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Master's Degree and SUGS
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Who should pursue a Master's Degree?
Students entering the Master of Science in Engineering (MSE) program normally hold a baccalaureate in ME or a closely related field from an accredited institution. Students choose to pursue a master's degree because of the opportunity to develop a personalized academic program to strengthen their knowledge of Mechanical Engineering fundamentals in a specific area. Research areas include automotive, biomechanics and biosystems, controls, design, dynamics and vibrations, energy, fluids, manufacturing, mechanics and materials, mechatronics, robotics, micro/nano engineering, multi-scale computation and combustion mechanics, and thermal sciences.
There are three separate MSE degree program options in ME: (1) coursework only, (2) coursework with an individual research project, and (3) coursework with a MSE thesis.
Master's Program Overview
The coursework only option is recommended for students who do not envision conducting research during their career. This degree can be completed in ten months by taking four courses during each fall and winter term and two courses during the spring half term. Please note the ME department generally does not offer graduate courses in the spring or summer terms.
- 12 credits ME courses at the 500 or 600 level
- 6 credits graduate level ME courses, 400 or above
- 6 credits of letter-graded graduate level cognates, 400 or above
- 6 credits mathematics or equivalent courses (see Acceptable Math list).
NOTE: ME590s do not fulfill the 500 level coursework requirement. They are treated as 400 level classes.
Individual Research Project
This option provides an opportunity for involvement in an independent engineering design, analysis, or research project. The requirements are the same as the coursework only option, except that 3 to 6 credits of research are taken in the research advisor's ME590 in lieu of 400 level graduate ME courses. This is recommended for students contemplating an engineering career in industry and who would like to gain some exposure to independent research or project work. This path requires that a student speak with faculty to locate a faculty advisor with whom to work on an individual study topic. This is typically done during the student's first term in the Master's program so that the individual research can begin in the second term. Research credits are elected under the advisor's independent study number. This option typically takes students one and a half to two years to complete.
- 12 credits ME courses at the 500 or 600 level
- 6 credits of ME590 research under the research advisor's independent study number or 3 credits ME590 and 3 credits at the ME400 level or above for a total of 6 credits
- ME590 requires a proposal during the first three weeks of the term and a final report due on the last day of classes. The research advisor's approval is necessary for the proposal and final report. Both documents are submitted electronically through the ME590 website.
- In addition, students must enroll for ME590 via Wolverine Access.
- 6 credits of letter-graded graduate level cognates, 400 level or above
- 6 credits mathematics or equivalent courses (see Acceptable Math list)
Students who wish to complete work with a faculty member within the CoE who is not associated with the ME department must complete the following:
- The student needs to define the project with his/her non-ME faculty advisor.
- The student needs to find a ME "shadow" advisor (this can be the Grad Chair) to sign off on the project and the grade.
- After 1 and 2 are complete, the student needs to sign up for ME590 via Wolverine Access, fill out the online ME590 proposal form via the ME590 website, complete the research, and then submit a final report to the ME590 website -- just as all ME590 students must.
- The proposal and final report are signed off on, and evaluated by the non-ME faculty advisor. The non-ME advisor recommends S/U (Satisfactory/Unsatisfactory) for the number of credits and the ME advisor submits the grade.
- If the above steps are not completed by the end of finals, the student gets a U.
The thesis option is recommended for students interested in industrial research and development, teaching, or possibly continuing for a doctoral degree. Students are responsible for finding a research advisor who will supervise their thesis research. Research credits are taken under the advisor's independent study number.
The student enrolls in ME590 twice for 3 credits each via Wolverine Access under the research advisor's independent study number. Six credits of ME590 may be taken in one term but ONLY with approval of the research advisor. Students should check with their research advisor or with staff in the Academic Service Office (ASO) for the independent study number assigned to the faculty member with whom s/he will work. In the next term, ME695 will be elected for 3 hours, again using the advisor's number. Any additional research credits will not count toward the master's degree. A grade of satisfactory (S) or unsatisfactory (U) is given for ME590 and ME695 credits.
A thesis committee should be formed with two members including the ME research advisor. At least one additional member besides the thesis advisor is required and may be a faculty member or a research scientist from ME or from another College of Engineering Department. No particular writing style is required. The same style for a doctoral dissertation thesis may be used, or any style used for report writing conforming to the thesis advisor's recommendation. When the thesis is complete, the thesis is defended before the committee in a public examination. The minimal two-member committee must be present at the oral defense.
On occasion the defense may occur in a term subsequent to the last enrollment. If all other MSE degree requirements are met, a student need not be enrolled to defend.
No later than the last day of classes in the term the student expects to graduate, a memo signed by the faculty research advisor must be submitted to the ASO, which states that the student has successfully defended her/his thesis. The memo can be as simple as an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org. Your faculty advisor should include: a) the title of your thesis, b) who attended the oral defense, c) that you successfully defended it, and d) the date of the successful defense. Also no later than the last day of classes, a digital copy (PDF) of the final thesis is required and should be emailed to email@example.com.
- 12 credits ME courses at the 500 or 600 level
- 9 credits of ME research under the advisor's independent study number which includes 6 credits ME590 followed by 3 credits ME695. Typically students will register for 3 credits per term.
- ME590 requires a proposal at the start of the term and a final report on the last day of classes. The research advisor's approval is necessary for the proposal and final report. Both documents are submitted electronically through the ME590 website.
- 3 credits of letter-graded graduate level cognates, 400 level or above
- 6 credits mathematics or equivalent courses (See Acceptable Math list)
- Thesis (Written) and Defense (Oral)
Important Rules to Note about all MSE:
- All options require 30 graduate level credit hours.
- All courses must be letter-graded with the exception of research credits, which have a grade of "S" (satisfactory) or "U" (unsatisfactory).
- If a student elects to use a math course as a cognate, additional graduate level ME courses are taken at 400 level or above, with the minimum number of credits being equal to the number of math credits counted as cognates.
- ME599 courses (Special Topics) must be taught by a ME faculty to satisfy a requirement. If not taught by a ME faculty, the ME599 course may be used to satisfy an ME 4xx level requirement.
- Seminar courses must be letter graded. The credits accepted from seminar courses do not equal the number of hours for the course. For a 3 credit hour seminar, 2 credits are earned and for a 2 credit hour seminar, 1 credit is earned toward the master's degree. 1 credit hour seminar courses do not count toward the degree. Only 1 seminar course may be used to meet degree requirements.
- ME450, ME490, ME495 and ME481 cannot be taken for graduate credit (because they are undergraduate courses).
- Only 6 credits of ME590 can be counted towards the MSE degree requirements.
- ME590 credits do not fulfill the 500 level coursework requirement. It is considered 400 level work.
- A minimum grade of "B-" is required for math and cognate classes to count toward the MSE degree.
- A cumulative grade point average (GPA) 3.0/4.3 is required to graduate.
- A student will be on academic probation if his/her GPA falls below a 3.0.
In planning your program, it is strongly recommended that all incoming Master's students communicate with their faculty advisor (if applicable) and/or an academic advisor in the Academic Services Office early in their program. The MSE program provides the student with considerable flexibility. This flexibility puts a lot of responsibility on the student to understand the requirements. The student is responsible for determining how the program and courses can be utilized to meet individual educational and professional goals. An academic advisor will provide considerable assistance in this regard, help minimize problems, and make sure students get the most out of their graduate studies.
International MSE Students: If you choose to elect courses that are not required for the completion of your MSE degree, the ME department will not support an extension of your visa for the purpose of completing the remainder of your degree requirements. Should this occur, it is possible that you will not be able to finish your ME master's degree prior to the completion of your stay in the United States. To avoid this complication, please ensure that all of your elected courses are relevant to your degree. Likewise, the ME department will not support a reduced course load letter if the remainder of the student's courses are not relevant to the MSE degree
Engineering Sustainable Systems
Launched in the fall of 2007, the Engineering Sustainable Systems dual degree confers a master of science (MS) degree from the School of Natural Resources and Environment (SNRE) and a master of science in engineering (MSE) from the College of Engineering (CoE). Global climate change, energy security, ecological degradation, environmental threats to human health and resource scarcity are critical sustainability challenges for the 21st century. Sustainability is based upon the ability to meet societal needs within the context of economical and ecological constraints. The program trains graduate students to protect, restore, and create engineered and natural systems that are socially, environmentally, and economically sustainable. Graduates have the engineering and sustainability foundations to command jobs domestically and internationally with engineering consulting firms, research and development labs in the private and public sectors (e.g. Fortune 500 corporations), government agencies, and NGOs.
This is a 54 credit program. While the SNRE master's degree is a 42 credit program and the ME master's degree is a 30 credit program for a total of 72 credits, students in the dual-degree program can double-count 18 credits reducing the total credit requirement to 54 credits.
For a summary of the degree requirements, please review the Dual-Master's Degree Program requirements document.
Mechanical Engineering MSE with any other Rackham Graduate Program
The Rackham Graduate School provides students the opportunity to combine two graduate or graduate-professional programs. A student in a Rackham doctoral or master's program must complete at least one term of coursework in good academic standing in a regular Rackham program before requesting admission to a dual degree program. In order to shorten the length of the program, students are able to double-count a limited number of credits.
The term "double-counting" refers to the use of a limited number of credit hours toward the requirements of two separate master's degrees or certificate programs. The principle of double-counting allows the student to earn two degrees for fewer total credit hours than would normally be required if both programs were taken independently. The general Rackham maximum for the number of hours that may be double-counted is determined as follows: Add together the minimum number of hours required for each of the two programs independently, and divide the sum by six. For example: Minimum credits required in field A = 30 Minimum credits required in field B = 36 Sum = 66 Sum divided by 6 = 11, which is the maximum number of credit hours that may be double-counted under the most favorable circumstances. Any resulting fraction is rounded down to the nearest whole number of credit hours. Credit hours for a single course may not be split; a course must be double-counted in its entirety or not at all.
For additional information, refer to the Add a Degree Program Application. Please be sure to read the directions and details carefully. To request double-counting, a student must complete a Dual Degree Election Form no later than one term prior to completing the second degree.
Concentration in Environmental Sustainability (ConsEnSus)
Students with interest in environmental sustainability can focus their coursework towards related topics to receive an additional recognition on their transcript for the ConsEnSus. Detailed information about ConsEnSus is available here.
A change of program from the Master's program to the PhD program requires full intellectual and financial support of a UM Mechanical Engineering faculty member for the duration of the student's PhD studies (typically 4 years after Master's). The faculty member will provide a letter to this effect. This letter can be sent directly from the faculty member to the Academic Services Office (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Obtaining this support can be challenging so the following suggestion is offered to help strengthen the chance of obtaining full financial and intellectual support for PhD studies: MSE students interested in the PhD program should consider performing a Master's thesis with a faculty advisor. Master's thesis work that is going well and is promising for further research at the PhD level is a strong motivation for a faculty member to find funding to support a Master's student's desire to pursue a PhD.
Sequential Undergraduate/Graduate Studies (SUGS)
The Rackham SUGS program was developed to promote greater enrollment of qualified College of Engineering (CoE) students in the Master of Science in Engineering program by making it possible for students to pursue a five-year sequential BSE/MSE. The ME SUGS program is currently available only for ME undergraduate students enrolled at the U of M Ann Arbor campus. All applications are reviewed by the Graduate Admissions Committee and admission is granted on a case-by-case basis. All SUGS students are required to enroll in two full terms as a graduate student at Rackham and pay full tuition.
The ME SUGS program allows students to double-count a maximum of 9 credits from their Bachelor's degree at U of M Ann Arbor towards a 30-credit Master's degree at U of M Ann Arbor. These 9 double-counted credits can come from graduate level Technical Electives, Advanced Math, and/or relevant General Electives taken to satisfy the undergraduate degree requirements. In addition, a SUGS student may transfer a maximum of 3 credits of graduate level work to their graduate degree if no portion of these credits were applied to the student's undergraduate degree, a minor, or any other certification, etc. This leaves 18-21 credits required to complete the 30-credit Master's degree, which can be accomplished in one year with two semesters of graduate coursework.
Program Guidelines for the SUGS Program in ME
- Purpose: The program was created to offer our best students an opportunity to complete the ME Master's requirements as part of a seamless five-year program at Michigan (four years of BSE work and one year of MSE work). This is accomplished by allowing qualified students to "double-count" up to 9 hours of credit in graduate level classes toward both Bachelor's and Master's requirements.
- Eligibility: To be eligible for the ME SUGS program, a student must satisfy the following minimum requirements:
- Be enrolled in ME at the University of Michigan Ann Arbor. The SUGS program is only available to students receiving their undergraduate and graduate degrees at the UM Ann Arbor campus.
- Have a 3.6 cumulative GPA or better
- Not be enrolled in two undergraduate programs or in a dual-degree program in either their undergraduate or graduate program.
- Engineering Global Leadership (EGL) students are ineligible for SUGS -- unless as ME BSE students they complete the Econ/Fin requirement as well as the Specialization Elective requirement -- which are usually waived for ME BSE students accepted into the EGL Honors program.
- Application Process: The application process has two steps.
- In the first stage, during their junior year, the student meets with an ME academic advisor in the Academic Services Office to file an intent to apply form. The student will work with the advisor to outline a preliminary study plan to make the appropriate course selections for their junior and senior years, including courses for proposed double-counting. At this time, a tentative plan will also be created for the MSE degree. This plan can be updated after admission to SUGS, as needed.
- In the second stage, after the intent to apply form has been completed and accepted by ME, the student must apply for SUGS during their senior year by completing a Rackham online application form. The GRE is waived for ME SUGS students. A statement of purpose, a personal statement, and three letters of recommendation are required (two of the three letters must be from an academic professor). There is an admission fee. See the "How to Apply" section below for information on the application process.
- SUGS students must enroll in Rackham for a minimum of two full terms (at least 9 credits per term), paying full Rackham tuition. SUGS students do not dual register.
- Double-counting & Transfer of Credits:
- Double-counted credits can only come from graduate level Technical Electives, Advanced Math, and/or relevant General Electives taken during the junior or senior years.
- SUGS students may double-count up to 9 credits of graduate level work from their ME BSE degree toward their ME MSE degree.
- The ME department will allow a maximum of 3 credits to be transferred into the Rackham graduate degree, in addition to the 9 double-counted credits. These transfer credits cannot be used for any portion of the undergraduate degree. The transfer credit will appear on the graduate transcript. Therefore, an ME SUGS student may bring a maximum of 12 total double-counted and transferred credits into Rackham.
- All double-counted and transfer courses must have grades of "B" or above and be able to fit into the MSE (ME) degree requirements.
- The double-counted classes appear on both the undergraduate and graduate transcripts. On the graduate transcript, they appear as transferred credits. The grades only count toward the undergraduate GPA.
- Important Notes:
- This is a sequential program, and no deferment is allowed. ME SUGS students must enroll in Rackham immediately upon completion of their undergraduate degree. If there are medical/personal, etc. reasons for deferment, a student may submit a petition to the ME department.
- Occasionally students may have up to 6 credits of the undergraduate program outstanding upon enrollment in Rackham Graduate School, in accordance with Rackham rules. In such an instance, the student must complete the BSE degree requirements in the first semester of enrollment in Rackham. The undergraduate degree can be awarded as soon as the BSE degree requirements are met.
- ME SUGS students may pursue a coursework, research, or thesis track Master's degree. The courses a student selects for double-counting and/or transferring into Rackham must satisfy requirements from the type of Master's degree track the student chooses. The requirements for the three Master's tracks are described above.
- Please review the Financial Support page of the graduate handbook for information on financial assistance. All Master's student information is relevant to SUGS students.
- Rackham will accept a maximum of 9 credits to be double-counted between the undergraduate and graduate degrees, even if the credit for specific courses to be double-counted adds to more than 9 credit hours. The balance of the credit remaining after 9 hours are double-counted cannot be counted toward any other Rackham degree requirement. For example, a student would like to double-count 3 courses with credits totaling 10. Rackham will double-count the maximum of 9 credits. The 1 remaining credit cannot count toward the MSE degree requirement, but can count toward an undergraduate degree requirement, such as General Elective credit.
- Should a SUGS student seek admission to a PhD program, the GRE and other standard criteria would be required. NOTE: SUGS students who apply for and are accepted to the PhD program in Mechanical Engineering, must make up the number of credit hours they double-counted between their BSE and MSE by electing additional graduate-level coursework as a doctoral student. For example, if a student double-counted 9 credits in SUGS, they will be expected to take 9 graduate-level credits, in addition to any existing coursework requirements for their doctoral program before they will be eligible to graduate.
This program is designed for students who receive an undergraduate ME BSE degree from the UM - Shanghai Jiao Tong University's Joint Institute and wish to pursue a Mechanical Engineering Master's degree at UM. Students that participate in the joint undergraduate program and receive two undergraduate degrees from UM and SJTU are ineligible for this program. Students that have received only a ME bachelors from SJTU and have maintained a 3.6 GPA throughout their tenure may apply through the Rackham Admissions Application. All applications are reviewed by the Graduate Admissions Committee and admission is granted on a case-by-case basis. All JI-SUGS students are required to complete at least 24 credit hours in residence at UM Ann Arbor and pay full tuition.
The ME JI-SUGS program allows students to double count a maximum of 6 credits from their Bachelor's degree at SJTU towards a 30 credit Master's degree at U of M Ann Arbor. These 6 double-counted credits can come from graduate level Technical Electives, Advanced Math, and/or General Electives taken to satisfy the undergraduate degree requirements. Double-counted courses must be graduate level (at the 400 level or above), taken in the Junior or Senior year and the student must have received a grade of "B" or better. The courses allowed to double-count will be subject to the approval of the Graduate Admissions Committee. If the student elects to double count all 6 available credit hours, this leaves 24 credits required to complete the 30 credit Master's degree.
Program Guidelines for the JI-SUGS Program in ME
- At the end of junior year, students must meet with their SJTU advisor. The student will then work with the advisor to outline a preliminary study plan to make the appropriate course selections.
- Minimum cumulative GPA requirement: 3.6. This minimum GPA is required at the time of application and maintained though completion of the Bachelor's degree.
- The student must apply for JI-SUGS during their senior year by completing a Rackham graduate application and submitting the SJTU-SUGS Course Election Form.
- Please submit the Course Election Form with your application.
- The JI-SUGS program is only available to students receiving their undergraduate ME degree at SJTU and graduate ME degree at the University of Michigan Ann Arbor campus.
- JI-SUGS students must enroll in Rackham for a minimum of 24 credit hours of relevant coursework (at least 9 credits per term), paying full Rackham tuition.
- ME JI-SUGS students may pursue a coursework, research, or thesis Masters. The courses a student selects for double-counting must satisfy requirements from the type of Masters the student chooses. The requirements for the coursework, research, and thesis Masters are described above.
- We will accept a maximum of 6 credits to be double-counted between the undergraduate and graduate degrees, even if the credit for specific courses to be double-counted adds to more than 6 credit hours. However, the balance of the credit remaining after 6 hours are double-counted cannot be counted toward any other Rackham degree requirement. For example, if a student wishes to double-count 2 courses with a total of 8 credits, only 6 of those credits will be applied towards the students MSE degree. The 2 remaining credits cannot count toward the MSE degree. Double-counted credits can only come from graduate level Technical Electives, Advanced Math, and/or relevant General Electives and are subject to approval of the Graduate Admissions Committee.
- All double-counted courses must have grades of "B" or above to be able to fit into the MSE (ME) degree requirements.
- No deferment allowed. ME JI-SUGS students must enroll in Rackham immediately upon completion of their undergraduate degree.
- The JI-SUGS program is not available to a student pursuing a dual-degree in either their undergraduate or graduate program.
- Engineering Global Leadership (EGL) students are not eligible for JI-SUGS and vice versa.
- The GRE is waived for JI-SUGS students, however, the TOEFL is not.
- Should a JI-SUGS student seek admission to a Ph.D. program, the GRE and other standard criteria would be required. *See above.
- Please review the Financial Support support page of the graduate handbook for information on financial assistance. All Master's student information is relevant to JI-SUGS students.
The Horace H. Rackham School of Graduate Studies at the University of Michigan regulates all graduate admissions, and the application for admission will therefore technically be made to Rackham. The ME Department will review all application materials and make admission recommendations, following which, Rackham will officially confirm this decision. For detailed information on Rackham's minimum admissions criteria and application procedures, please review this link. For information on application requirements, please view the "How to Apply" section of the ME Graduate Admissions page.
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