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Engineering Master’s Degrees: Best Programs, Jobs, and Salaries

Farah Abdullah - November 04, 2021


Engineering is a dynamic field with many career options for engineering majors. A Master’s Degree in Engineering will enhance your opportunities for professional growth. You can get into chemical engineering , aerospace engineering, biomedical engineering, mechanical engineering, and many other engineering fields by joining related graduate programs and earning a degree.

Below is a comprehensive guide for navigating engineering advanced degrees. These top universities offer excellent programs that help engineers to deepen their engineering knowledge and gain practical skills. As a graduate student, you can do research in your field of study, enter the job market, or advance to doctoral studies.

What Is Engineering?

Engineering is the application of engineering sciences and principles to design engines, machines, devices, buildings, and other mechanics. Engineers solve problems and build solutions using science and mathematics.

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What Is an Engineering Master’s Degree?

An engineering master’s degree consists of graduate courses in engineering sciences. Interdisciplinary degrees offer some courses in other fields like business, architecture, and arts. Engineering programs have a curriculum covering mathematical concepts and fundamental science. These programs also focus on practical learning relevant to a career in engineering.

You can earn a Master of Science or Engineering degree. Many programs available are completely online or hybrid with some coursework requirements on campus. You can learn electrical engineering , civil engineering, environmental engineering, automobile engineering, computer engineering, industrial engineering, and financial engineering.

Engineering Master’s Degree Requirements

The academic requirement for most master’s degree programs is an undergraduate degree in an engineering-related field and a GRE/GMAT score. In some programs, prospective students must secure a supervisor to be admitted into a research-based or thesis program. The degree requirement for some programs is also a high GPA and letters of recommendation.

How Much Does an Engineering Master’s Degree Cost?

According to the National Center for Education Statistics, the average cost of tuition for a master’s degree program at public universities is $12,171. With additional required fees, it can cost up to $19,314. At private universities, the total costs are an average of $25,929.

Engineering Master’s Degree Financing Options: How to Pay for Your Engineering Degree

Most engineering students take advantage of research assistantships, teaching assistantships, and fellowship opportunities to finance their studies. GEM Fellowships support qualified students in engineering and applied sciences. Federal financial aid and scholarships are also available for engineering professionals.

Best Engineering Master’s Degree Programs and Schools: Overview

School Program Accreditation
Brown University Master of Science in Data-Enabled Computational Engineering and Science New England Commission of Higher Education
Johns Hopkins University Master of Science in Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering Middle States Commission on Higher Education
Johns Hopkins University Master of Science in Information Systems Engineering Middle States Commission on Higher Education
Rice University Master of Industrial Engineering Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges
Texas Tech University Interdisciplinary Master of Science in Energy Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges
University of California Master of Development Engineering WASC Senior College and University Commission
University of Florida Master of Science in Electrical and Computer Engineering Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges
University of Minnesota Master of Engineering in Civil Engineering and Geological Engineering Higher Learning Commission
University of Notre Dame Master of Science in Engineering, Science and Technology Entrepreneurship Higher Learning Commission
University of Texas at Austin Master of Science in Engineering Mechanics Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges

Best Colleges for Engineering: Top Engineering Master’s Degree Programs

If you have a specific career goal in mind for your professional career, you can get a Master’s in Engineering in that field. Below are the top on-campus programs that will help you get the right engineering skills and experience.

Master of Science in Data-Enabled Computational Engineering and Science | Brown University

This program teaches you about data-enabled computational engineering. Students take two courses from the areas of engineering, applied mathematics, and data science. They also take additional courses for a minimum of eight courses in two semesters or four semesters. Students learn in state-of-the-art facilities taught by highly professional faculty.

Master of Science in Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering | Johns Hopkins University

This program is ideal for those who want to solve complex engineering problems. Students learn about chemical engineering, biotechnology, and nanotechnology. They learn to use mathematical tools and leadership skills. Johns Hopkins University’s engineering graduate degree has a carefully designed curriculum and experienced faculty that teach it.

Master of Science in Information Systems Engineering | Johns Hopkins University

This is an intensive graduate-level program designed to help students stand out in an IT career. The curriculum teaches students skills that are valuable in real-world scenarios. Topics covered include information systems, networks, security, systems analysis, and project management. You can opt out of some courses by passing proficiency exams in information systems engineering.

Master of Industrial Engineering | Rice University

This is a non-thesis program for professionals to learn to apply decision models. They earn the technical skills to build solutions for real-world complex problems. Rice allows undergraduate students to add one more year to their learning journey to earn a combined master’s degree. The curriculum requires students to complete a capstone course and a one-semester residency.

Interdisciplinary Master of Science in Energy | Texas Tech University

This is a unique program of interdisciplinary fields. Students learn concepts and skills from business, renewable energies, and law. Texas Tech has designed hybrid courses to make sure students get the flexibility to focus on their studies. The graduate school also offers distinguished assistantships to support high-quality students.

Master of Development Engineering | University of California, Berkeley

This program prepares STEM professionals to solve societal challenges. During their education, they follow four learning areas: data analytics for social impact, energy and water systems and the environment, sustainable design innovations, and healthcare transformations. They learn qualitative and quantitative methods, technological applications, and professional skills.

Master of Science in Electrical and Computer Engineering | University of Florida

The curriculum lets students choose between program, departmental, and college of engineering courses. Topics covered include computer engineering, electronics, electrical systems, signals, and electromagnetics. Graduates can also pursue a doctoral degree if they fulfill the requirements and can pass the PhD examination in their first year of doctoral studies.

Master of Engineering | University of Minnesota

This graduate degree teaches professionals to bring innovation in civil, geological, and environmental engineering . Students do research that can reduce the impact of challenges faced by society. There are six areas of focus: environmental, geomechanics, structures, transportation, water resources, and pioneering discoveries. This is a research-based program.

Master of Science in Engineering, Science and Technology Entrepreneurship | University of Notre Dame

This is an 11-month program focused on students taking action by completing a capstone project. Students get support to build an entrepreneurship venture and commercialization plan during the project. The program aims to split courses equally between technical skills and business skills.

Master of Science in Engineering Mechanics | University of Texas at Austin

This program focuses on building creative and innovative technical solutions in applications of engineering mechanics. Students either do thesis research work that is supervised or complete coursework of 30 credit hours. Graduates can apply for PhD candidacy if they pass the written and oral qualifying exams.

Best Online Engineering Master’s Degree Programs and Schools: Overview

School Program Accreditation
North Carolina State University Master of Biological and Agricultural Engineering Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges
Ohio State University Master of Global Engineering Leadership North Central Association of Colleges and Schools
Pennsylvania State University Master of Engineering in Acoustics Middle States Commission on Higher Education
Pennsylvania State University Master of Engineering in Nuclear Engineering Middle States Commission on Higher Education
Purdue University Master of Science in Civil Engineering North Central Association of Colleges and Schools
University of Michigan Master of Engineering in Automotive Engineering Higher Learning Commission
University of Michigan Master of Engineering in Systems Engineering and Design Higher Learning Commission
University of Southern California Master of Science in Cyber Security Engineering Western Association of Schools and Colleges, the Senior College and University Commission
Virginia Tech Master of Science in Aerospace Engineering Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges
Virginia Tech Master of Science in Ocean Engineering Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges

Best Colleges for Engineering: Top Online Engineering Master’s Degree Programs

Some of the best schools for Master’s Degrees in Engineering offer programs that are available in an online learning format. The same faculty as on-campus studies teach these online courses with curricula designed to meet industry standards.

Master of Biological and Agricultural Engineering | North Carolina State University

This is a program with a specialization in environmental engineering and bioprocess engineering. Students can learn at their own pace or complete the program in as little as three semesters. NC State offers various programs for agriculture and engineering, business, and education.

Master of Global Engineering Leadership | Ohio State University

This program allows you to learn management skills along with technical skills. Engineers learn to grow as business leaders through six core courses and four elective courses. Five technical tracks for specialization are available, but students can customize their own track.

The curriculum includes courses in leadership, financial and managerial accounting, innovation management, project management, business-government relationship leading to an integrated capstone project.

Master of Engineering in Acoustics | Pennsylvania State University

This program makes it possible for professionals to blend engineering, sciences, and art. If you want to combine engineering with creativity, this is a great program to follow. Graduates learn to apply acoustics for audio devices, underwater, rooms, and medical diagnostics.

Master of Engineering in Nuclear Engineering | Pennsylvania State University

This program allows students to learn about nuclear engineering in a flexible style. This is a growing field with increasing real-world demands. The use of nuclear power plants is expected to grow as well. Graduates of this program can get jobs in laboratories, electrical companies, and power factories.

Master of Science in Civil Engineering | Purdue University

The curriculum of this program includes statistics, applied math, and civil engineering courses, as well as technical electives in engineering, mathematics, and science. There are three tracks to follow for learners interested in other engineering fields: Sustainable water, infrastructure, resiliency and sustainability, and smart mobility.

Master of Engineering in Automotive Engineering | University of Michigan

In this program, students take 10 courses to learn about automotive engineering and gain practical skills. They go through the fundamentals of engineering, product development, collaboration, and also learn about interdisciplinary fields. The University of Michigan has designed its education to suit modern-day applications.

Master of Engineering in Systems Engineering and Design | University of Michigan

This program addresses the need across all fields for systems engineers who can create complex products and design solutions for modern problems. This program also prepares students for the Associate Systems Engineering Professional certification. The curriculum covers courses in applied engineering, management, and product designing.

Master of Science in Cyber Security Engineering | University of Southern California

This degree is useful for professionals who deal with information systems, security, and computer networks. They learn to apply cryptography and security principles to engineer secure systems and applications. The curriculum involves hands-on training and extensive lab work. Graduates of this program can create organizational security standards and policies.

Master of Science in Aerospace Engineering | Virginia Tech

This program teaches aerospace principles, flight mechanics, aerodynamics, and engineering applications. The course is usually completed in two years with weekly live meetings and recorded lectures. Virginia Tech is a public university that supports professionals with a military background and provides educational benefits through the Office of Veterans Services.

Master of Science in Ocean Engineering | Virginia Tech

This is a Naval Engineering program where engineers design naval ships, follow a track with thesis or non-thesis and complete an oral exam at the end of the program. Virginia Tech offers online programs with both synchronous and asynchronous learning components.

What’s the Average Engineering Master’s Degree Salary?

Engineering students in a chemistry lab. Engineering Master's Degrees
Engineering students get hands-on training and learn through rigorous practical experience.

According to Payscale, the average salary for engineers with a master’s degree is $93,000 per year. Engineers in diverse fields earn more than the average salary of other professions. They also can expect to get higher wages with experience.

Top Engineering Master’s Degree Jobs and Salaries: Overview

Engineering Master’s Degree Jobs Average Salary
Engineering Manager $149,530
Natural Sciences Manager $137,940
Nuclear Engineer $116,140
Atmospheric Scientist $99,740
Biochemist $94,270
Geoscientist $93,580
Biomedical Engineer $92,620
Hydrologist $84,040
Environmental Scientist $73,230
Landscape Architect $70,630

Best Engineering Master’s Degree Jobs Explained

Engineering Manager

Engineering managers supervise activities in engineering departments and companies. Engineering managers propose budgets, manage research work, supervise and coordinate teams, and lead engineering projects. A project management degree or certification will benefit job prospects.

Natural Sciences Manager

Natural sciences managers oversee the work of scientists from natural sciences. They submit business proposals for scientific research and ventures. They also manage teams, communicate research work, monitor projects, and manage budgets.

Nuclear Engineer

Nuclear engineers conduct research on nuclear energy, develop nuclear systems and equipment, and perform experiments with nuclear material. They may work with radioactive materials in power plants. They are trained to take preventive measures with nuclear material and handle emergencies.

Atmospheric Scientist

Atmospheric scientists are knowledgeable about the atmosphere. They make weather forecasts, study the climate, and collect atmospheric data for analysis. They prepare reports, warn of threats, model graphics, and solve problems on special threats.

Biochemist

Biochemists study the chemical properties of living things. A large part of the job is reliant on experimentation. They assess the impact of organisms and factors on a molecular or cellular level. They work in pharmaceuticals, laboratories, and institutions with research work. They have good reporting skills and must be meticulous in their work.

Geoscientist

Geoscientists explore the physical aspects of the Earth and natural resources on sites. Part of their work is done outdoors as they assess the geological features, collect samples, and perform physical tests. They study soil and rocks to compare the impact of changes.

Biomedical Engineer

Biomedical engineers apply their knowledge in engineering to advance medicine and develop technological applications. Their work involves research and designing devices, instruments, or medical equipment.

Hydrologist

Hydrologists study the distribution, movement, and flow of river water, groundwater, and water under the soil. Their work is important to understand climate changes, floods, and threats to the natural water cycle. They study the impact of other weather factors on different levels of water.

Environmental Scientist

Environmental scientists specialize in research related to the environment. They dedicate their skills to collecting and analyzing data and designing solutions for environmental challenges.

They work with climate change, health and safety, restorations, ecology, chemistry, and regulations related to the environment. They must have excellent research skills and communication skills to inspire and support their ideas.

Landscape Architect

Landscape architects create design plans for outdoor spaces like buildings, commercial places, public use parks, and private residences. They make assessments, identify specifications, and estimate costs. A large part of their job is to communicate with clients to understand the needs and requirements for the designs.

Benefits of an Engineering Master’s Degree

  • Focused curriculum. You can focus on one particular area in your field. And continue to research or work in that specific industry. You will have advanced skills and a better portfolio than other candidates.
  • Work alongside studies. Master’s programs, especially course-based degrees, allow you to continue working while earning your degree. Classes can be in the evening and online.
  • Expert faculty. Faculty members lead their own labs, publish research work frequently, hold patents and have industry connections.
  • Career resources. University provides numerous networking opportunities, company information sessions, workshops, and advising for career building.
  • Access to databases. As a student, you have access to library databases, engineering magazines, IEEE articles, conferences, and alumni projects.

Should You Get a Master’s Degree in Engineering?

The benefits of pursuing a graduate degree depend on your goals. If you want to advance towards a doctoral program, getting a master’s degree is the way to achieve that goal. If you want to be ready for the growing engineering workforce, you will stand out from the many engineers with a graduate degree.

Getting a Master’s Degree in Engineering is a smart move because of the many opportunities for engineers. In addition to the top campus programs, online master’s programs also provide real-world knowledge to continue working while studying. It will give you the skills to unleash your potential and be ready for the workforce.

Engineering Master’s Degree FAQ

What can I do after a Master’s in Engineering?

Engineering graduates can start a PhD program, work in a wide range of industries, join startups, or do consulting work. Job placement is great with opportunities in all kinds of jobs and there is a growing demand.

Do you get paid while getting a master’s?

Master’s students can get hired as research or teaching assistants. They often get research funds to support their thesis or research. If you get a job that supports learning ventures, you might get some tuition reimbursement.

Is a Master’s Degree in Engineering worth it?

Yes, engineering majors have professional skills that are useful in getting jobs as civil engineers, engineering managers, geological engineers, and mechanical engineering technicians. There is a demand for manufacturing engineers, electrical engineers, and other industry-ready engineers. As you gain more experience, there is room for future growth.

How many years is a Master’s Degree in Engineering?

A Master’s Degree in Engineering takes an average of two years to complete. Some full-time programs can be completed in three semesters. Many programs allow students up to five years to complete courses flexibly at their own pace.

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Farah Abdullah

About the author: Farah is a writer, project consultant, and IT event organizer. She is a certified project management professional and an avid tech reader. Farah holds a BSc in Information Systems from Effat University in Saudi Arabia as well as a Postgraduate Diploma in Project Management from the University of Roehampton in London.

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