If you studied engineering or architecture as an undergraduate — and now work in the industry — an online master of engineering management degree may be a perfect opportunity to expand your career opportunities while developing your business acumen. The role of an architecture or engineering manager weds the field of engineering and planning with the skills of business and project management. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median salary for an architecture or engineering manager is more than $130,000, and the field is expected to grow between now and 2024. This multidisciplinary degree adds value to your current firm, or gives you the tools to establish your own business.

What are the best computer engineering programs of 2020? Here are our top 10:

Rank School Location
1 Stanford University Stanford, CA
2 University of South Florida Tampa, FL
3 University of Central Florida Orlando, FL
4 George Washington University Washington, DC
5 University of Southern California Los Angeles, CA
6 University of California, Los Angeles Los Angeles, CA
7 University of Houston-Clear Lake Houston, TX
8 Illinois Institute of Technology Chicago, IL
9 The University of Texas at Austin Austin, TX
10 University of Wisconsin-Madison Madison, WI

2020 Best Accredited Online Master's in Engineering Management Programs

Rank School Location Cost Graduation Rate Description Toggle
1

Stanford University

Stanford, CA Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 94%

Stanford University enrolls over 16,000 students. Based in California, about 80% of its students receive financial aid.

The school offers a 45-credit master's in management science and engineering that takes part-time students 3-5 years to complete. The program offers seven concentrations, including financial analytics, operations and analytics, technology and engineering management.

This master's in engineering management can be completed mostly online and requires prerequisites in programming methodology, linear algebra, and differential calculus. Students must complete an internship and a master's project.

Applicants need a bachelor's in engineering or a related degree and must submit GRE scores. The university charges the same tuition for in-state and out-of-state students. Stanford is regionally accredited by the WASC Senior College and University Commission.

2

University of South Florida

Tampa, FL Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 73%

Based in Tampa, the University of South Florida enrolls more than 50,000 students across three campus locations.

Students who earn USF's online master's degree in engineering management take classes like operations research for engineering managers, statistical design models, work design and productivity engineering, and management of technology change. USF uses Canvas as its online learning platform.

Applicants need a bachelor's degree in engineering from a regionally accredited institution, and they should have earned a minimum GPA of 3.0 over their final two years of undergraduate study. The program requires minimum GRE scores of 156 and 146 in the quantitative and verbal sections, respectively, along with two years of work experience in engineering or management.

USF is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

3

University of Central Florida

Orlando, FL Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 73%

Located in Orlando, the University of Central Florida enrolls over 69,000 students. Nearly 50% of its first-time students graduate without any debt.

UCF's 30-credit master's in engineering management can be earned online in two years. Graduates can pursue careers as engineering department managers, quality assurance specialists, safety service directors, and production managers.

Core coursework includes engineering statistics, project engineering, advanced engineering economic analysis, and systems engineering. Students must also complete a capstone project.

Applicants need a bachelor's degree in engineering or a related field. Florida residents receive a discounted tuition rate. UCF is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

4

George Washington University

Washington, DC Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 82%

Based in Washington D.C., George Washington University hosts more than 50,000 undergraduate and graduate students. The school's online master's degree in engineering management comprises 36 credits, including classes like the management of technical organizations, survey of finance and engineering economics, decision-making with uncertainty, and systems engineering.

The program offers five areas of focus, including engineering and technology management, knowledge and information management, and environmental and energy management. The program also prepares learners to sit for certification exams offered by the Project Management Institute.

Applicants need a bachelor's degree in engineering or a related field from a regionally accredited institution and a minimum GPA of 2.7. The program recommends that students submit GRE or GMAT scores, but does not require them. GW is regionally accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.

5

University of Southern California

Los Angeles, CA Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 92%

Located in Los Angeles, the University of Southern California enrolls nearly 50,000 students. Full-time students can earn the university's 30-credit master's in engineering management in 1-2 years. Coursework, which can be completed online, includes statistics for engineering managers and economic analysis of engineering projects.

Students must hold a minimum 3.0 GPA to graduate. Graduates can find careers related to scientific research, architectural management, and electronic component manufacturing and management.

Applicants need a bachelor's degree in engineering or a related field from a regionally accredited postsecondary institution. The university charges the same tuition rate for in-state and out-of-state students. USC is regionally accredited by the WASC Senior College and University Commission.

6

University of California, Los Angeles

Los Angeles, CA Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 91%

The University of California, Los Angeles offers almost 150 different graduate programs, including an online master's degree in engineering management. Students take 36 credits of courses, including program management principles for engineers and professionals, statistics for management decisions, intellectual property and strategy, and operations and supply chain management.

Participants must take a comprehensive exam, but they do not need to write a thesis. UCLA expects students to graduate in just over two academic years, and participants must complete their degrees within three years.

Applicants need a bachelor's degree in engineering or a related field and a minimum 3.0 GPA. Some students may also need to submit GRE scores. UCLA is regionally accredited by the WASC Senior College and University Commission.

7

University of Houston-Clear Lake

Houston, TX Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 54%

Located in Texas, the University of Houston-Clear Lake boasts over 71,000 alumni, including more than 400 CEOs. Its online master's in engineering management program features 36 credits of classes, covering topics like new business development, engineering management planning, and technology planning and management. Students must complete a capstone project or a thesis.

Prior to enrollment, learners must take calculus, statistics, and probability and statistics for scientists and engineers courses. Applicants need a bachelor's degree in engineering or a related field and a minimum 3.0 GPA. Students with a lower GPA must also submit GRE or GMAT scores.

Texas residents receive a discounted tuition rate. UHCL is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

8

Illinois Institute of Technology

Chicago, IL Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 72%

Based in Chicago, the Illinois Institute of Technology enrolls over 2,000 master's degree candidates each year. Some of these learners pursue the school's online master's degree in engineering management. This 30-credit program features two concentrations: project management and product design and development.

Core classes include economic decision analysis, strategic engineering management, systems analysis in civil engineering, and project management. Students must also complete a senior capstone project. IIT notes that some classes listed as online options, such as engineering labs, may require in-person attendance.

Applicants should submit GRE or GMAT scores. Students may transfer in up to nine credits earned with a minimum "B" grade. This institution charges the same tuition rate for in-state and out-of-state students. IIT is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

9

The University of Texas at Austin

Austin, TX Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 83%

The University of Texas at Austin enrolls nearly 52,000 students and offers about 140 graduate programs. Its online master's in engineering management comprises 30 credits, including two project-based courses. Students also take classes in business management, decision analysis, and innovative product design.

The program uses a synchronous class schedule. Distance learners attend class virtually at the same time as on-campus students. These courses only meet on one Friday and Saturday per month.

Applicants need a bachelor's in engineering or a related degree and at least 18 months of professional experience. Students must also submit standardized test scores. In-state and out-of-state engineering management students pay the same rate. UT Austin is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

10

University of Wisconsin-Madison

Madison, WI Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 87%

Founded in 1848, the University of Wisconsin-Madison enrolls over 45,000 students and boasts almost half a million living alumni. Students can complete the school's online master's degree in engineering management in 2-3 years. Learners take synchronous and asynchronous classes, completing a total of 30 credits.

Core courses include foundations of engineering leadership, engineering economics and management, international engineering strategies and operations, and quality engineering and quality management.

Applicants need a bachelor's degree from a regionally accredited institution and a minimum 3.0 GPA, although they need not submit GRE scores. The program charges the same tuition rate for in-state and out-of-state distance learners. UW is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

Choosing a Program

WILL THIS PROGRAM PROVIDE ME WITH THE SKILLS I NEED TO ADVANCE MY CAREER?

Many areas of engineering, including structural and transportation, require someone who grasps both the science of engineering and the business savvy to execute plans. A master of engineering management builds on a student's professional experience by developing the necessary qualifications to be a designated project manager and leader. Online master of engineering management graduates are attractive job candidates, and they can find work as managers, coordinators, and planners in a number of engineering positions.

DO I NEED PREVIOUS WORK EXPERIENCE TO GET IN?

Most engineering management master's programs require at least some professional experience at an engineering or architecture firm. Undergraduate degrees in the field are also typically prerequisites for enrollment.

CAN I WORK WHILE I COMPLETE MY ONLINE MASTER'S in ENGINEERING MANAGEMENT?

Yes. Many online master of engineering management degree students work while they earn their degrees. Many programs are taught in the evenings, on weekends, or on-demand. While a full-time program can be completed more quickly, part-time formats allow students to work full-time during the academic year.

WHAT ARE THE ADVANTAGES TO EARNING MY MASTER'S IN ENGINEERING MANAGEMENT ONLINE?

Online education can be a terrific format for an engineering management master's. In addition to providing students the flexibility to work while earning their degree, online education allows students to complete their degree at an institution which suits their personal and professional goals, regardless of geographic location. Online programs may also be completed more quickly than some on-campus counterparts.

What Else can I Expect From an Online Master's in Engineering Management Program?

While all online master's of engineering management degrees prepare graduates for business and engineering aspects of a project, each program is created differently. Individual programs differ in their focus and expertise, which depends on the courses offered, the school's faculty, and the available concentrations. Similarly, programs may feature different completion times, credit requirements, application processes, curricula, and final projects. It is important to investigate each program carefully to ensure their offerings align with your goals and learning styles.

CURRICULUM FOR AN ONLINE MASTER'S DEGREE IN ENGINEERING MANAGEMENT

The curriculum for a master's degree in engineering management program varies depending on the college or university you choose. Some schools provide concentrations in specific areas or may have faculty who specialize in a subfield. Regardless of the curriculum differences, most programs do cover similar subject matters. A few sample classes include:

  • Project Management for Engineers: Most enrollees in an online master's in engineering management program can expect a project management class. From learning about human management techniques and organization leadership to understanding the components of engineering planning, this is a foundational class in the program.
  • Economic Planning: While undergraduate engineering students are usually familiar with math, financial planning is usually not typically part of their curriculum. With an MS in engineering management, students learn to work with budgets, accounting, and financial project planning.
  • Business Law and Ethics: These courses introduce students to engineering management and best practices, and may be focused on a specific industry, such as structural engineering or software law.

HOW LONG DOES IT TAKE TO GET AN ONLINE MASTER'S IN ENGINEERING MANAGEMENT?

The specifics of each individual master's in engineering management online program vary, but most are completed in two years and require between 30 and 36 credits. The biggest factor in completion time is whether a student enrolls part- or full-time. Full-time can take two years or less, while part-time completion depends on a student's pace. Additional factors, such as transfer credits, master's theses or final projects, and term length can also impact completion time.

Instructional format plays a role, as well. A cohort model places students in a group, which then matriculates together throughout the degree. This allows for increased academic support and a more reliable schedule. An individually paced schedule, however, lets students move through course material as slowly or quickly as he or she would like.

CERTIFICATIONS AND LICENSES A MASTER'S IN ENGINEERING MANAGEMENT PREPARES FOR

The Professional Engineer — or PE — designation is given to working engineers who have completed the fundamentals of engineering exam, have significant professional experience and/or a master's degree, and passed the Principles and Practice of Engineering Exam. The exam, given by the National Council of Examiners for Engineering and Surveying, is required to receive an engineer stamp. However, it may not be required for all project management jobs.

Accreditation for Online Master's in Engineering Management Degrees

One of the most important factors in choosing a master of engineering management online degree is the school's accreditation. Colleges, universities, and/or programs are accredited when they meet a set of standards and criteria developed by a group of peer institutions. Schools are accredited either nationally or regionally. National accreditation is usually reserved for vocational or religious institutions and for-profit schools. This accreditation is seen as less prestigious and credits from these institutions may be more difficult to transfer. Alternatively, regional accreditation is a more rigorous process granted to non-profit institutions, both online and traditional. One of six regional accrediting bodies determines accreditation standards and eligibility.

A third kind of accreditation is program-based. Organizations such as the Engineering Accreditation Commission, the National Council of Examiners for Engineering and Surveying, and Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology accredit individual engineering schools or programs within universities.

Although private organizations determine accreditation standards and acceptance, they are overseen by the Department of Education (DOE) and the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA). These two oversight bodies recognize accrediting agencies and certify them to determine accreditation standards. The DOE is a government agency in charge of federal education money and policy objectives. The CHEA is an organization comprised of college and universities to recognize accrediting best practices. Read the list of all accredited schools on the DOE's or CHEA's websites to ensure you're getting the best program.

Employment Outlook for Master's in Engineering Management Graduates

While engineers with a bachelor's degree have a high earning potential throughout their careers, master's in engineering management graduates begin with better salaries and see their incomes climb much faster. Data from Payscale demonstrates an engineering manager makes more than $100,000 annually within the first five years of graduation, compared to students who hold only a bachelor of science in civil engineering. In fact, a BS degree holder can take up to 20 years to make a salary in line with what master's degree holders typically earn directly out of school.

Years Experience Civil Engineering BS Salary Engineering Manager Salary
0-5 $57,000 $91,000
5-10 $72,000 $111,000
10-20 $88,000 $119,000
20+ $100,000 $115,000

MASTER'S IN ENGINEERING MANAGEMENT SALARY

An engineering management career can be very lucrative. Average salaries vary from state-to-state, but other factors may impact your earnings. According to data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the top five states for engineering management salaries all offer annual wages at or above $160,000. Two of the five states — California and Texas — are also rated as the number one and number two states for employment opportunities for engineering managers. This list includes four Western states and several of the most populous states in the country.

Top 5 Paying U.S. States for Architectural and Engineering Managers
State Annual mean wage Hourly mean wage Employment
Texas $167,230 $80.40 11,240
California $166,580 $80.09 28,640
Colorado $162,100 $77.93 3,250
Oregon $159,740 $76.80 3,800
New Jersey $159,540 $76.70 4,180

Source: BLS Data

MASTER'S IN ENGINEERING MANAGEMENT CAREERS

An online master's in engineering management can lead to many career opportunities. By combining business and engineering skills, the master's degree prepares graduates for roles in either sector, and particularly the intersection of the two. These jobs are open to individuals well-versed in engineering knowledge, industry customs, interpersonal skills, and professional communication.

Architectural and Engineering Manager

With a combination of experience in the field and an advanced degree, architects and engineers can advance to positions in management. Managers oversee projects, plan new developments, and coordinate between contractors, designers, and clients.

Median Annual Salary: $134,000

Projected Growth Rate: 2%

Construction Manager

A construction managercoordinates labor, plans the budget, and oversees production. He or she also works with engineers, clients, and construction personnel.

Median Annual Salary: $89,000

Projected Growth Rate: 5%

Industrial Engineer

An industrial engineer is committed to making industries more efficient and effective. From redesigning supply chains to building new machines, industrial engineers benefit from a business-facing engineering management master's degree.

Median Annual Salary: $84,000

Projected Growth Rate: 1%

Civil Engineer

Maintaining and improving the country's infrastructure — roads, buildings, pipes, bridges — requires civil engineers. An engineering management MS degree prepares civil engineers for leadership positions within their public or private companies.

Median Annual Salary: $84,000

Projected Growth Rate: 8%

Mining and Geological Engineer

A mining engineer develops plans to deconstruct natural structures. Similar to the project or construction management roles in civil and structural engineering, a mining leader coordinates the blue collar and white collar workers.

Median Annual Salary: $94,000

Projected Growth Rate: 6%

PROFESSIONAL ORGANIZATIONS

Professional organizations connect peers in the industry to foster networking and professional relationships. These organizations promote entrepreneurship, continuing education, and industry development, and many engineers join professional organizations specific to their speciality.

Financing Your Online Master's in Engineering Management Program

Many engineering management master's students pay for their degree by working during school. However, there are alternative ways to fund an education. Completing the FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) determines a student's eligibility for scholarships, grants, and loans. Many schools also offer stipends for graduate work, and scholarships or grants for merit or need. Employers may also have a program for graduate education that can help.

AN OVERVIEW OF FINANCIAL AID

Approximately two-thirds of today's college students rely on loans to fund their education, but there are plenty of overlooked financing options you can use to reduce your overall student debt.

UNDERSTANDING THE FAFSA

Completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is a crucial first step for any student with financial needs. Our FAFSA guide features a step-by-step rundown on the process and answers to several frequently asked questions.

FINANCIAL AID FOR ONLINE STUDENTS

Financial aid for online learning is equivalent to what you'll find for campus-based learning, but that hasn't always been the case. Learn about the changes that have taken place, as well as the different funding opportunities available to online students.

SCHOLARSHIPS FOR SINGLE PARENTS

Online college programs can be a flexible, affordable option for single parents who are interested in earning a degree and securing their family's financial future. We've compiled a list of scholarships, grants, and other financial aid options geared toward single moms and dads.

FINANCIAL AID FOR VETERANS AND ACTIVE MILITARY

Millions of dollars in free money is available to U.S. military personnel, but much of it goes unused. Learn more about grants, scholarships, and other financial aid opportunities available to veterans, active-duty service members, and reservists.