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10 Affordable Online Master’s in Mechanical Engineering 2022

The field of mechanical engineering is a diverse and exciting one. Mechanical engineers are responsible for designing, developing, testing, and maintaining machines that can be found in most industries. 

In our fast-paced modern world, there’s never been more of a demand for STEM graduates to stay on top of the latest technology. The best way to do that is to pursue higher education. 

From automobiles to airplanes to medical devices, it’s easy to see that the work of a mechanical engineer touches just about every area of our lives. You’ll deal with everything from the basic nuts and bolts to large-scale projects like buildings and bridges.

In short, your work as a mechanical engineer will be life-changing.

However, that doesn’t necessarily mean that you have to change your lifestyle in order to go back to school. In the past, getting a master’s degree meant quitting your full-time job, moving to a new city, and perhaps foregoing other commitments in order to earn your credentials.

That is no longer the case. Now, you can earn a degree in mechanical engineering right from your own couch.

An online degree offers the same quality and affordability as a traditional, on-campus program. However, since you won’t need to relocate or pay for expenses like transportation and housing, you may find that an online program is even more affordable—and of course, more convenient, too. 

Most courses are offered asynchronously, allowing you to complete your studies whenever you choose (even if it’s early in the morning or late at night!). No more schedule shuffling!

Needless to say, there are countless benefits to earning an online degree. 

Intrigued? You should be. Keep reading to learn everything you need to know about the 10 most affordable online master’s in mechanical engineering. 

What Are the Best Mechanical Engineering Degrees?

We know that you have educational goals that you’re itching to pursue, but you may not know where to start. The editors of Master’s Programs Guide utilize a unique ranking methodology based on the following five aspects:

25% Overall Degree Affordability: Average cost of undergraduate and graduate tuition per school

25% Graduation Rate: Number of students who start at the university and actually finish there

20% Earnings Potential: Average mid-career salary of school alumni

20% Selectivity: The number of students who apply versus the number who actually get accepted

10% Online Graduate Offerings: The number of programs offered online in each department

At Master’s Programs Guide, we strive to do our best to guide you and your family toward a fruitful academic career. The pursuit of knowledge is a noble one, and we want to help you reach your goals.

#1. Georgia Institute of Technology-Main Campus

Georgia Tech

Online Master of Science in Mechanical Engineering

The Georgia Institute of Technology, also known as Georgia Tech, is a public research university that was founded in 1885. The mechanical engineering degree here is the oldest and most historic at the university—when this university first opened its doors, the mechanical engineering program was the only one it offered!

Today, there are more than 30 different departments focusing on science and technology at this school. However, it is the computer science and engineering programs for which Georgia Tech is the most well-known.

If you’re ready to take a deep dive into the innovative problem-solving techniques you can use to solve complex mechanical engineering challenges, you will want to consider the online Master of Science in Mechanical Engineering at the Georgia Institute of Technology. Offered by the George W. Woodruff School of Mechanical Engineering, this program has multiple start dates per year and is offered exclusively online.

You will take core courses such as:

  • Robotics
  • Wind Engineering
  • Experimental Methods
  • Advanced Digital Signal Processing

You’ll be able to choose from a medley of electives to further customize your degree, helping you to stay engaged in your studies and tailor your work to allow you to meet your career goals.

As a student in this program, you will benefit from a variety of resources that will help make online learning easy, convenient, and accessible. From peer tutoring to an extensive library system, this degree truly offers it all.

An affordable program, it features tuition that starts at just $1,100 per credit hour. All classes are three credit hours each, making it easy for you to progress quickly through the curriculum (and without having to spend a ton of money!). You can apply for many types of financial aid, including student loans, employer tuition reimbursement, and much more. 

#2.  Texas A&M University-College Station

Texas A&M

Online Master of Science in Mechanical Engineering

Texas A&M University-College Station is a public research university located in College Station, TX. Founded in 1876, this school is the flagship institution of the Texas A&M University System. It is also one of the largest, home to a student body of more than 69,000 students that is the second largest in the United States.

It is the only school in the state of Texas to possess designations as a space, sea, and land grant institution. It regularly receives funding from organizations like:

  • National Science Foundation
  • National Aeronautics and Space Administration
  • Office of Naval Research

When you enroll at Texas A&M University, you’ll become an “Aggie”—and that’s something that you can definitely be proud of!

The online degree in mechanical engineering at Texas A&M University is ideal for the student who recognizes that distance learning is the most convenient option. It will help you develop strong independent research and learning skills as you discover new ways to solve difficult problems in engineering. A two-year degree, the program is research-intensive and includes lots of advanced coursework.

You’ll take at least 32 semester credit hours as you study topics such as:

  • Advanced Product Design
  • Continuum Mechanics
  • Mechanics of Robot Manipulators
  • Engineering Dynamics

You can pursue research with esteemed faculty at the school, examining topics such as energy conversion and combustion, dynamics, vibrations, and acoustics, and rotating machinery as you work in labs like the Center of Innovation in Mechanics for Design.

There’s plenty of time to play in this program, too—it’s not just about the work! You can join a variety of student organizations, including the American Society of Mechanical Engineers, the Society of Automotive Engineers, and much more. These organizations offer learners (including those studying from afar!) the opportunity to go on trips, interact with monthly speakers, and network with alumni.

The department, home to about 567 graduate students, is offered at a school that is ranked among the top public institutions by U.S. News & World Report. You’ll be able to connect with leading industry and government employers as a student here, benefitting from vast career resources. Of course, tuition is affordable, too, making it easy for you to earn a degree without taking on tons of student loan debt. 

#3.  Texas Tech University

Texas Tech

Online Master of Science in Mechanical Engineering

Texas Tech University is a public research institution located in Lubbock, TX. Originally founded as Texas Technological College, it is now one of the largest universities in the state of Texas. It is also one of the most diverse, recognized as a designated Hispanic-serving institution.

It offers more than 150 different programs of study within 13 colleges, along with 60 research institutes and centers. Here, you’ll have outstanding opportunities to explore your potential as an engineer in the lab and beyond. 

The online master’s degree in mechanical engineering at Texas Tech will provide you with a core education in traditional areas like solids and mechanics, dynamics and controls, and thermal sciences and fluid dynamics while also pursuing multidisciplinary research with other departments, too. 

Far from being a cookie-cutter program, this degree comes with multiple options for concentrations, specializations, and customizations. You can choose from a thesis option, a report option, or a coursework option. Depending on the pathway you select, you will complete between 30 and 36 credit hours of study. 

There’s even a combined BS/MS program you can pursue if you’ve yet to complete your undergraduate opportunity. This will let you earn both degrees in just five short years of study! No matter which pathway you select, you’ll take core classes in engineering mathematics, a chosen concentration area, and six credit hours of courses that exist outside of your concentration area. 

Sample classes cover topics in categories such as:

  • Dynamics and Controls
  • Solid Mechanics and Materials
  • Design
  • Thermal Sciences and Fluid Mechanics

Many students choose to pursue internships or cooperative learning in addition to their required courses, too, allowing them to connect with industry partners and gain valuable hands-on experience. 

This affordable program features tuition that starts at just $19,098 for the entire program. In Addition to these low rates, the university offers multiple financial aid opportunities that make it easier than ever to finance your degree. 

#4.  University of Houston

University of Houston

Online Master of Mechanical Engineering

A public research university, the University of Houston is located, as you might expect, in Houston, TX. It is the flagship institution of the University of Houston System and the third-largest school in the state of Texas. It offers more than 282 degree programs within over a dozen academic colleges. 

Of all of the schools on this list, the University of Houston has one of the best and proudest alumni networks. You’ll join a group of more than 260,000 past graduates who are proud of where they came from—and are willing to share their experiences and career connections with future students.

Not only that, but the University of Houston is another cheap university for mechanical engineering. This program will prepare you for roles in government, industry, academia, and more, providing you with the skills you need to solve real-world problems in a practical way. 

Although the traditional version of this program is taught on-campus in the Energy Capital of the World, you’ll gain a lot as an online student, too. You will be able to interact face-to-face via synchronous and asynchronous instruction that exposes you to core courses and research in topics such as:

  • materials science
  • control of dynamical systems
  • applied mechanics
  • biomedical engineering

You can choose from thesis and non-thesis tracks. Either way, you’ll find that the degree is incredibly affordable, with low tuition rates and generous financial aid available.

A 30-credit hour program, it is ranked as one of the best of its kind by U.S. News & World Report. You will be able to take advantage of multiple opportunities for professional development and can even attend on-campus events such as “Weekend U” so you still have the opportunity to connect in real life with your classmates and instructors. 

#5.  University of Florida

UF

Online Master of Science in Mechanical Engineering

A public land-grant research university, the University of Florida is located in Gainesville, FL. It was founded in 1853 and offers a variety of programs on-campus as well as online. It is ranked as the sixth-best public university in the United States by U.S. News & World Report

A 30-credit hour program, the online Master of Science in Mechanical Engineering at the University of Florida is just one of the many engineering degrees available online here. Other majors include industrial and systems engineering, electrical and computer engineering, materials science and engineering, and more. 

There are even certificates available that can help you advance your degree by making it just a little bit more specialized. Certificate options include:

  • hardware and systems security
  • engineering innovation
  • engineering leadership
  • engineering project management
  • transportation operations and planning

You can choose from a thesis- or non-thesis option taking special individualized courses that allow you to better meet your goals. You can choose from interdisciplinary courses that cover topics like Dynamics, Systems, and Control, Solid Mechanics, Design, and Manufacturing, or basic skills that will prepare you for Ph.D. study.

Courses are delivered through UF Edge, a revolutionary system that makes it easy for you to tackle distance learning regardless of whether it’s your first or fifth time as an online student. The classes are exactly the same as the ones taught on campus, except all materials are delivered through the hands-on Canvas e-learning platform.

Best yet, this degree is incredibly affordable. As a Florida resident, you’ll pay just $48.73 per credit hour, with non-residents paying just a little bit more. There are extensive opportunities for financial aid available, including scholarships, grants, loans, and more.

#6.  University of California-Riverside

Online Master of Science in Mechanical Engineering

The University of California-Riverside is one of ten campuses in the University of California system. It is known for its commitment to research, pioneering groundbreaking discoveries in things like biological pest control, entomology, and more. 

The accelerated online master’s in mechanical engineering at the University of California-Riverside is another one of the best in the country. This program will allow you to explore high-level areas of mechanical engineering like sustainable design, control systems, thermofluid systems, and the practical use of gaseous plasmas. 

This quick program makes it possible for you to graduate in as little as 13 months. The entire curriculum is delivered online with no residency requirement, making it one of the most convenient options for distance learners with other commitments to attend to. You will enjoy flexible admissions with three start dates and be able to choose from six different specializations.

You will take 16 credits of core engineering courses along with 16 specialization credits. You can tailor your program to your area of expertise and participate in four one-credit capstone courses. These capstone courses are meant to serve as a substitute for the residency, allowing you to gain practical, hands-on experience from afar.

Core courses include things like:

  • Engineering in the Global Environment
  • Principles of Engineering Management
  • Technology Innovation and Strategy for Engineers

You can choose from specializations like Plasma-Aided Manufacturing and Materials Processing, Secure and Reliable Control Systems, and Sustainable Product Design. 

This university is one of the best in the country, having been recognized by a number of publications. The engineering school has been regarded within the top 33% of engineering schools in the nation by U.S. News & World Report, recognized both for its quality academics as well as for its commitment to diversity. 

It is also unique in that it has been selected as a “Military Friendly School” by Victory Media. It’s one of the best institutions in the country when it comes to providing educational opportunities for veterans and is among the top 20% of all schools that are doing all they can to help military members and veterans. 

An affordable program, it offers an excellent return on investment. The degree boasts an average salary of $80,000 upon graduation, with some graduates earning as much as $130,000. With the experience that you gain by working with faculty experts and industry partners in this program, you shouldn’t have a hard time finding a job, either!

#7.  North Carolina State University at Raleigh

NC State

Online Master of Science in Mechanical Engineering

Founded in 1887, North Carolina State University at Raleigh is a public land-grant research institution that is the largest in the Carolinas. It forms one of the corners of the Research Triangle with Duke University and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill producing the other two, making it one of the best in the country when it comes to its commitment to research. 

Not only that, but NC State has quite the reputation to live up to when it comes to distance learning. In fact, this award-winning school has been offering distance education since 1978! Originally a land grant school, the university has an enrollment of more than 35,000 students studying both on-campus and online. 

The online Master of Science in Mechanical Engineering at North Carolina State University at Raleigh is perfect for off-campus students whose schedule, budget, or location does not allow for on-campus enrollment. The courses are identical to those that you might take on campus, requiring 30 credit hours for completion.

You won’t need to complete a thesis, instead completing all of your courses in a more hands-on fashion. You’ll be able to enhance your career opportunities while taking just two courses per semester. Sample courses include:

  • Mechanics of Composite Structures
  • Compressible Fluid Flow
  • Foundations of Fluid Dynamics
  • Metrology for Precision Manufacturing

Ranked sixth in the country by U.S. News & World Report, this online engineering school offers more than a dozen other degrees and certificate programs for you to choose from. Popular graduate certificates that can help you expand the reach of your graduate degree include:

  • materials informatics
  • nuclear nonproliferation science and policy
  • computer science

As a graduate student, you will benefit from low tuition rates (made even lower if you happen to be a North Carolina resident). Of course, there’s plenty of financial aid to apply for, too, including scholarships and monthly payment plans. 

Colorado State

#8.  Colorado State University-Fort Collins 

Online Master of Science in Mechanical Engineering

Colorado State University-Fort Collins is a public land-grant university located in Fort Collins, CO. The flagship university of the state university system, it is classified among “R1: Doctoral Universities-Very High Research Activity.”

In fact, on average, this school spends more than $375 million per year on research and development, with graduates including astronauts, CEOs, politicians, and even Pulitzer Prize winners.

Despite the academic caliber, affordability is key. You will find yet another cheap online master’s at Colorado State University-Fort Collins. This degree will help you take your training to a new level. A practitioner-oriented degree, this Online Master of Science in Mechanical Engineering will help you develop strong skills in advanced analysis along with detailed knowledge of material properties. 

You’ll be able to hone your skills in manufacturing, advanced composite materials, mechanical design, metals and alloys, and more. 

The skills you build in this program can be applied directly to mechanical engineering as well as to work in a variety of other fields, such as healthcare aerospace, automotive design, renewable energy, and manufacturing materials. A flexible program, it will allow you to watch recorded campus-based lectures, engage in course content, and interact with peers online. All courses are asynchronous, meaning you can study at the time that best fits your schedule. 

You will be required to take specific core courses but you can also choose electives that align with specific career goals—12 credit hours’ worth, in fact! Core classes include:

  • Metals and Alloys
  • Reliability Engineering
  • Manufacturing Engineering
  • Simulation Modeling and Experimentation

You will learn from expert faculty who incorporate their own innovative research into the curriculum. 

An affordable program, it features tuition that starts at just $964 per credit hour. Financial aid is available for this fully online program, which can be completed in less than two years.

#9.  The University of Alabama

University of Alabama T

Online Master of Science in Mechanical Engineering

The University of Alabama, also known simply as Bama, is a public research university located in Tuscaloosa, AL. Established in 1820, it is one of the oldest and largest public universities in the state of Alabama.

It offers hundreds of programs of study in more than a dozen different divisions and is home to the only publicly supported law school in the state. Of course, its engineering programs are quite remarkable as well.

The online Master of Science in Mechanical Engineering at the University of Alabama is another one that is offered exclusively online for distance learners. It is identical to the on-campus degree program with applications accepted year-round.

You will work closely with faculty as you conduct research and study topics such as:

  • CAD design energy
  • combustion
  • conservation and management
  • HVA
  • precision engineering turbomachinery

It does not require the completion of a thesis, instead requiring the completion of a comprehensive exam. 

The degree is ranked as one of the best in the country by U.S. News & World Report and is also highly regarded for its services for veterans. You’ll complete 30-credit hours of study and tailor your courses to meet your interests and career goals. Concentration areas include things like:

  • vibrations
  • robotics
  • structural mechanics
  • renewable and sustainable energy
  • mechatronics

Best yet, you won’t have to pay an arm and a leg to enroll in this program, either. Tuition starts at just $440 per credit hour with generous financial aid available for qualifying students. There are several scholarships specifically for distance learners, such as Build on Bama, the Bama Link Grant, and the College of Continuing Studies Scholarship. 

Iowa State

#10.  Iowa State University 

Mechanical Engineering Master’s Degree Online

Iowa State University, officially known as Iowa State University of Science and Technology, is the largest school in the state. It is a public land-grant research institution that was uniquely coeducational from the start. Founded in 1858, the school has nearly 300 different degrees for students to choose from.

Of these, many are offered entirely online. The school is classified as one of the “R1: Doctoral Universities-Very High Research Activity” by the Carnegie Classification and is highly ranked by U.S. News & World Report for its engineering specialties. 

You will find another best-value online master’s in mechanical engineering at Iowa State University. This 30-credit hour program is a coursework-only professional degree that is perfectly suited for working professionals and individuals who are looking for a bit more flexibility in their degrees.

You’ll take core courses such as:

  • Material and Manufacturing Considerations in Design
  • Mechanical Behavior and Manufacturing of Polymers and Composites
  • Creativity and Imagination for Engineering and Design

If you choose, you can even pursue an additional graduate certificate, such as one in Advanced Manufacturing. Double-majoring in another field of interest or participating in independent study is another option. 

As a full-time student, you will be able to complete your studies in as little as one year. Although students in this program are not considered for graduate assistantships, you will be able to access affordable tuition that starts at just $5,070 per semester for graduate students. 

FAQs

What is the most affordable online master’s in mechanical engineering?

When it comes to financing a degree, the reality is that no two students will pay exactly the same price at every single school. There are lots of factors that go into determining the cost of attendance, including the “sticker price” tuition rate, additional fees, a student’s financial background, and what sorts of scholarships they apply for. 

However, the schools listed above offer affordable tuition and generous financial aid, two characteristics that contributed to their inclusion in this ranking. You’ll also find affordable master’s in mechanical engineering at schools like the University of New Mexico, Kennesaw State University, Mississippi State University, and Old Dominion University, to name a few.

While public schools generally offer programs with lower overall tuition rates, that’s certainly not always the case. In fact, many students at private universities will find that they end up paying less than they would at a public school because of the extra financial aid.

Look into all financial aid opportunities that might be available to you. Complete the FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) early, as early as the October of the year before you plan to start school. Even if you don’t think you’ll qualify for any need-based financial aid, it’s important to leave no stone unturned in your search! 

How do I get into the best online mechanical engineering master’s program?

If you’re planning on applying to a master of science in engineering program, it’s a good idea to touch base with the schools to which you plan to apply. Each university has different requirements and while they are usually similar, it pays to do your research. 

Typically, you will need to have a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering (or a closely related field) from an ABET-accredited program. If you don’t have a background in mechanical engineering, don’t panic. Many schools will still admit you, but you may need to complete prerequisite coursework in things like material science, engineering mechanics, or thermodynamics before beginning your core courses. 

Often, a minimum GPA is cited as a requirement—typically a 3.0 or higher. You may be required to take the GRE or other diagnostic tests. Plan to submit documents such as official transcripts, test scores, letters of recommendation, a resume or CV, and a personal statement.

What will I learn in a best-value online master’s in mechanical engineering?

Just as the admissions requirements differ between schools, so, too, does the curriculum. Each mechanical engineering program is a bit different. 

Most programs require between 30 and 36 credit hours of study. You may have to complete a thesis, final exam, or capstone. You might take classes in things like:

  • mechanical engineering analysis fluid dynamics
  • dynamic systems and controls
  • materials processing and mechanics

The beauty of most online master’s in mechanical engineering degrees is that they allow you to customize your studies to an area of interest. This is something you may not have been able to do as an undergraduates student, instead having to follow a prescribed set of courses. As a grad student, though, you’ll be able to explore the topics that interest you most, allowing you to take your career to the next level.

Is an online master’s in mechanical engineering worth it? 

Absolutely. There are so many reasons to consider getting an online master’s in mechanical engineering. With just a couple of years of study, you can advance your career prospects and expand your professional network. You’ll open the door to countless new job opportunities and build your confidence as a professional in this industry, too.

The pay alone is worth the effort it takes to get a master’s—something we’ll discuss in more detail below—but also consider the intrinsic benefits of doing so. You’ll be able to participate in research and invent new things to advance existing technologies. You’ll develop real-world expertise and enjoy a wonderful job outlook. 

Plus, the field of mechanical engineering is a broad one, enabling you to pursue work in a variety of career paths such as aerospace engineering, petroleum engineering, surveying, and much more.   

How much do mechanical engineers with a master’s make?

The time has never been better to become a mechanical engineer! Job prospects are best for candidates who stay apprised of the latest technology. So while you can get a job with just a bachelor’s degree, you’re going to have much better odds of landing a high-paying position with that master’s degree.

Mechanical engineering is a broad field, meaning you can work as a mechanical engineer or pursue work in fields like:

  • communications
  • bioengineering
  • automotives
  • aerospace engineering

Because of this, the pay tends to be varied.

As a mechanical engineer, you can expect to earn an average annual salary of $90,160 per year, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The job outlook is excellent for these jobs, too, expected to see a growth of about 7% by 2030. 

IF YOU ENJOYED THAT THEN CHECK OUT OUR ARTICLES ON THE BEST AFFORDABLE ONLINE MASTER’S IN INDUSTRIAL ENGINEERING & BEST MASTER’S IN SYSTEMS ENGINEERING!

Michael Templeton
Managing Editor

Kacey Reynolds Schedler
Contributing Editor