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

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 $96,310. While employers do not often 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

Master’s degrees in mechanical engineering are typically offered as a Master of Engineering (MEng) in mechanical engineering. However, some schools provide a Master of Science (MS) in mechanical engineering. While the programs share similar topics, the former emphasizes more practical industry applications while the latter is more research-focused.

Also, many programs allow you to select a concentration and focus your studies on a particular niche in this field, such as manufacturing, robotics, or thermofluids. If you already know what you would like to do after you graduate, look for programs that closely match these specific career goals.

Research schools and programs

You should only apply to institutions that have been approved by a DOE-recognized regional accrediting organization, such as the New England Commission of Higher Education or Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities. These organizations evaluate schools to ensure they provide students with a high-quality education. Those who attend a school that isn’t regionally accredited may be unable to access financial aid or transfer credits to another institution if needed.

You should also look for programmatic accreditation from the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET), as this is essential for professional engineering licensure.

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

  • 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?

To learn more about any schools that you’re interested in, you can visit the school’s website, contact an admissions counselor, follow the school on social media, or attend an in-person or virtual open house.

Prepare for tests and applications

Application requirements vary by school and program. Online master’s in mechanical engineering programs usually require interested students to have a bachelor’s degree in a related field and a minimum GPA of 3.0, so you’ll need to send transcripts. 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. Before submitting an application, always contact an admissions counselor to ensure you have the most accurate information regarding requirements and deadlines.

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

Also, 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.

Before making your final decision, review your needs and goals again. Do you plan to attend school full-time or part-time? Are you only interested in 100% online programs, or are you fine with a hybrid program that has a few in-person requirements? Some programs offer asynchronous courses, which can be completed at your own pace, while others only offer synchronous courses, which involve remotely attending lectures and completing assignments at the same time as other students — which of these two online learning formats do you prefer? Your school should accommodate your scheduling needs and learning preferences.

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. You should also complete the FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) to ascertain your federal loans and grants eligibility.

Working engineers should 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

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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) options. 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 postsecondary 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 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. Full-time students can graduate within two years, while 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 the 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 about metals, ceramics, paper, and 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.

What Can You Do With an Online Master’s in Mechanical Engineering?

Career outlook

Mechanical engineers play a vital role in designing and developing new technologies, improving existing systems, and contributing to advancements that impact society at large. The integration of new materials, automation, and renewable energy sources also creates opportunities for mechanical engineers to lead in sustainable and environmentally conscious initiatives.

Earning an online master’s degree in mechanical engineering opens doors to a spectrum of rewarding career paths. Here are some potential options to consider:

  • Mechanical engineer — Design new mechanical and thermal devices, oversee the manufacturing process of such devices, and investigate equipment failures.
    • Median annual salary: $96,310
    • Projected employment growth (through 2032): 10%
    • New job openings projected: 19,200 annually
  • Aerospace engineer — Develop and test aircraft, spacecraft, satellites, and missiles.
    • Median annual salary: $126,880
    • Projected employment growth (through 2032): 6%
    • New job openings projected: 3,800 annually
  • Environmental engineer — Develop and test technology for dealing with environmental issues, such as pollution and global warming.
    • Median annual salary: $96,530
    • Projected employment growth (through 2032): 6%
    • New job openings projected: 3,400 annually

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 cost of graduate school tuition is $20,513 per year. Private schools are usually more expensive than public schools, and most public schools charge out-of-state students a higher tuition rate than in-state students.

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.

Is an online master's in mechanical engineering worth it?

Pursuing an online master’s degree in mechanical engineering offers numerous advantages and the potential for a fulfilling career. This advanced degree equips you with specialized knowledge, technical expertise, and problem-solving skills that are highly sought after in various industries.

One of the key benefits of earning a master’s in mechanical engineering is the potential for increased earnings. Graduates with this degree often qualify for higher-paying positions and leadership roles.

An online master’s in mechanical engineering prepares you to contribute to innovative projects and technological advancements. With expertise in areas such as product design, energy systems, and automation, you can drive sustainable solutions, improve manufacturing processes, and shape the future of engineering.

Online master’s programs in mechanical engineering provide flexibility, allowing you to balance your studies with work or personal commitments. Virtual learning platforms offer access to cutting-edge tools, software, and simulations, enabling you to enhance your skills and knowledge from anywhere.

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