Pursuing an MS in mechanical engineering in USA: What you need to know

Last updated: May 29, 202311 min read
Pursuing an MS in mechanical engineering in USA: What you need to know

Pursuing a Master of Science (MS) in Mechanical Engineering in the USA can be a transformative educational journey for students aspiring to advance their careers in the field of engineering.

Renowned for its world-class universities and technological advancements, the USA offers a stimulating environment that fosters innovation, research, and professional growth.

However, before embarking on this path, it is essential to understand the key aspects and considerations involved in pursuing an MS in Mechanical Engineering in the USA.

In this guide, we will provide you with the essential information you need to know when considering the pursuit of an MS in Mechanical Engineering in the USA, helping you navigate through the process and make the most of your educational journey.

Why study mechanical engineering in the USA?

Studying mechanical engineering in the USA offers numerous advantages. Here are some compelling reasons to consider:

1. Quality education

The United States is renowned for its excellent education system, and its universities consistently rank among the top in the world. Pursuing mechanical engineering in the USA ensures you receive a high-quality education that is valued globally.

2. Cutting-edge research and technology

The USA is at the forefront of technological advancements and scientific research. Many leading universities and research institutions in the country actively engage in groundbreaking research, providing opportunities for students to work on cutting-edge projects and contribute to advancements in the field of mechanical engineering.

Also read: Studying medicine in the USA

3. Broad range of specialisations

Mechanical engineering is a vast field with various specialisations. Whether it's robotics, aerospace engineering, renewable energy, automotive design, or biomedical engineering, you can find specialised programs and research opportunities to match your aspirations.

4. Career opportunities

The USA has a robust engineering industry with numerous opportunities for mechanical engineers. The country is home to many prominent companies in industries such as automotive, aerospace, manufacturing, energy, and technology.

5. Multicultural experience

Studying in the USA offers a rich cultural experience. You will have the chance to interact with students from diverse backgrounds, fostering cross-cultural understanding and global perspectives. This exposure can enhance your interpersonal and communication skills, which are valuable assets in today's globalised job market.

Also read: Explore the best courses in USA for International Students

Top universities in the USA for MS in mechanical engineering

The USA is home to several prestigious universities offering excellent programs for a Master of Science (MS) in Mechanical Engineering. While rankings can vary, here are some top universities known for their mechanical engineering programs:

  1. Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)
  2. Stanford University
  3. California Institute of Technology (Caltech)
  4. University of California, Berkeley
  5. University of Michigan, Ann Arbor
  6. Georgia Institute of Technology
  7. Purdue University
  8. University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
  9. Carnegie Mellon University
  10. University of California, San Diego

Tuition fees for MS in mechanical engineering in the US

Tuition fees for an MS in Mechanical Engineering in the US can vary significantly depending on the university, program, location, and whether you are an in-state or out-of-state student. Here is a general overview of the tuition fees for MS programs in mechanical engineering:

1. Public Universities (In-State)

For in-state students attending public universities, tuition fees can range from approximately $10,000 to $25,000 per academic year. However, this can vary significantly depending on the specific university and program.

2. Public Universities (Out-of-State)

Out-of-state students attending public universities typically pay higher tuition fees compared to in-state students. The out-of-state tuition fees can range from approximately $20,000 to $50,000 or more per academic year.

3. Private Universities

Private universities generally have higher tuition fees compared to public universities. Tuition fees for MS programs in mechanical engineering at private universities can range from approximately $30,000 to $60,000 or more per academic year.

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Cost of living in the USA

The cost of living in the USA can vary significantly depending on the city or region you reside in. Some general aspects to consider when estimating the cost of living in the USA are:

1. Accommodation

The largest expense is typically accommodation. The cost of housing varies significantly depending on the location. For example, in cities like San Francisco or New York, the average monthly rent for a one-bedroom apartment can range from $2,500 to $4,000

2. Food

The cost of groceries can also vary based on factors such as location and personal dietary choices. As an example, a basic meal at an inexpensive restaurant may cost around $15, while a pound of chicken breasts at a grocery store can cost approximately $3 to $5.

3. Transportation

The cost of transportation can include expenses such as owning a car, public transportation, or rideshare services. The average monthly cost of owning a car, including gas, insurance, and maintenance, can be around $700 to $1,000.

4. Healthcare

Healthcare costs in the United States can be significant. The average monthly premium for an individual can range from $300 to $500.

5. Utilities

Utilities, including electricity, water, heating, and internet services, contribute to the overall cost of living. For a typical two-bedroom apartment, monthly utility bills can average around $150 to $200.

6. Entertainment

Engaging in recreational activities, dining out, or attending events can add to the cost of living. For instance, a movie ticket can cost around $12, and a dinner for two at a mid-range restaurant can range from $40 to $80.

7. Miscellaneous expenses

This category covers various expenses like clothing, personal care items, and household supplies. For example, a pair of jeans can cost approximately $40 to $80, and a tube of toothpaste can range from $2 to $5.

Also Read: Average Cost of Living in USA

Scholarships for MS in mechanical engineering in the US

There are several scholarship opportunities available to help finance your studies. Some popular scholarships available for international students are:

1. Society of Women Engineers (SWE) Scholarships

SWE offers a range of scholarships to female students pursuing degrees in engineering, including mechanical engineering to support women in STEM fields and promote gender diversity in engineering. Some notable scholarships from SWE include the Betty Lou Bailey Scholarship, the Dianne C. De Reuter Scholarship, and the SWE Scholarship Program.

2. American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) Scholarships

ASME provides scholarships to undergraduate and graduate students pursuing mechanical engineering degrees. The scholarships are available to both US citizens and international students. ASME offers a variety of scholarships, including the ASME Foundation Scholarships, ASME Auxiliary Scholarships, and ASME Foundation/Henry R. Worthington Scholarship.

3. National Society of Professional Engineers (NSPE) Scholarships

NSPE offers several scholarships to support students pursuing engineering degrees, including mechanical engineering. The scholarships are awarded based on academic achievements, leadership potential, and involvement in engineering-related activities.

4. National Action Council for Minorities in Engineering (NACME) Scholarships

NACME provides scholarships to underrepresented minority students pursuing engineering degrees, including mechanical engineering. These scholarships are designed to increase diversity in the engineering field and support students who face financial barriers.

5. University-Specific Scholarships

Many universities in the US offer scholarships specifically for students enrolled in their mechanical engineering programs. These scholarships are often based on academic merit, and some may require students to maintain a certain GPA or participate in research or extracurricular activities. It's advisable to research the scholarship opportunities provided by the universities you are interested in attending.

Also Read: Top Scholarships for Indian Students in the USA

Job opportunities in the USA after MS in mechanical engineering

An MS in Mechanical Engineering from a reputable university in the USA can open up a range of job opportunities and potentially lead to competitive salaries. Here are some job opportunities and the potential salary range for mechanical engineers in the USA:

1. Mechanical Engineer

Graduates can work as mechanical engineers in various industries, including automotive, aerospace, manufacturing, energy, robotics, and consulting firms. The average salary for mechanical engineers in the USA ranges from approximately $65,000 to $120,000 per year, depending on experience, location, industry, and company size.

2. Research and Development Engineer

Some graduates may pursue research and development roles, working on innovative projects and advancing technologies. Salaries for research and development engineers vary but can range from around $70,000 to $140,000 per year.

3. Project Engineer/Manager

Mechanical engineers with strong project management skills can work as project engineers or project managers, overseeing the planning, execution, and completion of engineering projects. Salaries for project engineers/managers can range from approximately $70,000 to $140,000 or more, depending on the industry and project complexity.

4. Design Engineer

Design engineers create and develop mechanical components, systems, and products using computer-aided design (CAD) software and engineering principles. Salaries for design engineers typically range from around $65,000 to $120,000 per year.

5. Manufacturing Engineer

Manufacturing engineers focus on optimising production processes, ensuring efficiency, quality, and cost-effectiveness in manufacturing operations. Salaries for manufacturing engineers can vary from approximately $65,000 to $120,000 per year.

Also Read: High paying part-time jobs in the USA

Cost and process for applying for a student visa

The process for applying for a student visa in the United States typically involves the following steps:

1. Receive acceptance from a U.S. educational institution

First, you need to apply to and receive an acceptance letter from a recognized U.S. educational institution. This could be a university, college, or other approved educational program.

2. Pay the SEVIS fee

Once accepted, you will need to pay the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS) fee. This fee is paid online through the SEVIS system and is necessary for processing your visa application. The SEVIS fee for an F or M visa is $350, while for a J visa, it is $220.

3. Complete the online visa application

Complete the online nonimmigrant visa application form DS-160, which includes providing personal and educational information. There is a non-refundable application fee associated with the DS-160, which is currently $160.

4. Schedule a visa interview

After submitting the DS-160, you will need to schedule an appointment for an interview at a U.S. embassy or consulate in your home country. The cost of the visa application interview fee can vary depending on the country, ranging from $160 to $270.

5. Gather required documents

Gather the necessary documents for your visa application, which typically include a valid passport, Form DS-160 confirmation page, SEVIS fee receipt, acceptance letter from the U.S. institution, financial documentation showing your ability to support yourself, and any additional documents requested by the embassy or consulate.

6. Attend the visa interview

On the scheduled date, go to the U.S. embassy or consulate for your visa interview. The consular officer will ask you questions about your educational background, study plans, financial situation, and ties to your home country. Be prepared to provide your supporting documents for review.

7. Wait for visa processing

After the interview, your visa application will undergo processing. The duration of processing can vary, so it's important to check the embassies or consulate's website for estimated wait times.

8. Receive your visa

If your visa is approved, there may be an additional visa issuance fee, which varies based on your nationality. This fee is typically between $0 and $500.


Pursuing an MS in Mechanical Engineering in the USA offers a wealth of opportunities for aspiring engineers. The country is renowned for its top-ranked universities, cutting-edge research facilities, and diverse industrial landscape. By carefully selecting a reputable university and program, students can gain specialised knowledge and skills that are highly sought after in various industries.

Frequently asked questions

What are the admission requirements for a Master's in Mechanical Engineering program?

Admission requirements may vary by university, but they typically include a bachelor's degree in engineering or a related field, satisfactory GRE scores, letters of recommendation, a statement of purpose, and academic transcripts. Some programs may also require specific prerequisite coursework.

How long does it take to complete an MS in Mechanical Engineering?

The duration of an MS program in Mechanical Engineering is typically 1 to 2 years, depending on the university and whether you are enrolled on a full-time or part-time basis.

What are the career prospects after completing an MS in Mechanical Engineering?

Graduates with an MS in Mechanical Engineering can pursue various career paths, including roles in research and development, design, manufacturing, consulting, and project management. Mechanical engineers are in demand across industries such as automotive, aerospace, energy, robotics, and more.

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