Master's degree programs in engineering often focus on a similar core group of coursework, which can include elements of engineering, math, physics, and management. Prior experience with the material may also be a prerequisite of the program, in addition to other admission requirements.
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Common Courses in an Engineering Master's Degree Program
The topics of courses taught as part of different engineering master's degree programs may vary depending on the focus of the program or the specificity of the courses, but many essential courses remain the same. Below are some courses that can be found in the curriculum of many of these programs.
Engineering management courses focus on how technical projects are managed, and how to take a leading role as a project manager. You will also discuss common business factors involved in project management and the steps taken to move from a concept to a finished product, including the study of design. Classwork may take the form of group or team based projects. Previous experience in engineering, both in the classroom and workplace setting, is a common requirement to enroll in the class.
An introductory course in systems engineering serves to orient students to the principles of systems engineering. They will also learn how to apply these principles to complex systems, and understand how systems engineering fits into larger projects from a management perspective. A course may culminate in developing a Systems Engineering Management Plan, which is an important component of a career in systems engineering. Prior engineering experience may be required to take the class.
Advanced Mathematics for Engineers
Engineers in all fields will find a strong knowledge of mathematics helpful, and they're often required to take a course in advanced mathematics specifically geared toward problems encountered in engineering. Subjects may include ordinary and partial differential equations, matrix methods, Fourier series, Laplace transforms, and other subjects. Prior high-level math classes, including calculus, are likely to be required for enrollment.
In this course, students explore the laws and principles of thermodynamics and learn how to solve thermodynamic problems. Discussions might center on stored energy states, application of thermodynamic principles to engineering, entropy transport, and fluid dynamics. A lower-level thermodynamics or physics class is sometimes a prerequisite. Students might also learn to use computer models to solve problems and gain experience with conducting experiments and analyzing data.
This course teaches students about the use of statistics and statistical methods in the field of engineering. Some of the topics taught will include conditional probability, probability models, hypothesis testing, random variable, and contingency tables. Students will also become familiar with MATLAB and other statistical software programs. Multivariable calculus may be a common prerequisite for the course.
Admission Requirements for an Engineering Master's Degree Program
The majority of master's degree programs in engineering will require a bachelor's degree in either engineering or a related field. Applicants will also be required to submit an official transcript, though a GPA minimum is not always required. Where applicable, the minimum GPA may be 3.0 on a 4.0 scale. Other requirements can include submission of GRE scores, letters of recommendation, and prior engineering experience.
An engineering master's degree program will likely focus on core courses in mathematics, management, physics and other topics. While admission requirements vary, a bachelor's degree, prior experience, and submission of transcripts, references and test scores are common.