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Engineering management: How does it differ from project management?

Everyone has their own ideas about what management is, but what exactly is engineering management? And why should you choose to study engineering management instead of a straight-forward management degree?


Read on to discover the answers to these and other questions to decide which option is best for you. 

What is engineering management? 


As you can probably gather, engineering management is a specialist form of management: the application of the practice of management to the practice of engineering. Combining these two distinct academic disciplines (rather than one or the other) gives you the best of both worlds.


You’ll gain the technical know-how and technological problem-solving ability required for modern engineering, alongside the critical thinking and strategic planning abilities needed to be a successful manager. 

How does engineering management differ from project management? 


Engineering management adopts a ‘big picture’ view of an engineering company’s operational planning and performance, which could lead to various technological and non-technological projects to meet strategic objectives.


Project management, which focuses on the development and completion of those projects, is therefore one facet of the broader field of engineering management. That said, specialist project management skills are in high demand whatever sector you work in, which is why our MSc in Engineering Management prepares you to deliver industry-standard project management techniques such as Agile, Prince2, and ITIL.  

Why choose engineering management rather management? 


It all comes down to the type of organisation you currently work for or the field you’re interested in. Engineering managers typically supervise and lead other engineers. They support and steer the employees and business towards a process of continuous improvement, capitalising (rather than being threatened) by new scientific or engineering technology developments.


It is therefore essential that they understand management as it relates to the design, technology and complex systems that drive and sustain these engineering-based businesses, whether mechanical, civil, automotive, aerospace, chemical, electronic or any other form of engineering.


A management degree, on the other hand, provides more general management skills, transferrable to any sector or business type. 

Why study engineering management? 


Underpinned by technology, the engineering industry is always changing and adapting to new developments. Whether artificial intelligence (AI), 3D printing or machine learning (ML), companies in this sector need managers who not only understand these emerging and disruptive technologies, but can also determine how, if and when they should be adopted by the business.


Similarly, they need staff who are familiar with and can identify the most appropriate business models, then manage and motivate staff during periods of change, adaptation and uncertainty.  


Looking to develop an advanced understanding of the management principles and practices needed to progress in an engineering organisation? Find out more about our 100% online MSc in Engineering Management:


Can I study engineering management while working? 


Yes! One of the biggest advantages of our part-time MSc in Engineering Management is that it combines the convenience of flexible online study with the option of additional face-to-face workshops and events help up to twice a year across Europe, so you can meet your course mates and tutors in person. This means that you can schedule your learning around work and other commitments.


As part of your MSc, you’ll also undertake an Individual Project, which gives you a unique opportunity to study a topic of strategic importance to your organisation, then identify and apply learned management techniques to make significant improvements within the commercial environment.


Past student projects have included assessments of: the benefits and challenges for implementing operational excellence techniques within the food industry; how digital retailers can adapt in digital innovation; what factors influence the initiation phase of Engineering, Procurement, Construction and Installation (EPCI) projects; and the effect of Covid-19 on the motivation of health works in Ghana. 

What will I study on Hull’s MSc in Engineering Management? 


The programme itself, which is studied online part-time over two years, focuses on the management principles and practices needed to lead the business and associated processes of any type of engineering or technical organisation. You’ll learn how to effectively measure company performance, then develop and oversee the implementation of quality improvements from a technical and financial perspective.


In addition to the Individual Project mentioned previously, you study four compulsory modules: Engineering for Quality and Business Improvement, Project and Financial Management; Management of People and Organisations; and Principles of Logistics and Supply Chain Management. 

What are the career options after studying the MSc? 


Companies need more than an engineering education alone when it comes to senior managers, which is why gaining a postgraduate qualification in engineering management can improve your chances for promotion and progression.


You’ll develop the soft skills required to lead and motivate individuals and teams, as well as the techniques and tools to manage change or introduce performance benchmarks, for example.


Your specialist knowledge and expertise will be of relevance and potential benefit to the full range of engineering sectors: pharma and life sciences; computer hardware and software; defence and aerospace; civil, environmental and energy; and other tech industries.


Typical roles include: Operations Specialist/Manager; Business Analyst; Production Team Leader/Engineer/Manager; Quality Assurance Engineer; or Supply Chain Manager. 


To find out more and how to apply, contact our Course Adviser Team by telephoning +44 (0)1482 235569, sending a WhatsApp message to +44 (0)1482 235570, emailing or requesting more information below:

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