Popular Schools

The listings below may include sponsored content but are popular choices among our users. x
Northcentral University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

Northcentral University

Northcentral University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

Best Online Mechanical Engineering Master's Degree Programs

Online master's programs in mechanical engineering help prepare students for advanced positions in the field. Learn more about the stand-out features of some of the top programs, as well as detailed program and admission information.

Best Online Master's Degree Programs in Mechanical Engineering

These programs may be considered the top in the field for expert faculty, hands-on learning opportunities, flexible curriculum, and more. Explore some of the best online master's programs in mechanical engineering and what makes the programs unique.

1. Kansas State University

LocationGraduate Tuition & Fees (in-state)
Manhattan, KS$11,069

Kansas State University offers a Master of Science (MS) in Mechanical Engineering that totals 30 credits. Courses are taught by the same faculty from the school's Accreditation Board of Engineering and Technology (ABET)-accredited undergraduate programs and are available 100% online; no visits or residencies are required. The program concludes with a required oral examination. Classes during the spring and fall, are 16 weeks in length and may include lectures, discussion boards, videos, and more.

2. Colorado State University-Fort Collins

LocationGraduate Tuition & Fees (in-state)
Fort Collins, CO$12,495

Colorado State University at Fort Collins provides an online Master of Engineering (ME) degree program with a specialization in mechanical engineering. The program totals 30 credits, can be completed in 2 years and includes case studies and projects designed to give students real-world experience in the field. The program is also taught by faculty who incorporate their research into their courses. Students are able to further customize the curriculum with 12 elective credits to focus in different areas like experimental optimization and systems engineering.

3. Auburn University

LocationGraduate Tuition & Fees (in-state)
Auburn, AL$11,282

Auburn University has an online MS in Mechanical Engineering that requires 30 credits. Ranked nationally for graduate engineering programs, the university provides flexible coursework and room for customizable electives in its engineering graduate programs and is responsible for one-third of the state's engineering graduates. The master's in mechanical engineering program offers both a thesis and a non-thesis track.

4. Texas A&M University-College Station

LocationGraduate Tuition & Fees (in-state)
College Station, TX$9,812

Texas A&M University offers an online Master of Engineering (MEng) that is a non-thesis program. Students are required to complete 30 credits and a cumulative portfolio project for assessment of a student's time in the program. The faculty here actively involved in the industry -- their research has led to 40 new startups and more than 1,000 industry-related projects over the last few years and students get to benefit from that real-world engagement.

5. Missouri University of Science and Technology

LocationGraduate Tuition & Fees (in-state)
Rolla, MO$11,372

Missouri University of Science and Technology has a 30-credit online MS in Mechanical Engineering that boasts both a thesis and a non-thesis track. Students in the program benefit from a graduate advisor, whom they consult with prior to enrolling in courses each semester. The mechanical and aerospace engineering department has expert faculty who conduct research in a variety of areas, including materials and advanced manufacturing. The school also has more than 18 design teams working on engineering projects like human-powered vehicles, Formula SAE and a solar car.

Rank School Name Location Graduate Tuition & Fees (in-state)
6University of ArizonaTucson, AZ$13,044
7Purdue University-Main CampusWest Lafayette, IN$9,992
8University of Illinois at Urbana-ChampaignChampaign, IL$18,126
9University of North DakotaGrand Forks, ND$9,697
10University of Wisconsin-MadisonMadison, WI$12,010
11Oklahoma State University-Main CampusStillwater, OK$8,460
12Texas Tech UniversityLubbock, TX$8,015
13Michigan Technological UniversityHoughton, MI$19,598
14University of Michigan-DearbornDearborn, MI$12,920
15The University of Texas at ArlingtonArlington, TX$9,672
16University of Pittsburgh-Pittsburgh CampusPittsburgh, PA$23,696
17North Carolina State University at RaleighRaleigh, NC$11,495
18University of Washington-Seattle CampusSeattle, WA$16,590
19University of FloridaGainesville, FL$12,737
20University of New Mexico-Main CampusAlbuquerque, NM$6,258
21University of DelawareNewark, DE$33,678
22University of HoustonHouston, TX$9,216
23University of Central FloridaOrlando, FL$8,872
24Mississippi State UniversityMississippi State, MS$8,650
25Worcester Polytechnic InstituteWorcester, MA$27,294
26Villanova UniversityVillanova, PA$19,005
27Stevens Institute of TechnologyHoboken, NJ$37,250
28Southern Methodist UniversityDallas, TX$47,024
29Lehigh UniversityBethlehem, PA$27,130
30New Mexico Institute of Mining and TechnologySocorro, NM$8,037

All statistics provided by the National Center for Education Statistics, tuition based on 2018-2019 school year

Learn.org's school ranking methodology categorizes and assesses data from schools and other reliable sources, such as the U.S. Department of Education, and weighs the information based on quality, cost, value and other factors critical to students' academic decisions.

Overview of Online Master's Programs in Mechanical Engineering

Online master's degree programs in mechanical engineering are usually available as MS, ME, or MEng degrees and typically require 30 to 32 credits. These programs can often be completed fully online, though some of these online programs may still require a culminating experience of some sort, such as an exam or portfolio project and there are a few online programs that may offer a thesis option. Several online programs also provide similar resources to online students as on-campus students, such as access to a graduate advisor. Find out more details about these online programs below.

Length of Program

Online master's degree programs in mechanical engineering typically take 2 years to complete. There are some online programs that may allow full-time students to complete the program in 1.5 to 2 years and/or part-time students to finish in 2.5 to 3.5 years. There are also some 4+1 programs available onsite that allow students to earn their bachelor's and master's degree in mechanical engineering in 5 years, instead of 6.


Most schools that offer online degree programs are accredited by regional organizations like the Higher Learning Commission, the Middle States Commission on Higher Education or the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS). Accreditation from these and other regional bodies ensure that schools are providing students with quality academic programs. Accreditation is also required to receive federal financial aid and may be a requirement for future certifications or licenses in the field (like the Professional Engineering license; more on this below).

Some programs may also go on to receive specialized accreditation specific to the field. Graduate programs in engineering can be accredited by the Engineering Accreditation Commission (EAC) of the Accreditation Board of Engineering and Technology (ABET). These programs are rare, so many students choose engineering schools whose undergraduate programs are accredited by ABET.

Common Courses

Depending on the program, students in online master's programs in mechanical engineering may take core courses and electives or take various core courses that are divided into sections, such as thermal sciences and mechanical sciences. Electives may be designed to allow students to take additional courses in areas of interest and/or help prepare for a career in a specific industry. Although course titles and specific subjects vary by degree program, some common topics for these programs include:

  • Heat transfer- Students may take multiple courses in heat transfer that help train them to conduct heat transfer analysis. This usually involves knowledge of differential equations and concepts in two-phase heat transfer, convection, and conduction. Other topics for these courses may include evaporation, condensation, and radiation.
  • Materials- Materials courses may cover specific kinds of materials, like smart materials or biomaterials, and/or broader concepts in the subject, like materials engineering and materials issues. In general, students in these courses learn about a range of materials and how their properties need to be considered when designing products.
  • Design- Design courses come in all shapes and sizes. For example, some programs may offer courses in optimal design, design for manufacturability, control systems design, and more. Typically, in these courses students explore various design methods and how to appropriately analyze the designs to find the best option.
  • Fluid mechanics- Courses in fluid mechanics examine the different properties of fluids and some courses may focus on specific kinds of fluids, such as biofluids. Specific topics for these courses may include flow, dimensional analysis, laminar boundary layers, turbulence, and stability.
  • Thermodynamics- These courses explore the various laws of thermodynamics and the properties of pure substances. Some of these classes may then apply these concepts to real-world engineering problems.

Admissions Requirements and Prerequisites

To apply to an online master's program in mechanical engineering, applicants typically need to have a bachelor's degree in mechanical engineering, another field of engineering, or a closely related science, math, or technology field. Depending on the program and a student's background, students may be required to have prerequisite coursework in areas like:

  • Mechanical engineering
  • Calculus
  • Physics
  • Differential equations

Students are also commonly required to meet a minimum GPA requirement, usually around a 3.0 or higher. Many of these degree programs also require students to take the GRE. Other common application materials for online programs in mechanical engineering include official transcripts, references/letters of recommendation, a statement of purpose, and/or a resume.

Master of Science vs. Master of Engineering in Mechanical Engineering

Some schools may offer both an MS and an ME degree in mechanical engineering, while other schools may only offer one or the other. Both degree programs usually require around 30 to 32 credits, include the same course topics, and help prepare graduates for a future career in the field. Either degree qualifies students for a range of similar careers.

One of the biggest differences between an MS and ME is that an MS is typically more research-focused, while an ME is more practice-focused. Depending on the school, an MS may require a thesis and/or slightly less coursework than an ME, which is typically a non-thesis program. Students should note though, that many online MS programs are non-thesis programs as well. Some online MS and/or ME programs may still require a final project of some sort.

Other differences may occur in the length of the program. Since an MS may include a thesis, some of these degree programs may take longer than an ME degree. Depending on the school, there may also be some discrepancies in additional funding options, but these typically occur for on-campus programs. For example, due to the research component of the MS, some students in these programs may qualify for graduate assistantships that ME students do not qualify for.

Career Options for Graduates in Mechanical Engineering

Graduates with a master's degree in mechanical engineering typically go on to work or continue working as mechanical engineers. However, they may take on more advanced leadership positions and/or managerial positions with experience. Mechanical engineers are also needed in a wide range of industries, some of which include:

  • Product manufacturing
  • Construction
  • Energy
  • Consulting
  • Aerospace
  • Automotive

Mechanical engineers generally work in teams of engineers and engineering technicians. They usually work full-time and in an office setting. However, they may occasionally visit worksites and some of these professionals may work more than 40 hours a week. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), mechanical engineers made a median annual salary of $87,370, as of 2018.

The BLS also reported a job outlook of 4% for the profession from 2018 to 2028, which is as fast as average. Students should note that with the need for mechanical engineers in a wide range of industries, the job outlook for a specific industry may vary. Graduates with experience in virtual simulations and/or 3-D printing may have better job prospects.

Mechanical engineers work with a wide range of devices, from tools to machines. They work to design and build these devices, as well as research and test new and advanced techniques for engineering. They may need to examine a device to help solve any issues with it and/or design a new prototype to test. After testing, mechanical engineers interpret their results to make suggestions or changes to the device. They typically use computer-aided design (CAD) for design and other computer technology to run simulations and analyze data.

Professional Licensure

Although entry-level mechanical engineers do not need a license, those who wish to sell their services directly to the public and/or oversee the work of other engineers need to have a Professional Engineering (PE) license. To earn a PE license most states require a degree from an ABET-accredited program, at least 4 years of work experience, and the passing of a PE and Fundamentals of Engineering (FE) exam. Depending on the state, mechanical engineers may need to renew their license annually and participate in continuing education.

Professional Organizations in Mechanical Engineering

There are several different professional organizations that offer diverse resources for professionals in the field. Some of these groups may provide continuing education for licensure, events, professional development opportunities, and more. A few examples of professional mechanical engineering groups include:

  • The American Society of Mechanical Engineers- The ASME boasts more than 100,000 members and helps train more than 5,000 individuals each year. The group also offers certifications, conferences and events, publications, and additional professional development opportunities.
  • The Institution of Mechanical Engineers- This organization is one of the fastest-growing in the industry and has over 120,000 members in 140 different countries. Members can get involved in various networks, special interest groups, and/or volunteer. Other resources the group provides include an online archive, events, training and webinars, scholarships, and news.
  • The National Society of Professional Engineers- The NSPE aims to help develop engineering leaders who are not only qualified but are ethically accountable. The group outlines an extensive code of ethics, offers membership, posts publications in the field, and provides a wide range of educational and practice resources. The organization is also highly involved in advocacy.