Jul 23, 2024  
2020-2021 University Catalog 
2020-2021 University Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Mechanical Engineering, M.S.: 30 units

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Offered by: College of Engineering, Mechanical Engineering Department

The curriculum matrix for the degree program may be found here. The curriculum matrix is the alignment of courses (curriculum) with the desired goals and student learning outcomes of the program. It shows what is taught and how these outcomes are achieved through the completion of the degree program.


The Master of Science in Mechanical Engineering (MSME) program builds upon an undergraduate education and facilitates more advanced study in one of the branches of mechanical engineering.

Mission Statement

The Master of Science in Mechanical Engineering (MSME) program is a response to the increasing demand of mechanical engineers in the more advanced and rapidly developing fields such as computer aided design using finite element methods, computational thermal and fluid sciences, energy management, and the area of robotic engineering. This program allows students to acquire specialized knowledge and research skills for the advanced work in their chosen area of emphasis. Also, this program requires a student to complete either an engineering project that involves exploration of practical realistic problems of the industry, or a thesis that demonstrates their capability to perform independent research work to enable further directed specialization of the student in advanced engineering principles. These options provide students flexibility in their graduate study to meet a wide variety of emerging engineering needs.

Educational Objectives

Graduates of the Master of Science in Mechanical Engineering shall have:

  • Knowledge of mechanical engineering principles in solid mechanics, mechanical design, dynamics, heat transfer, fluid dynamics, and computational mechanics.
  • The ability to conduct engineering analyses and to develop and implement designs and problem solutions.
  • An understanding of the various technical and non-technical factors that impact the feasibility and implementation of mechanical engineering projects.
  • The foundation needed to develop engineering judgment via professional practice, and to effectively identify, consider and account for multiple and competing objectives.
  • The technical knowledge and skills needed to pursue life-long learning, with the ability to independently extend personal knowledge and understanding of engineering topics and practices by conducting literature searches, consulting with others, and using other similar techniques.

Admission to the Program

An applicant for admission to the program or Master of Science in Mechanical Engineering must meet university criteria as specified in the Admission section of this catalog as well as the criteria outlined below. Applicants are advised that a reasonable proficiency in computer programming is necessary for successful completion. If the student is deficient in this area, he or she will be expected to remove the deficiency early in the program.

Successful applicants will be admitted to the program either unconditionally or with conditions imposed on them. To receive unconditional admission, an applicant must satisfy these criteria:

  1. The applicant must hold a baccalaureate degree in Mechanical Engineering from a program that has been accredited by the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET) and for which the accreditation was in effect at the time of award of the degree. The degree must have been granted within five years prior to the proposed beginning of the graduate program.
  2. The applicant must have achieved a grade point average of at least 3.00 in all undergraduate upper division coursework in mathematics, science and engineering and, additionally, in all coursework attempted with graduate standing.

Conditional admission may be granted in cases in which the applicant’s academic preparation for graduate study is such that criteria 1) and/or 2) above are not satisfied. In such cases, the applicant is required to submit recent test scores of the Graduate Record Examination, letters of recommendation, and other documents attesting to the applicant’s aptitude for graduate studies. Applicants who do not satisfy criterion 1) may be required to take a limited number of preparatory courses with no degree credit. When an applicant is admitted conditionally, the conditions to be met and the time allowed for meeting them are stated in the letter of admission. If these conditions are not satisfied, the student may be disqualified from the program.

Graduate Conditionally Classified

A person may be admitted to a graduate degree or credential program in this category if, in the opinion of appropriate campus authority, he/she can remedy deficiencies by additional coursework but otherwise satisfies all other university requirements for admission. All prerequisites must be specified by the admitting department at the time of student admission. Academic departments are responsible for tracking conditionally admitted students and must report their academic progress to the Office of Financial Aid and Scholarships and the Graduate Studies Office via a memo on a term basis. Students admitted conditionally will not be allowed to concurrently register for graduate courses that are required for the completion of their projected graduate or professional program. A conditionally admitted student’s ability to obtain financial aid is severely limited until all deficiencies have been resolved, and unconditional status is granted by the university. Conditional admission does not guarantee unconditional admission to a program.


A minimum of 30 semester units is required for awarding of the Master of Science in Mechanical Engineering degree. The specific requirements are described below. All students must complete either a Master’s thesis or a Master’s project.

In order to advance to candidacy for the Master of Science in Mechanical Engineering, the student must satisfy all of the following requirements:

  1. Completion of all conditions of admission, including any preparatory courses that may have been specified.
  2. Submission of an approved program of study on file.
  3. Completion of a minimum of 24-27 units of coursework with a grade point average of 3.0 or better.
  4. Completion of 3-6 units of culminating experience.
  5. Passing the graduation writing test (GWT) or receiving a waiver.

A program of study must be submitted for approval before the end of the first semester of attendance. At the time of filing of the program of study, the student must opt for one of the following plans:

  • Plan I - Thesis option, At least 24 units of graduate course work and up to 6 units of Master’s thesis is necessary to satisfy the 30 unit requirement.  The thesis option is intended to involve independent research by the student with the goal of advancing knowledge in a specialized area. A defense of the thesis is required for the student in front of a committee of at least three faculty members.
  • Plan II - Project option. At least 27 units of graduate course work and up to 3 units of Master’s project are required.  The project provides the student an opportunity to explore a practical and realistic industrial problem in his/her chosen field of specialization. The project of the student is examined by a committee of at least three faculty members.

Information regarding the thesis and the project is available at the Graduate Studies Office.  In addition, each student is responsible for satisfying all university requirements specified elsewhere in the catalog.

Major Electives: 21-24 units

Technical Emphasis: 12 units

Any combination of courses listed below will satisfy the required 12 units. Emphases are listed to provide guidance for helping students to choose courses of interest that best fit your career goals, but there is no requirement for choosing a specific emphasis for fulfilling these units.

Technical Electives: 6-9 units

Select a sufficient number of electives as follows so that the total units for the degree is at least 30. Courses from technical emphasis other than the one being selected can also be considered technical electives. Up to 6 units of approved 4000-level engineering courses may be taken and counted towards the MSME program. These courses must be approved by the MSME Coordinator.

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