Masters in Mechanical Engineering

Mechanical Engineering (ME) deals with objects in motion, whether they are small particles or huge spacecraft. It is one of the oldest and broadest fields of engineering. Over the decades, the field of mechanical engineering has seen tremendous growth, and it is truly one of the most interdisciplinary engineering disciplines. It borrows heavily from aerospace, electrical, chemical and civil engineering fields, and in return, it enriches them too.
Mechanical Engineers apply principles of physics, mathematics and engineering to build, modify, design, manufacture or maintain systems that involve motion. They usually oversee generation and distribution of energy, processing of materials, controlling and manufacturing of mechanical systems and complex machines. They also find solutions to minimize the impact of human interference on the environment.
Traditionally, mechanical engineers were mostly concerned with industrial plants, manufacturing systems, transport systems, heating and cooling systems and aircraft. Of late, ME has begun to engage with computer-aided design and manufacture, medical equipment, biomechanics, nanotechnology and robotics.

Course

Mechanical Engineering is not only interdisciplinary but also one of the fundamental engineering fields. For this reason, the course structure of a mechanical engineering master’s program can undergo a vast change in just a decade. These days, a typical master’s degree in mechanical engineering would train the students in the following basic ME topics: Thermodynamics and Heat Transfer; Fluid Dynamics; Manufacturing Processes; Materials; Machine Design; Systems, Dynamics and Control.
Beyond these basic topics, each university offers a number of electives depending upon its research thrust and the industry demand. Some of the best masters courses for mechanical engineering these days include Robotics, Mechatronics, Energy and Sustainability, Biomechanics and Nanotechnology. It is unimaginable that a university would offer master’s programs in ME without these popular electives. Some departments might allow students to specialize in either of these tracks in their ME master’s degree. Prospective students would be advised to carefully go through the detailed course-structure, curriculum and the list of master degree courses in mechanical engineering that are offered by the university they are seeking to apply for.

Eligibility

Students that do not have a bachelor’s degree in science or engineering would not be able to apply for a master’s in mechanical engineering. However, some universities might allow applications from students that have an engineering bachelor’s degree in other engineering fields.
The following is a list of main eligibility criteria for applying to post-graduate ME program:

  • Bachelor’s Degree Requirements: Having a bachelor’s degree in ME or a closely related field while applying for a master’s program is of advantage. Some universities might however also entertain applications from graduates from any science discipline provided that they have done the coursework required for ME. This usually consists of mechanical engineering and materials science courses. Generally, there are no bridge courses before the main master’s ME coursework.
  • Other Requirements:
    • TOEFL and IELTS: Nearly 60% of the top 20 universities in the world for ME are in the English speaking world. The remaining ones too have a considerable number of international students and offer English as the medium of instruction. This makes above-average scores in language ability tests very important for applications to be accepted. The cut-off scores shall be checked before applying.
    • GRE: GRE score becomes more important in cases where students do not have a ME bachelor’s degree. It is not an essential criterion for application. Wherever GRE scores are considered, a good score lends extra weight to the application. Some institutions consider the total scores, while others might put differential weight on the scores of each component. Subject-specific scores might not be required. If they are, the GRE subject for mechanical engineering is Physics.  
    • Undergraduate GPA: It is slightly lower than the average GPA requirement for most engineering master’s programs. It is usually around 3.0.
    • Letters of Recommendation and Statement of Purpose: Three letters of recommendation are demanded by most universities. Some universities also ask for a Statement of Purpose.

Mechanical Engineering specializations that are a sure road to a successful career these days are the following:

1. Automotive Engineering

Automotive Engineering deals with the design, modification and manufacturing of vehicles (and their parts) that do not move on rails, fly or float. Cars and motorcycles are the most common vehicles that automotive engineers work on, but they may also work on giant trucks and even vehicles that help in transportation within a large industrial setup. Further, Automotive Engineers may choose to gain expertise in either of the following aspects:

  • Development and Design
  • Manufacturing and Production
  • Cost and Quality

This specialization track is a combination of mechanical engineering, software, safety, electrical and electronic engineering. Some of the chief courses in the specialization track include Automotive Systems, Automotive Electronics, Automotive Design, Systems Integration, Mechanical Vibration, Body and Chassis, Hybrid Electric Vehicles, Vehicle Dynamics, Fuel Processors and Crashworthiness, etc. An automotive engineering master of science in mechanical engineering is one of the most promising fields. It may lead to a career as an Auto Research Engineer, Combustion Engineer, Engine Designer, Tool Engineer, etc.

2. Sustainable Engineering

A Sustainable Engineering specialization in Mechanical Engineering is the one with the greatest interdisciplinary focus. It is a convergence of civil, mechanical, environmental and chemical engineering disciplines. The aim of this specialization is to design systems that consume minimum energy and resources. The job of a sustainable engineer includes management of materials, waste reduction, controlling pollution and enhancing product designs so that the impact on the environment is minimized.

Sustainable Engineering master’s students study courses such as Life Cycle Design and Analysis, Sustainable Systems, Industrial Ecology, Sustainable Manufacturing and Design etc. They find a job as Sustainability Engineers, Sustainability Designers, and Energy Engineers, etc.

3. Mechatronics and Robotics

Specialization in Mechatronics and Robotics in a ME master’s program brings together electrical engineering and computer science to create intelligent systems and machines that are aware of their surroundings and can take decisions on their own. The specialization draws heavily from mechanics and electronics. Mechatronics is the integration of control theory, computer science and electronics geared towards handling complex and uncertain situations and communications. Robotics involves the use of electrochemical sensors, programming and microcontrollers to create intelligent devices that enhance the automation potential of an engineered system.

Students of this specialization will typically have the opportunity to learn the following: Electrical Networks; Systems Modeling; Numerical Programming; Software development for Machines and Robots; Control Systems; Embedded Systems Design; Analog and Digital Electronics; Sensor Systems; Advanced Motion Control; Artificial Intelligence for Mechatronics

A Mechatronics and Robotics specialization in the master of science in mechanical engineering can lead to employment as Robotics Engineer, Control System Design Engineer, Mechatronics Expert, and Automation Engineer etc. Biomechanics, Medical Equipment, Defense, Industrial Design, and Vehicle Manufacturing are some of the fields where Mechatronics and Robotics experts are in demand.

4. Unmanned and Autonomous Systems Engineering

This specialization in ME program deals with the design, building and upkeep of vehicles, systems and machines that require no or minimum human intervention once set in motion and set to perform specific tasks. It deals with aerial, land or sea vehicles besides machines like fruit pickers and floor sweepers. Drones are one of the most popular inventions that have resulted from this research in this field. This engineering specialization can be considered as a convergence of robotics, electrical engineering and programming. Co-operating with aerospace engineers and working on aerospace projects is common for experts in unmanned and autonomous systems engineers (UAS).

Students that opt for this specialization can expect to learn the following course themes among others: UAS Design and Construction; UAS Remote Sensing; Human-Robot Interaction; UAS Aerodynamics; Swarm Robotics; Wearable Assistive Devices; Biologically Inspired Mechatronics Technologies; Robotic Neuro-rehabilitation
UAS engineers find placement as Autonomous Systems Engineer, Unmanned Aircraft Systems Engineer, Unmanned Vehicle Engineer and Robotic Systems Engineer with aerospace technology companies, underwater exploration equipment companies or industrial robots manufacturing companies, etc.

Global Rank

College Name Popularity Rank Global Rank Total Tuition Fees Deadline Annual RA+TA Unsecured Loan Offer Secured Loan Offer
The University of Texas at Arlington 1   38072 Log in Log in Log in 1.5 Cr, Interest Rate starts @8.85%
Georgia Institute of Technology 2 70 57136 Log in Log in Log in 1.5 Cr, Interest Rate starts @8.85%
University of Michigan 3 21 99016 Log in Log in Log in 1.5 Cr, Interest Rate starts @8.85%
Wayne State University 4 461 42720 Log in Log in Log in 1.5 Cr, Interest Rate starts @8.85%
University of California, Berkeley 5 27 29700 Log in Log in Log in 1.5 Cr, Interest Rate starts @8.85%
University of Florida 6 178 60260 Log in Log in Log in 1.5 Cr, Interest Rate starts @8.85%
Northeastern University 7 346 47070 Log in Log in Log in 1.5 Cr, Interest Rate starts @8.85%
Arizona State University 8 209 60396 Log in Log in Log in 1.5 Cr, Interest Rate starts @8.85%
Carnegie Mellon University 9 47 94600 Log in Log in Log in 1.5 Cr, Interest Rate starts @8.85%
Massachusetts Institute of Technology 10 1 103040 Log in Log in Log in 1.5 Cr, Interest Rate starts @8.85%
Purdue University 11 105 58264 Log in Log in Log in 1.5 Cr, Interest Rate starts @8.85%
Stanford University 12 2 108030 Log in Log in Log in 1.5 Cr, Interest Rate starts @8.85%
Clemson University 13 701 45952 Log in Log in Log in 1.5 Cr, Interest Rate starts @8.85%
Michigan Technological University 14 551 34290 Log in Log in Log in 1.5 Cr, Interest Rate starts @8.85%
University of Southern California 15 132 61805 Log in Log in Log in 1.5 Cr, Interest Rate starts @8.85%
University of Illinois at Chicago 16 207 56336 Log in Log in Log in 1.5 Cr, Interest Rate starts @8.85%
University of California, Los Angeles 17 33 53088 Log in Log in Log in 1.5 Cr, Interest Rate starts @8.85%
Texas A&M University 18 195 67333 Log in Log in Log in 1.5 Cr, Interest Rate starts @8.85%
Columbia University 19 18 96864 Log in Log in Log in 1.5 Cr, Interest Rate starts @8.85%
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign 20 69 68660 Log in Log in Log in 1.5 Cr, Interest Rate starts @8.85%
Boston University 21 81 105632 Log in Log in Log in 1.5 Cr, Interest Rate starts @8.85%
Cornell University 22 14 59000 Log in Log in Log in 1.5 Cr, Interest Rate starts @8.85%
North Carolina State University 23 263 50810 Log in Log in Log in 1.5 Cr, Interest Rate starts @8.85%
The Ohio State University 24 86 68128 Log in Log in Log in 1.5 Cr, Interest Rate starts @8.85%
Texas A&M University - Kingsville 25   NA Log in Log in Log in 1.5 Cr, Interest Rate starts @8.85%
Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University 26 367 53648 Log in Log in Log in 1.5 Cr, Interest Rate starts @8.85%
Stevens Institute of Technology 27 651 71920 Log in Log in Log in 1.5 Cr, Interest Rate starts @8.85%
Rochester Institute of Technology 28   91040 Log in Log in Log in 1.5 Cr, Interest Rate starts @8.85%
University of Colorado Boulder 29 182 66276 Log in Log in Log in 1.5 Cr, Interest Rate starts @8.85%
University at Buffalo, SUNY 30 318 45300 Log in Log in Log in 1.5 Cr, Interest Rate starts @8.85%
University of California, San Diego 31 38 53088 Log in Log in Log in 1.5 Cr, Interest Rate starts @8.85%
University of Maryland, College Park 32 129 46440 Log in Log in Log in 1.5 Cr, Interest Rate starts @8.85%
The Johns Hopkins University 33 17 107480 Log in Log in Log in 1.5 Cr, Interest Rate starts @8.85%
The University of Texas at Dallas 34 421 53704 Log in Log in Log in 1.5 Cr, Interest Rate starts @8.85%
The University of Texas at Austin 35 67 37884 Log in Log in Log in 1.5 Cr, Interest Rate starts @8.85%
University of Houston 36 601 36612 Log in Log in Log in 1.5 Cr, Interest Rate starts @8.85%
Northwestern University 37 28 108240 Log in Log in Log in 1.5 Cr, Interest Rate starts @8.85%
University of Wisconsin-Madisonlogged in 38 55 48108 Log in Log in Log in 1.5 Cr, Interest Rate starts @8.85%
Stony Brook University 39 55 45300 Log in Log in Log in 1.5 Cr, Interest Rate starts @8.85%
Iowa State University 40 471 51428 Log in Log in Log in 1.5 Cr, Interest Rate starts @8.85%
University of North Carolina at Charlotte 41   35540 Log in Log in Log in 1.5 Cr, Interest Rate starts @8.85%
University of Minnesota -Twin Cities 42 163 42000 Log in Log in Log in 1.5 Cr, Interest Rate starts @8.85%
The Pennsylvania State University 43 93 76932 Log in Log in Log in 1.5 Cr, Interest Rate starts @8.85%
NYU Tandon School of Engineering 44   53850 Log in Log in Log in 1.5 Cr, Interest Rate starts @8.85%
California State University, Fullerton 45   NA Log in Log in Log in 1.5 Cr, Interest Rate starts @8.85%
University of Pittsburgh 46 142 88948 Log in Log in Log in 1.5 Cr, Interest Rate starts @8.85%
University of Pennsylvania 47 19 86264 Log in Log in Log in 1.5 Cr, Interest Rate starts @8.85%
University of California, Irvine 48 164 22884 Log in Log in Log in 1.5 Cr, Interest Rate starts @8.85%
Duke University 49 21 107080 Log in Log in Log in 1.5 Cr, Interest Rate starts @8.85%
Syracuse University 50 501 48600 Log in Log in Log in 1.5 Cr, Interest Rate starts @8.85%
University of Cincinnati 51 501 49064 Log in Log in Log in 1.5 Cr, Interest Rate starts @8.85%
Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute 52 364 105100 Log in Log in Log in 1.5 Cr, Interest Rate starts @8.85%
Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, School of Engineering 53 651 NA Log in Log in Log in 1.5 Cr, Interest Rate starts @8.85%
Wichita State University 54   26712 Log in Log in Log in 1.5 Cr, Interest Rate starts @8.85%
New Jersey Institute of Technology 55 801 59920 Log in Log in Log in 1.5 Cr, Interest Rate starts @8.85%
San Diego State University 56 801 28608 Log in Log in Log in 1.5 Cr, Interest Rate starts @8.85%
University of Virginia 57 173 55548 Log in Log in Log in 1.5 Cr, Interest Rate starts @8.85%
University of California, Davis 58 118 57346 Log in Log in Log in 1.5 Cr, Interest Rate starts @8.85%
William Marsh Rice University 59   NA Log in Log in Log in 1.5 Cr, Interest Rate starts @8.85%
Missouri University of Science and Technology 60 651 50164 Log in Log in Log in 1.5 Cr, Interest Rate starts @8.85%
The State University of New York at Binghamton 61 801 NA Log in Log in Log in 1.5 Cr, Interest Rate starts @8.85%
California Institute of Technology 62 4 104466 Log in Log in Log in 1.5 Cr, Interest Rate starts @8.85%
University of California, Santa Barbara 63 134 55344 Log in Log in Log in 1.5 Cr, Interest Rate starts @8.85%
University of Delaware 64 421 54810 Log in Log in Log in 1.5 Cr, Interest Rate starts @8.85%
University of Rochester 65 186 49620 Log in Log in Log in 1.5 Cr, Interest Rate starts @8.85%
Vanderbilt University 66 212 59010 Log in Log in Log in 1.5 Cr, Interest Rate starts @8.85%
University of Notre Dame 67 216 105492 Log in Log in Log in 1.5 Cr, Interest Rate starts @8.85%
Yale School of Engineering & Applied Science 68   84200 Log in Log in Log in 1.5 Cr, Interest Rate starts @8.85%
Princeton Universitylogged in 69 13 102500 Log in Log in Log in 1.5 Cr, Interest Rate starts @8.85%
New York Institute of Technology 70   NA Log in Log in Log in 1.5 Cr, Interest Rate starts @8.85%
Illinois Institute of Technology 71 395 56700 Log in Log in Log in 1.5 Cr, Interest Rate starts @8.85%
Source: GyanDhan's analysis, partner data & university's website. While deadlines are latest, other figures are as of 2018. Double-check deadlines from the university's website

1. Mechanical Engineer

The most common destinations of mechanical engineers are engineering, transport and manufacturing companies. They also find jobs in R&D organizations, utility companies and the public sector. They would be responsible for assessing the performance of machines, mechanical components and engines. They also have to ensure that the equipment is running efficiently besides looking after its maintenance. They are also expected to engage in computer-aided design and modelling. They would also be involved in testing, modifying and evaluating products. Those who enter into research-based jobs will have to prepare reports and provide assistance and insights for bettering the outputs of mechanical engineering projects. 

2. Design Engineer

Design Engineers are entrusted with the responsibility of researching and developing new ideas for products and systems. Their efforts are aimed at improving performance, maximizing efficiency and minimizing costs. They engage with different aspects of designing products and systems like feasibility of design, materials research, use of computer-aided design (CAD) software and working with computer-aided engineering (CAE) software. Suggesting modifications in prevailing designs and producing test-reports is also a part of their job. They are mostly employed by manufacturing companies, design consultancy firms, biomedical companies and companies that have to design service systems.

3. Project Engineer

A project engineer’s task is very critical to a company. Usually, he/she is at the helm of an engineering project with a number of junior engineers and technicians working with him/her. Carrying out management tasks while leading a team is an important aspect of their work. They have to work closely with design engineers to see if a modification or an expansion is required in the manufacturing process. Their responsibilities include selection and evaluation of equipment and materials, preparing a design, process and manufacturing diagrams, performing major calculations regarding feasibility, pace, efficiency and progress of the project in mind. They work on industrial projects with manufacturing companies or with the government.

4. Research Engineer

Research Engineers carry out the R&D tasks in product development, energy systems, biomechanics, nanotechnology, etc. Although R&D is a part of many engineering job profiles, a specialized position means that the job involves thorough research into materials, designs and methods that would be involved in a mechanical engineering project. Analysis, implementation and testing are some of the core tasks of research engineers. They are also involved in preparing designs for devices, instruments and entire machines, often using innovation and out-of-the-box thinking for best results. They often have to coordinate teams of researchers and give suggestions to reorient or develop the R&D of the organization.

5. Product Engineer

Product Engineers are focused on a particular device, instrument or machine at a time. They are however concerned with every possible aspect that deals with the product, from research on materials to designing, and from cost-cutting to maximizing the utility of the product. They also have to check the quality of products and ensure that they are marketable and durable. These days they also need to strive for sustainability and environmental friendliness of the product. They need to be experts in product development software and tools. Manufacturing firms are their chief employers. However, they may also be employed by public defence equipment manufacturers, software and hardware companies, R&D organizations, etc.

Global Rank Employability Range Salary Range
1-10 Log in Log in
11-25 Log in Log in
26-50 Log in Log in
51-100 Log in Log in
101-200 Log in Log in
201-500 Log in Log in
500+ Log in Log in
Source: GyanDhan's proprietary analysis


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