What Is a Master of Engineering (MEng) Degree?

Written by Coursera • Updated on

If you are interested in advancing your engineering career and want to develop your leadership and project management skills, then a Master of Engineering degree may be a good choice.

[Featured image] A Master of Engineering student wearing glasses stands in front of a wall with design specifications on it. He's working on his laptop.

Engineers apply the natural sciences to design and build useful products, structures, and systems. The Master of Engineering (MEng) is a graduate degree you can pursue after earning your bachelor's degree in a related area. It's designed to strengthen and expand upon the technical and practical skills you'll need to advance your engineering career. 

With a Master of Engineering degree, you can develop more specialized knowledge, qualify for more advanced roles, and earn a higher salary. In fact, engineers with a master's degree tend to make 12 percent more than engineers with a bachelor's degree [1]. During your master's program, you may also have an opportunity to build a strong network with your faculty and peers, which can be a valuable resource.

In this article, we'll go over what it takes to earn an MEng, including common specializations and career paths you can explore after graduation. 

Master of Engineering: Coursework, cost, and time

Your graduate coursework will depend on where you go to school and what you choose to specialize in. Still, you can expect to take classes in leadership, engineering-related finances, product management, and supply chain management, among other subjects. Your courses will emphasize various technical, analytical, and mathematical skills. 

Typical MEng coursework: 

  • Business fundamentals 

  • Leadership and management

  • Managerial finance for engineers

  • Product lifecycle management

  • Sustainable manufacturing

In addition to the core-type courses mentioned above, you will also be expected to complete several credits in your area of specialization. Because the MEng degree emphasizes practical skills for an advanced career in engineering, you may find that you develop knowledge and tools to work in some aspect of the field, such as robotics, mechanics, or network systems. 



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MEng cost and time

The average cost of a master's degree is $66,340 [2]. A master's in engineering can take anywhere from one to three years, depending on the amount of time you can dedicate to your studies. When you attend full-time, you will likely be able to finish your degree in less time than a part-time student. 

If you are looking for a faster outcome, some universities offer accelerated programs, which involve completing more coursework in a shorter amount of time. However, there are also self-paced online engineering programs, which may be ideal when you have other responsibilities and need more flexibility regarding scheduling. 

Learn more: How Long Does a Master's Degree Take?

Master of Engineering vs. Master of Science in Engineering

Depending on the college or university you’re interested in attending, you may have a choice between earning your Master of Engineering (MEng) or your Master of Science (MS) in Engineering. Both degrees emphasize advanced technical training in the field, but the difference largely depends on what you’d like to do after graduation. 

If you’re interested in pursuing your PhD or a career in engineering research, then a Master of Science in Engineering is likely the better option. However, if you are interested in an engineering career and want to develop your leadership and project management skills, then a Master of Engineering degree is likely the better option. 

An MS in Engineering will involve more research-based coursework, as well as a thesis and/or comprehensive exam, and will take around two years to complete. An MEng will involve more practical coursework, likely will not require you to complete a thesis, and generally will take less time to finish than an MS degree.


Master of Engineering specializations

When you enroll in your master's program, you will specialize in an area of engineering, and a portion of your graduate coursework will be dedicated to that area.

Common MEng specializations include: 

  • ​​Aerospace engineering

  • Chemical engineering

  • Computer engineering

  • Electrical engineering

  • Engineering management

  • Industrial engineering

  • Mechanical engineering

  • Materials science and engineering

  • Nuclear engineering

Common MS in engineering specializations include: 

  • Biomedical engineering

  • Electrical & computer engineering

  • Mechanical engineering

  • Product design and manufacturing

  • Materials science

  • Robotics

  • Systems engineering

Many specializations will include further areas of concentration for study. For example, if you're interested in studying systems engineering, then you may have the option to concentrate in computational and systems biology, network systems, or production and service systems. 

As you research potential programs, ensure they offer the specialization you're interested in studying. It's also helpful to review the coursework you'll be expected to complete and make sure it aligns with your larger goals. 

Learn more: Is a Master's Degree Worth It?

Applying for a Master of Engineering degree

Applying for admission to a master's degree in engineering program typically requires having first earned your bachelor's degree in a related subject to prove you're capable of doing advanced coursework in science and math. Depending on the school, you may also need a minimum GPA for consideration and experience working in your field. 

You'll also need to submit: 

  • Transcripts

  • GRE scores (if applicable)

  • A personal statement

  • A resume or CV

  • Letters of recommendation



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6 jobs you can do with an MEng

A Master of Engineering degree offers many opportunities for employment and advancement in industries that don't involve research. While the roles below often typically require a bachelor's degree, you may find that you qualify for more senior positions and higher salaries after earning your master's degree. In fact, the US Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) found that master's degree holders earn $200 more per week compared to bachelor's degree holders [3].

The salaries listed below are for bachelor's degree holders. The compensation you may earn with your master's degree will depend on your industry, experience, and location. 

1. Construction project manager

  • Median annual salary (BLS): $98,890

  • Job outlook from 2020 to 2030: 11 percent 

Construction project managers oversee all phases of a construction project, whether for commercial, industrial, or individual use. Everyday tasks include planning, coordinating, and executing tasks so your project stays on deadline and under budget. 

2. Structural engineer

  • Median annual salary (Glassdoor): $109,138

After obtaining their professional license, structural engineers design and review structures, which includes creating drawings using calculations and analysis, observing construction sites, and reviewing other engineers' work. 

3. Electrical engineer

  • Median annual salary (BLS): $101,780

  • Job outlook from 2020 to 2030: 7 percent 

Electrical engineers play a vital role in designing and developing electrical equipment. Common tasks include performing calculations, designing electronic components and software, and overseeing installs. 

4. Chemical engineer

  • Median annual salary (BLS): $105,550

  • Job outlook from 2020 to 2030: 9 percent 

Chemical engineers develop products, processes, and equipment that involve chemicals. They may work in various industries and with various products, such as fuel, medication, and food.

5. Design engineer

  • Median annual salary (Glassdoor): $102,798

Design engineers work to create innovative methods to manufacture products or to make them more functional. Typical tasks include collaborating with research and development teams, creating and testing prototypes, and revising processes and designs.

6. Mechanical engineer

  • Median annual salary (BLS): $95,300 

  • Job outlook from 2020 to 2030: 7 percent 

Mechanical engineers design and build products that people engage with every day. They work in a range of industries, helping to take a product from the initial stages of an idea to the reality of the market. 

Explore further

Earn your Master of Science in Electrical Engineering from the University of Colorado Boulder on Coursera. Admission is performance-based, meaning there's no application required. Try a non-credit course today in a subject like optical engineering or power electronics. If you like the curriculum, you can upgrade and enroll in an engineering certificate or the full degree program.  


Master of Science in Electrical Engineering

University of Colorado Boulder

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Article sources

1. University of Virginia. "Virginia Engineering Online, https://engineering.virginia.edu/online/me-degree." Accessed June 21, 2022. 

2. Education Data. "Average Cost of a Master's Degree, educationdata.org/average-cost-of-a-masters-degree." Accessed April 5, 2022.

3. US Bureau of Labor Statistics. “Education Pays, https://www.bls.gov/emp/chart-unemployment-earnings-education.htm." Accessed June 21, 2022. 

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