What is an Engineering Management Degree?
Graduate engineering management degrees include the Master of Science in Engineering Management (MEM or MSEM) and Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) in Engineering Management degrees. Or, if you want to get started with graduate-level courses in engineering management but are not ready for a full degree, you might consider a certificate program.
DID YOU KNOW?
Engineering Managers could also be referred to as Chief Engineers, Chief Technology Officers and Project Development Directors.ii
Masters in Engineering Management Degree Programs
Masters in Engineering Management programs typically award the Master of Science in Engineering Management degree, also called an MEM or MSEM degree. MEM degrees are often considered the MBA for engineers. While management courses are at the core of an Engineering Management Masters program, some schools offer areas of emphasis that span various engineering disciplines. Consequently, a course of study could discuss real-life business challenges within a specific industry.
Engineering Management Masters Degree Requirements
Engineering Management Masters program requirements vary, but students could expect to complete anywhere from 30 to 36 credit hours. One reason for the variation is that some programs allow students to choose more electives and/or an area of emphasis. Since there are programs that cater to the at-work professional, you could also find both full-time and part-time formats. Consequently, the time it takes to earn a masters in engineering management degree could range from 2 to 5 years.
Masters In Engineering Management Coursework
Often, an Engineering Management Masters program entails core courses and courses by concentration. At the end of their program, students may need to complete a final project or engineering capstone. Since each school has their own syllabus, you should refer to individual programs to see what their curriculum entails. However, there are common topics that an MSEM student engages with.
In their core courses, students often take a class in technical project management which could help them learn the general methods for managing a technical project from its conceptual stage to operational use. Masters in Engineering Management classes might explore topics such as risk, design review and organization. Along with this, students could study the various methods for communication within a technical organization. They might learn how to manage conflicts with supervisors, write memoranda and interface with customers and top management.
Topics in executive leadership could further broaden the student’s grasp of issues that are relevant to technical executives, such as technical strategy development and tactical operations. Courses in financial management often expand on themes such as contract management, accounting, and negotiation. Engineering Management Masters students could thus develop a grasp of financial reports, return on investment and funds flow. Other courses could cover key concerns such as business law, market analysis and organizational behavior.
Electives are dependent on each school. Sometimes, students may take courses outside the engineering management department as long as they are approved by faculty. Some examples of possible elective topics are below.
- Manufacturing Systems Integration
- Labor and Employee Relations
- Energy Management
- Product Marketing
MSEM Admission Requirements
While requirements vary, many MSEM programs presume students have a bachelors degree in engineering, mathematics, or science, from an accredited institution. Aside from this, some schools look for a minimum GPA of 3.0, GRE scores, letters of reference, and a statement of intent. Finally, some engineering management masters programs could consider an applicant’s relevant full-time work experience in the field, and may ask for an interview.
PhD in Engineering Management Degree Programs
A PhD in Engineering Management degree is a research-based and terminal degree. It is often designed to help prepare leaders with more advanced skills and knowledge in areas such as innovation, administration, and technology management.
Upon completion of their PhD, engineering management graduates are typically expected to show a comprehension of the larger context of business and technology management. Moreover, through their independent research, they could demonstrate mastery over a specific area of emphasis and contribute original ideas to their field.
PhD In Engineering Management Degree Requirements
Some PhD in Engineering Management programs require students to complete roughly 60 credits of coursework, a dissertation manuscript and oral defense. Depending on the student and the school guidelines, a full-time student might take four to seven years to complete their PhD degree requirements.
PhD In Engineering Management Courses
Coursework for a PhD in Engineering Management degree is likely to vary between universities. Typically students take a series of core and emphasis courses, along with research methods, statistics, writing and dissertation courses.
Core courses are usually tailored to a program emphasis. For instance, PhD students who study technology and innovation management might take courses that discuss advanced concepts in business intelligence, policy, strategy and risk. Other topics could cover effective communication for technology leaders, as well as current issues in computer network design and management.
In their emphasis courses, students could learn how to assess emerging ideas, protect intellectual property and bring these innovations to readiness. Courses in IT project management could help students grasp concepts such as processes, deliverables and knowledge groups that are key to the development of new technologies and ideas. Other courses in engineering law could cover patent systems and regulations.
PhD In Engineering Management Admission Requirements
In some universities, applicants to an Engineering Management PhD program could need a masters degree from a regionally or nationally accredited institution. Additional requirements vary by program and area of emphasis.
Graduate Certificates in Engineering Management
A Graduate Certificate in Engineering Management could provide students with an alternative to a full MEM degree program, and/or a way to prepare for one. Usually, students take some of the courses from a Masters in Engineering Management curricula. While some students might use the certificate as a stand alone credential, others may decide later to take the next step and pursue the MSEM degree. In some cases the earned credits could be applied towards the master's degree. If this is your goal, consult an academic advisor at the schools on your list.
Engineering Management Certificate Coursework
Engineering management certificate coursework could provide an introduction to the basic concepts of business management from the standpoint of a technology professional. Students might also explore some of the key issues around new product development and market success for new technologies.
Some programs require students to complete about 9 credits. Because they have fewer requirements than a engineering management masters degree, full time students may be able to complete their courses in about one year or less.
Applying to an Engineering Managament Certificate Program
To apply to a Certificate in Engineering Management Certificate program, students may have to submit official transcripts, a resume, a statement of goals and TOEFL scores when relevant. Each school could have different application procedures, so make sure to inform yourself so you have the appropriate material on hand.
Engineering Management Degrees: Areas of Emphases
Some Engineering Management Graduate Programs could allow students to choose an area of emphasis. Each area usually has a few courses associated with it (e.g. 3 to 4). Moreover, some schools list your concentration on your earned diploma.
Areas of concentration vary from school to school, so you could keep your eyes open for the chance to tailor your engineering management degree to your interests, career and research goals. When in doubt, speak to a program advisor to see what, if any, prerequisites or special application processes an emphasis might involve. Below are a few examples of the types of concentrations that you might come across.
Aviation/Aerospace Management: Students could learn about airport and airline operations and management. Courses could discuss international aviation policy, logistics and safety.
Applied and Computational Management: Students could study topics such as statistical methods, data mining and data analysis. Other courses might cover investment sciences and the mathematics of risk.
Financial Management: Students could study financial engineering and managerial finance and might learn managerial accounting for business decisions
Information Systems Engineering: Coursework could cover software engineering and information assurance. Students could study data recovery, business continuity and e-business infrastructure.
Logistics and Supply Chain Management: Coursework could cover transportation, global logistics and purchasing.
RF and Microwave Engineering: Students could learn about electro-magnetics, antenna systems and the principles of microwave circuits.
Structural Engineering: Coursework could cover structural mechanics, mathematics, advanced steel design and much more.
Online or On-Campus Engineering Management Degree?
Many Engineering Management Programs engage learners through case-study analysis and group projects. Some also involve laboratory work and could rely on instructor-assisted mediation. Because each program is a bit different, it may be available in a specific format. Or, in some cases, students may have a choice and could choose the one that fits their schedule and lifestyle needs.
Online Engineering Management Programs often blend real-world and project-based courses into their course of study through an interactive web platform. Some schools may even offer live-streaming classes where students connect to the classroom via web conferencing tool and could take part as if they were onsite. Blended programs (online and onsite) could appeal to students who seek some flexibility but don’t want to miss out on face-to-face interaction. Engineering Management Schools could appeal to those who want the traditional class setting and the opportunity to use libraries, labs and other services on campus.
Accredited Graduate Engineering Management Programs
Many regionally accredited universities offer graduate engineering management degrees. At this level (institutional), accreditation often speaks to the financial stability of a school, and whether it is eligible for federal aid. Since schools undergo this voluntary review periodically, it could show that they meet or exceed standards set by the agency who vets them.
You might find accredited engineering management graduate programs that have undergone a second review process (programmatic). This type of approval is usually done through a professional agency such as ABET. They look to set standards for curriculum and are recognized by the Council for Higher Education Accreditation.iii
[i] bls.gov/ooh/management/architectural-and-engineering-managers.htm | [ii] onetonline.org/link/summary/11-9041.00 | [iii]abet.org/accreditation/