Median salary for OU mechanical engineering grads sits high in U.S. rankings

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Maggie Willard

OU sits third in highest median salary earned by mechanical engineering graduates.

Lauren Reid, Staff Reporter

Students graduating with a master’s degree in mechanical engineering from Oakland University earn the third highest median salary one year out of college.

With a salary of $90,900, OU sits behind only Massachusetts Institute of Technology ($108,700) and Stanford University ($102,700) while notably surpassing Johns Hopkins ($86,100), Ohio State ($87,100) and University of Michigan-Ann Arbor ($85,900). 

The median salary and median debt data for both rankings was collected by the U.S. Department of Education, using the College Scorecard website in November 2019. 

Dr. Brian Sangeorzan, professor and chair of the mechanical engineering department, said there is currently a strong demand for mechanical engineers. 

There are more mechanical engineers in Michigan than any other state, including large states like Texas and California,” Sangeorzan said. “The demand from auto companies and their suppliers is probably the reason, but we also have defense, medicine and energy.” 

Most students stay in southeast Michigan post-graduation and work in fields like automotive and defense, as mentioned by Sangeorzan. 

Not only is the high local demand for mechanical engineers a reason for the high median salary, but providing opportunities for students and enabling them to succeed is a priority in the School of Engineering and Computer Science (SECS). 

“The curriculum gives good exposure to concepts and tools in demand,” said Kathy Livelsberger, director of SECS career services. “The program is very lab focused, where students can apply what they are learning.”

Career Services works to provide engineering students with knowledge and tools to help them succeed, through activities, career fairs, interview skills, elevator pitches and good resumes. 

“In Career Services, it is our priority to develop student skills so they can compete for jobs,” Livelsberger said. 

With active initiatives for student success and career experience, students are set up for high salaries and prosperity when entering the field. 

“There are many things we do to ensure student success,” Sangeorzan said. “We have many co-op and internship opportunities, study abroad programs, faculty that are engaged with the industry, a very laboratory-intensive program and regular program assessment.” 

Students graduating with a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering are also among the top salaries in the nation, tied for eighth place with Duke University. The median salary for these individuals is $73,500, which sits above Michigan State ($72,600), Central Michigan ($71,400) and University of California-Berkeley ($71,900), among others. 

According to Livelsberger, there are many reasons why mechanical engineering students graduating from OU have an advantage over many others in the country. The hands-on nature is one of the most beneficial aspects of the SECS, as “what [students] get in the work environment and classroom helps prepare them for a career.” 

In order to pursue the master’s program in mechanical engineering, students must earn at least a 3.0 in their undergraduate studies. For more information on program requirements, potential careers and objectives in the mechanical engineering bachelor’s degree, visit the program page. Additional information on the master’s program can be accessed on its respective page