2019 Best Online Master's in Mechanical Engineering Programs

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These 24 schools are ranked by earning potential and affordability for their online master’s in mechanical engineering degrees. The reported median alumni salary for all the schools on the list is in the six figures, with graduates of the #1 school, the University of Southern California, reporting a median salary of $136,600 per year. The University of Central Florida is not far behind in second place; its graduates’ reported median salary is $129,700 and annual tuition is $9,572.

Alumni salaries were provided by PayScale. View our methodology for more details or learn more about SR Education Group.

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Rank School Annual Tuition Median Salary
#1 #1 University of Southern California $36,090 $136,600
#2 #2 University of Central Florida $9,572 $129,700
#3 #3 Missouri University of Science and Technology $18,000 $129,900
#4 #4 University of California - Los Angeles $15,451 $126,200
#5 #5 Auburn University $14,235 $125,200
#6 #6 Texas A&M University-College Station $21,632 $125,200
#7 #7 Clarkson University $20,820 $124,100
#8 #8 Lehigh University $22,500 $122,600
#9 #9 Purdue University - Main Campus $19,530 $121,400
#10 #10 Michigan Technological University $17,145 $120,900
#11 #11 Colorado State University-Fort Collins $14,040 $120,400
#12 #12 Johns Hopkins University $21,250 $121,300
#13 #13 University of Washington - Seattle $20,685 $120,900
#14 #14 The University of Texas at Austin $20,000 $120,200
#15 #15 Iowa State University $9,405 $117,900
#16 #16 Columbia University in the City of New York $30,270 $120,300
#17 #17 Worcester Polytechnic Institute $22,695 $118,700
#18 #18 University of Michigan - Dearborn $15,975 $117,600
#19 #19 University of Houston $15,000 $117,200
#20 #20 Georgia Institute of Technology $16,300 $115,500
#21 #21 University of Idaho $11,745 $114,400
#22 #22 University of Illinois Urbana - Champaign $17,344 $114,200
#23 #23 Villanova University $20,925 $113,600
#24 #24 Texas Tech University $13,248 $103,300
Salary data provided by Payscale Logo. Updated 2018.
  • Annual Tuition: $36,090
  • Median Salary: $136,600
  • School Type: Non-Profit
  • Accreditation: WASC WSCUC
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The University of Southern California offers several options for online students seeking a master’s in mechanical engineering degree. For the general MS degree, students select a track from three options: thermal and fluid sciences, engineering design, or mechanics and materials. The school also offers specialized programs in energy conversion and two areas of aerospace and mechanical engineering: dynamics and control as well as computational fluid and solid mechanics. Students interested in pursuing a leadership career can earn a dual degree in mechanical engineering and engineering management. USC’s online learning platform—called DEN@Viterbi—allows for a high level of interaction and collaboration among students studying from all over the world. Students can watch the lectures live or view the recordings whenever is convenient.

  • Annual Tuition: $9,572
  • Median Salary: $129,700
  • School Type: Non-Profit
  • Accreditation: SACS COC
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The University of Central Florida’s first-rate online programs are a testament to its reputation for innovation. Students can earn a master’s in mechanical engineering entirely online, choosing either mechanical systems or thermofluids as their focus. The school also offers an accelerated online BS to MSME program; undergraduates on this track begin their graduate coursework early, which enables them to complete both degrees in five years instead of six. At UCF, the same distinguished faculty teach both on campus and online.

  • Annual Tuition: $18,000
  • Median Salary: $129,900
  • School Type: Non-Profit
  • Accreditation: HLC
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The Missouri University of Science and Technology offers an online Master’s in Mechanical Engineering. This 30-credit MS degree provides a comprehensive look at the field of mechanical engineering, preparing students for careers in industries ranging from aerospace to bioengineering to product manufacturing. Students can choose a thesis or non-thesis track. MUST’s distance learning programs were designed for adults working full time, which is why most coursework and lectures are offered asynchronously. Students may take up to six years to complete their master’s, though most will finish in three to four when they enroll in just one to two classes per term.

  • Annual Tuition: $15,451
  • Median Salary: $126,200
  • School Type: Non-Profit
  • Accreditation: WASC WSCUC
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Study mechanical engineering from anywhere in the world with the University of California – Los Angeles’ online program. Students can earn an MS in engineering with a certificate in either mechanical engineering or mechanics of structure, depending on which track they choose. Students can also customize their studies further through the electives offered. Many of these courses are taught by the same UCLA faculty members who lecture on-campus. Students are expected to complete this 36-credit degree in two to three years.

  • Annual Tuition: $14,235
  • Median Salary: $125,200
  • School Type: Non-Profit
  • Accreditation: SACS COC
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Auburn University offers their master’s of mechanical engineering degree entirely online. This non-thesis MS program was designed for working engineers seeking advancement, or students who want to enter the field at a high level. The program requires 30 credits and a comprehensive exam for completion, with coursework offered in areas such as experimental mechanics, robotics, and thermal/fluid sciences. The average student works full-time while taking three to six credit hours per semester, which allows them to complete the degree in three to three and a half years.

  • Annual Tuition: $21,632
  • Median Salary: $125,200
  • School Type: Non-Profit
  • Accreditation: SACS COC
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Texas A&M University – College Station offers an online master of engineering in mechanical engineering degree for non-traditional students. This fully-online program requires thirty credit hours for completion. None of the core courses are required, which means the student can customize their degree based on their interests and professional goals. Students learn from industry professionals and join a large network of global alumni when they graduate. Throughout the program, students assemble a portfolio of their work, which will be used for final assessment.

  • Annual Tuition: $20,820
  • Median Salary: $124,100
  • School Type: Non-Profit
  • Accreditation: MSCHE
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Clarkson University offers both an ME and MS degree in mechanical engineering available entirely online. These 30-credit programs allow working adults to pursue educational advancement without pausing their careers. Complete the degree in just one year or as many as five, depending on how many courses you take at a time. CU encourages students to round out their studies by taking advantage of business courses for their non-technical electives. Students watch lectures on their own time and collaborate with their peers through the distance learning platform.

  • Annual Tuition: $22,500
  • Median Salary: $122,600
  • School Type: Non-Profit
  • Accreditation: MSCHE
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Lehigh University offers working adults the opportunity to earn a Master’s in Mechanical Engineering while studying entirely online. This 30-credit program is available as a master of engineering degree (non-thesis track) as well as a master of science degree (thesis track). LU utilizes two online learning platforms: Classroom Online and Classroom LIVE, which offer asynchronous and synchronous approaches to distance learning respectively. All classes for these master’s programs are offered through Classroom Online, and some are available through Classroom LIVE.

  • Annual Tuition: $19,530
  • Median Salary: $121,400
  • School Type: Non-Profit
  • Accreditation: HLC
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Engineering professionals can advance their education through Purdue University – Main Campus’s online master’s in mechanical engineering. This 30-credit program is offered as an MS of mechanical engineering and an interdisciplinary MS in engineering with a mechanical engineering focus. For either program, students work with an adviser to customize their studies to meet their academic and professional goals. Most distance students take just one course per semester while working full-time in order to finish in three years. Students have as long as they need to complete the degree, provided they take no more than a five-year break at any point in their studies.

  • Annual Tuition: $17,145
  • Median Salary: $120,900
  • School Type: Non-Profit
  • Accreditation: HLC
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Michigan Technological University’s online Master’s in Mechanical Engineering is open to students living anywhere in the United States. This MS degree can be customized to meet each student’s professional or academic interests in areas such as design and dynamic systems, energy and thermo-fluids, and solid mechanics. Many online students are working professionals, so MTU’s program offers flexible asynchronous coursework to accommodate any schedule. They recommend students only enroll in one three-credit course per semester, which allows them to finish in three years, though they may take up to five years.

  • Annual Tuition: $14,040
  • Median Salary: $120,400
  • School Type: Non-Profit
  • Accreditation: HLC
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Colorado State University – Fort Collins offers students all over the world the opportunity to earn a master’s in mechanical engineering online. This program is a 30-credit Master of Engineering degree with a mechanical engineering specialization; the coursework focuses on materials engineering, but the 12 elective credits give students the opportunity to specialize their studies further in areas such as experimental optimization, systems engineering, and more. In addition to teaching technical knowledge, this program also helps students learn business skills that can be applied to project management. All coursework is available asynchronously; students complete weekly assignments and chat with their peers on their own time through the online learning platform.

  • Annual Tuition: $21,250
  • Median Salary: $121,300
  • School Type: Non-Profit
  • Accreditation: MSCHE
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Johns Hopkins University’s online programs extends the reach of the Whiting School of Engineering to any student with an internet connection. Earn a Master’s in Mechanical Engineering entirely online with a focus in solids/mechanics of materials, thermofluids, manufacturing, or robotics and controls. The interactive online curriculum incorporates project-based learning that is optimized for the online environment, providing students with real-world skills and connecting them with a global network of peers. Students can study part-time, taking up to five years to complete their program.

  • Annual Tuition: $20,685
  • Median Salary: $120,900
  • School Type: Non-Profit
  • Accreditation: NWCCU
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The University of Washington – Seattle offers an online Master’s in Mechanical Engineering degree. Students can choose to specialize in areas such as biomechanics; controls, mechatronics, and robotics; energy; mechanics, materials, and manufacturing; and more. This program can be completed on a full- or part-time basis, with many students studying part-time while they continue working full-time. This allows them to finish the degree in an average of three years. Online students are admitted to the program every quarter.

  • Annual Tuition: $20,000
  • Median Salary: $120,200
  • School Type: Non-Profit
  • Accreditation: SACS COC
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In 2016, the University of Texas at Austin launched their 100% online Master’s in Mechanical Engineering degree. This 30-credit, non-thesis program utilizes completely asynchronous coursework to meet the needs of working professionals around the world. In fact, the program requires applicants to have at least 12 months of professional experience in the field. Study part-time while you work full-time, completing the degree in just two years. Energy, mechanics, and thermodynamics are the core topics of the degree, which also provides foundational learning in subjects such as manufacturing operations, medical devices, robotics, and more.

  • Annual Tuition: $9,405
  • Median Salary: $117,900
  • School Type: Non-Profit
  • Accreditation: HLC
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Iowa State University offers an online Master’s in Mechanical Engineering degree to students living anywhere in the United States. This highly flexible ME program has no required courses, which allows students to customize their degree plan. Students work with a mentoring adviser to select the best courses for their career aspirations. The online ME is a 30-credit, non-thesis program offered through the Engineering-LAS Online Learning department, which provides support for engineering faculty as they build, develop, and improve their online courses.

  • Annual Tuition: $30,270
  • Median Salary: $120,300
  • School Type: Non-Profit
  • Accreditation: MSCHE
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From the comfort of your home, you can earn a master’s degree in mechanical engineering from the highly-distinguished Columbia University in the City of New York. Students work with an adviser to focus their MS coursework in an area such as dynamics and vibrations, heat transfer, kinematics, manufacturing engineering, robotics, or another subject. The online program is offered through Columbia Video Network, the university’s online learning department. They offer rolling admission, three annual start dates, and asynchronous coursework for ultimate flexibility. Students may take up to five years to complete this 30-credit degree, as long as they enroll in a minimum of two courses per year.

  • Annual Tuition: $22,695
  • Median Salary: $118,700
  • School Type: Non-Profit
  • Accreditation: NECHE
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Worcester Polytechnic Institute offers an online Master of Science in Mechanical Engineering degree made to suit your busy lifestyle. Gain practical skills that lead to career advancement throughout this MS program, which can be completed in just two years. Students work with an adviser to customize their degree plan, choosing elective coursework in one of five specialty areas: aerospace, design and manufacturing, dynamics and control, fluid engineering, or structures and materials. WPI’s online programs involve a high degree of collaboration between students. Graduates join the school’s global alumni network of more than 37,000.

  • Annual Tuition: $15,975
  • Median Salary: $117,600
  • School Type: Non-Profit
  • Accreditation: HLC
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The University of Michigan – Dearborn offers an online Master’s in Mechanical Engineering through their Distance Learning Network. This 30-credit MSE program gives students the choice of two broad subject concentrations: mechanical science or thermal/fluid science. Students can complete up to 15 credits in their chosen focus. Distance students use the online learning platform to stream on-campus lectures and communicate with their professors and peers, who are located both on-campus and online. This degree can be completed entirely online, but students who live within commuting distance are invited to pursue a hybrid track if they desire. UMD does not require GRE scores for admission to this program.

  • Annual Tuition: $15,000
  • Median Salary: $117,200
  • School Type: Non-Profit
  • Accreditation: SACS COC
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Houston is the world’s energy capital, which is why the University of Houston offers an online master’s in mechanical engineering with a focus in how this science applies to the energy industry. Students follow a carefully designed curriculum with coursework offered in convection heat transfer, flow assurance, intelligent structural systems, and more. Whether students are working full-time in Houston or studying from the other side of the globe, UH online is the place to learn about the intersection of energy and mechanical engineering. The school also offers a more general MME degree. Both programs are 30 credits.

  • Annual Tuition: $16,300
  • Median Salary: $115,500
  • School Type: Non-Profit
  • Accreditation: SACS COC
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Georgia Institute of Technology offers an online Master’s in Mechanical Engineering for non-traditional students. Earn this MS degree while working full-time; most online students study part-time, taking two courses per semester. Distance students stream lectures and complete homework on their own time within the deadlines specified in the course syllabus. Online coursework utilizes a variety of digital learning tools, and students will be in constant contact with faculty and their peers through online discussions. Upon completion of the program, students are invited to participate in commencement activities on GIT’s Atlanta campus.

  • Annual Tuition: $11,745
  • Median Salary: $114,400
  • School Type: Non-Profit
  • Accreditation: NWCCU
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The Engineering Outreach program of the University of Idaho is proud to offer their Master’s in Mechanical Engineering through a convenient online format. Earn this 30-credit, non-thesis ME degree from anywhere with an internet connection. The distance program was designed for professional engineers looking to advance their career by taking on a project management position. UI offers two kinds of online classes, “live” and “pre-encoded,” but both formats allow students to view recorded lectures on their own time. Students are admitted to the program in the fall and spring semesters.

  • Annual Tuition: $17,344
  • Median Salary: $114,200
  • School Type: Non-Profit
  • Accreditation: HLC
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The University of Illinois Urbana – Champaign has been a provider of online education for over twenty years. Through the school’s Engineering Online program, working professionals can seek an online Master’s in Mechanical Engineering from the comfort of their home. This flexible program is offered in two degrees: Master of Engineering (non-thesis track) or Master of Science (thesis track). Both are 32-credit programs that can be completed in just two to three semesters of full-time study. However, as many distance learners study part-time while working full-time, they are given up to five years to finish their degree.

  • Annual Tuition: $20,925
  • Median Salary: $113,600
  • School Type: Non-Profit
  • Accreditation: MSCHE
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Villanova University offers their Master of Science in Mechanical Engineering degree entirely online through their E-Learning program. Students can participate in live classes or download archived lectures to view on their own time. Coursework is offered in the core subject areas of dynamics and controls, mechanics and materials, and thermal sciences, but students also have the opportunity to dive into the developing fields of bioengineering and nanotechnology. Full-time students can earn their degree in just two to three semesters. Over half of distance learners study part-time,. Taking one course per semester, you can complete the program in just three years.

  • Annual Tuition: $13,248
  • Median Salary: $103,300
  • School Type: Non-Profit
  • Accreditation: SACS COC
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Texas Tech University offers an online Master’s in Mechanical Engineering degree for non-traditional students. This 36-credit degree program focuses on two broad subject areas: design and materials and mechanics. Students will have the opportunity to further specialize with elective courses. They can choose to complete the degree on a coursework-only basis, or they can pursue the report option, which fulfills three credit hours. Online and on-campus courses are taught by the same faculty members, so students will receive a quality education regardless of the delivery method.

Online Master's in Mechanical Engineering Overview

Applicants to online master's degrees in mechanical engineering need an ABET-accredited undergraduate engineering degree, and some programs also require a year or more of professional engineering experience. Students complete about 10 to 15 courses over a span of one to three years.

Because many of these degrees are aimed at current engineering professionals, they are flexible in their curricula; some are non-thesis degrees, and others have extensive online course options. For example, students could focus their courses in materials science, manufacturing, or biomechanical engineering. A student specializing in manufacturing might take courses in machine design and design for manufacturability. Other common courses apply statistics, math, and research design to engineering topics. Professional programs are typically coursework-only; some may have a focus in management topics, such as supervising engineering teams, safety in engineering, and supply chain management.

The types of required courses will depend on the area you wish to study within mechanical engineering and the type of master’s program you choose. All master’s programs require students to specialize in a particular area, such as biomedicine, combustion, or heat transfer. Some degrees allow students to design their own coursework within the constraints of the program, while others have more stringent requirements.

Master’s students must take a number of electives within their area of concentration in order to gain expert-level familiarity with their field. For example, a mechanical engineering grad student focusing in materials science might take a course in atomistic materials science, which looks at the properties of materials on the atom level.

Upper-level math courses are common requirements in ME programs. Courses in partial differential equations and complex variables give engineers a more developed mathematical arsenal with which to approach engineering problems. Some programs also require students to gain breadth in their studies by taking a few courses outside of their main focus area. To fulfill this requirement, an ME student focusing in biomechanical engineering might take a course in gas dynamics or energy systems to get an advanced introduction to other sorts of specialties.

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