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ME vs. MS in mechanical engineering

ME vs. MS in mechanical engineering

ME vs. MS in mechanical engineering

Hey guys,

Do employers have a preference between the two master's degrees (ME vs. MS in mechanical engineering)? I realize the ME is generally shorter and doesn't require as much research, but I want to get whichever one is more marketable. And if employers don't prefer one over the other, I'm just going to do the shorter one. Ha ha.

Thanks for any input you have!

RE: ME vs. MS in mechanical engineering

Throw us a bone here.

What country or jurisdiction are you in - or looking to be employed in.

Different countries (i.e. UK V US) the same letters can have slightly different meanings.

Also what industry - your title says Bioengineer but you are asking about mechanical engineering degrees not bio engineering.

Also, similar topics have come up before, did you do a good search of this site first to find applicable threads.

Posting guidelines FAQ731-376: Eng-Tips.com Forum Policies http://eng-tips.com/market.cfm? (probably not aimed specifically at you)
What is Engineering anyway: FAQ1088-1484: In layman terms, what is "engineering"?

RE: ME vs. MS in mechanical engineering

Hi Kenat and IRstuff,

So, first off, yes, I searched for this question. I couldn't find this exact question mentioned in any engineering discipline. I apologize for the lack of specifics. I didn't realize more details were needed.

Here's a quick summary of me:
In the U.S. (Missouri)
Finishing my junior year of a biomedical engineering degree with an emphasis on biomaterials/biomechanics.
3.9 GPA
GRE high enough to get into the top 25 engineering grad programs

I originally wanted to do a PhD in biomaterials (biomedical), but I've heard from recent PhD grads that that makes entry-level employment very difficult... Like being unemployed for a year difficult. If I do a PhD, it will be after working for a while.

I also have found from forums, my own experience with internship hunting, and the experience of seniors in my program that the medical device industry doesn't care much for biomedical engineering bachelor's degree holders. They hire mechanical and electrical engineers instead.

So, since a PhD doesn't necessarily lead towards desirable employment, and my bachelor's degree can't get me a job because it's "biomedical", that leaves me with getting a master's in ME or EE. I like mechanical more than electrical, and I could still focus on biological applications in grad school.

As far as I can tell, the ME (masters in engineering) is simply coursework whereas the MS (masters in science) is coursework + a research thesis.

Please let me know if you need more info. And thanks for the responses!

RE: ME vs. MS in mechanical engineering

If you want to pursue a PhD in the future, you should get a Master of Science. Many schools (if not all) require a MS and will not accept a Master of Engineering (degree without a thesis) if you want to pursue a PhD.

RE: ME vs. MS in mechanical engineering

Hi djm883,

That's extremely good advice. Thanks! I'm confident I'd like to leave the PhD door open whether or not I eventually decide to.

RE: ME vs. MS in mechanical engineering

I'd say it really depends on the type of career you want. Generally, the MS & PhD path will lead to a career in research and/or teaching. ME will likely be more applications oriented. Of course, this is speaking generally. There are exceptions either way. Both paths are admirable and have their pros and cons. It really comes down to the type of person you are.

RE: ME vs. MS in mechanical engineering

The MS is probably what you're after. Employers won't typically care whether it's an ME or MS... they just see it says "Masters" (if they care at all). But as said, schools will often prefer MS. Not universally so, but often.

RE: ME vs. MS in mechanical engineering

I do hire engineers from time to time.

Here in Canada, a M.A.Sc. requires research and a thesis, whereas a M.Eng. requires only courses and a paper or report. The former is worth a year's credit as actual work experience- it's typically at least somewhat relevant and useful, assuming the topic is useful. The latter isn't, to our business. It might be of some value to other businesses- just not to ours. We wouldn't turn away an M.Eng. candidate but wouldn't give them credit for it in salary terms in any meaningful way.

RE: ME vs. MS in mechanical engineering

Hey FoxRox, DistCoop, and moltenmetal,

Thanks for the input! I greatly appreciate it. I'd like to pursue more of a R&D position for my career so, from your comments, it seems like I should be heading towards the thesis route.

RE: ME vs. MS in mechanical engineering

Whatever you do, you'll need to get lucky, this whole American dream of "work hard and you'll make it" is pretty short-sighted and unrealistic. I wish you the best.

RE: ME vs. MS in mechanical engineering


While I absolutely agree that the American dream has been diminished by a corrupt political elite who are both psychotic and power-hungry without limit, I disagree that the American dream is totally lost.

Exhibit A:

He retired at age 33 working primarily as an engineer. His wife worked as well, though, so that certainly helped.

Exhibit B:

He retired already working as a computer scientist. I'm not sure exactly how old he is, but probably younger than 30.

I'm definitely not saying the American dream is easy. However, it is almost certainly possible if you're willing to live below your means for many years and take advantage of tax-incentivized savings accounts. I think the largest problem for US people (in accordance with the analysis in "Millionaire Next Door"), is their spending. We spend opulent amounts and expect that somehow we'll get ahead and build wealth. The millionaire is the guy driving the used Ford F-150, not the guy driving the new Ferrari.

Good luck on your journey, though! I sincerely wish you the best as well and hope whatever has you down will be rectified.

RE: ME vs. MS in mechanical engineering

It's ok, I'm not mad or anything. I'm just saying, and without trying to sound too much like a mere damsel in distress, a large part of it is luck.

RE: ME vs. MS in mechanical engineering

Some universities give out MS degrees for the non-thesis option. I think each university gets to define by itself what an MS is.

RE: ME vs. MS in mechanical engineering


Thanks for the input! Yeah, it seems to be a fairly case-by-case basis... I wish they would standardize it so it would be easy to know what the degree implies.


Ok, cool. I concur that luck plays a significant factor. Especially when talking about massive sums of money. Bill Gates even admits a large part of his success was luck (mostly that his school had a computer and he had unrestrained access to that computer due to his hacking skill. Lol).


Um, I have no desire to get into political discussion right now. And correct on anecdotes being close to meaningless, but I was more referring to their methods than their individual stories. Their methods are based on peer-reviewed economic theory.

RE: ME vs. MS in mechanical engineering

With the exception of colleges, I do not think most employers make much of a distinction between an ME and an MS.

"In this bright future, you can't forget your past..." Bob Marley

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