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M.Eng. Vs. M.S. - Is One Degree Better Than the Other?

M.Eng. Vs. M.S. - Is One Degree Better Than the Other?

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Is M.Eng. a master’s degree? How is M. Eng. different from MS (Master of Science) in engineering? Get complete answers to these frequent queries & more in this article!

GyanDhan
Salil Singh
Updated on:  16 Feb 2024  | Reviewed By: 
Aman 
| 38.1K | 6  min read

We begin from the end. The answer to the aforementioned question, Masters of Engineering vs. Master of Science in Engineering is a No; one degree is not better than the other. Both are exceptional choices for international students thinking of studying Masters's level courses in engineering abroad. Why? Because within the STEM field, engineering graduates have the highest salaries.
How do you choose between the two then? The answer lies among the differences between M.S. in Eng. and M.Eng. degrees. We help you understand them below.

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What’s the Basic Difference Between M.S. and M.Eng.?

  • list items Masters of Science in Engineering or M.S. is a research degree.
  • list items Masters of Engineering is a professional degree. For reference, it is similar to M. Tech/M. E. degree in India.

While there is not much difference between the scopes of the degrees (both tend to lead to good employment), it is the method of learning that varies between the two.
Before explaining the variances further, let’s clarify two exceptions. In Australia, M. Eng. is research, not a professional degree. The program lasts for two to three years and requires a thesis submission at the end of it. In the U.K., M.Eng. is a five-year course with the last year spent in the industry. At the end of the degree, students become chartered engineers. 
To make the difference between the two Masters courses in Engineering simpler, we pick Cornell as an example in this article. It is one of the top universities in the US that offers both the courses.

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What’s the Difference in the Duration?

  • list items Master of Science takes two years to complete. This is typical for other universities as well.
  • list items Master of Engineering takes one year to complete. In other universities, M. Eng. ranges between 1-2 years, with several universities offering the 1-year option.
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What’s the Difference in Cost?

  • list items Masters of Science annual tuition fee: $29,500 
  • list items Masters of Engineering annual tuition fee: $54,584 

Masters of Engineering has a higher annual fee, but overall it costs less than M.S. The reasons are threefold:

Do note that there are some schools where the tuition fee is similar for both courses. Even then M.Eng. costs less. 

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What are the Differences in Eligibility Criteria?

The requirements for Masters courses in Engineering for the two degrees remain mostly the same. Both M.S. and M.Eng. require:
A bachelor’s degree

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What’s the Difference in Curriculum?

  • list items The biggest difference in M.S. Eng. and M.Eng. is how the curricula are taught. 
  • list items Since M.S. is an academic degree, it focuses on research and theoretical work. The student is tested via a thesis (some may have a non-thesis option as well), in addition to regular exams and projects.

M.Eng. is a professional degree. Therefore, it focuses on teaching students on how to apply theory to practical applications. The coursework is chiefly about developing the skills of the student to find appropriate employment in the industry. The student is tested through examinations or projects.
If you look through Cornell’s M.S. in Mechanical Eng. page and M.Eng. in Mechanical Eng. page, you’ll note that they teach the same specializations and concentrations. The difference lies in the outcome and process of education.

  • list items M.S. teaches the student advanced research skills such as how to apply the current techniques and methodologies to a project, critical analysis of findings, etc.
  • list items M.Eng. teaches technical skills “designed to put engineers on an accelerated career track.”

 

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Do Employment Opportunities Differ?

The kind of job you get can be another major difference between M.S. in Engineering and a Masters of Engineering. 

  • list items Students who complete M.S. have the option to continue studies and enroll in Ph.D. courses. Of course, one can pursue employment as well.
  • list items M. Eng. is what you call a terminal degree. It is the final course a student studies before getting a job in the industry.

Even though MS is more research-oriented, the chances of getting employment are similar for both the Masters’ degrees. By no way does opting for an MS reduce your chance of finding a good position. 
The vice versa is not valid. Choosing an M.Eng. does limit your chances of getting into a sound Ph.D. program. It rarely happens that a Masters of Engineering graduate is accepted into a doctoral degree.

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What are the Top Colleges in the US offering M.S. and M.Eng Degrees?

The list of top-ranking colleges offering M.S. and M.Eng is (Source: US News)

1

Massachusetts Institute of Technology

1

Yes

Yes

2

Stanford University

2

Yes

NA

3

University of California - Berkeley

3

Yes

Yes

4

Carnegie Mellon University

4

Yes

NA

5

California Institute of Technology

5

Yes

NA

6

University of Michigan - Ann Arbor

6

Yes

Yes

7

Georgia Institute of Technology

1

Yes

NA

8

Purdue University - West Lafayette

8

Yes

NA

9

University of Southern California (Viterbi)

9

Yes

NA

10

University of Illinois -Urbana-Champaign

10

Yes

Yes

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Comparative Analysis of Masters Courses in Engineering Salary 

After M.S. in Engineering, these are the average salaries a student should expect:

  • list items Software Engineer: $91,000
  • list items Electrical Engineer: $90,000
  • list items Mechanical Engineer: $84,000
  • list items Senior Software Engineer: $112,000

 After Masters of Engineering, these are the average salaries a student should expect:

  • list items Software Engineer: $94,000
  • list items Electrical Engineer: $81,000
  • list items Mechanical Engineer: $77,000
  • list items Senior Software Engineer: $117,000
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How to Choose: Masters in Science or Masters of Engineering? 

Master of Science is a more commonly offered degree by colleges around the world than a Master of Engineering. But it shouldn’t factor in your decision. 

  • list items M.S. in Eng. is right for you if: You aspire for admission in a top Ph.D. program. M.S. will give you the research experience doctoral degrees demand. The course will not only make you a better engineer but also prepare you for further studies.  
  • list items Masters of Engineering is right for you if: You want to learn the fundamentals of the field and get the technical knowledge for a job in the concerned industry. 

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