Engineering Management Degrees: PhD, Master's & Online Class Info

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What will you learn in an engineering management degree program? Read about degree requirements, the pros and cons of a master's and PhD and potential careers.
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Study Engineering Management: Degrees at a Glance

Engineering management degree programs prepare students to lead a team of engineers. In this program, you learn how to integrate engineering and business skills to successfully and effectively manage a group of workers. You will be trained to work in a variety of different settings at small or large companies.

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) predicts job growth for engineering managers to slow down through 2020 (www.bls.gov). The agency explains that is partly the result of businesses outsourcing this type of work to specialized firms, but that some jobs will become available due to retirements. However, job prospects should be better in environmental or biomedical engineering.

Master's PhD
Who is this degree for? Individuals who wish to work in research or obtain a managerial positionThose intending to enter research or academia or continue working in their engineering field
Common career paths (with approx. median salary)* - Architectural and Engineering Manager ($119,000)*
- Production Manager ($87,000)*
A PhD may facilitate advancement in a career that requires a master's degree.
- Post-secondary teacher ($62,000)*
Time to completion2 to 6 years3 to 6 years
Common graduation requirements - Capstone project
- Master's exam
- Internship
- Graduate coursework
- Dissertation
- Examinations
Prerequisites - Undergraduate degree in engineering
- Understanding of statistics
- Bachelor's or master's degree in engineering or comparable discipline
- GRE scores
Online availability Fully online programs are availableFully online programs are available

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (2010 figures).

Master's Degree in Engineering Management

A master's degree program in engineering management is designed for individuals with work experience in an engineering field who wish to advance their careers and obtain managerial positions. In this program, you gain a broad spectrum of engineering knowledge and train to enter many different areas of engineering after graduation. Usually, for admission to this program you must possess undergraduate engineering degree from a school accredited by the Engineering Accreditation Commission of ABET.

Pros and Cons

Pros

  • Prepares you to enter a variety of different areas and sectors
  • Internships can help you obtain work experience and get your foot in the door at a company
  • Elective courses allow you to tailor your studies to meet your needs

Cons

  • Some employers only require a bachelor's degree in an engineering specialty
  • The field of engineering management is expected to see declining job growth as a result of outsourcing, possibly resulting your competing for positions with higher levels of degrees
  • Engineering managers are generally experienced engineers and may require specific licensure, preparation for which may not be included in a program

Courses and Requirements

The curriculum of an engineering management master's degree program usually consists of a mixture of math, management and design classes. Businesses courses such as accounting, financial management and marketing concepts may also be included. Additionally, you are able to choose from elective courses like:

  • Industrial safety
  • Environmental law
  • Technology ventures and marketing
  • Product management
  • Management of R&D
  • Research methods

Online Degree Options

Master's engineering management degree programs are offered entirely online. The course requirements for these distance programs are generally the same as their in-person counterparts, and you likely still be obligated to complete a thesis or exam.

Stand out with this Degree

To stand out with this degree, consider completing courses business law or finance in addition to your engineering management classes. Some programs allow you to complete courses in other departments or schools, including law or business schools. Having knowledge of how businesses operate and that affect engineering and business operations may make you more attractive to employers.

Additionally, consider taking classes on the globalization of engineering. These classes give you knowledge about international engineering practices, which international business owners may appreciate.

PhD in Engineering Management

A doctoral degree in engineering management is ideal for anyone interested in leading major research or production engineering projects. Graduates of this degree program know how to manage cutting-edge engineering technology.

In a doctoral program, you are able to choose a research area that most interests you, such as managing for systems engineers or enterprise architecting. You are required to write and defend a dissertation in your area of specialization. Additionally, you take advanced business and management courses.

Pros and Cons

Pros

  • May specialize and research an area of your choosing
  • Degree is typically required to become a post-secondary teacher and is necessary to become tenured
  • Advanced businesses courses prepare you for advancement within the field of engineering management

Cons

  • Degree may be over qualify you to work as an engineering manager
  • Extensive amount of time and requirements required to earn your degree, including a preliminary examination, a comprehensive examination and a dissertation
  • Employment growth in public college and universities often depends on government budgets, and therefore may be unstable

Courses and Requirements

Students enrolled in a doctoral degree engineering management program take courses in science, engineering, computer science and math. Specific coursework may include:

  • Robust engineering design
  • Optimization methods
  • System dynamics
  • Model and analysis of systems
  • Engineering supply chain
  • Product and inventory control

Online Degree Options

Online engineering management degree programs are available. These programs generally allow you to work towards your degree on your own time, so completion time vary. Generally, the course requirements in these programs are the same as those required for in-person programs.

Stand out with this Degree

To stand out with this degree take courses in statistics and research methods. Many professors engage in extensive amounts of research in the hopes of earning research grants or funding for themselves or the university at which they teach. Having extensive knowledge of research practices may make education administrations focus on you for open positions.

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