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Masters in Engineering Without Bachelors in Engineering

Last Updated on June 21, 2024 by Team College Learners

Do you want to become an engineer but can’t afford to go back for years for a bachelors degree? Is your experience in the field already but it’s not enough? The post below shares information on how to become an engineer without a degree, masters in civil engineering for non engineers, and post baccalaureate mechanical engineering programs.

This is an in depth post on finding civil engineering masters in civil engineering without a bachelors in engineering degree. This article is meant to help you understand what to look for in a degree program and how to apply to it. If you are pursuing your masters with the goal of becoming an engineer, this post will talk about what you can do if you don’t have an engineering degree.

Masters In Engineering Without Bachelors In Engineering

You’re considering becoming an engineer, but you didn’t earn an undergraduate degree in engineering. Can you pursue the profession anyway? The short answer is yes, but you will most likely want to go back to school—either for your bachelor’s or master’s—to broaden your engineering career options. Below, we’ll cover how to become an engineer, no matter your professional or educational background. But before you decide to make a drastic career shift, you should determine if you’re cut out for engineering.

Why would there be engineering programs for non-engineers? This article looks at options for those who decide that they would like to become engineers after they have already completed a non-STEM bachelor’s degree. This is not an article for those who want to earn an engineering degree and then not become an engineer.

Why a Master’s in Engineering?

According to The Washington Post, only 27% of graduates find work related to their degree. This means, if you are one of those nearly 73% who don’t, you may find that your original degree was not what you planned. Engineering can be a great avenue to explore as an alternative, as there is a large range of career and education opportunities within the field. Not only does advancing technology call for new and innovative developments, but engineering students can focus in many different categories of engineering, from biomedical engineering to nuclear engineering to aerospace engineering.

Engineering Careers Outlook and Salary

It’s important to note that according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), engineers tend to have good average salaries. Most of the jobs listed below also have above average speed for growth outlook.

PositionAverage Salary (2019)*Career Outlook (2018-2028)*
Computer Hardware Engineer$123,0306%
Chemical Engineer$117,0906%
Biomedical Engineer$97,0904%
Agricultural Engineer$98,2905%
Aerospace Engineer$119,2202%
Electrical Engineer$103,4805%
Industrial Engineer$92,6608%
Civil Engineer$94,3606%
Environmental Engineer$94,2205%
Materials Engineer$97,8900%
Mechanical Engineer$93,5404%
Nuclear Engineer$120,700-1%
Petroleum Engineer$156,7803%
Marine Engineer$98,7309%

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Can You Get a Master's in Engineering Without a Bachelor's in Engineering?  - HKS Siblab

masters in civil engineering for non engineers

While there aren’t master’s degree programs designed specifically for students without an undergraduate engineering background, programs in almost any specialty admit non-engineers provided they complete an extensive list of prerequisite courses. Alternatively, aspiring engineering graduate students can apply to bridge programs that provide a foundational course of study in math, science, and physics in addition to introductory engineering courses in their specialty. Students who complete this coursework can transition into a school’s engineering master’s degree program.

Admissions Requirements for Non-Engineers

Regardless of whether students pursue an engineering bridge program or apply directly to a master’s degree program, candidates will need a bachelor’s degree. Bridge programs might require some familiarity with calculus or programming, but the prerequisites for an engineering master’s degree are much more extensive.

Many master’s degree programs require students to have taken courses in calculus I, II, and III in addition to physics and differential equations, as these courses provide the foundation needed for the program. Additional prerequisites vary depending on the specialty and could include courses in computer programming, fluid mechanics, mechanics, and electronics. Some engineering programs in civil or environmental engineering also require students to have an undergraduate degree in such areas as biology, chemistry, and physics. A minimum grade point average of 3.0 may be required as well. Other requirements include letters of recommendation, a written statement of purpose, official transcripts, and resume.

What Will I Need for Admission?

Many non-engineers come in with little to no STEM experience. Because of this, you’ll want to check with your selected university for the specific requirements. However, you may find a few similarities between programs. Some of the programs require you to have taken some courses, such as calculus I or II, differential equations, electrical circuits, or physics. Basically, you’ll likely need some college-level math and engineering courses behind you. This could mean taking some college-level math courses at a different institution prior to applying. Keep in mind, each college has its own specification, so be sure to check which courses your college requires. Along with specific courses, you’ll be required to turn in typical admissions requirements, such as an application and fee, GRE scores, letters of recommendation, transcripts, and personal essays.

If you’ve selected an undergraduate degree in a non-engineering-related area and have since decided to pursue engineering, all is not lost. Many colleges offer non-engineering tracks for those who do not have an undergraduate degree in engineering. Though some colleges offer bridge programs to speed up this process, you may need to take some math courses at another college prior to applying. Finally, keep in mind that there are many engineering fields, and all of them have a good career outlook and average salary.

Popular Schools

The listings below may include sponsored content but are popular choices among our users.

An admission advisor from each school can provide more info about:

Mechanical Engineering | Accelerated Master's Programs | Michigan  Technological University
  • programs & curriculum
  • career opportunities
  • tuition & financial aid
  • admissions & starting dates
  • 1Stanford UniversitySchool InfoSchool locations:
    • California (1 campus)
    Program InfoAreas of study you may find at Stanford University include:
    • Graduate: Doctorate, First Professional Degree, Master
    • Undergraduate: Bachelor
    • Engineering
      • Aeronautical and Astronautical Engineering
      • Biomedical and Medical Engineering
      • Chemical Engineering
      • Civil Engineering
      • Electrical Engineering and Electronics
      • Environmental Engineering
      • Industrial Engineering
      • Materials Engineering
      • Math
      • Mechanical Engineering
      • Petroleum Engineering
      • Systems Engineering
    Get Started with Stanford UniversityResearch Stanford University’s Degree Programs
  • 2University of PennsylvaniaSchool InfoSchool locations:
    • Pennsylvania (1 campus)
    Program InfoAreas of study you may find at University of Pennsylvania include:
    • Graduate: Doctorate, First Professional Degree, Master
    • Post Degree Certificate: First Professional Certificate, Post Master’s Certificate, Postbaccalaureate Certificate
    • Undergraduate: Associate, Bachelor
    • Engineering
      • Biomedical and Medical Engineering
      • Chemical Engineering
      • Civil Engineering
      • Computer Engineering
      • Electrical Engineering and Electronics
      • Environmental Engineering
      • Geological Engineering
      • Materials Engineering
      • Math
      • Mechanical Engineering
      • Systems Engineering
    Get Started with University of PennsylvaniaResearch University of Pennsylvania’s Programs & Degrees
  • 3Duke UniversitySchool InfoSchool locations:
    • North Carolina (1 campus)
    Program InfoAreas of study you may find at Duke University include:
    • Graduate: Doctorate, First Professional Degree, Master
    • Post Degree Certificate: Postbaccalaureate Certificate
    • Undergraduate: Bachelor
    • Engineering
      • Biomedical and Medical Engineering
      • Civil Engineering
      • Electrical Engineering and Electronics
      • Math
      • Mechanical Engineering
    Get Started with Duke UniversityResearch Duke University’s Degree Programs
  • 4University of Notre DameSchool InfoSchool locations:
    • Indiana (1 campus)
    Program InfoAreas of study you may find at University of Notre Dame include:
    • Graduate: Doctorate, First Professional Degree, Master
    • Undergraduate: Bachelor
    • Engineering
      • Aeronautical and Astronautical Engineering
      • Chemical Engineering
      • Civil Engineering
      • Computer Engineering
      • Electrical Engineering and Electronics
      • Environmental Engineering
      • Math
      • Mechanical Engineering
    Get Started with University of Notre DameResearch University of Notre Dame’s Degree Programs
  • 5Vanderbilt UniversitySchool InfoSchool locations:
    • Tennessee (1 campus)
    Program InfoAreas of study you may find at Vanderbilt University include:
    • Graduate: Doctorate, First Professional Degree, Master
    • Undergraduate: Bachelor
    • Engineering
      • Biomedical and Medical Engineering
      • Chemical Engineering
      • Civil Engineering
      • Computer Engineering
      • Electrical Engineering and Electronics
      • Environmental Engineering
      • Materials Engineering
      • Math
      • Mechanical Engineering
    Get Started with Vanderbilt UniversityResearch Vanderbilt University’s Degree Programs
  • 6University of FloridaSchool InfoSchool locations:
    • Florida (1 campus)
    Program InfoAreas of study you may find at University of Florida include:
    • Graduate: Doctorate, First Professional Degree, Master
    • Post Degree Certificate: Post Master’s Certificate
    • Undergraduate: Associate, Bachelor
    • Engineering
      • Aeronautical and Astronautical Engineering
      • Biological and Agricultural Engineering
      • Biomedical and Medical Engineering
      • Chemical Engineering
      • Civil Engineering
      • Computer Engineering
      • Electrical Engineering and Electronics
      • Environmental Engineering
      • Materials Engineering
      • Math
      • Mechanical Engineering
      • Nuclear Engineering
      • Ocean Engineering
      • Surveying
      • Systems Engineering
    Get Started with University of FloridaResearch University of Florida’s Programs
  • 7Cornell UniversitySchool InfoSchool locations:
    • New York (1 campus)
    Program InfoAreas of study you may find at Cornell University include:
    • Graduate: Doctorate, First Professional Degree, Master
    • Non-Degree: Coursework
    • Undergraduate: Bachelor
    • Engineering
      • Aeronautical and Astronautical Engineering
      • Biological and Agricultural Engineering
      • Biomedical and Medical Engineering
      • Chemical Engineering
      • Civil Engineering
      • Electrical Engineering and Electronics
      • Engineering Mechanics
      • Engineering Physics
      • Environmental Engineering
      • Industrial Engineering
      • Materials Engineering
      • Math
      • Mechanical Engineering
      • Nuclear Engineering
      • Systems Engineering
    Get Started with Cornell UniversityResearch Cornell University’s Programs
  • 8Boston UniversitySchool InfoSchool locations:
    • Massachusetts (1 campus)
    Program InfoAreas of study you may find at Boston University include:
    • Graduate: Doctorate, First Professional Degree, Master
    • Post Degree Certificate: First Professional Certificate, Post Master’s Certificate, Postbaccalaureate Certificate
    • Undergraduate: Associate, Bachelor
    • Engineering
      • Aeronautical and Astronautical Engineering
      • Biomedical and Medical Engineering
      • Computer Engineering
      • Electrical Engineering and Electronics
      • Engineering Mechanics
      • Manufacturing Engineering
      • Math
      • Mechanical Engineering
      • Systems Engineering
    Get Started with Boston UniversityResearch Boston University’s Programs
  • 9University of GeorgiaSchool InfoSchool locations:
    • Georgia (1 campus)
    Program InfoAreas of study you may find at University of Georgia include:
    • Graduate: Doctorate, First Professional Degree, Master
    • Undergraduate: Bachelor
    • Engineering
      • Biological and Agricultural Engineering
      • Math
      • Textile Technologies
    Get Started with University of GeorgiaResearch University of Georgia’s Programs
  • 10University of LouisvilleSchool InfoSchool locations:
    • Kentucky (1 campus)
    Program InfoAreas of study you may find at University of Louisville include:
    • Graduate: Doctorate, First Professional Degree, Master
    • Non-Degree: Certificate
    • Post Degree Certificate: Post Master’s Certificate, Postbaccalaureate Certificate
    • Undergraduate: Associate, Bachelor
    • Engineering
      • Chemical Engineering
      • Civil Engineering
      • Computer Engineering
      • Electrical Engineering and Electronics
      • Environmental Engineering
      • Industrial Engineering
      • Math
      • Mechanical Engineering
    Get Started with University of LouisvilleResearch University of Louisville’s Degree Programs

how to become an engineer without a degree

Master's Degree Can Boost Your Engineering Career | Ohio University

So you’ve made the decision to pursue engineering, and now you have to figure out how to become an engineer. Becoming an engineer later in life can be incredibly rewarding, but you should consider the financial and personal sacrifices you may have to make to change careers. You essentially have two options for becoming an engineer:

  1. Pursue an engineering job that doesn’t require an engineering degree
  2. Go back to school to earn your bachelor’s or master’s in an engineering discipline

1. Pursue an Engineering Job That Doesn’t Require an Engineering Degree

While most engineering jobs require a bachelor’s degree or higher in engineering, certain fields are easier to break into than others without an engineering degree. According to Interesting Engineering, electrical engineering is the easiest field to enter without a formal degree, as you can gain proficiency in the field through self-study, experimentation and hard work.3 Electrical engineering technician jobs, which paid an average of $64,330 in 2018,4 typically don’t require a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering, but they do require some formal training (an associate’s degree or vocational training).

Other engineering disciplines to consider include:3

  • Chemical engineering – ideal for those with a background in chemistry, biology or other life sciences
  • Mechanical engineering – ideal for those with a bachelor’s degree in a technical field
  • Civil engineering – one of the more difficult fields to break into without an engineering degree, though it is possible to work up the ranks at a company (i.e. construction worker to foreman to drafter to engineer)

With the right connections and work ethic, you can plausibly find an engineering job without an engineering degree. That said, launching your engineering career will be easier if you earn a degree, which brings us to your second option for becoming an engineer:

2. Earn Your Bachelor’s or Master’s in Engineering

If you want to become an engineer, going back to school to earn an engineering degree is your best option in regards to becoming technically proficient and future career opportunities. Before you begin researching programs, ask yourself a few important questions:

  • Are you leaning toward a specific engineering discipline?
  • Are you able to go back to school full time, or do you need to pursue part-time course work?
  • Do you want to attend classes on campus, or would you prefer the flexibility of an online program?
  • Do you have a solid background in math and science?

If you don’t have a background in advanced math and science, you should consider earning your bachelor’s degree. Most engineering programs offer Bachelor of Science (BS) degrees with a specialization in a particular area of engineering, such as aerospace engineering, electrical engineering or mechanical engineering, among many other disciplines. Some universities offer a Bachelor of Engineering (BE or BEng) degree. Check with admissions advisors at any schools you’re considering to determine if they offer online or part-time courses.

If you can prove proficiency in math and science and you hold a bachelor’s degree, you may be able to pursue a master’s program in engineering. The online engineering graduate programs at Case Western Reserve University, for instance, require students with a non-engineering bachelor’s degree to demonstrate proficiency in calculus and differential equations. (Know that you may need to take prerequisite courses to qualify for a master’s in engineering.) A master’s degree in engineering can help students become technically proficient while imparting valuable leadership and management skills.

Universities typically offer Master of Science (MS), Master of Engineering (ME or MEng) or Master of Technology (MTech) degrees with specializations in a particular engineering subject. Many schools now offer part-time online programs designed to fit the schedules of working professionals, and some employers may even help finance your degree.

post baccalaureate mechanical engineering programs

All Graduate Certificate in Engineering Programs consist of 4 courses/12 credits. All students are expected to complete a preliminary course plan for their intended degree program. Degree planning worksheets can be found here: https://mage.umd.edu/degree-planning-sheets

CourseTitleCredits
Select 4 courses in either the Energy & Environment or General Mechanical track:12
Energy and The Environment:
ENME647Multiphase Flow and Heat Transfer
ENPM621Heat Pump and Refrigeration Systems Design Analysis
ENPM622Energy Conversion I – Stationary Power
ENPM623Engineering Combustion Emissions for Air Pollution Control
ENPM625Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning of Buildings
ENPM626Waste and Biomass Energy Conversion
ENPM627Environmental Risk Analysis
ENPM651Heat Transfer for Modern Application
ENPM654Energy Systems Management
ENPM656Energy Conversion II — Mobile Power
ENPM635Thermal Systems Design Analysis
OR
ENME635Energy Systems Analysis
ENPM624Renewable Energy Applications
OR
ENME701Sustainable Energy Conversion and the Environment
General Mechanical Engineering:
ENME600Engineering Design Methods
ENME605Advanced Systems Control
ENME607Engineering Decision Making and Risk Management
ENME610Engineering Optimization
ENME631Advanced Conduction and Radiation Heat Transfer
ENME632Advanced Convection Heat Transfer
ENME640Fundamentals of Fluid Mechanics
ENME662Linear Vibrations
ENME690Mechanical Fundamentals of Electronic Systems
ENME712Measurement, Instrumentation and Data Analysis for Thermo-Fluid Processes
ENPM671Advanced Mechanics of Materials
ENPM654Energy Systems Management
ENPM652Applied Finite Element Methods
OR
ENME674Finite Element Methods
Total Credits12

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