Illinois Masters in Engineering (MEng.) Degree Programs
Masters in Engineering programs may offer current engineers the opportunity to expand their technical expertise or leadership ability in a very broad field. When you think about electric cars, wireless watches, or the advances in biotechnology, a team of engineers likely contributed to finding a science-based technological answer or innovative solution.
Whether your interests lie in sustainable engineering, civil engineering, software engineering or engineering management, earning a masters in engineering may prepare you for new opportunities such as teaching, research, and development.[i]
What is a Masters Degree in Engineering?
Master of Engineering Programs are offered as the Master in Engineering (MEng) and Master of Science (M.S.) in Engineering. Considered a professional degree, earning a Master's degree in engineering combined with passing the PE certification (Professional Engineer Certification) may lead to expanded leadership roles and potentially more career opportunities[ii].
Some students may choose to work towards a masters of engineering in their current field, others may choose the same field with a narrower focus; for instance water engineering and management or agricultural and biosystems engineering. Your undergraduate degree may serve as a platform for different graduate engineering degree programs, depending on your goals and interests. Sometimes students approach a MEng after having been out in the workforce, while others may be continuing from a Bachelors degree program, whether in computer science or engineering.
Masters in Engineering Programs: Basics
The types of engineering masters programs that are available to you and the length of time to completion vary depending on the country you study in and the institution you choose to attend. For instance, some engineering schools offer a combination Bachelors/Master degree in
Engineering which is a 5-year program[iii]. You may also be able to find part-time or accelerated engineering graduate programs. Masters in Engineering Programs often entail applied research, a capstone project, thesis and internship in addition to coursework.
Masters in Engineering Programs: Potential Requirements
Prerequisites for Masters in Engineering programs are usually set by the engineering graduate school. Some have specific grade point averages to meet. Others may expect prospective students to have completed certain mathematics, engineering and computer science courses. There are also Master Engineering programs that require new students to have previous work experience. You may also encounter a Master of Engineering (M.E.) degree which requires students to have graduated with a Bachelor of Science (B.S.) degree is a specific field of engineering. You may also have to furnish Graduate Record Examinations (GRE) scores that indicate your readiness for post graduate-level coursework.
DID YOU KNOW?
Per the Bureau of Labor Statistics, “some employers prefer to hire candidates with a masters degree, and this may help explain the increase in the number of students graduating with a masters of engineering"[iv]
Master of Engineering | MEng
In both the United States and Canada, the Master of Engineering degree is generally considered a professional degree which provides a coursework-based alternative to the traditional Master of Science (M.S.) in Engineering, considered a research-based degree. Typically, the MEng is a two-year (fulltime) program that students may be eligible to enter once they have successfully earned a Bachelors degree, however, this could vary. For instance, in the United Kingdom, the Master of Engineering may be a 4 to 5-year postgraduate degree designed to prepare students to become chartered engineers. [v]While the M.S. Engineering may be used as a platform for continued education (Ph.D. in Engineering), the MEng. degree is regarded as a terminal degree in the field of engineering.
FACT: Per the NCES, 42,400 MEng degrees were awarded in 2013-14 compared with 32,600 from 2003-2004[vi]
Master of Science in Engineering | MSE
Master of Science in Engineering degree programs may emphasize the in-depth study of a specialization in engineering. Students who choose this program might expect to complete coursework and a written thesis and generally pursue a career in research and academia. This program might take one to two years to complete, although this may differ between universities.
Master of Engineering Programs: Potential Concentrations
Many Master of Engineering programs are specialized, as the field of engineering spans many areas. While engineers are the designers, builders, and testers of products, most engineers choose a specialty[vii]. Some build bridges (civil engineers), others are design robotics (mechanical Engineers), and others help develop medical technology (biomedical engineers). There are 4 main branches, each of which may have sub categories, especially given consistent advances in STEM fields. These are;[viii]
- Master of Chemical Engineering: The application of physics, chemistry, biology, mathematics and engineering principles to chemical processes (fuel, food, drugs).[ix]
- Master of Civil Engineering: The design and construction of infrastructure, bridges, roads, water systems and other public or private works.[x]
- Master of Electrical Engineering: The design and study of electrical and electronic systems and technology, including computer systems and telecommunication[xi].
- Master of Mechanical Engineering: The research, design, development and manufacture of mechanical systems from aircraft to thermal sensors.[xii]
Other possibilities might include aerospace engineering, environmental engineering, and engineering management. Masters in Engineering Management programs respond to the need for management-focused engineers.
After Graduation: Common Careers, Skill Sets & Continued Education
Continued Education: While licensure is not required for entry-level positions in some engineering occupations, engineers interested in more independence (sign off on projects, provide services directly to client, supervise other engineers), work towards their Professional Engineering (PE) license. Students interested in advanced analytical research or a career in academics might pursue a PhD in Engineering or another doctorate level degree.
“Common” Potential Careers: If you are more inclined to pursue a career there may be various potential career paths for Masters of Engineering graduates. Per Data USA, the most common industries that employ engineering majors (by number of employees) are:[xiii]
- Architectural, Engineering & Related Services
- Computer Systems Design
- Colleges, Universities, Professional Schools
- Electronic Component & Product Manufacturing
7 Distinctive Skill-Sets of Engineers: Whether you possess some of these traits prior to earning an MEng Degree or the degree helps to potentially cultivate them, there are a few skills deemed important for working professional engineers. Seven of these are:[xiv]
- Reading Comprehension
- Speaking & Writing
- Judgement & Decision Making
- Complex Problem Solving
- Critical Thinking
- Systems Analysis & Evaluation
Find an Accredited Master of Engineering Program
Whether you are considering engineering graduate schools with residential programs or hope to find an online option, accreditation for Masters in Engineering degree programs is important. Master of Engineering programs in the disciplines of applied science, computing, engineering and engineering technology are accredited by ABET[xv]. ABET-accredited programs meet the quality standards of the global workforce, and ABET itself is recognized by the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA). Find accredited masters engineering programs locally, in or out of state, or abroad, just use our location search. Keep in mind that each country may have specifications for their ME degree programs.
Take the Next Step
Ready to choose an M.S. or M.Eng. degree program that leverages your strengths and allows you to research topics that fascinate you? Browse our list of sponsored programs. Each university has unique features, so reach out to prospective schools through our onsite navigation; it’s as easy as using the ‘request info’ tab.
sources:[i] bls.gov/ooh/architecture-and-engineering/environmental-engineers.htm |[ii] bls.gov/ooh/architecture-and-engineering/civil-engineers.htm[iii] bls.gov/ooh/architecture-and-engineering/chemical-engineers.htm[iv] http://nces.ed.gov/programs/coe/indicator_ctb.asp |[v] en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Master_of_Engineering[vi] http://nces.ed.gov/programs/coe/indicator_ctb.asp |[vii] bls.gov/careeroutlook/2007/spring/art04.pdf |[viii] en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Engineering |[ix] bls.gov/ooh/architecture-and-engineering/chemical-engineers.htm |[x] bls.gov/ooh/architecture-and-engineering/civil-engineers.htm |[xi] bls.gov/ooh/architecture-and-engineering/electrical-and-electronics-engineers.htm |[xii] bls.gov/ooh/architecture-and-engineering/mechanical-engineers.htm |[xiii] https://datausa.io/profile/cip/14/ |[xiv] https://datausa.io/profile/cip/14/ |[xv] http://www.abet.org/ |
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