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Graduate Handbook

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Welcome to the Mechanical Engineering Graduate Student Handbook. The goal of this handbook to provide information about services and activities that will enrich your graduate experience and facilitate the practical aspects of receiving an education here.

In the handbook, you can find information on enrolling for courses, degree requirements, financial support, student services, campus resources, and employment/career services.

Graduate Program Overview

Mechanical Engineering at the University of Michigan is a graduate program on the move. In recent years, we've had a boom of new faculty members and research funding while maintaining our consistent leadership as one of the top ME programs, currently tied for #1 ranking by phds.org. The ME department at the University of Michigan has a multi-disciplinary approach to research and learning that strikes a unique balance of trend-setting research, challenging coursework and real-world impact that is highly respected around the world. At Michigan ME, we're assembling the finest young graduate talent in the country and we are pleased that you have joined our team!

What graduate degrees are available in ME?

The majority of students in the graduate program are pursuing a Master of Science in Engineering (M.S.E) or a Doctor of Philosophy (PhD). Students also pursue dual-degrees with the School of Natural Resources and Environment in the Engineering Sustainable Systems program or dual-degrees with other graduate programs on campus. In addition, there are opportunities for qualified undergraduates in the College of Engineering at Michigan to pursue combined Graduate/Undergraduate degrees in the Sequential Graduate/Undergraduate Studies (SGUS) program. 

The snapshots and checklists below are intended to guide PhD and MSE students during degree planning. More detailed information about degrees can be found in the handbook under the specific degree.

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

1st Year Students

Before Arrival:

  • Review the Welcome email from the ME Academic Services Office. Information is available regarding living in Ann Arbor, filling out employment paperwork, and program requirements.

Upon Arrival:

  • (Fall Semester start) Attend the Mechanical Engineering New Student Orientation. Details will be communicated to incoming students via email.
  • (Fall Semester start) Consider attending the College of Engineering New Graduate Student Welcome.
  • (Fall Semester start) Consider attending the Rackham Graduate School New Student Orientation
  • Arrange to meet with your research advisor or a Student Academic Success Coordinator in the Academic Services Office to discuss your coursework plan.

Fall and Winter semesters:

  • Complete your four Research Core Curriculum (RCC) courses. 
  • Enroll in 6 credits of research
    • Direct PhD students, students without a relevant Master's Degree, should take a total of 6 ME590 credits then register for ME990 until Candidacy
    • PhD students with a Master's Degree should take ME990 credits until Candidacy
  • Register with the Academic Services Office for the Graduate Core Curriculum Exam in Fall and Winter terms
  • Complete Annual Progress Update (2x), once in Fall and Winter until Candidacy
  • Consider enrolling in Research Skills Course. Additional details on the example informational flyer
  • Consider enrolling in 3 credits of cognates
  • Participate in the Responsible Conduct of Research Program
    • Required for students supported on NIH or NSF projects

2nd Year Students

  • Enroll in 3 credits of upper level graduate coursework, ME500 or higher
  • Complete Research Fundamentals Exam
  • Complete 6 credit cognate requirement
    • If 3 credits were taken in the first year and 3 in the first semester second year, then the student would be on track to advance to candidacy in the second semester of the second year.
  • Enroll in 6 credits of research
    • Pre-Candidates take ME990 and Candidates take ME995
  • Enroll in 3 additional coursework hours
  • Advance to Candidacy before the end of the 2nd year.
  • Complete Annual Progress Update (2x), once in Fall and Winter until Candidacy then 1x per year
  • Direct PhD students complete MSE requirements
  • Complete 8 hours of responsible conduct of research training by the end of the 3rd term of enrollment.

3rd Year Students

4th & 5th Year Students

Master's Degree (M.S.E.)

The Master of Science in Engineering (M.S.E.) degree in Mechanical Engineering requires a Bachelor of Science (BSE) degree in Mechanical Engineering or closely related field. There are three separate MSE degree program options in ME: (i) coursework only, (ii) individual research project, and (iii) M.S.E. thesis. The image below shows how the requirements for the programs vary.

Master's Degree Overview

1st Year Students

Before Arrival:

  • Review the Welcome email from the ME Academic Services Office. Information is available regarding living in Ann Arbor, filling out employment paperwork, and program requirements.

Upon Arrival:

  • (Fall Semester start) Attend the Mechanical Engineering New Student Orientation. Details will be communicated to incoming students via email.
  • (Fall Semester start) Consider attending the College of Engineering New Graduate Student Welcome.
  • (Fall Semester start) Consider attending the Rackham Graduate School New Student Orientation
  • Arrange to meet with your Faculty Guide or a Student Academic Success Coordinator in the Academic Services Office to discuss your coursework plan.

Research and Coursework Options:

The Master's degree can be completed in one calendar year. Typically students will finish the degree in a year and a half to two years especially if they are doing research or project work.

  • (Thesis) Complete 9 credits of research
    • 6 credits of ME590
    • 3 credits of ME695
  • (Individual Research Project) Complete 6 credits of ME590
  • (Coursework only) Complete 6 credits ME400 or above - courses not included are ME 450 & 481
  • Complete cognate requirement
    • Individual Research Project and Coursework options require 6 credits
    • Thesis requires 3 credits
  • Complete 6 credits of advanced math (see Acceptable Math list)
  • Complete 12 credits of ME500 or above