or electronic display tools.

What Is the Difference Between Civil vs. Mechanical Engineering?

Civil vs. Mechanical Engineering

Mechanical engineers typically help design, develop, test, and manufacture light and heavy machinery, such as industrial equipment, automobiles, and heating and cooling systems.

Civil engineers, on the other hand, work on large civic infrastructure projects, such as constructing large buildings and planning and building roads, highways, bridges, and dams.

If a civil engineer takes part in designing and overseeing the building of a new drawbridge over a waterway, a mechanical engineer will likely build the machinery used to raise and lower the moveable section of the drawbridge.

What Is the Difference Between Industrial Engineering vs. Mechanical Engineering?

Industrial Engineering vs. Mechanical Engineering

Mechanical engineers build the machines and heavy equipment that may be used in factories and production facilities. On the other hand, industrial engineers specialize in designing and improving industrial production methods and processes.

Industrial engineers focus their work on the inter-related components involved in industrial processes, such as materials, supply chains, work force organization, deployment of capital, and project management tools and methods.

Industrial engineering aims to make industrial processes and related logistical systems work efficiently and harmoniously. The goal is for systems to have minimal waste, optimal performance, production continuity, effective quality controls, and improved economies of scale.

Is a Masters in Mechanical Engineering Worth It?

Masters in Mechanical Engineering

Yes, a masters in mechanical engineering is worth it for many students. The Bureau of Labor Statistics forecasts that positions for mechanical engineers will grow at a 4% rate over the next ten years.

Getting a master’s degree from an accredited university can be a strategic way to complete an intensive professional learning program in a relatively short amount of time. A masters in mechanical engineering can help boost your career prospects and options, especially when paired with professional experience.

If you’re already working in the field, getting a master’s degree can help you move ahead with more confidence in your current role or equip you for new opportunities.

Universities Offering Online Masters in Mechanical Engineering Degree Programs

Methodology: The following school list is in alphabetical order. To be included, a college or university must be regionally accredited and offer degree programs online or in a hybrid format.

Auburn University

Auburn University campus

Auburn University offers an online Master of Science in Mechanical Engineering program. Online students only complete a thesis if they receive special permission from the department.

To graduate, students must complete 30 credit hours from graduate-level classes. To apply, students must have a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering with a minimum 3.0 GPA.

Auburn University is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

Boston University

Boston University campus

Boston University offers an online Master of Science in Mechanical Engineering program. Students may choose to complete either a thesis or finish a project-based practicum. Students may also choose to complete an internship.

To be eligible for the program, students must have a bachelor’s degree and 2 letters of recommendation.

Boston University is accredited by the New England Commission of Higher Education.

Case Western Reserve University

Case Western Reserve University campus

The Case Western Reserve University offers an online Master’s in Mechanical Engineering program. The program consists of 10 courses, with 8 required classes and 3 electives.

To be eligible for the program, students must have a Bachelor of Science in Engineering or display proficiency in calculus, math, and the sciences.

Case Western Reserve University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

Colorado State University

Colorado State University campus

Colorado State University offers a Master of Engineering with a Mechanical Engineering specialization. This online program can typically be completed in 2 years.

To graduate, students must complete 30 credits, with at least 24 credits coming from 500 level or higher courses. To be eligible to apply, students need a bachelor’s degree in engineering and a minimum 3.0 GPA.

Colorado State is accredited by The Higher Learning Commission, a Commission of the North Central Association of Schools and Colleges.

Columbia University

Columbia University campus

Columbia University offers an online Master’s in Mechanical Engineering program. To be eligible for the program, students must have a bachelor’s in mechanical engineering or a related field, a GPA of at least 3.0, and 3 letters of recommendation.

Students must complete 30 credits with a minimum GPA of 2.5 within 5 years of beginning the program to graduate.

Columbia is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.

Georgia Institute of Technology

Georgia Institute of Technology campus

Georgia Institute of Technology offers an online Master of Science in Mechanical Engineering program.

To graduate, students must achieve 30 semester hours and can choose to write a thesis or to proceed without one. Students may transfer up to 6 qualifying semester hours from another institution that were not used towards a different degree.

The Georgia Institute of Technology is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

Johns Hopkins University

Johns Hopkins University campus

John Hopkins University offers a Master of Mechanical Engineering program that can be completed online.

Students must choose one of the five focus areas at the start of the program. Students must complete at least 7 courses to graduate, with 5 courses coming from their focus area of study.

The Johns Hopkins University is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.

Lehigh University

Lehigh University campus

Lehigh University offers an online Master’s in Mechanical Engineering program. There are 4 track options for students to choose from, including completing a thesis, completing a project, applied engineering, and interdisciplinary engineering.

All track options require 30 hours to graduate. Students interested in the program must have completed a bachelor’s degree with a minimum 3.0 GPA.

Lehigh University is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.

Michigan Technological University

michigan technological university campus

Michigan Technological University offers an online Master of Mechanical Engineering program.

Students must choose at least one area of interest from a number of topics, including Lean Manufacturing, Fuel Cells, Intelligent Systems, and more. The program offers three pathways: a thesis option, a report option, or a coursework option. Each pathway requires 30 credits to graduate.

‘Michigan Tech is accredited by The Higher Learning Commission.

North Carolina State University

North Carolina State University campus

North Carolina State University offers an online Master of Science in Mechanical Engineering program.

To graduate, students must achieve 30 credit hours. There is not a thesis option. All credits must be completed within 6 weeks of enrolling. Full-time students can only enroll in 2 courses per semester.

North Carolina State University is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

Pennsylvania State University

Pennsylvania State University campus

Pennsylvania State University offers an online Master of Science in Mechanical Engineering program.

To graduate, students must complete 32 credits with at least 18 of those credits being at the 500 level. Students interested in the program must have a bachelor’s degree and a minimum 3.0 GPA.

Pennsylvania State University is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.

Purdue University

Purdue University campus

Purdue University offers an online Master’s in Mechanical Engineering program. The program can typically be completed in 1 to 4 years.

To graduate, students must achieve 30 credit hours, with at least 15 credit hours from mechanical engineering courses. Applicants are expected to have a bachelor’s degree in engineering or a related field and a GPA of 3.0 or higher.

Purdue University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools.

Stanford University

Stanford University campus

Stanford University offers an online Master of Science in Mechanical Engineering program. Students must complete the 45 unit requirement for graduation within 5 years.

Each quarter, students must apply for a minimum of 8 units to retain their student status. To be eligible for the program, students must have a Bachelor of Science and three letters of recommendation.

Stanford University is accredited by the Accrediting Commission for Senior Colleges and Universities of the Western Association of Schools and Colleges.

Stevens Institute of Technology

Stevens Institute of Technology campus

The Stevens Institute of Technology offers an online Master’s in Mechanical Engineering program.

Students may also choose to take a dual degree program to gain a Master of Business Administration at the same time. Alternatively, students can choose to take one of the seven concentrations offered, including Manufacturing and Product Design.

Stevens Institute of Technology is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.

Texas A and M University

Texas A & M University - Commerce campus

Texas A&M University offers an online Master of Engineering in Mechanical Engineering program.

A total of 30 credits must be completed along with the creation of a portfolio to graduate. The program does not require the completion of a thesis. To be eligible for the program, students must have a Bachelor of Science in a field related to engineering.

Texas A&M University is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

University of Cincinnati

University of Cincinnati campus

The University of Cincinnati offers an online Master of Engineering in Mechanical Engineering.

To be eligible for the program, students must have a bachelor’s degree with a minimum 3.0 GPA and 2 letters of recommendations. To graduate, students must complete 30 credit hours, including one capstone course.

The University of Cincinnati is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

University of Florida

University of Florida campus

The University of Florida offers a Master of Science in Mechanical Engineering. Students may choose to write a thesis, which requires 24 credits to graduate, or not, which requires 30 credits.

The program also allows students to take two 6 credit minors. To obtain these, students must have a minimum 3.0 GPA in those courses.

The University of Florida is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

University of Houston

University of Houston campus

The University of Houston offers an online Masters of Science in Mechanical Engineering program.

The program is designed for students who are interested in working in the energy industry. To graduate from the program, students must complete 30 credit hours with a minimum GPA of 3.0. When applying to the program, students must submit their GRE scores.

The University of Houston is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

University of Idaho

University of Idaho campus

The University of Idaho offers a Master of Engineering in Mechanical Engineering program that can be completed online.

A total of 30 credits with a GPA of 3.0 are required to graduate. Students are required to write and present a technical paper to faculty every spring to show their progress.

The University of Idaho is accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities.

University of Illinois – Urbana Champaign

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign campus

The University of Illinois—Urbana Champaign offers an online Master of Engineering in Mechanical Engineering program.

To graduate, students must complete 32 credit hours. Students may choose one of three tracks, including Controls and Manufacturing, Design, and Energy, or customize their own program with the help of a faculty advisor.

The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

University of Michigan – Dearborn

University of Michigan Dearborn campus

University of Michigan—Dearborn offers an online Master of Science in Engineering in Mechanical Engineering program.

To graduate, students must complete 30 credit hours with a B in all courses. To apply, students must have a Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering or a related field with a minimum 3.0 GPA.

The University of Michigan – Dearborn is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

University of Southern California

University of Southern California campus

The University of Southern California offers an online Master of Science in Mechanical Engineering program.

Students may also choose to do a dual degree and gain their Master of Science in Engineering Management at the same time. A minimum of 27 units are required to graduate with a minimum 3.0 GPA.

The University of Southern California is accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges, the Senior College and University Commission.

University of Washington

University of Washington campus

The University of Washington offers an online Master of Science in Mechanical Engineering program. Distance Learning students may enroll in the program at the start of any quarter.

The program offers three track options: an all-coursework pathway, a project-based pathway, and a thesis-based pathway. A minimum of 42 credits are required to graduate in all pathways.

The University of Washington is accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities.

Villanova University

Villanova University campus

Villanova University offers an online Master of Science in Mechanical Engineering program. To graduate, students must complete 30 credit hours and maintain a B average.

Graduate and research assistants are required to complete a thesis, which requires 6 of the credit hours. Students applying for the program must submit 2 letters of recommendation and their GRE scores.

Villanova University is accredited by The Middle States Commission on Higher Education.

Worcester Polytechnic Institute

Worcester Polytechnic Institute campus

Worcester Polytechnic Institute offers an online Masters of Mechanical Engineering program. The program is a non-thesis degree that typically takes 2 years to complete

Students must complete 30 credit hours to graduate. Courses can last 7, 10, or 14 weeks depending on the class. To apply for the program, students must have a relevant bachelor’s degree.

WPI is accredited by the New England Commission of Higher Education.

Getting Your Masters in Mechanical Engineering Online

Masters in Mechanical Engineering Online

Skilled mechanical engineers perform critical development, design, testing, and production work in many fields. The broad field of mechanical engineering can offer a wide range of challenging job roles in industries as diverse as avionics and robotics.

Getting a Master of Science in Mechanical Engineering can be a strategic move to help you advance in your career and qualify for higher earnings. There are many accredited online programs being offered today that can help you earn your graduate degree according to your own pace.

If you’re interested in earning a masters in mechanical engineering, now may be the time to discover which accredited program option best fits your personal schedule and career goals.

Ready to start your journey?
Keith Nickolaus
WRITTEN BY
Keith Nickolaus
Keith has a Ph.D. and a M.A. in Comparative Literature from the University of California - Berkeley and a B.A. in Literature from the University of California - Santa Cruz. A retired educator, Keith lives in Berkeley and researches and writes about trends in education leadership, innovation, and policy.