Tackle Emerging Challenges with a Master’s Degree in Mechanical Engineering
Meghan Brown posted on October 19, 2020 |
Colorado State University’s online mechanical engineering degree keeps pace with innovation.
Colorado State University Online has sponsored this post.

School: Colorado State University

Program:  Master of Engineering – Mechanical Engineering Specialization

Description:   CSU’s Master of Engineering with Mechanical Engineering Specialization degree program focuses on enhancing the expertise of working engineering professionals or continuing students who are looking to keep up with the pace of innovation within their industry and advance in their careers with industrial firms and governmental agencies, or those who want to pursue a career in private practice.

Where is it:  Fort Collins, Colorado

Format: Online or On-campus

Degree you get: Master of Engineering – Mechanical Engineering Specialization (Note: Mechanical Engineering is a specialization in the College of Engineering, Plan C, Master of Engineering degree; therefore, the Mechanical Engineering title only appears on the student’s transcript and not on the final diploma.)

Size of the Program: Approximately 30 students

Credit hours: 30 credit hours

Thesis: None

Capstone Project: None

How long will the program take? Approximately 2 years

When to apply: Online applicant Fall deadline is May 15th, and Spring deadline is November 1st

Tuition: $964 per credit, or approximately $28,920

Prerequisites: Bachelor’s degree in engineering or closely related discipline

Minimum Admission Requirements:

  • Transcripts: Yes, minimum 3.0 GPA or First Class Standing
  • TOEFL/IELTS: Yes. TOEFL scores minimum 80 on the internet-based test, 213 on the standard exam, or 550 on the paper exam. IELTS minimum score of 6.5.
  • Essay/Statement of Purpose: Yes
  • Resume: Yes, no minimum years of work experience
  • Letters of Reference: Yes, three letters are required
  • GRE/GMAT: No

Who should take this course?

  • This program is aimed at working professional engineers who wish to deepen their engineering knowledge while still pursuing full-time employment.
  • Engineers who want to move into managerial positions over the course of their career can benefit from an advanced degree with a mechanical engineering specialization.

Claim to fame:

  • The option to study both synchronously and asynchronously offers greater flexibility to online students to complete coursework at their convenience.
  • Sponsors for research projects in the department of mechanical engineering include NASA, the Department of Defense, Department of Energy, National Science Foundation, and more.


The oldest and broadest of the engineering disciplines, mechanical engineering encompasses physics, mathematics and materials science in service of the design and manufacture of mechanical systems.  Mechanical engineers are in high demand, with skills and knowledge that are applicable to careers across virtually any industry—everything from healthcare to renewable energy, to manufacturing, to aerospace and automotive design.

Engineers with a detailed understanding and knowledge of material and mechanical properties, along with advanced analytical skills, are necessary to assess and determine the best structures and materials for engineering projects, as well as understand their design, cost and environmental impact.  This knowledge can be gained through the pursuit of a master’s degree with a mechanical engineering specialization, such as the program offered through Colorado State University Online.

CSU’s Mechanical Engineering master’s degree focuses on the practical application of engineering skills, with faculty expertise spanning everything from bio and nano materials, metals and composites, to mechanical design. Graduates of CSU’s online M.E. - Mechanical Engineering Specialization degree possess knowledge applicable to a wide range of industries.  Through collaborative group work that simulates the reality of working as a mechanical engineer and case studies that illustrate current industry challenges, students also learn how to successfully balance the needs of an engineering project with the different environmental impacts, financial constraints and design limitations that projects will encounter. The result is engineering graduates who bring vital, immediately applicable skills to their workplace and their careers.

A Focus on Mechanical Engineering

Colorado State University’s online master’s degree with a mechanical engineering specialization offers the exact same coursework as the traditional on-campus program, but with the added flexibility that comes from an online learning environment.  Specifically, CSU’s online degree is a coursework-only degree aimed at working professional engineers who wish to pursue graduate studies while still maintaining a full-time work schedule.

“The Master of Engineering with a Mechanical Engineering Specialization is a degree program focused on enhancing the expertise of working professionals or continuing students who are looking to keep up with the pace of innovation within their industry and advance in their careers,” says Ellen Aster, graduate program specialist for CSU’s mechanical engineering department. “Engineers who want to further their careers with industrial firms and governmental agencies, or those who want to pursue a career in private practice, should consider this degree.”

CSU offers the online Master of Engineering degree through the Mechanical Engineering department, with flexible course options to enable students to focus their studies on a specific area of interest or in a direction that will best support their future career path.

The mechanical engineering degree program offers a graduate-level engineering education that is tailored for individuals working in industry, with a range of courses in different areas of study. 

“We strive to provide experiential learning opportunities to our students, and our department specializes in energy, biomedical, and materials and manufacturing engineering,” says Aster. “Our program is also growing into the field of aerospace engineering.”

Studying Online with Colorado State University

All coursework is accessed through the Canvas online learning platform, which provides the base of the program’s flexibility.  Canvas allows students to attend live lectures via video, or view recorded lectures, course materials and communication options at any time, which enables online students to study when and where it’s more convenient for their lifestyle and their schedule—synchronously during live lectures, or asynchronously at whatever time they are able.

Students can communicate through Canvas with both their professors and their peers in real-time text and video chat during lectures, or on their own schedule through chat and discussion forums.  This gives CSU’s online students the same collaborative community environment as on-campus students.  Tests and assignments are also accessed and submitted through the Canvas platform.

Since many online students are returning to school after some time away from an academic environment, it can be an adjustment to get back into the flow of schooling.

“I would advise a mature or returning student, who is working full-time while completing their Masters, to take only one or two courses their first semester,” says Aster. “I would also offer this as an option to a student starting school for the first time in many years since their graduation. This will help the student find a rhythm between their new student responsibilities and work responsibilities.” She notes that international students may have limitations with dropping below full-time student status and should contact CSU’s International Student and Scholar Services for more information on their course load.

Instructors are available to all online and on-campus students with regular office hours, and can typically be reached directly through email or chat.  Students can also schedule an appointment to speak with their instructor by phone, email, or live chat and video call using video conferencing software such as Microsoft Teams and Google Meet.

While the online format offers flexibility for students to study on their own schedule, each course still requires the same amount of work as an on-campus program.  Students can expect to spend nine to twelve hours a week studying per three-credit course, depending on their personal learning and studying style.

It’s recommended that students start by taking one course per semester, to get a feel for the program and workload requirements.  Depending on their work and personal schedule, students can increase their course load to take two or three courses per semester, though this is entirely optional.  Studying full-time, the degree can be completed in as little as two years; however, the majority of students will study part time, which takes three to four years to complete the degree.

Example of a course homepage on Canvas. (Image courtesy of Colorado State University.)
Example of a course homepage on Canvas. (Image courtesy of Colorado State University.)

Faculty, Research, Curriculum and Course Options

CSU’s faculty are experts in their fields, and many are still active in industry and will regularly incorporate their own innovative research into their teaching.  This keeps CSU students up-to-date with current trends and technologies at the forefront of the mechanical engineering field in general, and of individual industries.  CSU instructors also pursue research projects sponsored by influential science and technology organizations including NASA, the Department of Defense, Department of Energy, National Science Foundation and others.  All of this ensures that CSU’s online students receive the most current education to take with them back into the workplace.

CSU’s Master of Engineering degree requires the completion of 30 credit hours.  The Mechanical Engineering Specialization requires five core courses (15 credits) of mechanical engineering (MECH) courses covering materials and manufacturing, energy, or biomedical engineering, with the remainder of the required credits chosen from elective courses.  This gives students some flexibility to shape their final degree to include the topics most relevant to their interests and career goals. 

Sample Course List

Master of Engineering (M.E.) – Mechanical Engineering Specialization

Students are required to complete 30 total credits of regular coursework, with a minimum of 24 credits at 500-level or above. 

  • MECH 408 – Applied Engineering Economy (3 cr.)
  • MECH 411 – Manufacturing Engineering (3 cr.)
  • MECH 431 – Metals and Alloys (3 cr.)
  • MECH 502 – Advanced/Additive Manufacturing Engineering (3 cr.)
  • MECH 512 – Reliability Engineering (3 cr.)
  • MECH 513 – Simulation Modeling and Experimentation (3 cr.)
  • MECH 525 – Cell and Tissue Engineering (3 cr.)
  • MECH 529 – Advanced Mechanical Systems (3 cr.)
  • MECH 530 – Advanced Composite Materials (3 cr.)
  • MECH 531 – Materials Engineering (3 cr.)
  • MECH 532 – Materials Issues in Mechanical Design (3 cr.)
  • MECH 543 – Biofluid Mechanics (3 cr.)
  • MECH 569 – Micro-Electro-Mechanical Devices (3 cr.)
  • MECH 570 – Bioengineering (3 cr.)
  • MECH 573 – Structure and Function of Biomaterials (3 cr.)
  • MECH 574 – Bio-Inspired Surfaces (3 cr.)
  • MECH 577 – Aerosol Physics and Technology (3 cr.)
  • MECH 580A8 – Transportation, Energy, and the Environment (3 cr.)
  • MECH 581A8 – Cardiovascular Biomechanics (3 cr.)
  • STAT 511A – Design and Data Analysis for Researchers I (4 cr.)
  • STAT 512 – Design and Data Analysis for Researchers II (4 cr.)


Interested in earning an Engineering Master’s Degree?  Check out our Masters Degree Discovery Tool to find your program!

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