MS in Mechatronics: Your Ticket to a Bright Career

Interested to know about how flying drones work? Or how a biosensor operates? An MS degree in Mechatronics can prepare you for a promising career on the cutting edge of the technological innovation. A perfect combination of curriculum covering varied aspects of mechanical engineering, electrical engineering and computer systems- a degree in mechatronics can give you a major boost to your career. The article talks about the how to pursue for a MS degree in mechatronics, prerequisites for the program, best universities and the job prospects in this domain.

What does Mechatronics deal with?

Mechatronics is an interdisciplinary field of science that combines the principles of mechanical engineering, computer engineering, telecommunications engineering, electronics, systems engineering, and control engineering into a centralized discipline while keeping the core mechanical engineering background.

The term was coined in the year 1969 by engineer Tetsuro Mori to explain the synergy that exists between electrical control systems and the mechanical machines both regulate. Since that time, the meaning of the term has expanded to include the union of multiple other disciplines, which includes computer engineering, systems engineering, and programming.

Mechatronics engineers are equipped to work as mechanical engineers having instrumentation, electronics, and real-time software engineering skills. With a core mechanical engineering education and a solid background in integrating electronics, sensors, and actuators into devices, mechatronics engineers are regarded as a valuable asset in a wide field of engineering.

What does a mechatronics engineer do?

Mechatronics engineers develop machines which are made up of different parts which include the mechanical system, the sensing and actuation, the control systems and also the software. A perfect example of a mechatronics system is an industrial robot which includes aspects of electronics, mechanics, and computing to perform its day-to-day job.

Some of the most important roles and responsibilities of a mechatronics engineer are as follows:

  • Devise new solutions to industrial problems with the help of mechanical, electronic processes along with computer technology
  • Build and test factory production lines by including automation to improve existing processes
  • Design and build entirely new products by combining various technologies. One such example is developing robotic vehicles for exploring underwater
  • Apply advanced control systems that are usually computer-driven
  • Support and upgrade previous industrial and manufacturing processes and designs, for example, robotic lawn mowers and robot floor cleaners
  • Implement mechatronic or automated solutions to the transfer of material, components or finished goods
  • Design, develop, maintain and manage high-end engineering systems for the automation of industrial tasks
  • Employ electronic and mechanical processes and computers to businesses where the use of human labor is dangerous (like underwater exploration, mining or forestry)
  • Do an in-depth study of the feasibility, cost implications and also the performance benefits of new mechatronic equipment
  • Perform modeling, simulation, and analysis of composite mechanical, electronic or other engineering systems using computers

How do I become a mechatronics engineer?

To become a mechatronics engineer, you need to complete a bachelors degree in the field of engineering. This can usually be a Bachelor of Engineering (majoring in mechatronics or robotics). Related degrees in electronics, electrical or mechanical engineering may also be appropriate. To opt for these courses you usually need to gain your Senior Secondary Certificate of Education. Admission to these courses is generally based on 12th-grade results and also when you have met the requirements for essential subjects like mathematics, chemistry, and physics.

To work independently as a mechatronics engineer, a majority of the states require you to get a Professional Engineer’s Licence. This is usually gained after at least four years of practice as an engineer. Mechatronics Engineers may undertake a Masters of Mechatronics Engineering in order to increase their chances of becoming a consultant, manager or project leader.

Is Mechatronics better than mechanical engineering?

A mechanical engineer is basically responsible for designing the mechanical systems of any sort of machinery or device which is meant to move. Mechanical engineers also test and manufacture these systems and some mechanical engineers also engage in areas of research such as nanotechnology, biomedical applications, development of composite materials, or environmental conservation.

A mechanical engineer will be aware of everything which is related to the purely mechanical aspects of machinery, equipment or device, whereas a mechatronics expert will know a bit of everything which involves creating that same system using principles of electrical engineering, mechanical engineering, and materials science. The domain of mechatronics combines mechanical engineering knowledge, but the two fields overlap only up to one point. A mechatronics engineer rarely possesses the entire knowledge and skills of a mechanical engineer.

Mechatronics engineers practice and apply notions and skills from mechanical, computer and design engineering, electrical domain. They concentrate on obtaining new ways to make a system smarter. In the field of mechatronics, the approach is usually holistic, as a mechatronic expert has to integrate mechanical components, mechanical, electronic sensors, and electrical actuators and computer controllers – everything included in the project.

Mechatronics basically comprises of 70% mechanical and 30% electronics and control engineering. Mechanical engineers and mechatronics engineers usually work together on a project, each expert contributing to the skills they are best in. In mechanical engineering, the work is accomplished with the help of existing controllers, while in mechatronics, a project is usually done with existing controllers along with specialized tools that are usually developed on-site.

So, it can be said that mechatronics is a little more sophisticated field, but both of these mechanical engineering and mechatronics domain share this common goal of being step ahead of the future of technology.

Since both fields are more or less similar, the final decision as to which degree you should apply to is a bit challenging. You as a student would have to think if you’re more inclined towards learning and dealing with logical and a maybe a few repetitive tasks of the mechanical engineering or would prefer to go beyond the principles of mechanics and like to have a broader perspective on how to create smart devices in this era of technology.

Difference Between Mechatronics and Robotics

Robotics can be considered as a subdivision of Mechatronics as it involves these mechanical, electronics and computer engineering fields. Mechatronics is a combination or junction of electrical, mechanical, and computer science engineering. Mechatronics is considered to be the closest to robotics with the slight and main difference that inputs in mechatronics systems are provided whereas in robotics systems it acquires the inputs on their own.

Mechatronics is a super-set of robotic technologies. The mechatronics discipline is a study of interactions between mechanical systems, electrical systems, and control theory. It covers a diverse field of electro-mechanical systems, from simple on/off controls to sophisticated robotic systems. The finite difference between mechatronics and robotics is that robotic systems are usually re-programmable

The meeting point between robotic and mechatronic is automation. In certain instances both technologies are used to automate physical tasks; however, many types of automation have nothing to do with physical robots and some robots have nothing to do with automation.

Colleges Which Offer a Masters Program in Mechatronics

US

  • University of Michigan – Master of Science in Robotics
  • Georgia Tech – Master of Science in Mechanical Engineering
  • Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) – Master of Science in Mechanical Engineering
  • Stanford University – Master of Science in Engineering
  • Carnegie Mellon – Master of Science in Robotics
  • UC Berkeley – Masters in Mechanical Engineering
  • University of Minnesota – Master of Science in Computer Science
  • Oregon State University – Master’s Degree in Robotics
  • University of Southern California Viterbi – Master of Science in Mechanical Engineering
  • The University of Pennsylvania – Master’s Degree in Robotics

UK

  • University of Glasgow (Mechatronics MSc)
  • University of Central Lancashire- Mechatronics and Intelligent Machines (with Optional Placement) MSc/PgDip
  • University of Leeds (Mechatronics and Robotics MSc)
  • De Montfort University Mechatronics MSc/PgDip/PgCert
  • University of Southampton (Mechatronics (Advanced Mechanical Engineering Science) MSc)
  • The University of Hertfordshire (Mechatronics MSc
  • Kingston University Mechatronic Systems MSc
  • Cranfield University Advanced Motorsport Mechatronics MSc, Automotive Mechatronics MSc
  • Middlesex University Mechatronic Systems Engineering MSc

Canada

  • University of Waterloo Master of Applied Science (MASc) in Mechanical and Mechatronics Engineering, Master ofApplied Science (MASc) in Mechanical and Mechatronics Engineering – Nanotechnology, Master of Engineering (MEng) in Mechanical and Mechatronics Engineering
  • The University of British Columbia Master of Engineering in Mechatronics Design (MENG)
  • McMaster University M.Eng. in Mechatronics Engineering (Project)
  • Simon Fraser University Master of Applied Science in Mechatronic Systems Engineering, Master of Engineering (MEng) in Mechatronic Product Realization
  • University of the Fraser Valley Engineering Physics Diploma in Mechatronics

Australia

  • The University of Adelaide (UoA) Master of Engineering (Mechatronic)
  • University of Wollongong Master of Engineering (Mechatronic Engineering)
  • The Australian National University Master of Engineering in Mechatronics
  • The University of Queensland Master of Engineering Science (5528) Major in Mechatronic Engineering Master of
  • Engineering Science (Management)  Major in Mechatronic Engineering
  • RMIT University Master of Engineering (Robotics and Mechatronics Engineering)
  • University of Newcastle Master of Professional Engineering (Mechatronics)
  • The University of Melbourne Master of Engineering (Mechatronics)

Germany

  • The Chemnitz University of Technology Microtechnology/ Mechatronics M.Sc. (German)
  • TU Hamburg Mechatronics M.Sc. (German and English)
  • Rostock University Mechatronics M.Sc. (German)
  • Uni Kassel Mechatronics M.Sc. (German)
  • TU Ilmenau- Mechatronics M.Sc. (German)
  • The Technical University of Munich Mechatronics and Information Technology M.Sc. (German)
  • FH Aachen Master Mechatronics M. Sc. (English and German)
  • The University of Stuttgart Mechatronics M.Sc. (German)

New Zealand

  • Auckland University of Technology- Postgraduate study in Mechatronics Engineering
  • Massey University Master of Engineering Studies (Mechatronics)
  • University of Auckland Master of Engineering- (ME) in Mechatronics Engineering Master of Engineering Studies in Mechatronics Engineering

Subjects in Mechatronics

  • Basics of Computer Science and Engineering
  • Basics of Electronics Engineering
  • Fundamentals of Mechanical Engineering
  • Machine Vision
  • Medical Mechatronics
  • Robotics and Artificial Intelligence
  • Systems and Control Engineering

Program Duration

Master’s degree programs usually will take three to four years to earn. A component of a master’s degree in mechatronics is a thesis in the final year of study, which is often based on research projects.

Are mechatronics engineers in demand?

The demand for Mechatronics Engineers is expected to rise, with an expected 55,790 new jobs filled by the year 2018 and onward. This represents an annual increase of 5 percent in jobs over the next few years. U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts that the employment of mechanical engineers would likely grow by 5% from 2014-2024, which is average, while opportunities for electronics engineers would decrease by 1%.

Top Companies

Some of the top companies are:

  • Wells Fargo
  • Macy’s
  • Deloitte
  • Bank of America
  • Amazon
  • Siemens
  • Google
  • Delta
  • The Schaeffler Group
  • Nalco Company

How much does a mechatronics engineer make?

A mechatronics engineer makes about $84K per year.

How long does it take to get a degree in Mechatronics?

Master’s degree programs usually take three to four years to earn. A component of a master’s degree is a thesis in the final year of study, which is often based on research projects.

Are mechatronics engineers in demand?

Demand for Mechatronics Engineers is expected to go up, with an expected 55,790 new jobs filled by the year 2018 and onward. This represents an annual increase of 5.00 percent increase in jobs in the next few years. U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts that the employment of mechanical engineers would likely grow by 5% from 2014-2024, which is average, while opportunities for electronics engineers would decrease by 1%.

What kind of jobs do mechatronics engineers get?

Jobs you can get with a mechatronic degree-

  • Robotics engineer/technician
  • Automation engineer
  • Control system design/troubleshooting engineer
  • Electronics design engineer
  • Mechanical design engineer
  • Data scientist/big data analyst
  • Instrumentation engineer
  • Software engineer

Mechatronics Careers in Advanced Manufacturing and Robotics:

Mechatronics engineering finds its application in medical and healthcare fields, military, or in the advanced manufacturing domain. In these positions, a person is supposed to build robotic solutions which can improve the manufacturing quality, quantity, and productivity.

As a mechatronics engineer, you are expected to manage, execute and troubleshoot electrical, robotic and automation equipment. You also need to ensure that all robotic equipment is compliant with industry standards.
According to recruiter.com, the average salary for a robotics technician is $51,600 per year.

Mechatronics Careers in Telecommunications and Information Services:

Mechatronics engineering jobs in telecommunication and information services include roles like field or cable technician, high-voltage engineer, networking technician, and others. Typically, the job responsibilities can include installing, maintaining and repairing mobile phones, video-conferencing equipment, computer networks, fiber-optic cables, electrical systems, and others.
According to salary.com, telecommunications technicians with a masters in mechatronics can earn an average salary of $64,240 per year.

Mechatronics Careers in Agriculture, Food and Forestry:

It has been seen that new career opportunities are opening up in the advanced fields of agriculture, food, and forestry for professionals with a degree in mechatronics. Mechatronics engineers can design greenhouses which can increase food production, program controllers to manage irrigation systems. They can also make use of engineering principles to ensure the health and sustainability of forests.

According to payscale.com, agricultural technicians with a mechatronic engineering background can earn an average salary of $52,000 per year.

Mechatronics Careers in Biotechnology:

Mechatronics engineering technology graduates can also work in biotechnology, life science and medical equipment designing roles. A mechatronics engineering degree can prepare one for careers in designing and building bio-inspired machines and medical devices that simulate the behaviors of humans, animals, and plants.

You also may use knowledge of mechatronics engineering to improve clinical equipment, surgical methods, rehabilitation strategies, micro-implants, prostheses and more. According to salary.com, biomedical engineering technicians with a mechatronics background earn an average of $62,282 per year.

Mechatronics Careers in Renewable Energy:

A bachelor’s degree in mechatronics engineering technology will help you bag high-impact jobs in solar power, biofuel, wind energy, hydro-power, and geothermal technologies. Renewable energy is a rapidly growing industry where mechatronics graduates will find opportunities to use their multi-disciplinary design skills to make innovations, test and improve several components used in wind turbines and solar panels. Job titles may also include safety coordinator, materials engineer and energy systems technician, to name a few.

According to investinganswers.com, the median salary for a materials engineer in wind power with a background in mechatronics is $83,190, and in solar power, the amount is approximately $86,380. The salary for a wind-turbine installer usually start at $31,000 and rises to $104,000 along with experience.

Mechatronics Careers in Transportation and Logistics:

These careers typically involve working with custom-designed machines, complex transportation processes and equipment, powerful computing infrastructures, and others. You need to use your comprehensive mechatronics knowledge to keep large companies function correctly along with delivering consumer satisfaction.
According to salaryexpert.com, the average logistics technician salary in the United States is $53,311 per year.

Mechatronics Careers in Homeland Security and Defence:

The Department of Defence has predicted that 40% of military ground troops will be robotic soon. This will increase the requirement for robotic technicians having a strong mechatronics engineering background. Graduates of mechatronics degree program can work for the government in supporting the design, construction, alteration, testing along with maintenance of new robotic and drone technologies.

You can also work with smart technologies that are used in surveillance, border control, ground operations, deployment logistics, and others. According to glassdoor.com, mechatronics engineering technician salaries can range from $85,040 to $91,042. The average salary for a U.S. Army Corps engineering technician is $53,329.