Enrolling in a master’s program involves a series of high-level choices. What should I study? Where should I go to school? How much will it cost? Can I afford it (and do I qualify for financial aid)? Underlying these questions is the understanding that a master’s can deliver great value to those looking to enhance their skills and advance their career.
If you’ve earned a STEM-related undergraduate degree and are considering your next step, engineering management may be a good option. It combines engineering knowledge with business leadership skills that qualify graduates for careers in an expanding field with lucrative opportunities.
This article answers the question can I get into a master of engineering management program? As well, it covers:
Engineering managers oversee projects, resolve technical challenges, connect with key stakeholders, and serve as a team’s leader. They’re responsible for answering technical inquiries, establishing project budgets, training new personnel, and collaborating with multiple departments.
Engineering managers operate in many industries, including manufacturing, engineering, technology, and construction. They apply their technical aptitude when leading the research and development phases of projects, while the business aspect of their role includes determining staff, training, and equipment needs. Engineering managers also propose budgets for projects and programs and coordinate work with other staff and managers.
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The number of companies needing to fill high-level engineering management positions is expanding—and applicants with a master’s in engineering management have a substantial edge.
Holding a master’s degree in engineering management means you’ll command a higher rate of compensation and enjoy greater job security. According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), full-time engineering managers with a master’s degree are paid almost 16 percent more than those with only a bachelor’s degree. In addition, engineering managers with master’s degrees have a lower unemployment rate than their counterparts with bachelor’s degrees.
Engineering management is a broad discipline with applications in manufacturing, construction, engineering, architecture, technology, healthcare, agriculture, and many other fields. Engineering management career pathways vary depending on specialty and industry served.
Examples of jobs available to engineering management master’s graduates include:
An application engineer’s primary goal is to improve their clients’ software and systems. These enhancements include developing new hardware elements, software structures, or applications. Most application engineers work for companies that focus on developing applications for various clients across numerous industries.
Business analysts, like systems analysts, evaluate the structures and operations of an organization. They are adept at examining and optimizing all business processes, including operations, departmental organizational structures, and budgets. Business analysts frequently look at a company’s technology in isolation from other parts of the business.
A construction manager organizes and supervises construction projects from the initial stages of development to completion. Construction managers direct and coordinate the activities of construction crews, engineers, architects, building code administrators, and other professionals involved in building construction.
IT managers organize, plan, and supervise information technology (IT) personnel and systems. They devise strategies to increase the efficiency of various devices and procedures, improve the security of networks, provide opportunities for new hires and current employees to grow and learn, coordinate projects with other employees, and improve the security of IT networks.
Operations managers work in human resources. An operations manager’s primary role is to increase the productivity, cost-effectiveness, and quality of a company’s many procedures and protocols. Controlling inventory items, overseeing budgets in all divisions, and designing staff training programs number among their responsibilities.
The term “automation” refers to technological procedures and devices that lessen the utilization of human resources. Process engineers supervise and manage a manufacturing facility’s automated processes and equipment. They look to optimize manufacturing operations, lower operational costs, increase machine resource productivity, and perform maintenance checks.
Project engineers supervise large-scale projects and ensure quality, cost, timely delivery, and optimal performance. They oversee an engineering project’s whole technical scope, including definition, design, parameters, and budget.
Structural engineers create blueprints and specifications, perform calculations, evaluate the work of other engineers, produce reports, and keep an eye on construction sites. They build structures that can withstand the stresses and pressures of their environment, such as gravity loads, storms, and earthquakes, using their technical expertise to specify various types of construction materials in various shapes and geometries.
A systems analyst (also referred to as a computer systems analyst) evaluates a company’s information technology infrastructure, such as data centers and internet networks. Systems analysts design, administer, and repair an organization’s IT systems. Responsibilities include researching new technologies, delivering analytical reports on potential improvements, and increasing the productivity of computer operations or resources.
A master’s degree in engineering management, such as a Master of Engineering Management (MEM) or a Master of Science in Engineering Management (MSEM), is a graduate-level degree for engineering students to gain the skills and knowledge to become managers and advance their careers. These graduate programs feature a wide range of engineering specialties and provide technical and financial insight into the creation, operation, and management of complex engineering projects. They build on fundamental undergraduate concepts by teaching decision-making, problem-solving, quantitative analysis, management, and leadership skills required to lead a team of engineers to success.
Students who study engineering management come from a variety of backgrounds, including those holding degrees in science, engineering, business, and mathematics. They seek to differentiate themselves as specialists and leaders who can manage cross-functional groups.
To complete this degree, most engineering master’s students need to earn 30 to 36 credits, depending on whether they pursue an on-campus, online, or hybrid graduate program. Full-time students usually take around two years to finish all required coursework, whereas part-time students often take three to four years. Accelerated programs, notably through online engineering management master’s degrees, can be completed in as little as 12 to 16 months.
Let’s consider an example. Stevens Institute of Technology’s admission requirements include a bachelor’s degree from an accredited school in science, technology, engineering (BE or BSE), or mathematics with a minimum GPA of 3.0; official undergraduate transcripts; two letters of recommendation; a personal statement; and resume (work experience in the field helps demonstrate your interest in earning this degree).
Some schools require GRE scores (and TOEFL scores if you’re an international student). As a rule of thumb, the more professional experience you have, the less important standardized tests are in admissions decisions.
The Master of Engineering in Engineering Management program at Stevens Institute of Technology “equips engineers, technical managers, business operations professionals, and others with the skills, tools, and methodologies needed to effectively manage complexity across industries.” This graduate degree combines engineering, management, and technology and provides students with an understanding of the technology and management process used in engineering projects.
The foundations of operations research, engineering project management, and financial management and accounting—components of leading cross-disciplinary engineering and science-based teams—are all covered in core graduate courses in engineering management degree programs. Students also take electives in engineering and other technical subjects and specialized management courses customized to their specific experiences, skill sets, and career goals.
Elective courses in sustainability, global supply chains, risk analysis, policy, and computer science can help students advance their engineering management skills. Most engineering management master’s degrees require 30 credit hours to graduate. Depending on the school, electives can account for one-quarter to one-third of those credits.
An online engineering management program offers students the flexibility to earn a master’s degree while managing professional and personal responsibilities. Asynchronous online degree programs, which allow students to study at their own pace, are ideal for engineers who expect to work full-time while pursuing their degrees. Hybrid programs like the engineering management master’s degree at Stevens Institute of Technology offer a mix of asynchronous and synchronous learning via Zoom to increase peer-to-peer and student-faculty interaction and networking.
Yes, if you have an undergraduate degree in engineering, science, math, or technology, can demonstrate an interest in the field (work experience in engineering or related industry), and meet the other admissions requirements of your selected school, you should be able to get into a Master of Engineering Management program.
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