A master’s degree in engineering management combines technical and business skills, and can lead to a management role in the engineering sector.
Master’s in engineering management (MEM) programs meet the growing demand for engineering managers, standing out from other engineering programs because they integrate elements of engineering, business, and law.
An MEM degree can provide the necessary knowledge, skills, and theory to operate successfully at a senior level in technology leadership, high technology management, research and development management, or industrial management.
Most students embarking on the MEM program already have a bachelor’s degree in an engineering specialty. Some pursue their Master of Engineering Management degree before entering the job market, while others first obtain some experience.
Once they have completed their MEM degree, graduates usually must gain work experience in team leading, problem-solving, decision-making, and working on projects before pursuing a management position.
The top four career settings likely to see an increase in jobs over the next decade are:
Typical core courses
The MEM program has a multidisciplinary approach, combining graduate-level engineering education with core business principles.
Your curriculum will vary from college to college, but typical core areas of study include:
Specialist courses can include topics such as:
These specialist courses differentiate the engineering management degree from other business programs as they rely on your engineering background, ensuring you attain in-depth knowledge of the field you wish to pursue for your future career.
The length of an online master’s degree program can depend on a number of variables, perhaps the most prominent of which is the pace at which you choose to study. You can finish a typical master’s degree program in about two to three years if you choose to study full-time, although some accelerated programs may be able to help you finish more quickly.
Online master’s degree programs tend to offer flexibility suitable for students who choose to study part-time. This option will likely extend your time to completion, but it can allow you to study while fulfilling your familial, social, and professional obligations.
You can find more information on this topic at our program length overview page.
Most programs will generally require a bachelor’s degree in engineering. Students who do not possess a bachelor’s degree in engineering will need to have one in a related field. Master of Engineering Management programs require students with a strong background in math and science.
While each program will set its admission requirements based on its own criteria, many requirements are universal across all programs. No matter where you apply, you can expect to provide items like transcripts from previous degrees or coursework; standardized test scores; a personal statement or essay; letters of recommendation; and an overview of relevant work experience.
In certain cases, some of these requirements may be waived.
For more information about admissions, please visit our admissions requirements page.
Relevant Industry Associations Overview
Students can benefit from exploring and connecting with the following associations and organizations:
ABET is the primary accreditation body for MEM degrees, providing assurances that a program meets the quality standard of the profession. ABET accredits programs, not institutions, providing specialized accreditation for programs within degree-granting institutions. 
Regional accreditation is the most prestigious type of accreditation that an online or traditional college or university can receive. It is granted only after careful consideration by private, not-for-profit organizations tasked with evaluating educational quality.
Regional accreditation is particularly important if you anticipate that you might want to transfer credits from one online degree program to another or use those credits to pursue another degree. Most regionally accredited schools will only accept credits from other regionally accredited institutions of higher learning.
You can learn more on this topic at our regional accreditation page.
What is the importance of accreditation?
Because ABET accreditation provides assurance that a program meets specific professional quality standards, most programs are ABET accredited. Some employers will look for students who attended an ABET-accredited program. 
State licensure is one of the main reasons why engineers pursue advanced education, as graduate degrees are typically required for achieving licensure. In the United States, licensure for the engineering profession is regulated by state, with different requirements for each state or territory. 
How does state licensure work?
Engineers are licensed at the state level by professional licensing boards. Engineering boards confer the professional engineer license when candidates meet the requirements. When professional engineers need to be licensed in more than one state, it’s necessary to apply for comity licensure in additional states. 
An MEM helps students to prepare and qualify for the Fundamentals of Engineering (FE) and Principles and Practice of Engineering (PE) exams. 
PE licensure is the engineering profession’s highest standard of competence. It is a symbol of achievement and an assurance of quality. The National Society of Professional Engineers provides its members with the resources and information they need to earn and maintain the PE licensure.
The NSPE does not license PEs itself. The licensing authority is the licensing board for the state or district in which the engineer practices. The national organization representing the state boards is the National Council of Examiners for Engineering and Surveying (NCEES).
MEMs can also earn the Engineering Manager (EM) professional certification, administered by the American Society for Engineering Management.
ASEM provides two levels of professional certification for engineers: Professional Engineering Manager (PEMTM) and Associate Engineering Manager (AEMTM). The AEM is primarily designed for young technical professionals who seek to establish credentials in preparation for technical management or supervisory positions.
The PEM is aimed at experienced technical managers who wish to validate their experience and skills with a professional certification. 
Why would a student pursue a PE/EM rather than just being an engineer?
Pursuing a PE/EM enables engineers to validate their skills and receive state licensure. 
Only licensed engineers can prepare and submit engineering plans for approval by a public authority. PEs must take responsibility for their work and the lives of the people affected by that work. 
What benefits and career opportunities are available to industrial engineers with licensure?
Licensure is a standard recognized by employers, clients, the public, and governments as an assurance of skill, high quality, and dedication.
There are many benefits to be had by earning a PE license. For example, only a licensed engineer can prepare, sign, and submit engineering plans to a public authority for approval.
Licensure is a necessity for consulting engineers and private practitioners. In today’s labor market, regardless of which career path the professional engineer chooses, he or she will likely need PE licensure to progress. The PE license reassures the public that you have mastered the vital elements of your profession.
With licensure, you can establish your own business or become a specialist. In terms of salary, most PEs earn higher pay throughout their career, as it enables greater opportunities. 
What benefits and career opportunities are available to engineers without licensure?
Some students may wonder if it’s worth the time and effort to become a licensed professional engineer. However, the career opportunities available to engineers without licensure are limited.
The most important benefit of PE licensing is that it grants more options for career advancement and responsibility, which can ultimately lead to a higher salary and greater job satisfaction. 
You may get hired without a PE license, but in fields where the PE is preferred but not essential. Therefore, you may miss out on promotion and meaningful career advancement without it.
Although you can work in the industry without a PE license, you won’t be able to gain employment in a number of fields, such as consulting engineer, or working for municipal, federal, or state agencies. Many states now require that engineering teachers be licensed. So without a license, you’re missing out on many opportunities in your career.
What are the licensure requirements for individual states?
Civil engineering is governed by the laws of individual states, with many different licensing laws and requirements.
To find out the individual requirements of your chosen state, contact the National Council of Examiners for Engineering and Surveying, a nonprofit organization composed of land surveying, licensing, and engineering boards, representing all U.S. states and territories. 
The Master of Engineering Management (MEM) degree is a professional degree that aims to bridge the gap between the technical knowledge taught in a specialized engineering program, such a Master of Science in Engineering, with the business and management skills taught in a Master of Business Administration program. 
Early engineering degree programs are often focused on the technical aspects of learning your specific engineering skills. When it comes to career advancement in a management or leadership position, however, many of the technical engineering degrees don’t focus on the skills needed to lead a team, run a business, or manage a project. A Master of Engineering Management degree can help you learn these skills, and aims to help you advance your career to a senior position. 
While the coursework in MBA programs cover a broad array of business topics aimed at professionals from all industries and sectors, MEM programs focus their coursework on covering select business topics that specifically relate to engineers. This means that the coursework and case studies in MEM subjects like project management, leadership, finance, and law will all focus on specific engineering examples and principles, and will be taught from an engineering-centric approach.
Yes. Students who study an MEM generally already specialize in a specific area or discipline of engineering, such as electrical engineering or civil engineering. An MEM degree assists professionals like this in enhancing their careers by taking their existing technical engineering expertise and combining it with project management, leadership, and functional business area skills.
Key attributes to look for in an MEM degree include:
Accreditation: Is the program ABET accredited? Is my school regionally or nationally accredited?
Curriculum: Are the leadership and management courses taught with an engineering focus?
Delivery Method: Is the program offered online or on-campus?
Support Structure: Is there a solid support structure in place to allow students and faculty to collaborate and interact with throughout the program?
Affordability: What is the cost of the program, and can I afford it?
On-Campus Requirements: Are there are requirements to attend on-campus workshops or classes?
Reputation & Ranking: Does the school have a solid reputation and ranking for delivering an MEM program?
Faculty Experience: Does the faculty have a broad range of engineering technical expertise, along with business management experience?
Program Length: What is the length of the program?
Tuition rates tend to vary between schools, however you can expect to pay between $15,000 and $40,000 for your MEM.
Most MEM programs take between 15 and 18 months in total to complete.
Generally, there are supplementary costs apart from tuition. The tuition does not usually include the cost of books or additional fees. These additional costs will vary from program to program.
The largest provider of student financial aid in the nation is the Federal Student Aid office in the U.S. Department of Education. It supplies college-level or career school students with loans, grants, and work-study funds. You can apply for federal financial aid through the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, commonly known as FAFSA. 
There are numerous other scholarships available, but you will need to research which opportunities you’re qualified to pursue. Many states, associations, websites, and businesses award scholarships based on specific criteria. Be sure to do your research and apply for any scholarships you’re qualified to be awarded.
Yes. You will find that most MEM programs require a minimum 3.0 GPA for admission.
Whether you will need to complete the GRE prior to applying for a program will largely depend on what school you have chosen. There are many programs that do not require a GRE. Check the admissions requirements for your school before applying. 
Work experience requirements will differ from school to school, although more and more MEM programs are requiring applicants to have a minimum level of work experience for admission. The level and type of work experience required also differs, though at a minimum you should aim to have at least two years of relevant engineering experience.
Based on a survey of online programs, many MEM programs seek applicants who hold a bachelor’s degree in engineering, mathematics or physical sciences from an accredited 4-year program in the U.S. To become an engineer manager, you should hold a bachelor’s degree in an engineering specialty.  It is always advisable to contact the respective school’s admissions office to find out their specific requirements, and whether your current background matches their admissions standards.
Most Master of Engineering Management programs include full or partial elements of the following subject matters:
Lean Thinking Methods
When selecting an MEM program, look for a curriculum that has a broad base of business and leadership development components blended with specific systems engineering and information systems courses. Use the list from the question above to ensure your program covers the essential course components of a well-developed MEM program.
No. Most MEM programs don’t require you to undertake specific fieldwork or a practicum to complete the degree. 
Yes. Many schools offer their MEM program in an online format.
No. As MEM programs are professional degrees, a thesis component is considered non-essential. 
Yes. The advancement of learning management systems now gives universities the ability to deliver highly effective coursework to their students. As such, you will find that most universities offer the same course offering and curriculum to their online and on-campus students. The main difference between the online and on-campus formats is the way the coursework is delivered, the flexibility you have in scheduling when you study, and how you communicate with students and faculty.
Asynchronous coursework can be completed on your own time — a benefit for many online graduate students. Synchronous coursework has to be completed within a set timeframe. This is typically done for group projects, seminars, presentations, and other learning initiatives that require multiple attendees. The elements of asynchronous and synchronous learning in your online program depend on the professor and class itself. Once you enroll, reach out to teachers for specifics, but remember that the curriculum may be divided into these two subsets.
Unlike specific technical engineering degrees that focus on a core area of engineering, MEM degrees suit individuals from all engineering disciplines and backgrounds. The aim of an MEM is to enhance your business, leadership, legal, and project management skills, with the goal of setting you up for a leadership or management role. 
Job titles and salary levels differ depending on the engineering discipline you work in. Median salary levels for engineers range from $75,000 to $130,000. 
MEM graduates work in all types of settings, including government, military, nonprofit, and private enterprise.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects above average employment growth across all engineering disciplines. 
No — attaining management/senior positions is not guaranteed through the completion of a master’s degree. These positions often require many years of experience and a significant level of career achievement. However, an advanced degree can help you develop the necessary knowledge and skills required for these positions and also prove your dedication to the field.
Ensure the school you select for your Master of Engineering Management program holds a regional accreditation, and while you may have received your bachelor’s degree from an ABET (Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology, Inc.) accredited school, you may find that there are few ABET-accredited MEM programs available.  When comparing, it can help to verify that the program requires applicants to hold a bachelor’s degree in engineering from an ABET-accredited undergraduate school. 
Accreditations are a strong indication of quality, but are also required for students who plan to apply for federal financial aid. Accreditation ensures that your degree is recognized by employers, professional associations, and other accredited institutions of higher education.
SARA (State Authorization Reciprocity Agreement) applies only to distance education programs in the United States that cross state lines. This agreement is made between member states and establishes comparable postsecondary national standards for distance education courses.
Not every state is a SARA member. Through SARA, member states only have to receive authorization in their home state. Without SARA, non-member states would have to receive authorization in their home state and the state of each of their online students. 
Every school has a department or team responsible for online education. This department will be able to answer questions regarding compliance for your home state. Additionally, you can locate the school through SARA (if it is a SARA institution) to confirm compliance.
There are a number of professional association and industry organizations that MEM graduates may consider joining. Here’s a list of prominent organizations:
The Society of Women Engineers 
National Society of Professional Engineers 
American Association of Engineering Societies 
National Academy of Engineering 
National Society of Black Engineers 
Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers 
American Society for Engineering Education
American Society for Engineering Management 
IEEE Technology and Engineering Management Society