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Mechanical engineering is one of the broadest types of engineering in the world today. Mechanical engineers study motion, energy and force. They try to control these factors by using materials, human and economic resources to devise sound mechanical solutions to solve various engineering challenges.
Essentially, mechanical engineering is involved in everything that moves. Mechanical engineers will learn about materials, fluid and solid mechanics, thermodynamics, control, heat transfer, design, instrumentation and manufacturing to better understand mechanical systems. The breadth of this discipline allows a student to pursue many career options.
Some of the most common job duties of mechanical engineers are:
- Product design: Designing everything from biomedical devices to engines to appliances and fuel efficient vehicles.
- Research and development: Coming up with new ideas and solutions that satisfy the demands of society, or improving existing ideas and solutions.
- Manufacturing: Designing and constructing machines and equipment that produce all types of consumer and business products. Today it is especially important that manufacturing equipment operates with high efficiency.
- Systems management: Management of a large facility, such as a power plant or manufacturing plant.
- Energy: Planning the ways in which energy is created, stored and moved in industries that either produce or deliver electrical current.
By earning a master’s degree in mechanical engineering, you can work in these professions:
- Mechanical engineer: Research, design, build and test a variety of mechanical and thermal sensors and devices, which can include engines, tools and machines. These engineers play a vital role in designing and overseeing how many products are manufactured, from batteries to cars to medical devices. They also are integral in the design of electrical generators, engines, steam and gas turbines, and air conditioning systems.
- Mechanical engineering technician: These technicians assist mechanical engineers in the designing, development, testing and manufacturing of many mechanical devices, such as machines, tools and engines. They will usually make layouts and sketches, analyze and record data, and make estimates and calculations.
- Architectural and engineering managers: These managers plan, direct and oversee many architectural and engineering projects for companies. They must use their advanced knowledge of architecture and engineering to oversee many activities, such as directing and coordinating production, quality assurance, operations, and maintenance.
Some students find the mechanical engineering degree valuable in other fields as well. There are very successful professionals with a mechanical engineering degree who work in law, consulting, banking, management and finance.
Why Earn a Master’s Degree in Mechanical Engineering?
In a competitive economy, mechanical engineer graduates routinely have good job prospects, especially those with advanced degrees. Most graduates are able to find good jobs soon after graduation, and some have multiple offers.
Mechanical engineers also are known to have many different skills. They tend to have a good knowledge of computer software and hardware, electricity, mathematics, electricity and physics. They also need to have a good understanding of business management and environmental factors that affect engineering projects.
Also, the mechanical engineering field is bright, especially in engineering services. These companies are contracted by companies to perform various projects. While job demand for mechanical engineers will rise only by 5% in coming years, it is likely there will be more demand for mechanical engineers at contracting companies.
To be admitted into a master’s in mechanical engineering program, you will usually need to meet the following requirements, such as at Texas A&M University:
- Official transcripts from undergraduate work
- GRE scores are mandatory
- Three letters of recommendation from professors or supervisors
- Resume that reflects significant engineering experience
- Statement of purpose and/or other writing samples
- 0 GPA minimum in undergraduate work
Curriculum and Courses
Villanova University offers a highly ranked Master of Science in Mechanical Engineering. This program has an excellent national reputation, with mechanical engineering standards and programs that are modern, relevant and comprehensive.
This program can be taken full time on campus and completed in two years. There also are part time and distance learning options for those who have work obligations.
The total enrollment in this program in 2016 was 55, and 57% attend part time. You can earn your degree in just three years by taking one class per semester. The average annual salary for graduates of this program is $105,000 per year.
The Department of Mechanical Engineering at Villanova has a highly distinguished and dedicated faculty, all of whom are nationally recognized experts in their specialties.
Required classes include:
- Advanced Engineering Analysis
- Nano/Microscale Mater Behavior
- Fiber Composite Structures
- Biomechanics of Soft Tissues
- Thermal Mgmnt of Electronics
- Biothermal Transport
- Multiphase Flow & Heat Trans.
- Elasticity & Stress Analysis
- Vibration Analysis
- Control Systems Engineering
- Digital Control
- Feedforward Control
Career Outcomes and Job Titles
Earning your master’s degree in this field means you can have these types of job titles:
- Junior engineer
- Mechanical engineer
- Engineering manager
- Engineering researcher
- Director of engineering
- Lead engineer
Job and Salary Outlook
- Architectural and Engineering Managers — Job demand in this field overall will only be 2% by 2024. However, the growth of jobs is largely dependent upon the growth of the particular industries in which you work. For example, in the engineering services industry, job growth will be 12%. This is the fastest growth in the mechanical engineering field. Engineering services companies are consulting groups that work on many different engineering projects for different companies. The median salary is $132,000 per year.
- Mechanical Engineers — Employment in this field will increase by 5% by 2024, which is about as fast as average. As with other engineering fields, there will be faster growth in engineering services. Companies are tending to contract out this work rather than keep engineers on staff. Mechanical engineers are also going to be involved in many growing manufacturing industries, such as transportation. The median salary in this field is $83,000 per year.
- Mechanical Engineering Technicians — Employment will grow 2% by 2024, which is slower than average. But if you are working in engineering services and research and development, you should see strong job demand. Contracting this work out allows companies to spend less money for engineering projects, so this is a growing area of the US economy. The median salary is $53,800.
Scholarships and Grants
- American Society of Mechanical Engineers: ASME offers several scholarships per year to undergraduate or graduate students who are studying mechanical engineering. These scholarships can range from $500 to $4000 per year.
- Brigham Young University: This university has a very strong mechanical engineering program, and it offers many valuable scholarships for engineering students. These scholarships range from $500 to $5000.
- Association of Mechanical Engineers: This association has fulfilled its mission to build and serve communities in mechanical engineering for more than 130 years. It promotes the latest standards and expertise in mechanical engineering projects, and also brings new expertise to the front through its regular conferences and journals. This organization offers many speciality groups for mechanical engineers engaged in different industries.
- Mechanical Engineers Network on Linkedin: This group of mechanical engineers has more than 190,000 members, and is designed for networking and education opportunity exploration for mechanical engineers. It also is useful for job seekers, as there are many engineering company recruiters in this group who seek talented engineers in the US and Canada.