What is the difference between the Master of Engineering and Master of Science degrees?

  1. Both degrees require 30 semester credits. However, the Master of Engineering (MEng) degree consists primarily of coursework (with an optional independent design project), and the Master of Science (MS) includes a research project or research thesis (2-10 credits). The Master of Engineering degree also provides more flexibility in coursework a student may wish to take outside the department. For example, with approval from their graduate committees, Master of Engineering students may take several courses in business, policy, computer science, and other engineering disciplines.
  2. The Master of Engineering degree is designed so a student can complete their degree requirements in 2 semesters (9 months). A student will typically complete the degree requirements for a Master of Science degree in 4-6 semesters (1.5-2 years).
  3. In our experience, the engineering profession views the Master of Engineering and Master of Science degrees as equal. Graduates of both degree programs obtain employment in government, industry, and consulting. Our department’s Professional Advisory Committee (which consists of practitioners) has endorsed the Master of Engineering degree.
  4. Master of Engineering students do not receive financial support, while many Master of Science students receive support in the form of a graduate teaching assistantship or graduate research assistantship.
  5. You must have an ABET-accredited undergraduate degree to enter the Master of Engineering Program. Students without an ABET-accredited undergraduate degree can obtain the MS degree. Those students who wish to obtain the MS degree in Civil Engineering or Environmental Engineering, however, must meet specific ABET requirements through a combination of their BS and MS degrees.

Michigan Tech began the Master of Engineering program in 1999 for several reasons which include: 1) many employers want a 5th year of studies but not necessarily the research component of the Master of Science degree, and 2) many students do not want to be in an MS program for 2 years, for financial and personal reasons.

In addition, the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) has stated that they are considering the 5th year of school to be a requirement for becoming a professional engineer (plus passing FE exam, having work experience, and PE exam). Also, we have discussed this with our department’s industrial advisory committee (which consists primarily of practitioners), and they are very supportive.