Search Programs

Best Online Master's in Mechanical Engineering Degrees

By Usmaan Farooqui | Updated 10/7/2022
2020 Most Affordable Mechanical Engineering Masters Degrees Badge

The 23 schools on this list are the best value options for obtaining an online master's program in mechanical engineering based on alumni salaries and low tuition rates. At #1, the University of Central Florida charges $10,422 per year for their MS in Mechanical Engineering. The University of Southern California offers distance learners a Master of Science in Aerospace & Mechanical Engineering - Computational Fluid & Solid Mechanics for $29,050 per year. Alumni reported a mid-career salary of $136,600.

Alumni salaries were provided by PayScale. View our methodology for more details or learn more about OnlineU.

Find an Online Degree:
RankSchool Annual Tuition Mid-Career Salary
# 1 #1 University of Central Florida $10,422 $129,700
# 2 #2 University of Southern California $29,050 $136,600
# 3 #3 Missouri University of Science and Technology $18,000 $129,900
# 4 #4 University of California - Los Angeles $16,000 $126,200
# 5 #5 Auburn University $14,235 $125,200
# 6 #6 University of New Mexico $4,583 $119,000
# 7 #7 Texas A&M University - College Station $26,402 $125,200
# 8 #8 Colorado State University - Fort Collins $14,460 $120,400
# 9 #9 Iowa State University $10,425 $117,900
# 10 #10 Lehigh University $22,500 $122,600
# 11 #11 The University of Texas at Austin $16,811 $120,200
# 12 #12 Purdue University - Main Campus $20,220 $121,400
# 13 #13 University of Virginia $8,115 $115,700
# 14 #14 University of Arizona $16,000 $117,900
# 15 #15 University of Idaho $8,235 $114,400
# 16 #16 University of Houston $15,623 $117,200
# 17 #17 University of Wisconsin - Madison $16,000 $117,300
# 18 #18 University of Michigan - Dearborn $16,965 $117,600
# 19 #19 Worcester Polytechnic Institute $23,490 $118,700
# 20 #20 Georgia Institute of Technology $16,500 $115,500
# 21 #21 University of Florida $30,134 $120,300
# 22 #22 Columbia University in the City of New York $31,560 $120,300
# 23 #23 University of Illinois Urbana - Champaign $17,344 $114,200
Salary data provided by Payscale Logo

2020 Online Colleges Offering Mechanical Engineering Degrees - Ranking Details

#1 University of Central Florida

  • Annual Tuition: $10,422
  • Median Salary: $129,700
  • Locations: Orlando (FL) (and 7 others)
  • Accreditation: SACS COC

The Master of Science in Mechanical Engineering program available at the University of Central Florida allows students to specialize their education in one of two distinct tracks. Students in the mechanical systems track are instructed in topics including mechanics of materials, engineering design, and computational methods. The thermofluids track focuses on thermodynamics, fluid mechanics, and turbomachinery. Upon completion of the mechanical engineering online degree, graduates are qualified to enter a high-level career in mechanical engineering, aerospace engineering, civil engineering, or mechanical design engineering.

#2 University of Southern California

  • Annual Tuition: $29,050
  • Median Salary: $136,600
  • Locations: Los Angeles (CA)
  • Accreditation: WSCUC

The University of Southern California offers a Master of Science in Mechanical Engineering program that provides students a concentrated education in their area of interest within the discipline. Students choose from three programs of study: mechanics and materials, engineering and design, or thermal and fluid sciences. Through the online mechanical engineering degree program, students gain extensive knowledge in the fundamentals and application of mechanical engineering. Graduates can use their master's degree to further their career in the mechanical engineering industry or further their education with a Ph.D.

#3 Missouri University of Science and Technology

  • Annual Tuition: $18,000
  • Median Salary: $129,900
  • Locations: Rolla (MO)
  • Accreditation: HLC

The Master of Science in Mechanical Engineering program at Missouri University of Science and Technology offers students a comprehensive plan of study, providing them the knowledge and skills needed to achieve their career and education goals. The 30-credit hour program curriculum includes instruction in thermal science, composite materials and structures, fluid mechanics, engineering mechanics, energy conversion, and manufacturing automation. The faculty in the online mechanical engineering degree program are involved in ongoing research in mechanical engineering, including the areas of photonics, plasmonics, and optical metamaterials.

#4 University of California - Los Angeles

  • Annual Tuition: $16,000
  • Median Salary: $126,200
  • Locations: Los Angeles (CA)
  • Accreditation: WSCUC

The goal of the Master of Science in Engineering - Mechanical Engineering program at the University of California-Los Angeles is to provide students a foundational education that can be applied and adapted to current and evolving theories and practices in the discipline. Students gain a solid understanding of the advanced fundamentals of mechanical engineering, including thermodynamics, fluid mechanics, mechanical design and systems, and robotics. Program graduation requires the completion of 36 credit hours and meeting the comprehensive exam requirement. This requirement can be met through the completion of a capstone project or passing three written exams.

#5 Auburn University

  • Annual Tuition: $14,235
  • Median Salary: $125,200
  • Locations: Auburn (AL)
  • Accreditation: SACS COC

Auburn University offers an online Master of Science in Mechanical Engineering for students looking to gain the knowledge and skills needed to define, formulate, and solve advanced problems in the discipline. The 30-credit hour program includes coursework in advanced topics of mechanical engineering, including biomaterials, thermodynamics of materials systems, crystallography, phase transformations in material processing, and medical applications of polymeric materials. The program's focus on mechanical components and systems provides graduates the opportunity to pursue a career in mechanical design engineering, robotics, and medical technology design.

#6 University of New Mexico

  • Annual Tuition: $4,583
  • Median Salary: $119,000
  • Locations: Albuquerque (NM)
  • Accreditation: HLC

The online Master’s in Mechanical Engineering degree offered at the University of New Mexico is a Master of Science (MS) in Mechanical Engineering with a concentration in Space Systems Engineering. This coursework-only degree is an accelerated 34-credit online mechanical engineering degree program with eight-week courses and five terms per year. This fully online program is also one of the first master’s level space systems engineering programs in the U.S. The concentration was developed with assistance from the Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) Space Vehicles Directorate, to help graduates acquire the advanced skills for the aerospace industry. The curriculum covers topics such as orbital mechanics, small spacecraft design, satellite communications, theoretical fluid mechanics, deformation analysis and modeling, and aerospace structures and materials. By the time MS applicants begin the program, they must have a BS in Mechanical Engineering with a minimum 3.0 GPA in the final 60 credits. Bachelor of Science degrees in other engineering disciplines and related majors such as Physical Sciences or Mathematics will be considered, but applicants must either have undergraduate exposure to Mechanical Engineering or will need to take leveling courses. Other requirements include transcripts, two recommendation letters, statement of intent, current CV/resume, and GRE scores.

#7 Texas A&M University - College Station

  • Annual Tuition: $26,402
  • Median Salary: $125,200
  • Locations: College Station (TX)
  • Accreditation: SACS COC

The online Master of Engineering in Mechanical Engineering (MEng) is a non-thesis, 30-credit hour degree program. MEng students may specialize in one technical area or take coursework across several different areas of interest. Applications are accepted on a rolling basis for start dates in the fall and spring. The ME curriculum will advance student expertise in controls, dynamics, design and computer-aided engineering, energy conversion and combustion, vibrations and acoustics, heat transfer and thermodynamics, fluid mechanics, solid mechanics, and materials. These areas are applied to areas of biomechanics and human health, advanced manufacturing, rotating machinery, micro and nanosystems, robotics and mechatronics, and energy and environment. Online students provide multiple ways for students to contact instructors and interact with classmates. Most of the time, MEng students will not need to be online at a certain time, as materials will be stored online for 24/7 access, and discussions do not occur in real-time. The only time-sensitive concern is making deadlines for assignments and exams. Applicants should fill out an EngineeringCAS online application, and submit GRE scores, transcripts, resume, statement of purpose, and recommendation letters. Students may also access online resources similar to on-campus resources.

#8 Colorado State University - Fort Collins

  • Annual Tuition: $14,460
  • Median Salary: $120,400
  • Locations: Fort Collins (CO)
  • Accreditation: HLC

Colorado State University offers an online Master’s of Engineering (ME) with a Mechanical Engineering Specialization and a Materials Engineering focus. This 30-credit practitioner-oriented degree can be finished in two years. Students learn applied skills, detailed understanding of material properties, and advanced analysis methods, as well as the costs, design, and environmental impact of potential engineering projects. The curriculum balances advanced technical competence with management and business principles for thorough critical thinking and decision-making that takes all aspects of the industry and individual projects into account. Courses are delivered through the Canvas online learning platform. Asynchronous class formats allow students to watch recorded content and communicate with professors and classmates in discussions that are not in real-time so that work accommodates student schedules. Each three-credit course will require approximately nine to 12 hours of work per week. Applicants must have an undergraduate degree in engineering or related field with a 3.0 or higher GPA and have taken Calculus (I, II, III), Differential Equations, and Physics 1 and 2. Some students may be admitted without these. Many online support services are available for registered students.

#9 Iowa State University

  • Annual Tuition: $10,425
  • Median Salary: $117,900
  • Locations: Ames (IA)
  • Accreditation: HLC

Iowa State University’s online mechanical engineering degree is a Master of Engineering (ME) that requires at least 30 credit hours to complete. If students meet the required number of credits, they may take whichever courses they want, allowing them to focus in one area of mechanical engineering specialization, or take classes across more than one area. The four main disciplinary areas in the ME program are Design and Optimization, Dynamic Systems and Controls, Materials Processing and Mechanics, and Thermo-Fluid Sciences. Students will work closely with exceptional faculty mentors who will advise students as they choose how to focus their degree plan while helping launch students into productive careers. Admission for the ME program is typically reviewed after application deadlines. Students can be admitted as non-degree seeking students and take up to 9 credits before being formally admitted into the program. The full procedures for admission are spelled out on the Mechanical Engineering department website. Distance learners can access all academic, information technology, and student services, including advising and career services.

#10 Lehigh University

  • Annual Tuition: $22,500
  • Median Salary: $122,600
  • Locations: Bethlehem (PA)
  • Accreditation: MSCHE

Lehigh University’s Master of Engineering (ME) in Mechanical Engineering offers thesis and non-thesis options and requires at least 30 credit hours to complete. All ME students in the P.C. Rossin College of Engineering and Applied Sciences should start on the coursework-only track, as faculty approval is needed for the thesis track. However, most students will be able to find a faculty match for their interests. This online mechanical engineering degree program covers advanced knowledge in engineering materials, thermodynamics and control systems, product design and manufacturing, and solid and fluid mechanics. Admission requirements include two letters of recommendation, an official undergraduate transcript showing a minimum 3.0 GPA, and although the GRE is not required, it is recommended. However, prospective students are asked to first complete the Preliminary Application form on the Lehigh University site. This form will evaluate individual admission chances before students go through the full admissions process and pay the nonrefundable fee. Among the many online student resources available are the helpful staff at the Office of Distance Education.

#11 The University of Texas at Austin

  • Annual Tuition: $16,811
  • Median Salary: $120,200
  • Locations: Austin (TX)
  • Accreditation: SACS COC

The University of Texas at Austin offers a non-thesis, 30-credit, online Master of Science in Mechanical Engineering degree that can be finished in two years. It is identical to the on-campus degree, with courses relating to current, industry-relevant trends and focusing on intellectual property and its relationship to mechanical engineering. Students learn how to design and manufacture quality products, as well as how to design processes with a range of current and emerging technologies. Classes cover topics like models and control systems, design and synthesis problems, and heat transfer systems. Completely online and asynchronous, this master’s degree is structured into discrete lecture modules that feature experiential learning projects. Lessons include group discussions, case studies, videos, and regular feedback and interaction with faculty. Students should expect to spend six to 15 hours outside of each class per week, depending on the schedule and individual student. Admission requirements include an accredited Bachelor’s Degree in Mechanical Engineering or related technical field and at least one year of professional experience. The Cockrell School of Engineering also assists students and recent graduates with finding career placement opportunities.

#12 Purdue University - Main Campus

  • Annual Tuition: $20,220
  • Median Salary: $121,400
  • Locations: West Lafayette (IN)
  • Accreditation: HLC

There are two online master’s in mechanical engineering degrees offered by Purdue University. The Master of Science in Mechanical Engineering (MSME) can be finished in one to four years. The 30-credit program has a thesis and non-thesis option and offers one-, two-, and three-credit courses. The Interdisciplinary Master of Science in Engineering (MSE) or Master of Science (MS) degree is also 30 credit hours. Which degree is awarded depends on whether the student has an undergraduate engineering degree. Interdisciplinary MSE/MS students have the option to choose a concentration, and one of these is Mechanical Engineering. The MSME program and the Interdisciplinary MSE/MS program offer further mechanical engineering specialization through a wide range of coursework in nanotechnology, design and computer-aided design, fluid and solid mechanics, vibration, acoustics and noise control, fluid mechanics and propulsion, energy utilization and environmental control biomechanics, automotive systems, combustion, heat transfer, and HVAC. The online degree programs are taught by the same renowned faculty who teach on-campus but allow students to work from home with tools like downloadable MPEG-4 files and streaming video. Online engineering students are provided with a range of academic and technical support services.

#13 University of Virginia

  • Annual Tuition: $8,115
  • Median Salary: $115,700
  • Locations: Charlottesville (VA)
  • Accreditation: SACS COC

At the University of Virginia, the online Master of Engineering (ME) in Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering is a 30-credit, course-based online master’s in mechanical engineering degree that can be completed in one year by motivated students. In addition to advanced mechanical engineering coursework, ME students can access one to two commerce courses that cover topics such as manufacturing in a global economy and management of sustainable development. The core engineering coursework will teach the principles of mechanics, materials, and energy to analyze, optimize, design, and manufacture devices and machines of all kinds. With a concentration in Aerospace Engineering, students can further specialize in technologies used for defense systems, aviation, and space exploration. Coursework covers topics such as linear state space systems, turbulence and multiphase flow, constitutive modeling of biosystems, and finite element analysis. Applicants should have undergraduate engineering degrees, but related fields may be acceptable if students are willing to take courses to remedy any deficiencies. Admission requires transcripts, online application and fee, statement of purpose essay, three recommendation letters, and GRE scores, although the GRE requirement may be waived under certain conditions.

#14 University of Arizona

  • Annual Tuition: $16,000
  • Median Salary: $117,900
  • Locations: Tucson (AZ) (and 1 other)
  • Accreditation: HLC

The online mechanical engineering degree at the University of Arizona is a Master of Science (MS) from the Department of Aerospace and Mechanical Engineering (AME). This degree has three options: non-thesis, thesis, and report. All three are 32-credit degrees, with courses lasting 7.5 weeks with six start dates per year. The curriculum is flexible for students to tailor the online Master’s in Mechanical Engineering program to their level of interest in the core areas of fluid and solid mechanics, dynamics and control systems, thermal sciences, and mechanical design. Students can customize their plan of study even further by focusing on options such as design and optimization or microelectromechanical systems (MEMS). Coursework covers engineering mathematics, thermodynamics and radiation, mechanics of deformable solids, and more. With a four-to-one graduate student to faculty ratio, online MS students benefit from an interactive education earned at their own pace, according to their own schedule. Applicants must have a BS in Mechanical Engineering or related field with a minimum 3.0 GPA. If there is room in the program, other majors will be considered case by case. Other requirements are GRE scores, online application and fee, and college transcripts.

#15 University of Idaho

  • Annual Tuition: $8,235
  • Median Salary: $114,400
  • Locations: Moscow (ID)
  • Accreditation: NWCCU

At the University of Idaho, the Department of Mechanical Engineering offers an online Master of Engineering (MEngr) degree through Engineering Outreach (EO). The MEngr degree is 30 credits and does not require a thesis. Most applicants have an undergraduate degree in mechanical engineering, or a closely related major and have a strong background in engineering fundamentals. Those without this may need to take prerequisite courses. Though online, this program is for students who want to conduct field research. Offering innovative lessons across diverse areas, creative problem solvers do well in this degree. Students will model, design, and enact experiments that verify mechanical and thermal systems, processes and components, while taking real-world constraints into account, as well as how any solutions developed may impact the industry and society. With plenty of opportunities to work with instructors on industry-sponsored research, the MEngr degree helps lay the foundation for a career in aerospace, automotive, biotechnology, construction, computer, defense, energy, robotics, and thermal systems. To begin a program through EO, students should first apply for admission to the university, indicating interest in EO learning. Online student resources, such as remoted library access and technical support, are available.

#16 University of Houston

  • Annual Tuition: $15,623
  • Median Salary: $117,200
  • Locations: Houston (TX)
  • Accreditation: SACS COC

The University of Houston offers an online Master of Science (MS) in Mechanical Engineering and an online Master of Mechanical Engineering (MME) degree. These 30-credit degree programs are ideal for working professionals seeking to enhance technical skills to advance within their industry and progress in their careers. Most students graduate in three years. The curriculum focuses on the use of advanced engineering science to systematically solve real-world problems and encompasses applied mechanics, biomedical engineering, control of dynamical systems, thermal and fluid sciences, and materials science. The program is tailored to address the interests of students interested in engineering as it applies to the energy industry. Online learning options MS and MME students experience range from interactive web discussions, to live or recorded lectures, to one-on-one learning experiences. Most coursework is asynchronous, but students should regularly check in to stay aware of deadlines and expectations. The ultimate degree is identical to the on-campus version. Applicants must submit an online form, official transcripts, resume, official GRE using school code, three reference email addresses, areas of interest, essay, and application fee. Online student support services include academic advising and thorough distance learning assistance.

#17 University of Wisconsin - Madison

  • Annual Tuition: $16,000
  • Median Salary: $117,300
  • Locations: Madison (WI)
  • Accreditation: HLC

The University of Wisconsin - Madison offers a Master of Engineering in Mechanical Engineering (MEng) degree with a named option in Polymer Science. This fully online MEng degree is an interdisciplinary 30-credit program that can be completed in two to four years. The curriculum incorporates the latest practices and research in the polymer and plastics manufacturing industry to train professional engineers. Students take courses in both traditional plastics as well as the latest specialty polymers, exploring the range of industry applications in pharmaceuticals, biomedicine, electronics, and nanotechnology. The online format allows engineers to continue working as they take classes that can be applied to real challenges they could be facing on the job. Recorded lectures can be accessed on an individual’s schedule, and assignments can be completed with flexibility, as long as deadlines are met. However, even with the online mechanical engineering degree, there will be opportunities to interact with professors and classmates to deepen knowledge and build a network. Applicants must have an undergraduate degree in mechanical engineering or related field with a minimum 3.0 GPA from an ABET-accredited program. Also required are an online application, resume, transcripts, essay, and three professional references.

#18 University of Michigan - Dearborn

  • Annual Tuition: $16,965
  • Median Salary: $117,600
  • Locations: Dearborn (MI)
  • Accreditation: HLC

The University of Michigan - Dearborn offers two online Master’s in Mechanical Engineering: The Master of Science in Engineering (MSE) degree in mechanical engineering and the MSE in Automotive Systems Engineering. Both are 30-credit degrees that can be on campus or fully online, with the same classes provided for each in four semesters a year. The MSE-ME degree has a thesis option, and the MSE-ASE requires a capstone project. The MSE-ME curriculum is primarily based in the broad areas of ME, such as materials, automotive technology, manufacturing, mechanical and thermal/fluid sciences, controls, and instrumentation. Students learn to analyze and solve advanced ME problems and how to use current ME technologies, techniques, and tools. The MSE-ASE program moves beyond traditional engineering to diverse areas of knowledge and then integrates them with analysis and design, synthesis, a “systems” approach, and the ability to work as a team in ways that benefit the automotive industry, the environment, and society. The on-campus lectures are streamed through Canvas and posted for ongoing access along with assignments, notes, and discussions. Applicants must declare their interest in the online program when they apply. The university’s “BlueCorps” staff provide extensive IT support to all students, on-campus or online.

#19 Worcester Polytechnic Institute

  • Annual Tuition: $23,490
  • Median Salary: $118,700
  • Locations: Worcester (MA)
  • Accreditation: NECHE

The online Master's in Mechanical Engineering at Worcester Polytechnic Institute is a Master of Science (MS), non-thesis program. With rolling admissions and no deadlines, students can start in spring, summer, or fall, and finish the required 30 credits in two years. The curriculum is divided into five specialization areas: Aerospace, Design and Manufacturing, Dynamics and Control, Fluid Engineering, and Structures and Materials. Students learn to create cost-effective and structurally robust designs by performing detailed stress analyses, to minimize cost and maximize performance and functionality through material selection, and more. There is also a Graduate Certificate in Mechanical Engineering for Technical Leaders (METL) available, designed for professional engineers seeking to progress into management and leadership roles. Students who have completed this certificate can apply to progress into the MS program with course credits counting towards that degree. The WPI online education approach promotes strong relationships between classmates and faculty whose work and life experiences are mutually beneficial. There is an on-demand webinar on the WPI website that gives an overview of the entire program from application through distance learning.

#20 Georgia Institute of Technology

  • Annual Tuition: $16,500
  • Median Salary: $115,500
  • Locations: Atlanta (GA)
  • Accreditation: SACS COC

The Master of Science degree in Mechanical Engineering (MSME) at the Georgia Institute of Technology is also offered online. The program requires 30 course credits, has thesis and non-thesis options, and can be completed in four to six full-time semesters, which is equal to one to two years. Most working students can handle two courses per semester. MSME students can choose whatever classes they wish, as long as they fit the requirements for depth, breadth, and level. Since many courses are only offered once a year or less, new students plan out a full program of study with their advisors. The MSME curriculum explores the variety and sophistication of advanced analysis. Students will learn methods and complexity inherent to problem domains and are taught innovative problem-solving techniques. Online learning at Georgia Tech is designed to give students both the leadership and STEM capabilities to be professionally competitive. Lectures are captured digitally and then posted for on-demand viewing. Class materials, discussion boards, and assignments can be viewed 24/7 through a secure account. Web conferences, videos, and other interactions are also available. Students work when it suits them best, but complete assignments within a required timeframe. Advising and technical support are offered online and by phone.

#21 University of Florida

  • Annual Tuition: $30,134
  • Median Salary: $120,300
  • Locations: Gainesville (FL)
  • Accreditation: SACS COC

The online master’s in mechanical engineering offered by the Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering (MAE) at the University of Florida is a Master of Science (MS) degree that can be completed in as few as 24 months. This 30-credit MS program is organized into three concentration areas, although students are encouraged to pursue an interdisciplinary approach, if interested. The three areas are Thermal Science and Fluid Dynamics (TSFD); Solid Mechanics, Design, and Manufacturing (SMDM); and Dynamics, Systems, and Controls (DSC). TSFD curriculum includes thermo-fluid dynamics, computational multiphysics, combustion and propulsion, renewable and solar energy, micro area vehicles, fuel cells, and advanced power cycles. SMDM includes nanomechanics, biomechanics, cellular and computational mechanics, high-stress and high-strain materials modeling, design optimization, and structural analysis. DSC includes robots and autonomous systems, nonlinear control theory, aerospace and astronautics, vehicle dynamics and structural optimization, and modeling and computational simulation. Applicants must meet the UF admission requirements, as well as those of their graduate department of interest. Prospective students are advised to contact their department of interest for detailed admissions guidelines. Applications should be received 60 days before the preferred fall, spring, or summer start semester.

#22 Columbia University in the City of New York

  • Annual Tuition: $31,560
  • Median Salary: $120,300
  • Locations: New York (NY)
  • Accreditation: MSCHE

Columbia University in the City of New York’s online Master of Science in Mechanical Engineering (MSME) is a flexible 30-credit degree. Students can choose their own course sequence or select from specialized concentrations, which currently include Energy Systems, Biomechanics, Robotics and Control, and Micro/Nanoscale Engineering. Full-time students can complete the degree in less than two years, but up to five years is allowed. With rolling admissions and no deadlines, the primary concern is to apply at least two months ahead. Mechanical engineering requires a broad range of specialized skills. The MSME program teaches students to understand the forces/environments that work upon products, parts, and subsystems; how to design with these factors in mind for aesthetics, functionality, durability, and cost; and how to develop the ideal way to manufacture the design to ensure a cost-effective and quality product. Online lectures are never live and can be streamed or downloaded. Online students also have access to resources like the library, the career center, and post-graduation, the alumni network. Applicants must have an undergraduate degree in mechanical engineering or related field from an accredited institution. Columbia offers several online support services, including SSOL, a multi-purpose, web-based tool from Student Financial Services.

#23 University of Illinois Urbana - Champaign

  • Annual Tuition: $17,344
  • Median Salary: $114,200
  • Locations: Champaign (IL)
  • Accreditation: HLC

The University of Illinois Urbana – Champaign offers two online Master’s in Mechanical Engineering: the Master of Science in Mechanical Engineering (MSME), with a thesis and non-thesis option, and the Master of Engineering in Mechanical Engineering (MEngME), which is a non-thesis, coursework-only, industry-oriented degree. Both programs are 32 credit hours. The MSME program can be finished in one year by full-time students and offers a self-customized track or three concentration tracks: Controls and Manufacturing, Design, and Energy. The Grainger Engineering Online coursework is synchronous and not self-paced. Students are required to attend lectures live as they would on campus. The programs have slightly different admission requirements. MEng applicants must have a Bachelor’s Degree in Engineering or related field and a 3.0 or higher GPA for the last two years of study; those with 3.33 or higher can waive the GRE requirement. MSME applicants are not required to have an engineering degree but must show they are academically prepared for the program and have a minimum 3.25 GPA for the last two years. GRE scores are required. Online student resources are extensive and include library access, academic advising, career services, counseling, disability resources, financial aid, veterans affairs, Engineering-specific IT services, and more.

What Is Mechanical Engineering?

Mechanical engineering is a broad discipline that combines various subjects, including math, physics, and business, to advance many different technological developments. One of the oldest engineering fields, it has contributed to inventions that have revolutionized human existence, such as air travel, the printing press, and the internal combustion engine.

Modern-day mechanical engineers work on innovations both big and small in a range of industries. If you aspire to work on cutting-edge developments in biotechnics, renewable energy, robotics, or electric cars — to name a few areas — a master's in mechanical engineering can be an excellent choice. Continue reading to learn more about master's degrees in mechanical engineering, costs, courses, and how to choose a program.

Our guide to online engineering degrees provides more information about programs in this field.

Online Master's in Mechanical Engineering Degrees

Applicants to online master's degrees in mechanical engineering typically need a bachelor's in mechanical engineering or a related field of study, and some programs also require a year or more of professional engineering experience. Students complete about 10 to 15 courses over a span of one to three years.Though many programs are fully online, some may require students to complete in-person labs or a practicum.

Because many of these graduate degrees are aimed at current engineering professionals, they are flexible in their curricula. Specifically, students can choose between either a thesis or a non-thesis track. While the former involves conducting original research, the latter tends to include additional coursework in specific areas. For example, students could focus their courses in materials science, manufacturing, or biomechanical engineering. A student specializing in manufacturing might take courses in machine design and design for manufacturability.

Explore our guide to learn more about applying to online colleges.

Courses in an Online Master's Degree in Mechanical Engineering

Upper-level math courses are common requirements in master of science in mechanical engineering programs. Courses in partial differential equations and complex variables, for instance, give engineers a more developed mathematical arsenal with which to approach engineering problems. Aside from math, online students can expect to take core classes and electives in various technical areas.

Advanced Structural Analysis

This computer-focused course teaches students how to create 2D and 3D models of various structures such as bridges, skyscrapers, and beams. It introduces the software used to create models while also covering the physical principles that ensure structural integrity.

Introduction to Systems Engineering

As a distinct sub-discipline, systems engineering explores the knowledge and methods used to create a defined, well-functioning collection of rules. Systems engineering may be applied to biological, mechanical, and computing functions. Students may also gain an understanding of how to test systems for efficiency and commercial success.

Numerical Methods

In numerical methods, students seek to learn the mathematical and computational principles applied in engineering solutions. This course places a heavy emphasis on understanding concepts like algorithms, equations, and differentiation, as well as how to apply them to real-world problems.

Mechanical Engineering Specializations & Concentrations

At the master's level, mechanical engineering students typically have the chance to complete a specialized degree program or concentrate coursework in a particular sub-discipline. Given its expansive nature as a field, options to specialize or concentrate vary by program and institution. Below are a few common paths for both specialized degree types and concentrations.

Biomedical Engineering

Biomedical engineering deals with advancements in human health. This area may cover the design and manufacture of medicines and medical equipment and may also explore how to construct systems that increase the efficiency of healthcare delivery. Many biomedical engineering degrees or concentrations combine practices in biology, mechanical engineering, and clinical practice.

Materials Science & Engineering

This sub-discipline focuses on the chemical and physical properties of different materials, including concrete, various metals, and different liquids. Students learn how to manipulate these materials to solve engineering problems in a range of industries. In some cases, they may also study how to fashion new types of chemical compounds designed to meet specific real-world needs.

Robotics and Autonomous Systems

Robotics and autonomous systems are becoming increasingly important in areas like self-driving cars, healthcare, and manufacturing. This sub-discipline of mechanical engineering draws heavily on systems design and computer science, with students learning about multiple robotics applications and how to design specialized equipment.

How Much Does an Online Master's in Mechanical Engineering Cost?

Master's in engineering programs can vary significantly in their tuition rates. For example, Columbia University charges students over $2,300 per credit hour, while those enrolled at schools like the University of New Mexico pay roughly $4,190 for 12+ hours. Other factors that influence the cost of attendance can include whether you're enrolled full- or part-time and if you qualify for in-state tuition.

Though online programs in mechanical engineering may often be cheaper than in-person ones, distance learners usually have specific expenses to cover, such as buying a laptop, paying for a reliable internet connection, and acquiring textbooks. Additionally, online engineering students may have to purchase specialized equipment or tools to complete labs. However, they can usually save on costs, including relocating, transport, and on-campus housing.

What Can You Do With a Mechanical Engineering Master's Degree?

Mechanical engineers are employed in some of the economy's most innovative industries and are likely to stay in demand in future years. This is because their work is critical when it comes to driving technological advancements related to how human beings live, work, and interact with each other. Below are a few common career paths for graduates with a mechanical engineering graduate degree. While it's possible to land the following jobs with a bachelor's, a master's can increase your chances of securing employment.

Aerospace Engineers

Annual Median Salary:  $122,270
Job Outlook: 8%

Aerospace engineers design and build important technologies such as airplanes, drones, and satellites. Depending on their education, they may work on specific components, such as jet engines and navigation systems, or develop and test entire products for safety and usability. Their work is often used in commercial and government sectors, including the defense department.

Bioengineers and Biochemical Engineers

Annual Median Salary:  $97,410
Job Outlook: 6%

Bioengineers and biochemical engineers are typically employed in the health services sector, where they work on technologies that improve human health. Their roles can be quite varied, from designing computer equipment to constructing tools like X-ray machines or prosthetic body parts. These professionals may also conduct research and present their findings to scientists and physicians.

Electrical and Electronics Engineers

Annual Median Salary:  $101,780
Job Outlook: 7%

Electrical and electronics engineers are trained to build electrical systems that are used in a wide variety of applications. Some of the products they work on include smartphones, entertainment equipment, and video game consoles, though their work is essential to nearly any device that runs on electricity. Given this, electronics engineers are employed in many different sectors, including government and business.

What to Look For in a Mechanical Engineering Program

Choosing the right master's in mechanical engineering degree can set you up for success in your future career. However, with many options available, you may wonder which program is right for you. Below is a list of important factors to consider when selecting your engineering degree.


Accreditation ensures that you're enrolled in a program that meets national standards for academic excellence. An accredited degree is also a requirement when it comes to landing a job in this field. At the master's level, you should be sure to choose a program that has been accredited by the Accrediting Board for Engineering and Technology.


Choosing a program that is affordable based on your unique financial circumstances is essential and can affect your ability to complete your education. Consider applying for financial aid if you aspire to complete a master's in engineering.

Specialization or Concentration

As mentioned before, mechanical engineering includes various specialized degrees and concentration options. Examine your career goals when deciding whether you want to pursue a degree program that focuses on a particular sub-field or one that allows you to concentrate coursework in a specific area. While the former may open up job opportunities in specialized areas, such as civil engineering, the latter can typically give you access to a wider range of employment opportunities.

Learning Formats

For students who work, have a busy schedule, or need to meet familial obligations, an online program can help meet both personal and academic goals. Remember, some degrees may utilize a hybrid learning model, while others can be fully in-person. It's important to assess your learning style and personal situation when selecting a program.

Questions About Online Master's Degrees in Mechanical Engineering

Is a Master's Degree in Mechanical Engineering Worth It?

Engineers across a variety of disciplines make a median annual salary of $79,840, which is higher than the economy-wide average of $45,760. From an earnings standpoint, a master's in mechanical engineering can therefore be quite lucrative. Additionally, this discipline can give you the chance to learn how modern technology is improving human lives.

Do Mechanical Engineers Need a Master's Degree?

Strictly speaking, you don't need a master's in mechanical engineering to land a job in this field. However, a master's can equip you with advanced subject-area knowledge and skills that make you a competitive candidate. In addition to commanding a higher salary, you may also be able to apply for management-level positions and advance your career relatively quickly. 

Explore our list of the best master's programs in engineering management.

How Long Is a Master's Degree in Mechanical Engineering?

Like other graduate programs, a master's in mechanical engineering can be completed in two years of full-time study, during which students complete roughly 30-64 credit hours, depending on their program. Part-time students who take fewer classes a semester can take longer, while those enrolled in accelerated programs can finish their graduate education in as little as one year.

Is Mechanical Engineering Hard?

Mechanical engineering is a highly technical discipline that relies heavily on advanced math and computing principles to problem solve. You are likely to learn about algorithms, statistics, and mathematical concepts like differentiation. This may be difficult for students without a strong background in — or a natural aptitude for — technical thinking. However, those with undergraduate-level experience in STEM fields may be well prepared for a master's in mechanical engineering.

Related Articles

2023 Best Online Mechanical Engineering Degrees

Find the best online mechanical engineering degrees in 2023 from our list of accredited colleges ranked by popularity.

By OnlineU Staff Writers | 8/28/2023

2023 Best Online Colleges for Systems Engineering Degrees

These schools offer the best online master's in systems engineering degrees, according to annual salaries reported by alumni.

By OnlineU Staff Writers | 6/15/2023

2023 Most Affordable Online Master's Degrees in Mechanical Engineering

Explore the most affordable colleges for online master's degrees in mechanical engineering on our 2023 list of ranked schools.

By OnlineU Staff Writers | 1/11/2023


Start Your Online College Search:

Review schools that align with your career aspirations.