Master’s in Engineering Program Guide

Become the architect of your career with a master's degree in engineering. We can help get you started.
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Updated on March 22, 2024
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A bachelor's degree in engineering can help you land an entry-level engineering job. But a master's degree in engineering can help you secure the dynamic, well-paid career you really want.

There's no question that my master's in engineering had a tangible impact on my salary and career progression, said ACCU Managing Director Alastair Morris. It opened doors to higher-paying, highly-specialized positions early in my career.

If you're looking to deepen your technical knowledge and develop the kind of leadership skills employers are clamoring for, it might be time to level up your education. This page will help you decide if a master's degree in engineering is the right choice for you. is an advertising-supported site. Featured or trusted partner programs and all school search, finder, or match results are for schools that compensate us. This compensation does not influence our school rankings, resource guides, or other editorially-independent information published on this site.

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Should I Get a Master's in Engineering?

A master's degree in engineering is a great choice for engineering students or professionals who:

  • Want to specialize in a specific area of engineering
  • Want to help solve really big engineering challenges
  • Want to improve their career trajectories and earning potential

While a graduate degree doesn't always guarantee a higher salary, the two typically go hand in hand. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that master's degree-holders in 2022 earned roughly 16% more than folks who only had a bachelor's degree. And Payscale numbers reflect a similar bump for popular engineering fields.

Senior industry roles like engineering manager — which can sometimes pay more than $220,000 a year, according to the BLS — often require the very high level of training that comes with an advanced degree. Earning a master's is a good signal to employers that you have what it takes to succeed.

Is a Master's in Engineering Worth It?

We asked folks who hold this advanced degree, and they all agreed: An engineering master's is worth the investment. It helps develop hard and soft skill sets that lead to career success — both inside and outside the field.

“Pursuing my advanced education was unequivocally worth it. My master's degree in aerospace engineering enabled me to understand the intricacies of aerospace design, propulsion systems, and advanced materials. This knowledge has been invaluable in guiding the strategic direction of our company and driving innovation in a highly complex industry.”

Sean Philips, CEO and founder of FlightRadar Online

“It was one of the best moves I've made for my career. It gave me such a deep understanding of how cars work and how to tackle tricky engineering challenges. Having that advanced degree has been like having a secret weapon in my back pocket — it's given me confidence in ways I never could have imagined.”

Ivan Wainwright, CEO and founder of RDW Kenteken

“My master's in mechanical engineering turbocharged my career, transforming me from a mere participant to a leader in innovative projects. It was like acquiring a toolkit for solving complex problems creatively. Would I do it again? In a heartbeat! It's not just education; it's empowerment.”

Steven Settles, Mechanical engineer and co-founder of

What Can I Do With a Master's in Engineering?

You can do a lot with this degree — engineering touches nearly every discipline and industry, and demand for engineers is high.

All major engineering specializations have above-average job growth projections in the coming years. According to the BLS, there will be nearly 200,000 architecture and engineering job openings in the U.S. each year from 2022-2032.

You'll have plenty of potential job options to choose from, though the concentration you pick will certainly affect your career path.

Popular Engineering Career Paths
Career Path Median Annual Pay (2022) Job Outlook (2022-2032)
Civil Engineering $89,940 5% (faster than average)
Mechanical Engineering $96,310 10% (much faster than average)
Industrial Engineering $96,350 12% (much faster than average)
Computer Engineering $132,360 5% (faster than average)
Biomedical Engineering $99,550 5% (faster than average)
Environmental Engineering $96,530 6% (faster than average)
Software Engineering $124,200 25% (much faster than average)
Source: BLS, May 2022

How Much Money Can I Make With a Master's in Engineering?

The median annual salaries for most engineering fields range from $90,000 to over $130,000 a year. Folks with a master's in engineering may qualify for even higher-paying senior or managerial engineering positions.

Average Annual Base Salaries for Top Engineering Positions
Top Engineering Positions Average Annual Base Salary
Principal Engineer $136,100
Senior Principal Engineer $150,160
Staff Software Engineer $153,360
Director of Engineering $153,990
Senior Engineering Manager $156,590
Source: Payscale, March 2024

Frequently Asked Questions About Getting a Master's in Engineering

What Will I Learn in an Engineering Master's Program?

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Master's in engineering programs offer advanced skills, preparing graduates for career progression and senior roles. Courses are tailored to various concentrations within the field, covering topics like financial engineering, leadership, and supply chain management.

How Long Does It Take To Get a Master's Degree in Engineering?

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The timeline to graduation depends on several variables, including the degree type, concentration, and program format. That said, a master of engineering (MEng) usually requires around 12 months of full-time study, while a master of science (MS) in engineering typically takes 18-24 months.

How Do I Get a Master's Degree in Engineering?

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Graduate admission requirements for a master's in engineering vary by program and institution. Some programs require GRE scores, while others don't. Academic performance, letters of recommendation, graduate school essays, and previous experience often play an important role in the admissions process.

What Are the Highest-Paying Jobs I Can Get With an Engineering Degree?

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While nearly every job for graduates with a master's degree in engineering pays a high salary, some salaries stand above the rest. Architectural and engineering managers earn some of the highest wages in engineering, with a median salary of $159,920 as of 2022 (BLS). And the top 10% of earners in that field took home over $220,000 a year.

Additionally, petroleum engineers and computer engineers earned median salaries of $131,800 and $132,360, respectively, in 2022.

How Much Does a Master's Degree in Engineering Cost?

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In 2023, the average cost of a master's degree was roughly $35,700 per year, according to information shared by the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES).

The average annual costs of master's programs at private, for-profit schools; public schools; and private, nonprofit schools in 2023 were $25,530, $29,720, and $42,700, respectively.