Engineering Master's for Non-Engineers

Oct 30, 2018

Why would there be engineering programs for non-engineers? This article looks at options for those who decide that they would like to become engineers after they have already completed a non-STEM bachelor's degree. This is not an article for those who want to earn an engineering degree and then not become an engineer.

Why a Master's in Engineering?

According to The Washington Post, only 27% of graduates find work related to their degree. This means, if you are one of those nearly 73% who don't, you may find that your original degree was not what you planned. Engineering can be a great avenue to explore as an alternative, as there is a large range of career and education opportunities within the field. Not only does advancing technology call for new and innovative developments, but engineering students can focus in many different categories of engineering, from biomedical engineering to nuclear engineering to aerospace engineering.

Engineering Careers Outlook and Salary

It's important to note that according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), engineers tend to have good average salaries. Most of the jobs listed below also have above average speed for growth outlook.

Position Average Salary (2017)* Career Outlook (2016-2026)*
Computer Hardware Engineer $119,650 5%
Chemical Engineer $112,430 8%
Biomedical Engineer $92,970 7%
Agricultural Engineer $77,970 8%
Aerospace Engineer $112,010 6%
Electrical Engineer $99,580 9%
Industrial Engineer $90,340 10%
Civil Engineer $91,790 11%
Environmental Engineer $91,180 8%
Materials Engineer $98,610 2%
Mechanical Engineer $91,500 9%
Nuclear Engineer $108,910 4%
Petroleum Engineer $154,780 15%
Marine Engineer $96,910 12%

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

How Do I Get an Engineering Education?

Many colleges allow non-engineers to apply to their engineering master's programs, provide bridge programs to get students up to speed before entering the actual master's program or offer what they call non-engineer engineering programs. Though each program varies in credit length, they can usually be completed in 1-2 years. On top of that, anyone who joins these non-engineer programs will be awarded the same engineering master's as those with an undergraduate in engineering.

What Will I Need for Admission?

Many non-engineers come in with little to no STEM experience. Because of this, you'll want to check with your selected university for the specific requirements. However, you may find a few similarities between programs. Some of the programs require you to have taken some courses, such as calculus I or II, differential equations, electrical circuits, or physics. Basically, you'll likely need some college-level math and engineering courses behind you. This could mean taking some college-level math courses at a different institution prior to applying. Keep in mind, each college has its own specification, so be sure to check which courses your college requires. Along with specific courses, you'll be required to turn in typical admissions requirements, such as an application and fee, GRE scores, letters of recommendation, transcripts, and personal essays.

If you've selected an undergraduate degree in a non-engineering-related area and have since decided to pursue engineering, all is not lost. Many colleges offer non-engineering tracks for those who do not have an undergraduate degree in engineering. Though some colleges offer bridge programs to speed up this process, you may need to take some math courses at another college prior to applying. Finally, keep in mind that there are many engineering fields, and all of them have a good career outlook and average salary.

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