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Advancing Your Career with an Online Master's in Mechanical Engineering

Advancing Your Career with an Online Master's in Mechanical Engineering

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In the swiftly evolving landscape of modern industry, professionals in mechanical engineering face a constant challenge: staying ahead in their careers while balancing the demands of life and work. Advancing your career in this competitive arena often means going beyond your bachelor’s degree to gain specialized knowledge and skills. An online master’s in mechanical engineering offers an invaluable opportunity for career growth without compromising the flexibility many working professionals require. Whether you’re aiming for a promotion, a shift in your career path or simply a deeper understanding of mechanical engineering principles, pursuing this advanced degree could be a pivotal step in reaching your professional goals.

Read on to explore several ways in which an online master's program can make a career-defining difference in your future.

Benefits of an Online Engineering Degree

Flexibility and Convenience

When you pursue an online master’s in mechanical engineering, you don’t need to worry about traffic delays, lengthy commutes or scrambling to find parking in time for on-campus classes.1 If you need to stay late at work, you’re free to do so without fear of missing important course material—and you can keep working in your current position, advancing your career through tenure, experience and a demonstrated commitment to honing your expertise through advanced education. You can fit your studies around your family commitments, never having to choose between hitting the books, cheering on the kids’ swim meet or school play, or spending needed time with your partner or parents. With resources available to you 24/7, you can learn at a comfortable pace. Some students in the online Master of Science in Mechanical Engineering program in the Case School of Engineering complete the degree in just 18 months. That's a short time commitment in exchange for a lifetime of benefits as you heighten your career possibilities and earning potential.

Accessibility from Anywhere

Online graduate programs enable you to study and participate in classes from anywhere: at the office, at your favorite restaurant, at the public library, in your favorite armchair at home and so on. In the bigger picture, online education is accessible in any location with a Wi-Fi connection—so even if the curriculum you want to complete is out of town, out of state or out of the country, you’re as close to your program as to your computer.

Using online learning platforms means that, at any time you choose, you can log into the learning management system (LMS) to check your upcoming objectives and weekly assignments. Your assignments will have set deadlines, but you can determine your own study schedule: in the early or late hours of each day, over lunch, during the kids’ activities—whenever works best for you.1

Lower Costs

People are rightfully cautious about the finances of an advanced degree. Graduate engineering programs aren’t free, after all, and the combined expenses for textbooks, tuition and other fees can make a master's degree cost-prohibitive.2 In the 2021-2022 academic year, which is the most recent year for which the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) has data, the average annual cost of graduate tuition was $20,513.3 Financial aid and student loans can reduce the total, but they may not cover everything.2

Fortunately, online education can save you money. Free from the need to live on campus, you won’t have to move or cover the costs of university housing. Further, money that on-campus students spend on commuting, parking and maintaining their vehicles can stay in your bank account or be redirected into your tuition.

Diverse Networking Opportunities

In your online master’s in mechanical engineering program, you’ll meet like-minded classmates who are committed to advancing their education and their careers. You’ll come to understand their goals and professional plans, which may be very similar to your own.

You’ll also work closely with your faculty: highly regarded experts and researchers whose work benefits from partnerships with nationally renowned institutions such as the NASA Glenn Research Center and the Cleveland Clinic. Their expertise can guide your career decisions and perhaps open doors to employment opportunities.

Mechanical Engineering Skills Development

The curriculum in a high-quality online master’s program in mechanical engineering will expand and hone your proficiencies in several areas, including technical ones such as computational analysis and robotics. The CWRU online MS in Mechanical Engineering program includes these courses:

Advanced Engineering Analysis
This course aims to equip students with tools for solving mathematical problems commonly encountered in mechanical engineering. The goals are to enable the student to:

  • Properly categorize the problem in a variety of ways
  • Identify appropriate approaches to solving the problem
  • Choose effective numerical solution methods

The course covers analytical and computational approaches to solving linear and nonlinear problems in both discrete and continuous systems. Computational approaches include direct methods such as finite difference methods and approximation methods based on a variational approach, such as finite elements. The course is built around specific examples from solid mechanics, dynamics, vibrations, heat transfer and fluid mechanics, represented by initial value problems, eigenvalue problems and boundary value problems.

Fatigue of Materials
This course addresses the fundamental and applied aspects of fatigue in metals, polymers and ceramics. Topics include:

  • Behavior of materials in stress and strain cycling
  • Methods of computing cyclic stress and strain
  • Cumulative fatigue damage under complex loading

The application of linear elastic fracture mechanics to fatigue crack propagation is explored, as are mechanisms of fatigue crack initiation and propagation, and mechanistic and probabilistic approaches to fatigue life prediction. The course also uses case histories to illustrate fatigue failures and identify practical approaches to mitigate fatigue and prolong life.

In considering online graduate engineering programs, look for one that also develops essential soft skills such as communication, teamwork and project management. In the Case School of Engineering, your curriculum will include:

Leadership and Interpersonal Skills
This course uses an experience-based approach to increase understanding of communication, emotional intelligence and behavioral-based communication needs in the work environment. To increase understanding, students will learn to recognize, manage and leverage these in business relationships as well as in team and group processes to develop effective leadership style. Students will work in teams to examine the topics from the perspective of team members and leaders, and will formulate strategies to reach desired goals or outcomes.

Finally, it’s important to choose a program that addresses industry-relevant knowledge and keeps its curriculum updated with the latest industry trends and technologies. Among other electives in the CWRU online MS in Mechanical Engineering program, you’ll have the option to study:

Applied Engineering Statistics
This course provides an intensive introduction to fundamental concepts, applications and the practice of contemporary engineering statistics. Each topic is introduced through realistic sample problems to be solved first by using standard spreadsheet programs and then using more sophisticated software packages. Primary attention is given to teaching the fundamental concepts underlying standard analysis methods.

Career Advancement in Mechanical Engineering

Earning a master's degree in mechanical engineering can be a game-changer for career advancement, leading to enhanced job prospects, higher earning potential and leadership positions.

Professionals with a master's degree often enjoy a wider range of job opportunities, as employers value the heightened leadership knowledge and problem-solving capabilities that come with advanced education. This degree not only signifies a commitment to the field but also opens doors to managerial and executive roles that are typically out of reach for those with only a bachelor's degree.

A master's degree can translate to a significant salary premium. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), professionals with a master’s degree can earn a median of 16% more than their counterparts who have lesser qualifications.4 Over the course of a career, this difference can lead to substantial long-term financial benefits. Graduates with an advanced degree also face lower unemployment rates than their colleagues with an undergraduate education alone, so a master’s degree in mechanical engineering delivers a variety of important practical advantages.4

Moreover, a master's curriculum typically includes courses that focus on management theory, leadership strategies, and complex project handling. These equip aspiring leaders with the skills necessary to excel in top-tier positions. This advanced training not only prepares engineers to lead teams but also to drive innovation and strategic decision-making in dynamic engineering environments.

Make the most of your education. Advance your career.

Prepare for a successful career in mechanical engineering leadership. Deepen your expertise in the online MS in Mechanical Engineering program from the Case School of Engineering while enjoying the flexibility to study any time, from anywhere. Our acclaimed faculty leads this practice-oriented program, which accommodates your commitments to life at work and at home.

Don’t wait to gain the qualifications that can advance your career. Schedule a call with an admissions outreach advisor today.

Case Western Reserve University has engaged Everspring, a leading provider of education and technology services, to support select aspects of program delivery.