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25 Best Master's in Mechanical Engineering 2020

By the GradReports team | Updated 4/1/2020

We ranked the top 25 colleges that offer a Master's Degree in Mechanical Engineering based on the median salary of this program's graduates one year after completion. The school with the highest median salary for this degree is Massachusetts Institute of Technology, at $108,700. Texas A&M University-College Station offers the lowest median debt on the list, at $19,454. Students who graduated with a Master's Degree in Mechanical Engineering from one of the top 25 schools had a median starting salary between $77,800 and $108,700.

Tuition, median salaries, and median debt were reported by the U.S. Department of Education in November 2019. View our methodology for more details about these rankings or read more about the top-ranked schools.

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Salary and debt data reported by the U.S. Department of Education
Salary and debt data reported by the U.S. Department of Education
Rank School Location Annual Tuition Median Debt Median Salary
#1 #1 Cambridge (MA) Cambridge (MA) $61,075 Not Reported $108,700
#2 #2 Stanford (CA) Stanford (CA) $57,210 $32,792 $102,700
#3 #3 Rochester Hills (MI) Rochester Hills (MI) $24,648 Not Reported $90,900
#4 #4 Columbus (OH) Columbus (OH) $39,598 Not Reported $87,100
#5 #5 Baltimore (MD) Baltimore (MD) $62,962 Not Reported $86,100
#6 #6 Los Angeles (CA) Los Angeles (CA) $28,424 $32,065 $86,000
#7 #7 Ann Arbor (MI) Ann Arbor (MI) $52,456 $20,500 $85,900
#8 #8 Houghton (MI) Houghton (MI) $23,867 Not Reported $83,200
#9 #9 Los Angeles (CA) Los Angeles (CA) $64,666 Not Reported $82,900
#10 #10 Cincinnati (OH) (and 1 other) Cincinnati (OH) (and 1 other) $26,644 Not Reported $82,800
#11 #11 Atlanta (GA) Atlanta (GA) $30,646 $28,279 $82,600
#12 #12 Madison (WI) Madison (WI) $25,577 Not Reported $82,600
#13 #13 Irvine (CA) Irvine (CA) $28,747 Not Reported $81,500
#14 #14 Provo (UT) Provo (UT) $7,932 Not Reported $81,200
#15 #15 Boston (MA) Boston (MA) $23,985 - $27,359 Not Reported $81,000
#16 #16 Philadelphia (PA) Philadelphia (PA) $37,074 Not Reported $80,600
#17 #17 Ithaca (NY) Ithaca (NY) $30,019 $27,812 $79,900
#18 #18 Boston (MA) Boston (MA) $61,924 $65,600 $79,000
#19 #19 Berkeley (CA) Berkeley (CA) $29,578 Not Reported $78,600
#20 #20 Bethlehem (PA) Bethlehem (PA) $27,200 Not Reported $78,500
#21 #21 Pittsburgh (PA) Pittsburgh (PA) $43,504 Not Reported $78,300
#22 #22 College Station (TX) College Station (TX) $23,395 $19,454 $78,200
#23 #23 Pittsburgh (PA) Pittsburgh (PA) $48,557 $27,500 $78,200
#24 (tie) #24 (tie) New York (NY) New York (NY) $54,627 Not Reported $77,800
#24 (tie) #24 (tie) Louisville (KY) Louisville (KY) $28,541 Not Reported $77,800

2020 Best Colleges Highlights

Median Salary $108,700
Median Debt Not Reported
Annual Tuition $61,075

The Massachusetts Institute of Technology offers a Master of Science in Mechanical Engineering. The department values experiential and project-based learning, and the master's research, design, or development project is a major component of the degree.

Students typically finish the degree in one-and-a-half to two years and must complete a master's thesis, considered the cornerstone of the program. Research or project work for the thesis is conducted under a senior or principal research scientist in the Mechanical Engineering department. The program consists of 72 credit units, including 48 graduate credit units and at least one graduate math course, but not including thesis preparation. Possible subjects in the program include Dynamics & Acoustics, Solid Mechanics & Materials, Computational Engineering, and Fluid Mechanics & Combustion.

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Stanford (CA)
Median Salary $102,700
Median Debt $32,792
Annual Tuition $57,210

Stanford University's Master of Science in Mechanical Engineering is well suited for students who plan to work in industry as mechanical engineering professionals. The program is offered through the Department of Mechanical Engineering, which emphasizes engineering solutions to societal problems and has a particular focus in energy, transportation, and health.

The degree requires 45 units that must be completed within three years. A master's thesis is not required for the program, but students can get involved in research projects and work with a faculty advisor on research.

The university also offers a Design Impact specialization of the Mechanical Engineering degree, as well as a general Master of Science in Engineering degree for students who want an interdisciplinary course load and experience. An MS in Mechanical Engineering can also be completed by part-time students in three to five years through Stanford's Center for Professional Development.

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Rochester Hills (MI)
Median Salary $90,900
Median Debt Not Reported
Annual Tuition $24,648

Oakland University's Master of Science in Mechanical Engineering degree aims to prepare students for a career in mechanical engineering or for further graduate study in the field. The degree can be completed by full-time students or part-time students who also work in industry, as classes generally take place in the late afternoon and evening.

Students can specialize in solid & structural mechanics, energy, fluid & thermal systems, manufacturing processes, automotive engineering, and general mechanical engineering. To complete the degree, students must finish 32 graduate credit hours, of which 24 should be approved courses in the School of Engineering and Computer Science. Students work with a master's advisor to determine their course of study and are also encouraged to complete a graduate engineering project or master's thesis research. Possible class options in the program include Mathematical Analysis for Engineers, Mechanical Vibrations, Computational Fluid Dynamics, and Polymeric Materials.

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Median Salary $87,100
Median Debt Not Reported
Annual Tuition $39,598

Ohio State University's Master of Science in Mechanical Engineering program allows students to deepen their knowledge in mechanical engineering and conduct original research in the field. The program emphasizes interdisciplinary research and collaboration with other departments to help solve important problems in engineering.

The university offers students a thesis option and non-thesis option to complete the program, both of which require at least 30 graduate credit hours. The thesis option requires 18 credit hours of graduate courses and a master's thesis, while the non-thesis track requires 27 credit hours of graduate courses. Sample courses in the program include Statistics, Dynamics, Engineering Thermal Sciences, and Introduction to Fluid Mechanics.

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Baltimore (MD)
Median Salary $86,100
Median Debt Not Reported
Annual Tuition $62,962

Johns Hopkins University offers a Master of Science in Mechanical Engineering through its Whiting School of Engineering. The program is designed to prepare students directly for a career in mechanical engineering or can be earned as part of a Ph.D. in Mechanical Engineering, though individuals who enter as Master's students are not automatically accepted into the school's Ph.D. program.

The degree can be completed in two different ways. The all-course option requires students to complete a sequence of ten courses over approximately three semesters. In the second option, which can be completed in three to four semesters, students must finish eight courses and a master's thesis essay in order to graduate. The essay can either result from original laboratory research or from work done in a Cooperative Educational Environment or Co-op. Possible courses for both options include Intro to Linear Systems, Finite Element Methods, and Advanced Topics in Fabrication and Microengineering. Students can also concentrate in one or two specializations like Aerospace Engineering, Energy and Sustainability, or BioMechanical Engineering.

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