Because mechanical engineering is such a broad field, obtaining a Master of Mechanical Engineering allows a student to focus on a more specialized area of study than is normally possible during the Bachelor of Science degree. The added specialization and specific skills learned also lets the student command a greater Master of Engineering salary upon employment. Students who obtain a Master of Mechanical Engineering may go on to work in consumer products, biomedical devices, automobile manufacturing, energy production, and a variety of other fields. Some mechanical engineers focus on design, while others work in manufacturing or quality control. Students study subjects that will be familiar from the B.S. in mechanical engineering, but with a more rigorous analytic approach. Subjects include mechanics, materials, kinematics, dynamics, thermodynamics, heat transfer, and fluid mechanics. Again, because of the broad nature of the field, students will often be required to choose a concentration from among these subjects. For the Master of Science degree, students must fulfill a research requirement by joining a laboratory at the university, conducting research, and presenting their findings. The Master of Engineering degree often forgoes this requirement.
Details about the Master of Mechanical Engineering Degree
Earning a Master of Mechanical Engineering typically takes 2 years as a full-time student. A Master of Engineering may only take 1 year, since it does not usually require a research project. Part-time study is often possible, for example while maintaining a full-time job, but necessarily elongates the length of time required to obtain the degree. It also introduces more time management constraints than full-time students normally contend with, which could make it more difficult to stay on top of the coursework and maintain a favorable grade point average. Many schools also offer combined BS/MS programs, which allow undergraduate students in mechanical engineering to shift some of the required graduate coursework to the senior year of their undergraduate education. This allows the student to complete the Master of Mechanical Engineering degree in only one additional year after receiving their Bachelor of Science. Core requirements in the program might include subjects such as Computational Fluid Dynamics, Vibrations in Mechanical Systems, or Control Theory. Specialized courses will vary widely based on the student’s interests, but may include subjects such as Control Methods for Robotics, Nanosystem Design and Fabrication, or Design of Wind Turbine Rotor Blades.
Where to Earn a Master of Mechanical Engineering Degree
The Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Rutgers University are two examples of schools which offer this degree and illustrate the different types of options available to students. MIT is a world-renowned research university. Students and graduates of this program have access to an excellent network of alumni, and of course may use the school’s prestige to their advantage during employment interviews and salary negotiations. Admission is selective and tuition is pricey. A public university like Rutgers offers a comparable education at a price many students might find more affordable. Ultimately, the choice of an academic program should be made based on the student’s research desires. Applying to study for a Master of Mechanical Engineering under a well-known researcher whose interests match those of the student will lead to a promising career as a mechanical engineer.