What to Expect from an Online Master's in Engineering Management Program
Most online master's in engineering management programs require 30-36 credits to complete. These programs are available on a part-time and full-time basis, with a full-time student taking about two years to complete the program. A part-time student can often take up to four years to complete their masters. Some programs offer accelerated master's programs that take a shorter time to complete.
Engineering management prepares you for different managerial responsibilities including:
Viability assessment for new products
Coordinating with other departments in an organization
Directing production and maintenance
Overseeing equipment and machinery
Overseeing project design
Those who complete a master’s in engineering management online can pursue different career paths as follows:
Engineering Operations Manager
Engineering operations managers are responsible for:
Overseeing electrical or mechanical repair and maintenance (including preventative maintenance tasks)
Supervising engineering operations
Coordinating and supervising engineers, and contractors as they complete different projects
Developing new projects
Developing plans and budgets for different projects
Training engineering teams
Collaborating with other departments to improve internal processes
Managing projects to ensure they meet different safety and regulatory conditions
Developing OS vendor relationships with local and regional companies
System analysts evaluate different programs within an organization to determine whether they meet an organization's needs and goals. A system analyst does the following:
Maintain and troubleshoot a company's data warehouse
Research and evaluate emerging hardware and software
Identifying business needs and gaps that are affecting the accuracy, efficiency, and productivity of an organization
Preparing cost-benefit analysis and reports
Training end-users and creating manuals for employees and users
With a master's in engineering management, you can attract higher positions and income as a senior system analyst.
Project engineers manage engineering teams during a technical project. They are responsible for:
Preparing, scheduling, coordinating, and monitoring engineering and technical projects
Communicating project needs and requirements to their teams and clients
Overseeing quality control in various engineering projects
Writing and providing reports in various projects
Monitoring and ensuring compliance in all projects
Providing technical support to engineers during a project
Reviewing different deliverables during an engineering or technical project
Other career options you can explore with a master's in engineering management include:
Industrial engineering manager
Construction engineering manager
Architectural project manager
Senior electrical engineer
Director of business development
Senior chemical engineer
Chemical process engineer
Director of hardware engineering
Skills You Will Develop
A master's in engineering management aims at preparing students to handle managerial roles in various capacities. To this end, your instructors expect you to have developed the following skills before graduating from your program:
Project management is one of the common responsibilities of an engineering manager. You will be responsible for overseeing various aspects of a technical or engineering project including preparing a budget, allocating funds, setting and communicating deadlines, and coordinating communication between different teams in the organization.
Effective communication skills allow you to interact with clients, your engineering team, and other departments. Written communication skills are also important as most managers create reports for the projects they oversee.
Leadership skills to help you motivate your team members. Managers with good leadership skills can identify the strengths and weaknesses of various team members then delegate tasks accordingly.
In addition to business and management skills, engineering managers must develop technical skills. These technical skills allow you to navigate different technical challenges that arise during an engineering project.
Admission Requirements for Online Master's in Engineering Management Programs
Admissions requirements for a master's in engineering management vary depending on the institution. In general, however, most programs require:
A bachelor's degree in engineering management or a degree in an engineering or related STEM field from an accredited institution.
Official transcripts from your undergraduate program
Completion of a standardized admissions test (such as the GRE)
A CV and/or resume highlighting your work experience and achievements (most institutions require about two years of relevant work experience)
A statement of purpose
A letter of recommendation
TOEFL or IELTS score for non-natives
Engineering management graduate programs require students to demonstrate some work experience or skills as part of the admission process. While not all MEM programs require work experience, those that do can lower the admission requirements based on your experience. Gaining work experience first also prepares you with a sense of what real-world engineering problems look like. Some people have even pursued engineering management programs due to the inefficiencies they discovered working under a non-technical-oriented manager who lacked the engineering mindset to drive engineering projects further.
Working for a few years before you enroll in an online graduate engineering program allows you to determine the best path you would like to pursue in your graduate degree. Working professionals in fields such as architectural engineering may have better chances of being accepted into a master's in engineering management programs, especially at prestigious universities.
Primary Courses Included in an Online Master's in Engineering Management Program
Master’s in engineering management programs combine business and engineering curriculums to prepare students to leverage skills from both fields in making impactful business decisions. Different online master’s in engineering management programs focus on various areas depending on the intended outcomes. These areas build upon the basic engineering concepts you covered in your undergraduate program. In addition, you also cover several business courses to introduce you to the management size.
Core courses in a MEM program can include:
Here are examples of various curriculum focus areas of different MEM programs:
Vanderbilt University's Master’s in Engineering Management Online offers an 18-month program. The core curriculum of the Vanderbilt MEM program focuses on applied leadership in engineering management, strategic technology management, operations, and supply chain strategy, program and project management, technology forecasting, finance and accounting, and IP for engineers and scientists. Students also complete engineering capstone projects.
Cornell University offers a part-time online engineering management program. The Cornell MEM program offers courses in project management and leadership, economics and finance for engineering management, decision framing and analytics, data analytics for engineering managers, managing culture and innovation, and visualizing data. In addition, students complete two on-campus intensives. Students can choose from electives such as negotiations and contracts, design thinking for complex systems, project management, and risk analysis and management.
Drexel University's master's in engineering management program focuses on quantitative analytics and economic and financial management. Its curriculum includes core courses such as statistical data analysis, financial management, leading and managing technical workers, meeting engineering leadership challenges, and engineering economics evaluation and analysis. The Drexel MEM program allows students to choose elective courses such as systems thinking, sustainable business practices for engineers, project management, and modeling and simulation among others.
Engineering Management Specializations
In addition to core courses, some MEM programs allow you to choose various specializations (sometimes referred to as concentrations or tracks) so you can develop industry-specific expertise that aligns with your career goals. Some examples of engineering management specializations are:
A further glimpse into some of these MEM specializations:
Systems engineering focuses on the design, integration, and management of complex systems. Systems engineering covers areas such as engineering reliability, coordination of teams, testing, and evaluation, and logistics among other areas. Systems engineering is an important component for engineering managers in different engineering fields. These fields include industrial, mechanical, civil, control, software, cybernetics, aerospace, manufacturing, and production engineering.
Operations management involves developing efficient business operations. It includes designing, controlling, and redesigning business processes for the efficient production of products and services. Operations management covers topics such as production systems, operations strategies, mathematical modeling, safety, risk and maintenance, and design and configuration of production systems.
Leadership and organization management
Leadership and organization management equip learners with skills such as motivating employees that are critical for technical organizations.
The Best Online Master's in Engineering Management Programs
For most people, a master's degree is the right next step on the path to a higher-paying engineering position or a career pivot. With so many online master's in engineering management programs competing for the top spot, it can be hard to evaluate the best MEM program for you. Here are a few programs to get you started in your research:
Master of Science in Engineering Management - USC
The University of Southern California USC Viterbi School of Engineering offers a Master of Science in Engineering Management program to prepare students for management positions in various architectural, engineering, and research organizations.
The online USC MEM program offers four specializations options including:
You can enroll in this program if you have a bachelor's degree in engineering or a related field from an accredited university.
Master of Science in Engineering Management - Johns Hopkins University
Johns Hopkins University Whiting School of Engineering offers a Master of Engineering Management program. Students can choose one of the two available specializations - management and technology.
The online Johns Hopkins MEM program requires a bachelor's in an engineering, science, or related field. Johns Hopkins undergraduates are eligible for a GRE waiver and a 50% tuition discount.
The George Washington University School of Engineering and Applied Science - Online Master’s in Engineering Management
The 100% online master's program from George Washington University takes two to three years to complete. Students with an undergraduate degree in engineering, physical science, computer science, business administration, information technology, or computer science from an accredited institution can enroll in the program. The online GWU MEM program requires 36 credit hours for graduation.
Duke University Pratt School of Engineering - Online Master of Engineering Management
Duke University's online master’s in engineering management program is available for full-time and part-time students with a completion time of two to three years. Duke’s online MEM program is mostly online, but students must complete three-week-long residences at the university.
University of Central Florida Engineering and Computer Science - Engineering Management, MS
The engineering management program at UCF is fully-online. Compared to other MEM programs, the online UCF MEM program is more affordable both for out-of-state and in-state students. In-state students pay about $10,000 while out-of-state students pay about $34,560 for the master's program.
Now that you know what to expect from a master's in engineering management the next step is to develop your education plan and begin applying to the MEM programs you believe best support your learning and your career objectives. Click through to research and compare the leading online MEM programs.