Upon graduating from their undergraduate programs, aspiring engineers have a decision to make: Should they pursue an M.Eng. or an M.S. in Engineering? While the wording may sound similar, the degrees are actually rather different. For example, an M.Eng. in Mechanical Engineering will prepare you with very practical coursework to pursue a career in mechanical engineering. A Master of Science, on the other hand, will ideally prepare you to pursue Ph.D. study or a more research-based career.
Perhaps the most substantial consideration when choosing any degree of study is the coursework. If you choose a Master of Engineering, you can expect a course of study that focuses on building practical skills. Your coursework may quickly tighten in focus from more general studies to courses in a specific engineering discipline, often culminating in a capstone project. On the other hand, a Master of Science in Engineering typically revolves around a more research-based curriculum. While students might eventually focus on a specific discipline, that discipline is technical or research-oriented.
Degrees in engineering can vary widely in length and scope. In general, however, M.Eng. programs may be done at an accelerated rate – some can be completed in as little as 18 months. The length of a traditional M.S. in Engineering program is more difficult to gauge, as these programs may be given as continuations of a B.S. program. In general, however, they typically last as little as two years.
Prospects after graduation
Many students selecting a program of study are, above all, interested in the job prospects that await them upon graduation. With a Master of Engineering degree, the focus on practical skills can be most appealing to future employers. For example, an M.Eng. in Mechanical Engineering will ideally prepare a student for a future career in mechanical engineering. On the other hand, a Master of Science in Engineering is in some cases necessary for admission to doctoral studies. Many employers will accept job candidates who have performed well and graduated with either degree.
While Master of Engineering and Master of Science in Engineering degrees share many qualities, in terms of their course aims and overall scope, each degree prepares students of engineering in slightly different ways. One degree is largely oriented towards developing workplace skills while the other focuses more on research. With that said, individual programs can vary widely, so it is always best for prospective students to evaluate individual course curriculum to choose the best option for them.
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