Find your offline mechanical-engineering program in minutes!

Most schools have rolling admissions and financial help so you can start your degree in a few weeks!

For engineers aspiring to ascend into management roles and lead the development of innovative technology, a master’s in mechanical engineering offers the advanced technical skills and knowledge needed to level up. This degree provides career opportunities in engineering management, where the median salary in 2022 was $159,920, and the top 10% earned over $221,550. In addition, it also provides professionals with the necessary skills to tackle complex engineering challenges across industries.

Often completed in just 18 months to two years, these graduate programs require an average investment of $19,749 in tuition fees — although this figure can vary significantly depending on the institution you attend.

How to Choose a Master’s in Mechanical Engineering Program

Choose your area of study

While mechanical engineering is already a specialized field, you can further tailor your education to your future career by choosing an area of study — frequently called a specialization.

For instance, a student passionate about sustainable technology might focus on renewable energy systems, while someone interested in robotics could specialize in automation and control systems. Likewise, future automotive engineers could benefit from specializing in automotive engineering — adequately preparing themselves with the necessary skills to be successful in their specific field.

Research schools and programs

Now that you’ve decided on a specialization, you can research schools and programs that best support your career goals. Consider asking the following questions to help guide your research:

  • What are the faculty’s research interests and experience?
  • What opportunities for hands-on projects, internships, and industry partnerships exist?
  • How does the program’s network and reputation align with my career goals?

Connecting with an admissions counselor during this phase is invaluable. They can offer insights into program specifics, answer questions, and guide you through the admissions process — ensuring you make an informed choice about your educational future.

Prepare for tests and applications

Once you’ve shortlisted your preferred schools, preparation becomes critical. Creating a timeline is crucial, as it can help you manage test and application deadlines. Some application materials, such as transcripts and letters of recommendation, are infamous for taking longer to gather. Start collecting these at least two to three months in advance to avoid any last-minute stress.

Then, turn your focus to writing your personal statement. While this part of the application is daunting to many, you can simplify your drafting process by illustrating your enthusiasm for mechanical engineering, detailing your career goals, and sharing why you’re a good fit for each program.

If any of your programs require standardized test scores, be sure to enroll in a test prep program well in advance — ideally, several months before the test date, to ensure ample preparation time.

Select your program

When acceptance letters arrive, you may have a big decision to make. Take a moment to revisit your initial research, prioritizing factors like curriculum relevance, faculty you’re excited to learn from, and the strength of the alumni network. It’s essential to weigh these academic and professional considerations against the total cost of tuition, including available financial aid and scholarships.

Ultimately, choosing your program will be a personal decision, but selecting the one that aligns best with your educational and career goals while offering a viable financial path will set you up for success.

Determine how you’ll pay for your degree

For many students, financing a graduate degree can initially feel intimidating. Fortunately, there are many financial aid resources available to help.

Start with scholarships and grants, which do not require repayment, making them the most desirable option. Next, consider assistantships, which often offer a tuition waiver or a stipend in exchange for teaching or research duties. If applicable, ask your employer about tuition reimbursement programs, especially if your studies align with your current job.

Federal loans should be considered as a means to cover the remaining gaps. While they’re preferable to private loans for their lower interest rates and flexible repayment plans, avoid relying too heavily on these. It’s important to remember that every dollar you take out on a loan will eventually have to be repaid with interest.

Best 50 Accredited Master’s in Mechanical Engineering Programs

Best Master's in Mechanical Engineering Degree Programs_2024 badge
Intelligent Pick
Drexel University
Best Faculty
Michigan Technological University
Best Job Placement Rate
University of Idaho
Best in the Southwest
The University of New Mexico - Mechanical Engineering
Best in the Midwest
University of Wisconsin-Madison
Best Advisors
Georgia Institute of Technology
Best Online Program
Purdue University
Best Private Institution
Case Western Reserve University
Most Customizable Program
University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign
Best Laboratory Facilities
Lehigh University
Most Flexible Admissions
NC State University
Best for Thermal and Fluid Sciences
University of Southern California
Best Non-Thesis Option
Boston University
Best in the Northeast
Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
Best Part-Time Program
Stanford University
Best in the South
Texas A&M University Engineering
Best Thesis Option
University of Michigan-Dearborn
Best Fellowships
The University of Texas at Austin
Best in the Northwest
University of Washington
Best Electives
California Institute of Technology
Best for Student Employment
Colorado State University
Best for Pharmaceutical Manufacturing
Stevens Institute of Technology
Best for Design and System Reliability
University of Maryland
Best for Biomechanical Engineering
Worcester Polytechnic Institute
Best Public Institution
Washington State University
Best Accelerated Program
Arizona State University
Best Exchange Program
Auburn University
Most Affordable Program
University at Buffalo
Best Full-Time Program
Clemson University
Best for Research Opportunities
University of Colorado Boulder
Best for Solid Mechanics and Materials
Cornell University
Best for Intelligent Systems and Machines
Duke University
Best Alumni Network
Iowa State University - Mechanical Engineering
Best for Interdisciplinary Approach
Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering- Missouri S&T
Best Catholic Institution
University of Notre Dame
Best for Simulation-driven Engineering
Northwestern University
Best for PhD Path
The Ohio State University
Best Residential Program
Rice University
Best for Plasma Physics
University of Rochester
Best for Co-op Education
University of Cincinnati
Best BS to MS Track
University of Central Florida
Best for Clean Energy
University of Delaware
Best for Applied Mathematics
Washington University in St. Louis - Mechanical Engineering & Materials Science
Best for Project Experiences
Carnegie Mellon University
Best for Automotive Engineering
Florida Institute of Technology

Discover More Options

How we rank schools

This list covers graduate programs in mechanical engineering. Students learn advanced engineering concepts such as optimization, systems design, and engineering management. The degree options include Master of Engineering (MEng) in mechanical engineering as well as Master of Science (MS) in mechanical engineering. Programs are taught online, on-campus, and in hybrid learning formats.

Accreditation is given to programs that prepare graduates for leadership roles in mechanical engineering. All of the postsecondary institutions on this list are approved by a DOE-recognized regional accrediting organization, such as the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC) and the New England Commission of Higher Education (NECHE). Some of these options also have programmatic accreditation from the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET).

We evaluated each program on the basis of flexibility, faculty, course strength, cost, and reputation. Then, we calculated the Intelligent Score for each program on a scale from 0 to 100. For a more extensive explanation, check out Our Ranking Methodology.

What Can You Expect From a Master’s in Mechanical Engineering Program?

This graduate program provides students with the necessary knowledge and skills in mechanical engineering principles and application to succeed in this field. In approximately 18 months to two years, students delve into thermodynamics, fluid mechanics, materials science, and mechanical systems design.

Curriculums often include core courses, specialized electives catering to students’ interests (such as robotics, renewable energy systems, and automotive engineering), and a significant research component like a thesis or capstone project. This project allows students to apply their knowledge to solve real-world engineering problems, demonstrating their understanding of the subject.

Potential courses you’ll take in a master’s in mechanical engineering program

  • Mechanical Systems Design: This course teaches the advanced design of mechanical systems, including the integration of mechanical components, materials selection, and the application of design software. Learners work on projects that require them to solve complex engineering problems, emphasizing innovation, sustainability, and efficiency.
  • Materials Engineering: This course offers an in-depth look at materials science and its applications in mechanical engineering. It covers the properties, selection, and processing of materials used in engineering. Students learn how materials behave under different conditions and how to choose the right material for specific applications, such as aerospace or biomedical devices.
  • Fluid Dynamics: This course focuses on the behavior of fluids in motion and at rest and covers the fundamental equations governing fluid flow. Learners explore topics like laminar and turbulent flow, flow through pipes, and computational fluid dynamics, applying these concepts to design and optimize systems like turbines and HVAC systems.
  • Advanced Thermodynamics: This course delves into the principles and applications of thermodynamics in engineering. Students learn about energy systems, phase equilibrium, and the behavior of real gasses, improving their ability to analyze and design energy-efficient mechanical systems.

Master’s in Mechanical Engineering Degree Frequently Asked Questions

How do I apply to a master's in mechanical engineering degree program?

To apply for these programs, you’ll need to navigate through a detailed application process designed to assess your readiness for graduate-level coursework. Admissions requirements may vary depending on the institution, but many programs share similar criteria:

  • Bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering or a related field
  • Official transcripts from all previously attended institutions
  • GRE scores, although some programs may offer waivers under certain circumstances
  • Letters of recommendation
  • Statement of purpose
  • Resume or CV

Don’t hesitate to contact an admissions counselor before applying. They can provide personalized guidance on strengthening your application and clarify program-specific requirements.

How much does a master's in mechanical engineering degree cost?

For the 2020-2021 academic year, the average cost of graduate education was $19,749 — however, this figure can vary substantially depending on the institution. It’s also important to consider expenses not often included in the tuition price, such as textbooks, course materials, and potentially commuting and housing expenses. These extra costs can add up over time, significantly impacting the financial commitment required to complete your degree.

For these reasons, thorough financial planning is essential. Be sure to contact a financial aid counselor at the schools you’re considering to find out if any scholarships or institutional grants may be available for you.

How long does it take to earn a master's in mechanical engineering degree?

Earning this degree takes 18 months to two years for full-time students, while part-time students take three to four years to complete the same degree. This is mainly due to a reduced course load per semester, allowing part-time students to balance their education more easily with personal or professional commitments.

The total number of required credits also influences program length, with more extensive credit requirements extending the duration. Most programs range from 30 to 36 credits, but some may require as many as 54.