Earning a graduate degree can be an effective way to give your engineering career a boost. A master’s degree can open up new opportunities that you couldn’t attain with just a bachelor’s degree or help you cultivate the leadership skills you need to become an engineering manager. You don’t have to spend years in graduate school just to flesh out your resumé and focus your knowledge base on a more specialized area of engineering. By choosing one of the fastest schools for a master’s degree, you can quickly enhance your career.
One-Year Master’s Degree Programs in Engineering
A typical master’s degree takes two years of full-time study, or it can take a good deal longer if you study part-time while working full-time. Fortunately, there are accelerated programs, that can allow you to complete your master’s degree in engineering in a shorter time – as little as one year.
One-year master’s degree programs still cover the same advanced engineering coursework as a traditional master’s degree program would, but in a shorter period. As a result, the workload is intense.
- Trine University: The Master of Science in Engineering Management (MSEM) degree offered out of Trine University’s College of Graduate and Professional Studies is a one-year program that can be completed online. Students complete the full 31 credit program in just 12 months on an accelerated schedule. Coursework includes business ethics, finance for engineers, executive communication, project management, statistics and data analysis, product development and innovation strategies and business strategy and decision making.
- The Pennsylvania State University: There are more than a dozen one-year master’s in engineering programs offered by Penn State. Some, like the Master of Science (M.S.) in Acoustics and the Master of Science (M.S.) in Additive Manufacturing and Design are residential programs, while others, like the Master of Engineering (M.Eng.) in Additive Manufacturing and Design, are offered online. Penn State’s one-year engineering master’s degree options include both research-focused and professional educational paths.
- The University of Virginia: The Accelerated Masters Program in Systems Engineering offered by the University of Virginia begins in May and runs for 12 months, allowing students to graduate with their master’s degree the following May. Students meet in person at the Charlottesville, VA, Darden Graduate School of Business for a week at the beginning of the year, every other weekend throughout the year and an additional week at the end of the program.
The subjects of study in a graduate engineering program depend on what degree you are pursuing. Some master’s programs are highly technical, while others focus on developing management skills.
Dual Degree Engineering Programs
If you haven’t yet earned your bachelor’s degree, a “4+1” dual degree option could be the right opportunity for you. This type of program allows students to work toward their bachelor’s and master’s degrees simultaneously by completing some graduate-level coursework as undergraduate students and applying those credits to both sets of degree requirements.
A dual degree program saves students both money and time, since they only pay once for classes that count toward both degrees. It also allows students to keep their educational momentum going and complete their graduate studies immediately after they finish their undergraduate degree. Five-year dual degree programs in engineering are becoming popular, as the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported. Some of the many schools now offering this academic option include:
- Michigan Technological University
- The University of Arizona
- George Mason University
- Duke University
- Boise State University
Dual degree programs at some institutions are particularly affordable because they may allow students in their senior year of study to pay the cheaper undergraduate rate for their graduate coursework.
Graduate Certificates in Engineering
If you’re not seeking a master’s degree for the purpose of gaining access to jobs such as university instructor or high-level research and development engineer, it may be worthwhile to consider a certificate program, instead. Graduate certificate programs are less extensive than full-fledged master’s degree programs, often comprising just 12 to 16 credits of study, but they offer advanced and specialized instruction in a wide range of engineering topics. For example, the University of South Florida’s College of Engineering offers graduate certificate programs in the following subjects: robotics, systems engineering, technology management, total quality, transportation system analysis, wireless engineering, materials science and engineering and water, health and sustainability.
Some graduate certificate programs are available in fully online formats, making it easier than ever for students to quickly attain a new credential on their schedule, from anywhere in the world with Internet access.