2020 Best Online Master's in Mechanical Engineering Degrees

By OnlineU Staff | Updated March 9, 2020
2020 Best Online Master's in Mechanical Engineering Badge

The 24 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.

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2020 Online Colleges Offering Mechanical Engineering Degrees - Ranking Details

Online Master's in Mechanical Engineering Overview

Applicants to online master's degrees in mechanical engineering need an ABET-accredited undergraduate engineering degree, 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.

Because many of these degrees are aimed at current engineering professionals, they are flexible in their curricula; some are non-thesis degrees, and others have extensive online course options. 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. Other common courses apply statistics, math, and research design to engineering topics. Professional programs are typically coursework-only; some may have a focus in management topics, such as supervising engineering teams, safety in engineering, and supply chain management.

The types of required courses will depend on the area you wish to study within mechanical engineering and the type of master’s program you choose. All master’s programs require students to specialize in a particular area, such as biomedicine, combustion, or heat transfer. Some degrees allow students to design their own coursework within the constraints of the program, while others have more stringent requirements.

Master’s students must take a number of electives within their area of concentration in order to gain expert-level familiarity with their field. For example, a mechanical engineering grad student focusing in materials science might take a course in atomistic materials science, which looks at the properties of materials on the atom level.

Upper-level math courses are common requirements in ME programs. Courses in partial differential equations and complex variables give engineers a more developed mathematical arsenal with which to approach engineering problems. Some programs also require students to gain breadth in their studies by taking a few courses outside of their main focus area. To fulfill this requirement, an ME student focusing in biomechanical engineering might take a course in gas dynamics or energy systems to get an advanced introduction to other sorts of specialties.

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