What is Engineering Management?

Individuals enrolled in a Bachelor of Science in Engineering Management or completed the degree will know the answer to this question. However, those looking ahead to a graduate program might be curious about the courses at the next level.

Engineering management is a multi-discipline field that involves business administration, finance, accounting, computer science, engineering (various specialties), physics, and mathematics. Meld an undergraduate degree in business with civil engineering, and you have the making of engineering management.

project management

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This post will provide examples from randomly selected Master’s programs, which will give the reader insight into what courses to expect.

The University of Southern California (USC) Viterbi School of Engineering offers an M.S. in Engineering Management (MSEMT) on-campus and online. In general terms, the study plan covers technology, information systems, management, accounting, and quantitative methods. Students learn project management working in teams of 3-4 as they tackle problems from industry. You also choose one course each from Analytics and Technology.

After completing the required courses, USC offers a choice of five tracks, each being 9 to 10 units. They are:

  • Management
  • Analytics
  • Innovation and Technology Commercialization
  • Supply Chain and Operations
  • Custom

Westcliff University in Irvine, California, offers a 36-credit M.S. Engineering Management to students with a bachelor’s degree in engineering or at least one engineering course in their undergrad program. Without an undergrad degree in engineering, applicants must have at least two years of experience in the engineering field. The core requirements include engineering management, product and design development, I.T. project management, business technology, operations management, and data analytics.

Westcliff graduates will have the skills to lead projects, communicate technical data, design production systems, improve engineering processes, and conduct research.

The College of Engineering at the University of Arkansas has a 30-credit hours M.S. at the reasonable tuition cost of $303.88 per credit hour. This non-thesis degree requires students to complete an oral exam once they finish a minimum of 80% of the coursework. Samples of the courses are:

  • Systems Thinking and Engineering:  Modeling and simulation approaches
  • Probability and Statistics for EM:  Quantitative techniques and probability hypotheses
  • Risk Management:  develop, assess, and evaluate risk management options
  • Tradeoff Analytics for EM:  Learn methodology to identify stakeholders and their objectives

The George R. Brown School of Engineering at Rice University (Houston) offers an on-campus Master of Engineering and Leadership (MEML) for individuals with a B.A. or B.S. in an engineering field or related discipline. Eighteen credits of Manager Leadership, nine credits of Specialization, and three Capstone Project credits are the three study areas. In the Specialization, students choose three graduate-level (500-level or above) courses from the engineering department or an emerging engineering focus area, such as data science, financial engineering, or industrial engineering. The Capstone portion expects students to devise Industry 4.0 solutions to real-world engineering problems. Industry 4.0 technologies consist of artificial intelligence, quantum computing, augmented reality, cloud computing, cyber-security, and simulation-based engineering.

Rice offers twelve specializations – some of which are:

  • Bioengineering
  • Materials Science and Nanoengineering
  • Statistics
  • Chemical Engineering
  • Industrial Engineering
  • Financial Engineering
  • Computational and Applied Mathematics

The Brown Engineering program is also available online via 1:1 faculty interaction and the same curriculum.

balance of tech and leader

Ranked as a Top Online Graduate Engineering program by U.S. News is the 33-credit Master of E.M. at Penn State’s World Campus.  Typically, candidates come with undergraduate degrees in mathematics, engineering, physics, and science to gain leadership and management strategy skills.  Examples of topics studied during year one include:

  • Organization Behavior:  Decision process, motivation, and job satisfaction
  • Energy and the Environment:  Design and develop management software for enterprises
  • Economics and Finance:  feasibility studies, supply & demand, and return on investment

Year two:

  • Decision and Risk Analysis:  Problem identification, resolution, and quantification of risk
  • Technical Project Management:  Analysis of plans for developing complex engineering products

Year two also has an Engineering and Management Strategy capstone project that lasts the entire semester.

As you see by the above examples, a graduate program in E.M. is business administration combined with engineering concepts and principles. These programs aim at professionals in the engineering field who want to gain or build leadership skills in this environment. Therefore, some institutions will accept undergraduates with a business degree; however, there may be prerequisites in calculus or engineering. The University of North Carolina-Charlotte, for example, requires students without the necessary background to take the Engineering Management Fundamentals course before starting the Engineering Management graduate program.  It appears from the admissions for the Master’s degree in E.M. that schools place a greater emphasis on undergraduate engineering classes than business.

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