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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 computational mechanics, and thermal sciences.
Sections of this Page:
MSE Program Options
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. All program options require 30 credits and a cumulative GPA of 3.0 to graduate. A student will be placed on academic probation if his/her GPA falls below a 3.0.
It is strongly recommended that all incoming Master’s students communicate with the Graduate Coordinator (email@example.com) in the Academic Services Office early in the 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. The Graduate Coordinator can provide considerable assistance in this regard, help minimize problems, and make sure students get the most out of their graduate studies.
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. 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 an 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)
Currently an ME student looking to apply for a second Master’s or Certificate?
Reach out to the program of interest to inquire about their “Add a Degree” application procedure. Each department varies slightly. At some point, the other program will need the approval of the ME Department. We will receive a email notice and review promptly so that your application can be reviewed by the other department.
Currently a non-ME student looking to apply for a second Master’s in ME?
Eligibility, requirements, and deadlines for applying to add the ME MSE Degree for Rackham and non-Rackham students can be found here.
Double-counting Policy for Dual Students:
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. A student must complete a Dual Degree Election Form no later than one term prior to completing the second degree.
The one exception to the double counting formula is the SEAS (School of Environment and Sustainability) and ME MSE degree. 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.
Sequential Undergraduate/Graduate Studies (SUGS)
Looking for how to apply to the SUGS Program? Click here for eligibility and application requirements.
ME SUGS students may pursue a coursework, research, or thesis track Master’s degree. The ME SUGS program allows students to double-count a maximum of 9 credits and transfer a maximum of 3 credits from their Bachelor’s degree toward the 30-credit Master’s degree. This leaves 18-21 credits required to complete the Master’s degree, which can be accomplished in two semesters of graduate coursework. See below for more details.
Double-counting & Transfer of Credits:
ME SUGS students 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 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.
- SUGS students may double-count up to 9 credits of graduate level work from their ME BSE degree toward their ME MSE degree. 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. 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. 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.
- SUGS students may transfer up to 3 credits into the Rackham graduate degree. These transfer credits cannot be used for any portion of the undergraduate degree. The transfer credit will appear on the graduate transcript.
- 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.
- Once a student has matriculated to our SUGS program, they may not request to move their admission to our Master’s program in order to pursue a dual degree program. If you are interested in a dual degree, you should not apply to SUGS but rather apply to the MSE. There are no exceptions to this policy.
- 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. SUGS students should utilize their Rackham registration NOT their undergraduate registration.
- 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.
- Should a SUGS student seek admission to a PhD program, the GRE and other standard criteria would be required as listed here. 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.
UM-SJTU Joint Institute – Sequential Undergraduate/Graduate Studies (JI-SUGS)
Looking for how to apply to the JI-SUGS Program? Click here for eligibility and application requirements.
This program is designed for students who receive an undergraduate ME BSE degree from UM – Shanghai Jiao Tong University’s Joint Institute and wish to pursue a Mechanical Engineering Master’s degree at UM. 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 up to 6 credits from their Bachelor’s degree at SJTU towards the 30 credit Master’s degree. 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.
- Double-counted courses must be evaluated and have University of Michigan equivalencies. See the Engineering Course Equivalency Database for the list of transferable courses. If the SJTU course is not listed, does not have an equivalent UM Course, or the equivalency is expired, students will need to submit an Engineering Transfer Credit Approval Form found here.
- 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.
- The courses a student selects for double-counting must satisfy requirements from the type of Masters the student chooses.
- 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.
- This is a sequential program, and no deferment is allowed. ME JI-SUGS students must enroll in Rackham immediately upon completion of their undergraduate degree.
- Once a student has matriculated to our JI-SUGS program, they may not request to move their admission to our Master’s program in order to pursue a dual degree program. If you are interested in a dual degree, you should not apply to JI-SUGS but rather apply to the MSE. There are no exceptions to this policy.
- 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.
- Should a JI-SUGS student seek admission to a Ph.D. program, the GRE and other standard criteria would be required as listed here.
What do I do if I am interested in pursuing a PhD after my Master’s Degree?
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.