Discover More Programs

A master’s degree in mechanical engineering guides students toward advanced machinery-related positions. According to recent Bureau of Labor Statistics data, mechanical engineers earn an average annual salary of $95,300. While employers do not require mechanical engineering professionals to possess a graduate degree, a master’s in mechanical engineering advances one’s earning potential and increases qualifications for leadership positions.Most online programs for a master’s degree in mechanical engineering require 30 credit hours to graduate (or ten classes). Full-time attendees can graduate within two years. The total tuition for these programs ranges from $14,000 to $48,000, depending on whether an institution is private or public.

How to Choose an Online Master’s in Mechanical Engineering Program

Choose your area of study

Mechanical engineers pursuing a graduate credential choose concentrations that align with their long-term career goals. To help you select a focused area of study, you may wish to gain some professional experience with various industry specialties. Standard concentrations for these master’s programs include manufacturing, robotics, and thermofluids.

Master’s degrees in mechanical engineering typically fall under a Master of Engineering in Mechanical Engineering degree. However, some schools provide a Master of Science in Mechanical Engineering. While the programs share similar topics, the former emphasizes more practical industry applications while the latter is more research-focused.

Research schools and programs

Students enrolled in online master’s programs for mechanical engineering should receive the same academic standards and professional preparation as a traditional in-person degree. To ensure the qualifications for each program, confirm that the degree is accredited by ABET (Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology) accredited. ABET is the top certification for the engineering field. Plus, coursework from an ABET-accredited program is essential for professional licensure and continuing education credits.

Beyond accreditation, online students should seek answers to the following program questions:

  • Is coursework delivered asynchronously, or will you attend real-time remote classroom spaces with fellow students?
  • Will you have access to tutoring, mental health services, career counseling, library resources, technical support, and other student-related services?
  • How is practical application facilitated? Do students participate in an internship?
  • Does the program require a thesis to graduate?

Consider your learning style and lifestyle needs, and find a program that integrates with your current responsibilities. Use the program website to find answers to your questions, attend virtual open houses for more in-depth information, or contact an admissions counselor.

Prepare for tests and applications

Online degrees for a master’s in mechanical engineering require interested students to have a bachelor’s degree in a related field and a minimum GPA of 3.0. Most programs also request GRE (Graduate Record Examination) scores; if you struggle with standardized testing, you may opt to enroll in a class to help you prepare.

In addition, prospective students should ask current college professors or professional supervisors for letters of recommendation. Most applications also mandate a personal statement and resume. Check your school’s submission deadlines and prepare your materials accordingly.

Select your program

Once you’ve researched each program and narrowed down those that meet your academic and professional goals, consider the following factors as well:

  • Cost
  • Availability of scholarships
  • Competitiveness
  • Investment in building an online community
  • Faculty-to-student ratio
  • Professional development opportunities

Finally, consider which programs you’ve most enjoyed researching or for which you had the most positive experience speaking with admissions staff. You should choose a degree that makes you feel welcome and excited.

Determine how you’ll pay for your degree

Meet with your program’s financial aid office to discuss strategies for paying tuition. The people there may be able to direct you toward school-affiliated or private scholarships for which you qualify, potential grants, military discounts, and other tuition assistance programs. You should also complete the FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) to ascertain your federal loans and grants eligibility.

Working engineers might also speak with their employers about their graduate school aspirations. Employers can direct them toward employee tuition benefits if offered.

Best 50 Accredited Online Master’s in Mechanical Engineering Programs

Best Online Master's in Mechanical Engineering Degree Programs

Georgia Tech Professional Education

Purdue University College of Engineering

Johns Hopkins Engineering for Professionals

Penn State World Campus

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

University of California Los Angeles

University of Michigan

Texas A&M University College of Engineering

Stanford University

USC Viterbi School of Engineering

University of Florida

Auburn University

Columbia University Engineering

Lehigh University

NC State University

UVA Engineering

UW Department of Mechanical Engineering

Missouri University of Science and Technology

Worcester Polytechnic University

Michigan Technological University

Colorado State University

University of Houston

Case School of Engineering

University of Central Florida

Michigan State University

University of Cincinnati

University of Arizona

Villanova University

Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute

Iowa State University Engineering

University of Idaho

Kansas State University

The University of Texas at Austin

University of Michigan at Dearborn

Texas Tech University

University of South Carolina

University of Alabama

Stevens Institute of Technology

University of California at Riverside

University of North Dakota

Mississippi State University

Virginia Commonwealth University

Discover More Options

How We Rank Schools

We focused our research on evaluating the top master’s in mechanical engineering degrees. This list includes Master of Science (MS) and Master of Engineering (MEng) degrees. Both types of degrees give students in-depth training in advanced mechanical engineering skills.

We concentrated on programs that are delivered online to ensure maximum flexibility for working students. Many programs also have on-campus counterparts, and some give students the option to complete their degrees with a combination of online and in-person classes.

The programs listed are all offered by regionally accredited schools, guaranteeing they meet high-quality standards for post-secondary education. ABET also accredits many of these programs.

We reviewed each program for flexibility, cost, outcomes, reputation, and faculty. We then calculated an Intelligent Score on a scale of 0 to 100 for each program. For a more extensive explanation, check out our ranking methodology.

What Can You Expect from an Online Master’s in Mechanical Engineering Program?

Mechanical engineers work across various industries, including automotive, aerospace, construction, defense, and electronics. Master’s students build on the principles learned during their undergraduate study, then further specialize in their chosen field. Attendees develop the leadership and big-picture skills that advanced positions in engineering demand.

On average, an online master’s in mechanical engineering requires 30 credit hours, including core coursework, electives, and a thesis or similar capstone project. Depending on whether you attend full-time or part-time, most students can graduate in less than two years. Part-time students may need three years or more.

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

  • Thermodynamics of Materials. This course focuses on thermodynamics fundamentals. Students develop an advanced understanding of entropy, enthalpy, and free energy principles.
  • Properties and Processing of Electronic Materials. Students focus on electronic principles and processes behind materials’ processing, structure, and property relationships. Coursework emphasizes metals and alloys, insulators, and semiconductors.
  • Environmental Issues in Manufacturing and Product Use. Participants discuss environmental, regulatory, and economic factors related to a product’s lifecycle. Students learn through specific case studies using metals, ceramics, paper, or polymers.
  • Mechanical Behavior and Strengthening Mechanisms. This course covers dislocation theory with particular emphasis on crystalline defects, movement of dislocations, and dislocation arrays and crystal boundaries.

Online Master’s Degree in Mechanical Engineering Frequently Asked Questions

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

First, review the application materials requested through the program’s website. Then, contact an admissions counselor with any questions regarding the application process and deadlines. Some mechanical engineering programs operate on a rolling basis, but many adhere to strict start dates and limited cohort sizes. Prepare your application packet well before submission deadlines. Some of the more common application materials for an online mechanical engineering master’s degree include:

  • A statement of intent
  • Official copies of undergraduate transcripts
  • A resume
  • Letters of recommendation
  • GRE test scores
  • An application fee
  • A completed graduate school application form

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

According to the National Center for Education Statistics, the average graduate tuition for the 20-21 school year was $19,749. This figure varies based on whether an institution is public or private and an applicant’s residency. Public schools are typically more affordable, and in-state students almost always pay less tuition. The average tuition for a master’s in mechanical engineering is closer to $31,000. Engineering and other science degrees tend to be more expensive because of the specialized nature of the equipment and faculty expertise.

Besides tuition, indirect program costs include books, software, online course technology fees, and remote learning expenses (including computer equipment and reliable internet service).

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

Most online master’s in mechanical engineering degrees require 30 credits (roughly ten classes). As such, full-time attendees can feasibly graduate in less than two years. However, many engineering professionals continue to work alongside their studies, so they may instead opt to attend part-time. If pursuing coursework part-time, at just one or two classes each semester, students may graduate in three years. Most programs do require students to graduate within five years.