Mechanical Engineering is one of the core branches of engineering. This field is extremely broad and diverse with a wide application base. In this post, we will look at the top mechanical engineering specializations for MS abroad.
Technically, mechanical engineering is the application of the principles and problem-solving techniques of engineering from design to manufacturing to the marketplace for any object.
Mechanical engineers analyze their work using the principles of motion, energy, and force – ensuring that designs function safely, efficiently, and reliably, all at a competitive cost.
This includes solving today’s problems and creating future solutions in health care, energy, transportation, world hunger, space exploration, climate change, and more.
Depending on the country you choose to study in, you’ll find Masters in Mechanical Engineering courses referred to in various ways. Now, let’s look at the best specialization options under mechanical engineering.
Best Mechanical Engineering Specializations
Co-authored by Parinita Gupta
Computational Engineering is an advanced Mechanical engineering course where you’d learn to design using simulation software, i.e., via computer. It’s important that automotive, aerospace, and bioengineering industries have effective and functional modeling of their mechanics.
This is where students learn computational engineering, which is an emerging field now, with the advent of technology which only seems to grow at a faster pace ever since the worldwide pandemic. Here, you’ll learn using simulation software tools to not just design but also see how designs work in practice. This ensures the functionality of a mechanical piece of object.
MS graduates create computer-aided design tools for process simulations. In the biomedical space, graduates can work on novel algorithms for the (bio)modeling of molecules using computational methods.
Machine Design & Development / Automotive Design
This mechanical engineering specialization focuses on the design and development of not only automotive but other complex engineering systems.
Students will work on problems affecting the analysis, synthesis, design, automation, fabrication, testing, evaluation, and optimization of mechanical systems.
Undoubtedly, a rewarding career is awaiting those willing to spend their days and nights reading the equations of this course. More importantly, students are also expected to be in touch with their artistic and creative side, after all, it’s designing stuff as well at the end of the day.
Students learn to develop integrated manufacturing cells and machines that contain automated material handling systems, machining, tool path planning, sensor systems, quality control, and error handling.
Students are exposed to broad fields including composite materials, micro-electromechanical systems, laser machining and laser processing of materials, thin-film fabrication, and tool wear.
Automation and Control Systems
This specialization addresses the broad spectrum of control science and engineering from mathematical theory to computer implementation.
On the theoretical side, faculty and graduate students pursue research on adaptive and optimal control, digital control, robust control, modeling, and identification, learning, intelligent control, and nonlinear control, to name a few.
On the application side, research teams engage in projects involving a variety of mechanical systems such as robot manipulators, manufacturing systems, vehicles and intelligent vehicle highway systems, motion control systems, computer storage devices, and biomedical systems.
Courses in this area cover linear system theory, digital control, nonlinear control, adaptive control, modeling and identification, multivariable robust control theory, real-time use of microcomputers for signal processing and control, and control of robot manipulators.
The main objective of the Fluid Mechanics specialization is to deliver the state of the art knowledge for modeling complex fluid dynamic related engineering problems of various industrial processes.
Training in the Fluid Mechanics group provides students with an understanding of the fundamentals of fluid flow. At the Masters level, all students are typically required to complete a one-year course in fluid dynamics before specializing in particular areas.
In addition, students get a firm foundation in the analytical, computational, and experimental essentials of fluid dynamics. Research activities span the Reynolds number range from creeping flows to planetary phenomena.
Mechatronics is a newly growing interdisciplinary course within the field of engineering; It aims to combine the principles of engineering from the fields of mechanics, computers, robotics, electricity, and automation.
Mechatronics engineers have a promising career within the field and their responsibilities mostly include designing, developing, and testing a wide range of automated machines and engineering systems, from industries of AI, healthcare, manufacturing, consumer products, etc.
Robotics is a multi-disciplinary study drawing expertise from various engineering departments. The specialization allows students to take a hands-on approach to learn.
Robotics combines mechanical engineering with other technical disciplines, such as electrical engineering, software programming, or biomedical engineering.
Students will need to design and construct robotic systems or their components. As with all engineering design and implementation, students will need to communicate their design to their peers so that different components can work together or in a bigger system.
Students can further super-specialize in the following:
- Medical Robotics
- Precision Robotics
- Industrial Robotics
Renewable Energy / Energy Engineering
Energy-related research in Mechanical Engineering encompasses a broad range of science and technology areas spanning a variety of applications that involve storage, transport, conversion, and use of energy. Students will particularly focus on Thermodynamics and Heat Transfer.
The specialization in Energy Engineering prepares students for the exciting future of working in the energy industry, where students are taught the relevant fields and themes, like renewable energy sources and the energy industry in the US, Canada, Europe, and worldwide.
Research in these areas ranges from fundamental research, that aims to understand and/or model critically important processes and mechanisms, to applied research that explores new energy technology concepts at the application level.
Other Top Mechanical Engineering Specializations
Materials play a vital role in product development and innovation. New composite materials are being developed as per the requirement of products. A basic degree in mechanical engineering combined with a specialization in materials engineering gives an edge to those engineers who find themselves inclined towards production, research, and manufacturing.
Nanotechnology / Nano-Engineering
Nanomaterials are the next big thing. They are being used in every sector from the health industry to robotics etc. This is little advanced specialization than materials engineering.
Biomedical engineering (BME) is the study of engineering principles and design procedures to medicine and biology for healthcare purposes (e.g. diagnostic or therapeutic).
Transportation and Vehicle Engineering
An important aspect of mechanical engineering is the planning, design, and operation of transportation systems. Courses in transportation systems enable mechanical engineers in understanding modern systems introduced in bullet trains, metro trains, aviation, airplanes, etc.
The oceans have long been recognized as an essential part of our global environment. Covering more than 70% of the earth’s surface, the oceans affect all life on earth directly as well as indirectly.
Ocean Engineering involves the development, design, and analysis of man-made systems that can operate in the offshore or coastal environment.
Some mechanical engineers opt to study marine engineering after a basic degree in mechanical engineering.
Why is it Important to Choose the Mechanical Engineering Specialization Wisely while Pursuing MS Abroad?
We all know that in India, getting jobs within the core engineering sector in India is not a very easy task. When you are going abroad, you are likely to spend anything between INR 15 Lacs – 60 Lacs.
Unless you are planning for PhD after MS, choosing the wrong specialization could hamper your job chances in a big way.
It’s true that there are many STEM jobs in the US or Europe. But, you need to be cautious. Additionally, by all means, try to attend a Tier 1 university (e.g. top 30 in the US, Top 15 in Canada, or top 40 in Europe).
What if you end up in a Tier 2 University abroad?
Even in mid-ranked universities (say, within World Top 250), you will take classes under world-class faculty who are experts in the field and are most certainly working on pushing the boundaries of their research field. Make sure you attend a University that provides solid experiential learning (research work, internships/Co-op, industry projects, etc.) and industry connections.
Watch the following video to get an idea about Experiential Learning scopes at Oregon State University:
At any Top 250 World University, you will get a chance to pick their brain after classes and during office hours. You will also have access to state-of-the-art labs, huge libraries, writing help resources, career services, etc. So there is really no constraint on the amount of knowledge you can gain. It just depends on your willingness to use the available resources to the fullest.
Usually, the job search is an excruciating process. You will have to apply for 30 – 50 job vacancies to get an interview call. You will have to convert those few interview calls into a job offer while being under the pressure of your Visa status expiring.
Remember, if you come back to India with an MS degree and without any job experience, things might get even worse for you.
Average Mechanical Engineering Salaries Abroad (Per Annum)
- USA: USD $88,000
- Canada: CAD $90,000
- UK: GBP 36,000
- Germany: EUR 42,000
- France: EUR 44,000
- Sweden: EUR 54,000
- Switzerland: EUR 90,000
- Italy: EUR 39,000
- Netherlands: EUR 49,000
- New Zealand: NZD $90,000
- Australia: AUD $92,000
- Singapore: SGD $95,000
- South Korea: USD $38,000
- Ireland: EUR 35,000
- India: INR 460,000 (4.6 Lacs) — [use this as a reference to understand the salaries in the foreign countries]
Data were taken from Salary Explorer.
How to Choose the Right Specialization?
If you are not sure about which specialization to opt for, try to get involved in various projects. Speak with your faculty members, domain experts, seniors/alumni, or connect with admissions consultants and career counsellors. Alternatively, go for a job after Bachelors and then apply for MS abroad.
About Parinita Gupta:
Parinita is a full-time banking professional. Additionally, she is also a passionate blogger and digital marketer.
She mostly writes about the Banking & Finance, Technology, and FinTech sector. But, she also enjoys writing on other topics as well. You can follow her on Twitter.