Master’s in Engineering Guide
Engineers apply the principles of science and mathematics to develop economical solutions to technical problems. Their work is the link between scientific discoveries and the commercial applications that meet societal and consumer needs. Engineers are usually creative, inquisitive, analytical, and detail oriented. Working as a part of a team and communicating well both orally and in writing are two very important aspects in engineering careers. If this description seems appealing to you, a masters in engineering may be just what you’re looking for.
In order to get any masters in engineering degree, one must have an undergraduate degree in engineering, or a science related area of study. As a graduate studies student you can design your master in engineering studies for actual-world career application or for future academic studies.
What types of Master’s in Engineering Degrees are there?
Engineering is one of the broadest terms used when it comes to education because this term can be applied to anything from biochemical engineering to software engineering. In addition to Master’s in Engineering programs, students can choose from several different subjects spanning vast industries, including:
How long does it take to earn a Master’s in Engineering Degree?
A master of science in engineering (MSE) degree is the standard graduate level engineering degree taking two years to complete. Through an interdisciplinary method, this degree would prepare you for advanced work in the engineering profession or within academics. Courses within these programs are usually catered towards your choice of specialty, and may include hands-on observations done through lab work and through real-world observation.
A master of engineering (MEng) degree, usually a 12-month full-time program, is designed for enhancing your practical engineering expertise. This degree is aimed more towards advancing your skilled credentials for employment rather than building a basis for a profession in research or academics. Like a MSE degree is also helps you build on technical abilities and academic coursework.
Both of these degrees exist in online format and have benefits for working adults that campus programs do not have. For example, you can hold your day job, allowing you to still receive a paycheck, while arranging your classes around your other commitments. Tests, coursework, and class discussions can all be done from the privacy of your own home on your own time. Online degrees also cater to a wide range of engineering specialties—you wont be limited in your choices if you choose to obtain your masters in engineering degree online.
What is the Education and Training for a Masters in Engineering?
Graduate engineering training is essential if you’re interested in engineering faculty positions and some research and development programs, but is not necessarily required for entry-level engineering jobs. Many experience engineers go back to school for their graduate degree to learn new technology and broaden their education. Some graduate programs emphasize industrial practices, preparing you for a job in the industry, whereas others are theoretical based and designed to prepare you for further graduate work. Looking into numerous masters programs and understanding their individual curriculum is necessary before applying to graduate engineering programs.
Although every school has their own unique engineering program that has different requirements, there are some basic similarities between all programs. In addition to general engineering courses, most engineering programs will have classes in mathematics, physics, and life sciences. Design, computer and laboratory classes, as well as social sciences and humanities are also sometimes required depending on the program. Almost all courses will be focused on current issues and the application of engineering principles. Practical design and production work will be necessary for career paths that are more theoretical and scientific knowledge based. If you majored in engineering in undergrad, some of your classes may be transferrable and you therefore wouldn’t have to repeat the general humanities aspect of engineering.
It’s important to make sure the programs you’re considering are from accredited colleges and universities. The Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET) accredits college and university programs in engineering and engineering technology. ABET accreditation is based on a program’s faculty, curriculum, and facilities; the achievement of a program’s students; program improvements; and institutional commitment to specific principles of quality and ethics. For an engineering license it’s usually required that a person’s education be received from an ABET-accredited program.
All 50 U.S. states require licensure for engineers who offer their engineering services directly to the public. A licensed engineer is known as a professional engineer (PEs). To be licensed you must receive your education from an ABET-accredited program, have four years of relevant work experience, and have completion of a state licensure engineering examination. Upon your graduation of a masters program, the Initial Fundamentals of Engineering (FE) examination can be taken. Once passing this exam successfully you will be known as an engineer in training (EIT) or an engineer intern (EI). Through this stage you can acquire the necessary years of work experience as an EIT or ET. After that you can go through the second stage of examination called the Principles and Practice of Engineering exam. After passing this exam you’re an official engineer, although there may be mandatory continuing education requirements for re-licensure. There are other various certification programs offered by professional organizations to demonstrate competency in specific fields of engineering that you may be required to take at some point throughout your career, too.
What Career Options Exist for Masters in Engineering Graduates?
There are many careers available to graduates of masters in engineering programs. Most engineers develop new products, such as chemicals, computers, power plants, helicopters, and toys. Others work in testing, production, or maintenance of products. Engineers also use computers extensively to produce and analyze designs; to simulate and test how a machine, structure, or system operates; to generate specifications for parts; to monitor the quality of products; and to control the efficiency of processes.
A few specialization industries that exist for masters in engineering students, and lead to a variety of different jobs, include (but are not limited to):
- Aerospace Engineering: This industry involves developing new technologies and the design, testing, and manufacturing of aircrafts, spacecrafts, and missiles. There are many areas you can specialize in within the aerospace industry, such as commercial aircraft, military fighter jets, helicopters, spacecraft, or missiles and rockets, and may become experts in aerodynamics, thermodynamics, celestial mechanics, propulsion, acoustics, or guidance and control systems.
- Agricultural Engineering: Through this career you can apply your knowledge of engineering technology and science to agriculture and the efficient use of biological resources.
Designing agricultural machinery, equipment, sensors, processes, and structures may be a part of your job within this industry. Also working in research and development for ways to conserve soil and water and to improve the processing of agricultural products is a common path for agricultural engineers.
- Biomedical Engineering: This area develops devices and products that solve medical and health-related problems. Through this career path you would combine your knowledge of biology and medicine with engineering principles and practices. Research and development of artificial organs, prostheses, instrumentation, medical information systems, and health management and care delivery systems may be just a few areas you would work in.
- Civil Engineering: This is one of the oldest engineering disciplines and encompasses many specialties, including the design and supervision of the construction of roads, building, airports, tunnels, damns, bridges, and water supply/sewage systems. Many civil engineers hold supervisory or administrative positions, from supervisor of a construction site to city engineer. Others may work in design, construction, research, and teaching.
- Computer Hardware Engineering: Within this career sector you would research design, develop, test, and oversee the manufacture and installation of computer hardware, such as chips, circuit boards, computer systems, and related equipment like keyboards, routers, mouse, and printers.
- Electrical Engineering: This is the design, development, testing, and supervision of the manufacturing of electrical equipment. Electric motors, automobiles, aircraft, machinery controls, lighting and wiring in building, radar and navigation systems, communications systems, power generation control, and transmission devises used by electric utilities are just a few of electrical engineering equipment areas.
- Electronics Engineering: This subgroup of engineering is responsible for a wide range of technologies, from portable music players to GPS systems. Designing, developing, testing, and supervising the manufacture of electronic equipment are just a few duties of electronics engineers. Within this area you would specialize in communications, signal processing, or control systems or have a specialty within one of these areas.
- Environmental Engineering: This specialization uses the principles of biology and chemistry to develop solutions to environmental problems, both local and worldwide, including water and air pollution control, recycling, waste disposal, and public health issues. Conducting hazardous-waste management studies, designing municipal water supply and industrial wastewater treatment systems, performing research on the environmental impact of proposed construction projects, analyzing scientific data, and performing quality-control checks are just a few duties of environmental engineers.
For further information on occupations within the engineering industry, or for salary and job outlook information, The Bureau Labor Statistics engineering page from the United States Department of Labor is a great and detailed resource.