University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign
Promoted by University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign

University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign: An inclusive community where you can design your own industry-oriented master’s degree in mechanical engineering

“The professional master’s degree programme in mechanical engineering from the University of Illinois has been a turning point for me. It has allowed me to learn invaluable skills while working on a variety of projects and helped further my understanding of topics I learned as an undergraduate,” says Saba Setayeshi, an on-campus student. “I have also been able to witness how each student is important within the M.Eng.ME (Master of Engineering in Mechanical Engineering) community and how staff and professors are supportive of us through this rigorous but fruitful journey.” She says the caring community and vast resources in the Department of Mechanical Science and Engineering was a draw for her and it is a unique aspect not seen in all top-ranked professional degree programs.

Setayeshi also appreciates the programme’s inclusivity. “As both a woman in STEM and an international student, this unique community has helped me feel a sense of comfort and inclusivity at UIUC—something I truly appreciate. The staff and students are always more than happy to help whenever you reach out.”

In fact, M.Eng.ME staff have a WhatsApp group in which students communicate. With more than 100 participants, prospective students can connect with past and current students in the programme to make informed decisions about courses and scheduling. Job opportunities and internships are also shared within the group.

“I had so many questions about the programme,” says Rajat Nidoni, who is in his second year, with an interest in controls. “They put me in contact with current students to get information. It increased the bonds I had with other people in the programme. Once I came to the group, I saw how strong the community was. It was really amazing.”

The coursework-based and industry-oriented M.Eng.ME stands out for being entirely customisable to suit one’s needs, so long as the degree requirements are met. You can create your own programme by combining the courses recommended from any of the six existing tracks or other courses outside of these. The tracks are Design & Mechanics, Controls & Robotics, Energy, Manufacturing, Fluid & Thermal Sciences, and Biomechanics. Whichever option you choose, a faculty advisor will dedicate time to guide you. There are also numerous specialised 500-level courses developed specifically for the programme on topics such as applied control system design, advanced robust control, computational modelling of industrial transport processes, electronics cooling, and structural and computational mechanics for aerospace applications.

Working professionals with career and life commitments can opt for the #3 ranked online M.Eng.ME, (U.S. News & World Report), offered on a full-time or part-time basis. Like its on-campus counterpart, it is highly rigorous, competitive, and with a selective admissions process. You’ll complete the same requirements as on-campus students and receive the exact same degree. You can expand your knowledge and skills while still maintaining the benefits of a full-time career.

“The Illinois M.Eng.ME programme is challenging. However, the professors are approachable and interested in my success. They care deeply about their specialty and hope you will be interested too,” says Timothy Cencer, a 2021 M.Eng.ME online graduate. “I started on campus taking classes but shifted online when I needed to move for work. The programme was flexible enough for me to take most of the classes I wanted while working full-time. The advisors and coordinators were genuinely invested and were quick to work with me to keep going in the right direction.”

Whether online or on campus, all M.Eng.ME students are directly engaged with faculty and become part of a vibrant supportive community they can call home.

University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign

Dr. L. Winston Zhang is just one of the programme’s faculty with decades of industry experience, preparing their students for successful careers in industry. Source: University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign

The dedicated and highly knowledgeable faculty are another highlight of the programme. Dr. L. Winston Zhang joined the M.Eng.ME faculty last year, bringing decades of experience in industry, plus a PhD, an MBA, and the founding of thermal management company Novark Technologies based in Shenzhen, China. For Zhang, the feedback he receives from students is one of the most rewarding aspects of teaching. “I really appreciate hearing from them,” he says.

With invested professors and staff, top-ranked programmes, and a supportive community, it’s little wonder M.Eng.ME students have great career prospects. Graduates are employed at companies with positions such as 3M, Boeing, ExxonMobil, Fast Radius, Microsoft, Navistar, Northrop Grumman, Shanghai Techbank Medical Technology Co., Tesla, and many more. Graduates of the programme are also more likely to be hired in or promoted to leadership and senior engineering positions.

University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign

Whether online or on campus, all M.Eng.ME students are directly engaged with faculty and become part of a vibrant supportive community they can call home. Source: University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign

When Avant Mehta was searching for a professional graduate degree in mechanical engineering in the U.S., he had several must-have criteria. The programme must empower him to do real engineering that solves real problems. It should be from a world-renowned university and from a highly ranked department that’s defined by leadership, innovation, exploration and resilience.

“The M.Eng.ME programme at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign stood out to me due to its customisability, prestige, and focus on industry,” Mehta says. “By pursuing the design track of the programme, I gained proficiency in skills pertinent to mechanical engineering design. The technology entrepreneurship classes were also very valuable as I developed my interpersonal skills and gained industry knowledge from top professionals.”

After graduating, Mehta was contracted as a mechanical design engineer for an equipment supplier well-known for manufacturing advanced photolithography machines for the semiconductor industry. He credits MechSE’s M.Eng.ME for launching him into a prosperous career. “I have a passion to be at the forefront of innovation,” he says. “I highly recommend this programme for aspiring engineers.”

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