Masters in Mechanical Engineering Specializations

14 mins

One of the most traditional and inclusive engineering disciplines is mechanical engineering. Any system with a moving element involves it in the analysis, design, and production processes.

A career in mechanical engineering could be right for you if you enjoy innovating. Mechanical engineers are powered by electric generators, internal combustion engines, elevators, and refrigeration equipment.

You may create or install machinery, test or assess theoretical designs, or instruct people in your way of thinking. Even better, there is a great need for mechanical engineers since there are many businesses around the nation looking for capable workers.

Why pursue a mechanical engineering degree?

One of the broadest fields of engineering is mechanical engineering, which includes design and production as well as dynamics and control, thermodynamics and fluid mechanics, structures, and solid mechanics.

The mechanical engineering process must be able to frame a problem, find alternative solutions, evaluate and model options, and choose the best suitable solution within restrictions.

Graduates will be well-prepared for a changing world thanks to this comprehensive approach that is useful across various vocations.

Which degree in mechanical engineering should you pursue?

There will always be jobs for mechanical engineering graduates. Particularly if you pursue and earn an advanced degree, this is true. Master's degree holders have the potential to nearly quadruple their lifetime earnings, which is an essential factor to take into account while looking for the finest program.

Most mechanical engineering graduate programs are offered on-campus or online, depending on your requirements and way of life.

While on-campus education gives students the best chance for creative, participatory research, online degrees encourage flexibility for first-generation students or busy working adults.

How much money can one make with a degree in mechanical engineering?

One of the top-paying entry-level jobs in the nation is mechanical engineering, with a median pay of $83,000 and a minimum income of $50,000. Earning potential is strong with this degree, yet compensation varies based on experience level and sector (for instance, mechanical engineers working in oil and gas extraction or information services will make the most excellent wages).

Which jobs can you get with a mechanical engineering degree?

A mechanical engineering graduate offers a vast array of professional choices. Aerospace, automotive, biomedical, construction, power, railroad, information services, and even academic fields use mechanical engineers.

Software, civil, environmental, aerospace, and biomedical engineering are the industries with the most demand.

Every industry employs mechanical engineers, including the public and private sectors, academia, and the government. Graduates might find employment with organizations like NASA, Google, Boeing, Apple, and the Department of Energy, among hundreds of others.

Typical development of five percent employment growth is predicted, but it will be higher in industries with more robust demand, like information services.

What qualifications are needed to earn a mechanical engineering degree?

Graduate applicants typically need to have completed four years of undergraduate study in a related discipline. However, some colleges will accept additional prerequisite courses with relevant backgrounds to compensate for potential math or engineering deficiencies.

Although master's degrees typically last between two and four years, they can be finished faster in combination with an undergraduate or Ph.D. program (often referred to as 2+3 or accelerated programs).

Departments will also look for graduates with excellent technical and mathematical aptitudes, creativity, problem-solving skills, and the capacity to work under pressure. Additionally advantageous are strong communication abilities.

What is the main Specialization of mechanical engineering and its research areas?

Of all the engineering fields, mechanical engineering may be the most "broad-based." Graduates in mechanical engineering can pursue rewarding jobs in business, consumer electronics, aerospace, automotive design, biotechnology, and bioengineering. The primary field areas are listed below:

Engineering with biomechanics

The main goal of biomechanical engineering is to employ mechanical engineering concepts to solve issues related to human healthcare.

This field has shown rapid growth over the past ten years. It works to enhance healthcare — and, therefore, people's lives — by identifying and tackling significant medical issues that new technologies can solve.

Long-term basic scientific inquiries and the creation of translational technologies in practice are both research areas in biomechanical engineering.

These research projects, which are highly multidisciplinary and supported by the NIH, NSF, other federal agencies, and businesses, are carried out in collaboration with a wide range of partners from various engineering departments at universities as well as with academics and students from multiple medical schools and research institutions.

Transportation Systems

The organization, creation, and management of transportation systems is a crucial components of mechanical engineering.

Engineers will need to consider significant advances in how people and products are carried as society becomes more aware of how important it is to optimize transportation systems to reduce environmental degradation and energy use.

Such developments will call for proficiency in vehicle dynamics, propulsion, and control, as well as knowledge of the issues brought on by current means of transportation.


Manufacturing has come back in this rapidly evolving sector, which includes the subdisciplines of Electrical Engineering, Computer Science, and Materials Science and Engineering. Manufacturing encompasses various procedures, including modeling, simulation, and testing activities to turn raw materials into finished goods.

Common operations include:

  • Cutting.
  • An old-fashioned method of removing material.
  • Chemical mechanical planarization is used to prepare semiconductors and nanomaterials.
  • Additive techniques like 3D printing and spraying.

Simulation and modeling try to forecast how these processes will behave to guarantee effective and ideal performance.

In addition, industrial includes related activities such as sensors and process monitoring, automation, internet-based manufacturing design, cyber-physical infrastructure, quality control, and dependability.

Manufacturing is currently attracting particular attention in the United States as a catalyst for innovation, a source of competitive advantage, and a significant employer. Overall, design, controls, and material processing are combined in production.

Today's manufacturing activity results from decades of foundational study and instruction by industry pioneers like Erich Thomsen and Shiro Kobayashi.

The more conventional fields of metal forming and plasticity have recently given way to design and advanced manufacturing integration, new manufacturing technologies, particularly for energy reduction and alternative energy technologies, precision manufacturing, computational manufacturing, and sustainable manufacturing.

The creation of tools enabling engineering designers to account for the effects of manufacturing and, more recently, the product's life cycle results is a significant component of the research.

In terms of internships, research assistance, and student placement, education and research are extraordinarily well connected with the industry in the manufacturing sector. Manufacturing is still crucial for economic development and research across many sectors.

Future energy, transportation, medical/health, lifestyle, housing, military, and food/water supply systems will all be built on a foundation of ever-more-precise parts and components made from ever-more-difficult materials and assembled into complicated forms with exacting surface requirements.

This includes producing goods for consumers who are environmentally and energy conscious (such as cars, consumer goods, buildings, etc.), producing alternate energy supply systems (such as fuel cells, solar panels, wind energy systems, hybrid power plants, etc.), and producing machine tools and the "machines that build the products" that require less energy, materials, and space and are better integrated for operation and factory systems and operations.

This is necessary given the rising number of regional, national, and worldwide rules governing every facet of the manufacturing sector.

Unfortunately, this means there will likely be plenty of obstacles to spur innovation in research and education for the foreseeable future. In conclusion, additive, subtractive, and near-net-shape processing methodologies may describe current production. These names pretty much explain themselves.

Forming, forging, and molding procedures are sometimes known as near-net-shape. For instance, the "old standby" approach of subtractive machining is widely employed in manufacturing primary machines but has limited application to higher technology goods.

On the other hand, additive manufacturing, which includes older deposition techniques and more contemporary rapid prototyping techniques, has a lot of potential for producing complicated goods quickly and accurately in the future.

Therefore, rapid prototyping (RP) and additive manufacturing (AM) has drawn much interest for several years. Remarkably, the concept of 3-D printing (3DP) has gotten a lot of coverage.

The terms additive fabrication, procedures, techniques, layer manufacturing, and freeform fabrication are frequently used to describe this process. In addition, the fundamental phrase is employed about the product life cycle, ranging from quick prototyping to full-scale production.


Control theory may be traced back to J. C. Maxwell's early work on speed governors (1868), and it now plays a crucial part in the bulk of contemporary engineering systems. Even though mechanical systems are becoming more sophisticated, performance standards are becoming more demanding.

The ability to apply sophisticated signal processing and control approaches to improve system performance is also made feasible by the remarkable advancements in microelectronics and computers over the past few decades.

The field covers a wide range of control engineering and science, from computer implementation to mathematical theory.

Faculty members and graduate students do theoretical research on learning, intelligent control, nonlinear control, digital control, robust control, modeling and identification, adaptive and optimum control, and digital control.

In addition, research teams work on projects covering a range of mechanical systems, including manipulators for robots, manufacturing systems, cars and intelligent vehicle highway systems, motion control systems, computer storage devices, and biomedical systems.

Linear system theory, digital control, nonlinear control, adaptive control, modeling and identification, multivariable robust control theory, real-time usage of microcomputers for signal processing and control, and control of robot manipulators are all topics covered in this field of study.

In addition, graduate students often enroll in courses provided by other departments, including computer science and electrical engineering.


Solid mechanics, which has its roots in the classical theory of elastic materials, has expanded to include all facets of the behavior of deformable things under stress.

Thus, solid mechanics also includes contemporary nonlinear ideas of highly deformable materials and the theory of linear elasticity and its applications to structural materials. This encompasses both biological and artificial polymeric materials.

Shell theory, linear and nonlinear elasticity, plasticity at large deformations, shell theory, composite materials, directed continua (or Cosserat continua), continuum electrodynamics, media with microstructure, and continuum thermodynamics are among the subjects covered in courses and research.

In addition, students take courses in mathematics, dynamics, and fluid mechanics. Finite deformation of highly deformable materials, along with computational issues related to the development of constitutive theories, specific solutions, and theoretical predictions of material response, constitute one of the main study areas.

Examples of this work include:

  • The development of thermodynamics for deformable media undergoing finite motion.
  • Ductile metals under special loading programs(such as strain cycling).
  • Microcrack growth in brittle materials.
  • Microstructural factors like dislocation density are explicitly included in new models of inelastic behavior under finite deformation.

Many solids, including metals, composites, electronic materials, and geologic materials, have material and stress characterization challenges.

Both experimental and analytical research is carried out in the fields of nondestructive stress assessment, characterization of thin solid films, significant deformation material behavior, and microstructure assessment.

Furthermore, research is being done on stress and property assessment themes for bulk materials and thin films. In addition, other methods are used, including ultrasonics, X-ray diffraction, and specially made micro-electro-mechanical structures (MEMS).

The connection between material preparation and its impact on the final microstructure and mechanical response is highlighted in particular.

Research on polycrystalline materials' plasticity and quantitative texture analysis aims to characterize these materials' macroscopic, observable behavior in terms of their inherent microstructure.

System Micro-Electromechanical (MEMS)

The development of mechanical devices using microelectronic technology has transformed the study of microsensors and microactuators during the past 20 years. To meet the performance and production needs of the sensor sector, micromachining technologies use batch processing.

New sensors and actuators that far outperform traditionally machined devices are expected because of the incredible adaptability of semiconductor materials and the downsizing of VLSI patterning processes.

A wide variety of miniaturization-related concerns, including solid, materials, design, manufacturing, fluidics, heat transfer, dynamics, control, environmental, and bioengineering, are addressed through research.


The difficulties impacting the analysis, synthesis, design, automation, manufacturing, testing, evaluation, and optimization of mechanical systems are addressed by design faculty in the mechanical engineering discipline of design.

Design of mechatronic devices, sports equipment, and safety gear, case studies in multi-media design that boost a designer's productivity, tribological studies of computer disk drives and micromechanical devices, the design and fabrication of composite materials, fracture analysis, the design and computer control of robotic systems for manufacturing and construction environments, the design of bioengineering devices for studying back pain, and more are all examples of research activities.

Integrated manufacturing cells and machines with automated material handling, machining, tool path planning, sensor systems, quality control, and error management are developed by students. In addition, students are exposed to a wide range of topics, such as thin-film manufacturing, tool wear, microelectromechanical systems, laser machining, and processing of materials using lasers.

In-depth coverage is also given to more conventional subjects, including stress analysis, tribology, fracture mechanics, gear design, transmissions, mechanics of materials, and fundamental manufacturing process analysis.


New interest in science and engineering at nanoscale sizes has been sparked by significant advances in various fields over the previous two decades.

The development of materials with size-dependent properties, the ability to encode with and manipulate biological molecules like DNA, the invention of the scanning tunneling microscope, and the discovery of the fullerene family of molecules are just some of the significant advancements that have transformed this field.

A new technological foundation and infrastructure will be created due to ongoing research in nanoscale science and engineering, which has the potential to revolutionize numerous sectors and significantly influence global economies.

Computing and information technology, healthcare and biotechnology, the environment, energy, transportation, and space exploration are just a few fields where the influence will be seen.

Nanoinstrumentation, nano energy conversion, nano-bioengineering, and nanocomputer storage are some vital study fields. Nanoengineering is a highly multidisciplinary area that calls for expertise from several scientific and engineering fields.

Specialized courses in microscale thermo-physics, micro-and nanoscale tribology, cellular and sub-cellular level transport phenomena, mechanics, physicochemical hydrodynamics of ultra-thin fluid films, and microfabrication, in addition to conventional courses covering the fundamentals of mechanical engineering.


Students gain knowledge of the basics of fluid flow through training in the Fluid Mechanics group. Before focusing on a specific field at the graduate level, all students usually are obliged to finish a one-year fluid dynamics course.

Students also get a solid foundation in computational, analytical, and experimental fluid dynamics fundamentals. Research projects range in Reynolds number from planetary phenomena to creeping flows.

Interfacial phenomena, non-Newtonian fluid mechanics, biofluid mechanics, vascular flows, chaotic mixing and transport of scalars, bubble dynamics, flow in curved pipes, environmental fluid dynamics, external aerodynamics, unsteady aerodynamics, bluff-body aerodynamics, vortex dynamics and breakdown, aircraft wake vortices, and vortex merging are among the topics studied.

Ocean Engineering

The importance of the seas to our planet's ecosystem has long been acknowledged. The waters, which make up more than 70% of the earth's surface, directly and indirectly, impact all species.

Therefore, the development, design, and analysis of artificial systems that may function in an offshore or coastal environment are all part of ocean engineering.

These systems can be employed, among other things, in the transportation, leisure, fishing, mineral extraction, and recovery of thermal and wave energy industries.

Some systems are movable, such as ships, submersibles, or floating drill rigs, while others are bottom-mounted, especially those in smaller depths. All designs should be built to operate effectively and sustainably in a hostile environment (wind, waves, currents, ice, etc.).

To pursue a degree in ocean engineering under mechanical engineering, one must have prerequisites in marine hydrodynamics and marine structures.

In addition, materials and manufacturing, robotics and control, continuum mechanics, dynamical system theory, design methodology, mathematical analysis, and statistics are some of the fields that enable ocean engineering.

A minor in ocean engineering can be combined with one of the other primary field specialties. Current research topics include:

  • Vortex and free surface interaction.
  • Roll-motion damping and dynamics of ships.
  • Dynamic positioning of mobile offshore bases.
  • Hydroelastic behavior of floating airports.
  • Waves in a two-layer fluid.
  • High-speed multi-hull configuration optimization.
  • Fatigue behavior of marine materials.
  • Bragg scattering of waves.
  • Computational methodologies for nonlinear waves.
  • Tsunami prediction.


The study of dynamics is fundamentally the study of motion. Dynamics may be utilized to efficiently obtain insight and comprehension, whether this motion involves cars, planes, or changes in economic indicators.

The research covers dynamical systems theory, bubble dynamics, vehicle dynamics, vibration, modal analysis, computer modeling of dynamical systems, acoustics & acoustic control, and the development of effective computational techniques.

Such research combines mathematics, experimentation, and theory, enabling academics to explore fundamental issues while remaining conscious of practical constraints. There are classes in continuous systems, deterministic and random vibrations, and linear and nonlinear dynamics.

Energy Science and Technology

Storage, transportation, conversion, and energy use are topics of inquiry in mechanical engineering that cover many scientific and technological fields.

The development of next-generation compression ignition engine technologies, the combustion of biofuels, pollution control in engines, radiation interaction with nanostructured surfaces, laser processing of materials, laser nanofabrication, combustion in microgravity environments, development of nanostructured thermoelectric materials, concentrating photovoltaic solar power, solar thermal combined heat and power, and nanostructured thermoelectric materials are some specific areas of ongoing research.

Fundamental research, which tries to comprehend and simulate vitally important processes and mechanisms, and applied research, which examines novel energy technology concepts at the application level, are included in the study in these fields.


The degree in mechanical engineering that suits your needs in terms of cost, timeline, and career objectives needs to be selected. Some programs allow students to specialize and tailor their degree tracks for the best chance of success throughout the job search. The whole mechanical engineering degrees also include substantial amounts of both academic instruction and practical research. A top-notch school will also provide plenty of financial help, including chances to apply for fellowships or assistantships and professional services like networking possibilities for jobs and student groups.

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