Mechanical engineering is a branch of engineering that uses scientific principles and theories to design and create tools and machines operating on mechanical power. Several universities offer undergraduate and graduate distance learning programs in mechanical engineering; however, bachelor's degree programs are not as plentiful as master's degree programs. Regardless of degree level, students should look for programs with Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET) accreditation to meet post-graduation engineer licensing and employment requirements.
Students undertaking online mechanical engineering courses commonly learn material through video lectures and interactive tutorials. Students at both education levels may need to perform on-campus labs, which can sometimes be fulfilled in short residencies during the summer. A high school diploma or equivalent is typically needed for entry into a program.
Bachelor's/Master's Degree in Mechanical Engineering
Students with a high school diploma or the equivalent can enroll in an online bachelor's program in mechanical engineering. Those who have already earned a bachelor's degree in engineering or a related field can choose to earn a master's degree. Some mechanical engineering distance learning programs at the bachelor's level can take as long as six years to complete, while master's degree programs can be completed in roughly two years of full-time study.
Program Info and Requirements
Individuals enrolled in online mechanical engineering programs intensively study materials science, physics and chemistry. Programs also involve significant coursework in mathematics and science subjects, such as calculus, statics and thermodynamics. Bachelor's-level students typically study the foundational aspects of mechanical engineering, while master's-level students delve into more advanced topics, including government regulations, research methods and project management.
Common Course Topics
An online degree program in mechanical engineering may include coursework in the following areas:
- Fluid mechanics
- Circuit analysis
- Machine component design
- Mechanical vibration
- Fracture mechanics
- Structural acoustics
- Vehicle dynamics
- Control systems design
- Numerical methods
Online mechanical engineering programs are most commonly available at the master's degree level, and accredited programs prepare students for licensure and work in the field. Coursework typically focuses on areas in materials science, physics, chemistry and mathematics.