Online Master's Programs in Engineering Management

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the top 25% of architectural and engineering managers earn more than $170,000 per year, placing them among the highest earners in the United States. Even the bottom 10% of engineering managers earn up to $90,000 annually — significantly more than the national median salary of just less than $40,000 per year. The prospect of higher earnings, more job opportunities, and increased career options leads many engineers to pursue a master's in engineering management online.

This guide can help you choose between engineering management master's programs. The following sections explore common engineering management courses, concentrations, and funding opportunities. This guide also includes information about salary expectations and job options for professionals with a master's in engineering management.

What Can I Learn in an Online Master's in Engineering Management Program?

Engineering management master's programs help students gain the skills necessary to lead engineering firms, supervise employees, and coordinate engineering projects. Students develop skills in financial decision making, risk mitigation, data analysis, quality assurance, and personnel management.

Courses vary by program, and your curriculum depends on your specialization. However, many engineering management programs include the classes below.

What Common Courses Are Offered in a Master's in Engineering Management Program?

Engineering Economics

This class covers techniques for estimating costs and making economically informed decisions. Students explore topics such as management accounting, statistical cost estimation, and capital investment. Learners also examine how cost affects quality, manufacturing processes, research and development, and pricing.

Risk Management

In this course, students explore topics such as risk terminology, statistical analysis, data presentation, and risk analysis models. Students learn about various quantitative and qualitative methods for analyzing risk and addressing uncertainty. Coursework may also include case studies and cover the psychological perception of risk.

Project Management for Engineers

Students examine project management principles, such as those set by the Project Management Institute's Project Management Body of Knowledge. This course covers the five phases of project management: initiation, planning, execution, monitoring, and closure. Students learn to form effective teams and to use project management tools.

Quality in Engineering Management

One of the main responsibilities of an engineering manager is to ensure overall quality. Students in this course explore the basic philosophies behind engineering quality management. The class examines how quality affects relationships with consumers and vendors. Learners study techniques for continuous process improvement, process control, and data analysis.

Modeling and Simulation

This course explores the ways that engineering managers use computers to analyze complex problems. Learners develop an understanding of basic modeling and simulation principles. Students also learn to formulate problems, build models, analyze data, and create solutions and alternatives.

What Exams or Projects Should I Expect?

Master's programs in engineering management typically require a thesis, which involves working closely with a faculty advisor to research an engineering management question and produce an extensive report. Students then present their findings to a panel.

Some programs allow students to choose a less involved capstone project, which may comprise an in-depth case study or an analysis of an engineering management problem. Departments often require students to present their capstone projects orally at the end of the program.

Some engineering management master's programs feature a coursework-only option that does not include a final project. These options sometimes require a final examination.

What Specializations Are Available in a Master's in Engineering Management Program?

Engineering management students can choose a focus area to gain specialized skills and prepare for positions in particular industries. Each program offers different concentrations, but the list below details common options.

Supply Chain Management

Students learn to design, maintain, and oversee efficient logistics systems and supply chains. This concentration may also include classes on lean supply, quality management, and global supply chains.

Project Management

Students learn to oversee projects, manage human resources, and analyze and improve systems. Classes in the concentration may cover economics decision analysis and global project management.

Lean Six Sigma

This concentration focuses on the Lean Six Sigma method for improving performance and eliminating waste. Students explore topics like lean manufacturing and lean supply chains.

What Can I Do with a Master's in Engineering Management Degree?

Engineering management master's degree-holders can pursue a variety of senior-level engineering jobs, including those below. Specific job titles vary depending on industry and organization, but general job duties are similar.

Engineering Manager

These professionals oversee operations in engineering firms. Engineering managers hire new employees, coordinate training, manage budgets, and set overall goals for research and product development. They also ensure quality and coordinate with other departments.

Construction Manager

These managers plan and oversee construction projects. They propose budgets, estimate costs, interface with clients, and communicate with architects and engineers. Construction managers also ensure that projects follow safety codes and regulations.

Civil Engineer

Civil engineers contribute to infrastructure projects such as bridges, roads, tunnels, and buildings. Some civil engineers conduct research for projects. Civil engineering supervisors manage budgets, analyze risk, and ensure compliance with government regulations.

Logistician

Engineering management students who specialize in supply chain management often become logisticians. These professionals analyze supply chains to eliminate inefficiencies and improve profits and quality.

Management Analyst

Sometimes called management consultants, these professionals examine an organization's operations and propose improvements. They meet with top executives and other managers to suggest new training programs and organizational policies.

How Much Can I Make with a Career in Engineering Management?

Master's students should consider both salary potential and job growth projections when choosing a career path. For professionals with a master's in engineering management, salary depends on factors such as industry and geographic location. Median salary figures indicate general earning potential, while job growth figures can help students identify the jobs most likely to be in demand after graduation. The table below details job growth and median salaries for some master's in engineering management jobs.

Career Median Annual Salary Job Growth (2018-2028)
Architectural and Engineering Manager $140,760 3%
Construction Manager $93,370 10%
Civil Engineer $86,640 6%
Logistician $74,600 5%
Management Analyst $83,610 14%

Online Master's in Engineering Management Program Accreditation

Prospective students should only consider attending engineering management master's programs from regionally accredited universities. These institutions meet high academic standards and undergo regular evaluations by a third-party agency. Additionally, attending a regionally accredited university ensures students can transfer credits, qualify for jobs, and obtain financial aid.

Engineering management applicants should also look for engineering programs and schools that hold subject-specific accreditation. ABET is the main regulatory body that reviews engineering programs. The organization provides an online list of accredited engineering management master's programs.

How to Pay for a Master's in Engineering Management Degree

While earning a master's in engineering management online can lead to higher pay, increased job opportunities, and more professional responsibility, earning a graduate degree often requires a significant financial investment. Fortunately, engineering management students can pursue several options to offset the cost of tuition and education-related expenses.

Techniques for Financing a Master's in Engineering Management

Assistantships

Many engineering graduate students pay their way through school by securing a research or teaching assistantship. These students may teach undergraduate courses or conduct research under the supervision of a faculty member.

Employer Tuition Reimbursement

Some engineering firms help employees pay for a graduate degree in engineering management. Many companies require employees who take advantage of this assistance to stay in their jobs for a set amount of time after graduation.

Work-Study Programs

Engineering management students can submit the Free Application for Federal Student Aid to find out whether they qualify for work-study opportunities. Work-study programs guarantee that students can earn money while working toward a degree, or they may work for reduced tuition.

Scholarships for Master's in Engineering Management Students

SME Future Leaders of Manufacturing Scholarship

Who Can Apply: The SME Education Foundation offers this award to SME student members enrolled full time in a program related to manufacturing engineering, industrial technology, or engineering technology.

Amount: Varies

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American Council of Engineering Companies General Scholarship

Who Can Apply: The ACEC Research and Management Foundation offers seven general scholarships to undergraduate and graduate engineering students. Applicants should demonstrate an interest in engineering management and must submit an essay and a recommendation letter.

Amount: Varies

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Society of Women Engineers Scholarships

Who Can Apply: Women studying engineering, engineering technology, or computer science through a community college, bachelor's program, or master's program can apply for these awards. Graduate applicants must be studying full time through an ABET-accredited program.

Amount: Varies

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American Society for Engineering Management Graduate Student Scholarships

Who Can Apply: Full-time graduate engineering students can apply for these scholarships. Applicants must have at least a 3.5 GPA and must have at least one year left before graduation. Candidates must be current ASEM members.

Amount: $500

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Dr. Harold Kerzner Project Management Scholarships

Who Can Apply: In partnership with the Project Management Institute Educational Foundation, the International Institute for Learning offers these awards to undergraduate and graduate students pursuing degrees in project management or a related field, including engineering management.

Amount: $7,500

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Professional Organizations and Resources

Professional organizations can help students and entry-level engineering professionals find jobs, connect with industry professionals, and locate professional development opportunities. Many professional organizations offer academic journals to help engineering managers and students stay current on new research in the field.

American Society for Engineering Management

  • This organization supports engineering managers through newsletters, journals, networking opportunities, and an annual conference. ASEM also offers entry-level and advanced engineering management certifications.


American Management Association

  • AMA offers professional development classes to managers across industries. Engineering managers can build skills in areas like business writing, finance, leadership, project management, and training.


Association of Technology, Management, and Applied Engineering

  • ATMAE serves engineering educators, engineering students, and industry professionals through publications, an annual conference, and certification programs. Through the organization's career center, members can post their resumes and search for jobs.


Engineering Management Journal

  • Engineering management students can consult this academic journal to learn about the latest developments in the field, including topics like operations management, consulting, research and development, and quality management. The journal publishes articles from university faculty and practitioners.


IEEE Technology and Engineering Management Society

  • A division of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, this association offers publications and conferences. The society's website features articles on technology news and trends.


IEEE Xplore Digital Library

  • This online database includes more than four million documents covering electrical engineering, computer science, and electronics. IEEE Xplore provides access to materials from conferences, books, journals, and educational courses.


International Journal of Engineering Management and Economics

  • This journal covers engineering management and engineering economics from a multidisciplinary perspective. The publication explores topics including human resource management, risk management, project planning, and capital investment analysis.


National Society of Professional Engineers

  • NSPE represents licensed professional engineers and supports them through professional development resources. The organization offers a magazine, free online seminars, on-demand continuing education classes, and national and local meetings.


Project Management Institute

  • PMI connects more than 500,000 project management professionals. Through PMI, students and managers can learn about project management standards. Members can also access training and development workshops and apply for eight management certifications.


SME

  • SME is a nonprofit association that supports the manufacturing industry. The organization posts manufacturing news, hosts events and trade shows, offers certifications, and provides educational resources on topics such as quality, robotics, and automation.