M.S. Requirements-Mechanical Engineering - Carnegie Mellon University

Master of Science Course-Work Option

Students entering Masters of Science/Course Work Option Program (MS-C) normally hold a baccalaureate in engineering from an accredited institution.  The requirements below are based upon that assumption.  Students without an engineering degree (e.g. students with a baccalaureate in mathematics or one of the physical sciences) typically require additional course work.   In such cases, the graduate committee will work closely with the student to devise a suitable program of study.


The requirements for a Master of Science/ Course-Work Option in mechanical engineering are:

1. A minimum of 96 units total.

2. A minimum of 72 units of graduate course work (600 level or higher)

3. A minimum of 60 units of course work in Mechanical Engineering of which 48 units must be at the graduate level (600 or higher). Each student is strongly encouraged to take at least one course in each of the following areas: Fluid Mechanics, Solid Mechanics, Dynamic Systems and Controls, Thermal Sciences.  In addition, students should select courses to achieve greater depth in a particular topic.

4. A minimum of 12 units of upper level math is required.  The math requirements sheet [pdf] contains a list of CIT courses that can be used to satisfy this requirement.  All the math options count towards the 60 required units of Mechanical Engineering course work.

5. A maximum of 12 units in total of research project units (24-794), or supervised reading (24-793), or non-lecture based courses can be applied towards the degree.  These units do not count towards the 60 units of graduate course work or 60 units of graduate course work in ME and MUST be pre-approved by the Graduate Education Committee.  Supervised reading and research require a faculty advisor.

6. Advanced undergraduate courses may be applied towards the MS-C degree.  Decisions about granting credit for an undergraduate course are made on a case-by-case basis by the graduate committee.  The general criteria are that the course must be outside the student’s area of expertise, and must fit in with the student’s degree goals.  The decision is also influenced by the balance of the student’s course plan.  Credit is rarely given for lower division undergraduate courses.

7. Credit is rarely given for non-technical courses.  Decisions regarding the acceptability of non-technical courses are made on a case-by-case basis by the graduate committee.  If approved, non-technical courses do not count towards the required 60 units of graduate course work. Courses in Tepper and Heinz are not accepted.

8. The graduate committee must approve all courses.  Students are strongly advised to obtain written pre-approval for any course taken outside of Mechanical Engineering, and any undergraduate course.

9. Students must obtain an overall 3.0 grade point average to receive a degree.


Master of Science Project Option

This degree differs from the Master of Science/Course-Work Option in that a more extensive project effort is required.  Project activities in the Master of Science/Project Option require approximately one year of full-time effort and are of a substantive, professional nature.

As with the Master of Science/Course Work option, applicants holding a baccalaureate in mathematics or one of the physical sciences may also qualify for admission to the Master of Science/Project Option, although additional course work is required.

Candidates for the degree of Master of Science/Project Option are required to complete at least 192 units of work, including at least 60 units of course work and at least 96 units of project work.  The student and the advisor will determine the balance of the units.  Required courses include the following:

1.  A minimum of 9 units of upper level math is required.  The math course or math-oriented course offered by other departments must be above the 300 level for math department courses, at or above the 400 level for computer science, and at or above 400 level for statistics.  Approval of these math courses is left up to the student’s advisor. A list of CIT courses that can be used to satisfy this requirement is given in Appendix A.

2.  Students may select other graduate or advanced (300 or 400 level) undergraduate courses in mechanical engineering and related areas that are pre-approved by the student’s academic advisor. The purpose of including advanced undergraduate courses in a graduate degree is to allow a student to take some courses outside his/her area of expertise, if they fit within the student’s degree goals.

At least 48 units must be at the graduate level, 1 and at least 48 units must be in mechanical engineering. 2 The minimum 60 units of course work may not include supervised reading units.

Each student is strongly urged to take at least one course in each of the following areas:

    * Fluid Mechanics
    * Solid Mechanics
    * Dynamic Systems and Controls
    * Thermal Sciences

In addition to this distribution arrangement, each student normally takes a sequence of courses in a particular area in order to achieve greater depth in that topic.  It is desirable to make this selection in connection with project work.

3.  A minimum of 96 project units is required.  This work must culminate in a comprehensive, professional report fully documenting the project work; this report must be approved by the advisor and filed with the department.

4.  Students must write a paper and present a seminar on their completed project work. The paper must be approved by the student’s advisor. The seminar is open to faculty, students, and interested members of the university community.

5. Regular participation in the departmental seminar (24-791 for fall, 24-792 for spring) is required of full time students for two semesters. Students are also expected to participate in educational and professional activities within the department.

6. Students must maintain at least a 3.0 grade point average for course work taken toward their degree.

1Project-based courses are courses that involve significant project work, with little lecture content.  Although these courses often provide a rich educational experience, they are more like research than a traditional course.  If you plan to take a course outside of the Mechanical Engineering department that contains significant project content and you want this course to satisfy a requirement other than the 24-units of supervised reading, research, project courses (item 5), you must petition the Graduate Education Committee before you take the course.  Since the numbers for these project based courses are continually changing, the department does not maintain a list of specific project based courses and the Graduate Education Committee makes decisions on a course-by-course basis.  Courses offered by the Robotics Institute (16-###) and ICES (typically listed as 39-###) can be very project oriented.  To avoid confusion on these matters, students are advised to contact their advisor before they take any course outside of the Mechanical Engineering department.

2Mechanical Engineering courses consist of all 24-XXX courses, including courses in other departments cross-listed as 24-XXX courses, and the course 39-600, Integrated Product Development.

3Students are limited to a maximum of 54 units (total) per semester; the additional units (above full time) may be used to audit courses in preparation for the qualifying examinations.