Tackle Emerging Challenges with a Master’s Degree in Mechanical Engineering
Meghan Brown posted on September 10, 2019 |
Colorado State University offers an online mechanical engineering degree with a materials focus.

School: Colorado State University

Program:  Master of Engineering in Mechanical Engineering

Description:   CSU’s master’s in mechanical engineering helps students deepen their engineering knowledge and apply it to new areas, so as to be better prepared to meet industry needs and to tackle emerging challenges in the field.

Where is it:  Fort Collins, Colorado

Format: Online or On-campus

Degree you get: Master of Engineering specializing in Mechanical Engineering or Master of Engineering specializing in Engineering Management

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: Fall deadline – June 1.  Spring deadline – November 15

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
  • TOEFL/IELTS: Yes, minimum scores 80
  • 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 either the mechanical engineering specialization or the engineering management 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.  Materials engineering is a crucial component of the discipline, and one that is applicable to careers across virtually any industry—everything from healthcare to renewable energy, to materials manufacturing, to aerospace and automotive design.

Engineers with a detailed understanding and knowledge of material properties, along with advanced analytical skills, are able to determine the best materials for engineering projects.  This knowledge can be gained through the pursuit of a master’s degree in mechanical engineering with a focused specialization in materials engineering, such as the degree program offered through Colorado State University Online.

The materials focus of CSU’s Mechanical Engineering master’s degree means students graduate with knowledge applicable to a wide range of industries.  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, giving these engineers vital skills that are immediately applicable in their workplace and in their careers.

A Focus on Mechanical Engineering or Engineering Management

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

“Our Master of Engineering programs are a good fit for people who want to gain more applied skill that will help them to advance in their careers,” said Jessica Watkinson, graduate program coordinator for the mechanical engineering department at CSU.  “Naturally, many people who are interested in this program are already working full-time.  Offering these degrees in an online format allows more potential students to be able to fit graduate school into their lives.”

CSU offers two Master of Engineering degrees through the Mechanical Engineering department – a Master’s of Engineering with Mechanical Engineering Specialization, and a Master’s of Engineering with Engineering Management Specialization.

“Our program offers a graduate-level engineering education that is tailored for individuals working in industry,” said Watkinson.  “The range of courses offered allows each student to customize their degree for their interests and careers. Our Engineering Management program is unique in that the curriculum comprises both engineering and business coursework.  Students who finish this program learn applied skills as well as business and management principles.”

Both degrees provide students with advanced training and skills applicable to many industries.  “The Engineering Management track is also valuable for working engineers who are looking to advance to management positions in their career,” Watkinson added.

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.

“The advice I would give to a mature or returning student, or one who has not been in school for many years, is to develop good communication with your instructors,” said Watkinson.  “Especially with an online program, it can be difficult adapting to the format of online coursework and your instructors are a great resource for helping transition into the program.”

Instructors are available to all online and on-campus students with regular office hours, and can typically be reached through email or chat.  Students can also make an appointment to speak with their instructor by phone, or live chat and video call through the Canvas platform.

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 only study part time, which takes three to four years to complete the degree.

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 Defence, 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) covering materials, manufacturing and mechanical design, with the remainder of the required credits chosen from a list of available elective courses and based on discussions with your academic advisor.  This gives students some flexibility to shape their final degree to include the topics most relevant to their interests and career goals.  While there is some overlap of courses in the Engineering Management Specialization, the bulk of the courses in this program cover management and business-focused topics as they relate to engineering industries.

Sample Course List

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

Core Courses:

  • MECH 411 – Manufacturing Engineering (3 cr.)
  • MECH 431 – Metals and Alloys (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 408 – Applied Engineering Economy (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 543 – Biofluid Mechanics (3 cr.)
  • MECH 570 – Bioengineering (3 cr.)
  • MECH 569 – Micro-Electro-Mechanical Devices (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.)

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

  • ENGR 501 – Foundations of Systems Engineering (3 cr.)
  • ENGR 502 – Engineering Project and Program Management (3 cr.)
  • ENGR 567 – Systems Engineering Architecture (3 cr.)
  • MECH 408 – Applied Engineering Economy (3 cr.)
  • MECH 503 – Engineering Maintenance Process (3 cr.)
  • MECH 504 – Specification and Procurement of Engineering Systems (3 cr.)
  • MECH 512 – Reliability Engineering (3 cr.)
  • MECH 513 – Simulation Modeling and Experimentation (3 cr.)
  • MECH 580A8 – Transportation, Energy, and the Environment (3 cr.)
  • BUS 601 – Quantitative Business Analysis (2 cr.)
  • BUS 640 – Financial Principles and Practice (2 cr.)
  • BUS 655 – Marketing Management (2 cr.)
  • BUS 690A – Contemporary Issues in Business (1-2 cr.)

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

Colorado State University Online has sponsored this post.  All opinions are mine.  –Meghan Brown

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