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Master’s Degree in Engineering FAQs
What are the different types of engineering master’s degrees?
As engineers are needed in nearly every type of industry, there are a wide variety of engineering graduate programs to choose from. Each master’s in engineering in the USA is designed to help you specialize in advanced engineering concepts, theories, and skills so you can gain qualifications toward your desired career.
Because engineering graduate programs focus on different specializations, courses offered will vary by university and program type. Additionally, master’s in engineering requirements for each course will also be different depending on the university and your preferred program track.
Here are several popular master’s in engineering in the USA options:
Chemical Engineering—Chemical engineering is a challenging course, combining subjects such as biology and physics with chemistry to help you learn how to create new products and formulas. You can work in various industries including cosmetics, biomolecule production, microfabrication, pharmaceuticals, and more.
Petroleum Engineering—A master’s degree in petroleum engineering teaches you about modern-day petroleum extraction methods used by real-world organizations. You will also learn how to improve existing techniques, develop new methods of extraction, and discover new sources of gas and oil.
Geotechnical Engineering—With a focus on understanding soil structure and surface conditions, geotechnical engineering programs aim to teach you how to analyze various environments and the effects soil can have on various types of structures. With a master’s in geotechnical engineering, your professional career can ensure safe construction activities and building projects.
Structural Engineering—By studying structural engineering, you will learn about different types of buildings and how natural forces such as wind, water, and corrosion can affect them. As a structural engineer, you are responsible for designing and building structures for businesses, families, and even governments.
Civil Engineering—With a master’s degree in civil engineering, you specialize in city and town infrastructure and develop skills such as planning, designing, operating, inspecting, and managing a variety of building projects. Civil engineers are responsible for designing railroads, highways, and dams, and even play a role in planning entire neighborhoods and districts.
What can you do with a master’s in engineering?
While undergraduate engineering degrees introduce you to the world of engineering, a master’s in engineering USA will equip you with advanced techniques, knowledge, and skills required by employers seeking to hire professional engineers. When you select the engineering specialization you want to work toward, you can learn from professionals and explore careers in a variety of different industries.
Because engineering careers require you to have practical skills, knowledge, and experiences, many engineering programs have mandatory co-op or internship placements at US companies. In addition to hands-on learning, internships and co-ops help you gain work experience and build your professional portfolio. Additionally, you can expand your professional network as you meet and work alongside industry professionals.
After graduating with a master’s in engineering, you also become eligible to apply for Optional Practical Training (OPT). With OPT, you can participate in training or internships in the US for a maximum of 12 months after completing your program. As engineering is a STEM-designated degree, you can request two additional years of OPT, for a total of three years of working in the US.
Many senior roles in engineering require the expertise that only a master’s degree can provide, so by completing your master’s in engineering USA, you can advance further in your chosen career.
Here are career opportunities for graduates with a master’s in engineering USA:
Aerospace engineering and operations technicians
Cartographers and photogrammetrists
Chemical process engineer
Civil engineering technicians
Construction project manager
Mining and geological engineers
Senior mechanical engineer
Senior systems engineer
Surveying and mapping technicians
If you are interested in teaching, a master’s in engineering is an important step toward pursuing a PhD in engineering. With a PhD, you are qualified to become a professor or instructor in your specialization of engineering at an educational institution.
What are the best US schools to earn a master’s in engineering?
When deciding where to study for your master’s in engineering USA, one of the most important factors to consider is your specialization. Many universities offer graduate programs in engineering, but some universities only offer specific specialization programs. Carefully research each program to make sure you can find the best engineering colleges in USA for a master’s.
As engineering is a hands-on field, you should also search for programs that offer first-hand experience through co-ops and internships, which will enhance your understanding of your chosen specialization and can advance your career.
Shorelight partners with top universities in USA for master’s in engineering programs, with offerings designed especially for international students.
Auburn University—Auburn University’s Samuel Ginn College of Engineering offers a master’s accelerator to help you fast-track your studies. Choose from nine different specializations, including aerospace engineering, chemical engineering, materials engineering, and more.
Cleveland State University—With a strong focus on teaching and research, CSU’s Washkewicz College of Engineering specializes in sustainable engineering practices. Students can choose from eight unique engineering specializations including civil, environmental, mechanical, and chemical engineering.
University of Dayton—The School of Engineering at the University of Dayton teaches students to work toward their degree with a focus on collaboration, community-engaged learning, and adaptability, offering more than 10 different engineering specializations such as aerospace, electrical, materials, and mechanical engineering.
University of Illinois Chicago—UIC is the only public research university in Chicago offering engineering education and is heavily involved with interdisciplinary research in a variety of engineering fields such as nano-technology, energy, and more. Select from 10 different engineering specializations and take advantage of more than 30 engineering student organizations.
University of Massachusetts - Amherst—The Master of Science in Electrical Computer Engineering offered by UMass Amherst is an ideal option for students interested in working toward a career in electrical engineering. Discover new techniques in electrical and computer engineering as you study courses such as reconfigurable computing security engineering, advanced system software design, and data analytics. Explore options for starting your program in your home country or during the last year of your bachelor’s!
University of the Pacific—Pacific’s master of science in engineering science is structured to help you explore the technical and social aspects of engineering. Choose from four engineering specializations, such as mechanical engineering, civil engineering, and engineering management. Access advanced accelerator programs to help you complete your program faster.
University of South Carolina—With 15 centers for research and more than 150 years of experience in engineering education, the UofSC College of Engineering offers seven different specializations to select from as you work towards your future career, including aerospace, biomedical, civil, and electrical engineering.
If you want to learn more about how you can apply for a master’s in engineering USA, Shorelight is ready to help with exclusive international student resources such as college application guidance, F-1 visa assistance, career advice, and more.
What are common requirements and prerequisites to study for a master’s in engineering?
With many types of specialization programs offered by different universities, the exact master’s in engineering requirements may be different depending on the university you hope to attend. Here are common requirements:
A bachelor’s degree in a related field—As a general requirement, a four-year bachelor’s in engineering or related field is needed to be eligible to enroll for a master’s in engineering USA. You will also be expected to have a strong background in calculus, statistics, and physics.
Working experience—In some engineering graduate programs, you may also need to have at least two years of work experience and include your professional resume and portfolio as part of your application.
Academic transcripts and testing scores—Some universities in USA for masters in engineering may require you to have a minimum grade point average (GPA) and/or Graduate Record Examination (GRE) scores. You may also be asked to submit transcripts of your previous academic records, including standardized test scores.
Letters of recommendation—Typically, at least three letters of recommendation are required (though the exact amount can vary depending on the university). Letters must come from an individual with authority to rank your performance as a working professional or student, such as a manager, colleague, or professor.
English proficiency—Many programs have a minimum English language proficiency score (typically from standardized tests like TOEFL or IELTS).
Personal statement—You may also be asked to write an essay about yourself, career ambitions, and reasons for pursuing a masters in engineering. The focus of the essay is to help the university learn more about you outside of your academic accomplishments.
Do different engineering degree specializations take different amounts of time to complete?
Typically, most master’s in engineering USA programs can be completed in two years, but this may be different based on the specialization, program, and the university where you study. A program specialization that takes two years to complete at one university may take just one at another university. Additionally, universities in USA for master’s in engineering may also offer accelerator programs which allow you to complete your degree in 12 to 18 months, for example.
Internship placements offered by most engineering programs can also extend the time it takes to complete your degree. Depending on your academic performance, the number of semesters \enrolled, and internship length, among other factors, the duration of your program can be shortened or extended. If you are pursuing your degree on a part-time basis or are also working toward a master’s from another discipline as part of a dual degree, this can extend your program to three or four years.
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