Master of Science

As a graduate mechanical engineering student you will cover a broad scope of topics to prepare you for a successful engineering career, or to further your goal in seeking a more advanced academic degree. 
The Master of Science in Mechanical Engineering prepares students to work toward more advanced degrees, or to work in today's complex and competitive industry that shapes our society. Our program values the diverse perspectives of students, providing an evolving curriculum tailored to the needs of industry and society. Students have the opportunity to work with faculty on multidisciplinary emerging research areas.   
All requirements for the master's degree coursework must be completed within six consecutive calendar years after initial registration. 

The Educational Objectives (EOs) of the Master of Science program in Mechanical Engineering (MSME) are to produce graduates who:

  • Will be prepared for successful careers in industry, government, or non-profit establishments, and will have an appreciation for lifelong learning.
  • Will have the capacity to use advanced analytical and experimental methods needed to continue graduate study at the doctoral level, or to thrive in a research and development environment in a private, public, or government institution.
  • Will have a breadth of knowledge that fosters an awareness of and skill in interdisciplinary approaches to problem solving.
  • Will have a keen sense of professionalism and a commitment to work toward the betterment of society.

1. Admission to MSME program at SDSU primarily depends on GPA and GRE scores. Minimum GPA is 3.0. A minimum TOEFL score of 85 or IELTS score of 6.5 is required year. GRE (V&Q) must exceed 306.
International students that satisfy TOEFL criteria and have exceptionally high Quantitative GRE scores (say above 160) may be considered for admission if they have minimum combined GRE score of 300.

2. Submission of recommendation letters is strongly encouraged, but they are not required. If submitted, letters from three references in hardcopies should be sent to:

Attn: MSME Advisor
Department of Mechanical Engineering
San Diego State University
San Diego CA 92182

Conditional Admittance

A student may be admitted conditionally for two reasons:

1. If an applicant holds a non- Mechanical Engineering undergraduate degree. Such students are required to clear undergraduate Mechanical Engineering courses as prerequisites. The list of undergraduate ME courses that need to be taken by such conditionally admitted students is determined by the department after reviewing the student's transcript, after admission, - not before. Please see the graduate Adviser with your transcript to establish the list of these courses that may apply to you. Note that the University limits the total number of undergraduate courses to be taken as a condition to max of 15 units. This limit precludes most non-engineering applicants unless the applicant has somehow taken relevant engineering courses before applying for MSME.

2. If a student GPA is minimally below the required, but the student has reasonably high GRE. In this case the student has to keep B or better grades in all graduate level courses during the first semester.

Non-Mechanical Engineering Applicants

The MSME admission criteria for students with Bachelor of Science degrees in Mechanical engineering and those with non-Mechanical engineering degrees are essentially the same, primarily depending on GRE and GPA.  However, applicants with non- Mechanical engineering degrees are always admitted "Conditionally" since they are required to take undergraduate Mechanical engineering courses (see point 1 above under "Conditional Admittance").  Students with undergraduate degree related to Mechanical Engineering are likely required to take fewer makeup courses than those with undergraduate degrees less related to Mechanical Engineering.  

Important note:  Applicants with B.Sc. degree in non-Mechanical Engineering fields must have taken at least freshman and sophomore level Mechanical Engineering courses before applying for MSME.  These include courses such as Physics, Calculus III, Differential Equations, Statics, Dynamics, Principles of Electrical Engineering, Computer Programming, Solid works (CAD), and Materials.

For more, see For admission criteria catalog, see:

1. Student applies electronically to the CSU via Cal State Apply. After receiving “red id”, applicant sends official transcripts, proof of degree, and other required documents. Please check SDSU Graduate Affairs website for all deadlines. Applicants may send three recommendation letters to: Graduate Advisor; Department of Mechanical Engineering; San Diego State University; San Diego CA 92182; Submission of Recommendation letters is strongly encouraged but not required. The “Statement of Purpose” must be entered in the application form on CSU Mentor.

2. File is screened for completion by Graduate Affairs.

3. Files considered complete are sent to the Mechanical Engineering (ME) department.

4. The ME department reviews the students’ files and sends them back to Graduate Affairs with its decisions to accept, conditionally accept, or reject the candidate.

5. The SDSU Webportal is populated or updated, and the student receives an acceptance letter. A student with a slightly below the minimum GPA, GRE, or one with non-ME undergraduate degree may be accepted conditionally. The acceptance letter does not mention whether or not the student is accepted conditionally.

6. Based on graduate application report at Graduate Division, a student may receive additional email from ME department stating that his or her acceptance is conditional. 

 Review Career Guide here
 Students must choose to follow either Plan A or Plan B. 

Plan A:
Thesis option. Under this plan, you will need to take 7 courses for 21 units, plus 2 research projects for 6 units, and a thesis (3 units), for a total of 30 units, needed to graduate. 

Plan B:
Non-thesis. Under this option, you will need to take 9 courses for 27 units, and a research project for 3 units, totaling 30 units, needed to graduate.

The student’s program, prepared in conference with and approved by the graduate adviser, must satisfy the following requirements:

1. Twenty-one units of coursework:

a. Twelve units in one area of specialization (designated as Group A, B, C, or D), with no more     than six units of 500-level courses.

b. Nine additional units of 500-, 600-, or 700-level courses (excluding ME 797, 798, 799A, 799B, 799C) selected in consultation with the graduate adviser. 

c. At least 15 units of coursework (excluding ME 797, 798, 799A, 799B, 799C) from mechanical engineering. 

2. Nine additional units:

a. Thesis students: Six units of ME 797 and three units of 799A or 799B (thesis).

b. Non-thesis students: Three units of M E 797 and six units of 500-, 600, or 700-level courses from mechanical engineering.

3. The total number of units from 500-level courses should not exceed nine

 Students choose one of the following four areas of specialization at the beginning of their career because each group requires certain courses to be taken. 

Group A - Design and Manufacturing 

Group B - Dynamics and Control 

Group C - Energy and Thermofluids 

Group D - Materials and Mechanics

Official Program of Study (POS): (information taken from graduate division website)

The Official Program of Study consists of courses a student must complete in order to be awarded a master’s degree. The Official POS form is completed in consultation with the department Graduate Adviser and approved by the Graduate Dean. It is a binding document unless the student withdraws from the university.

To read more about POS, go to the last section of frequently asked questions.

Classified Standing

If you are a classified student, that means you have met all conditions of admission to the graduate program.

Conditionally Classified Standing

Students who are admitted to the master’s program with conditions are considered conditionally classified. The student will need to complete the conditions specified by the department on or before the set deadline before they can be classified. You MUST normally work towards achieving classified standing from day one. You should normally attain classified standing by the end of your second semester at SDSU. If your academic background is in a different discipline than mechanical engineering, you will likely be required to take additional courses, which will not contribute to your program of study leading to your MS degree, but will give you the proper foundation to help you pursue your MS degree. When all conditions are met you must contact the Graduate Adviser and request that a Change of Status is sent to the Graduate Division to become classified.

Advancement to Candidacy (information taken from graduate division website)

Advancement to Candidacy is official recognition by the department. The student may continue as a candidate to perform at the masters’ level. The Graduate Division will process the Advancement to Candidacy after the Official Program of Study has been approved. The student may not receive a Thesis Committee form, enroll in Thesis 799A or take the final departmental examination (including the thesis defense) until they have been Advanced to Candidacy.

 Click on here for the FAQ's
Please send supplemental documents, letters of recommendations, statement of purpose, and further questions to: 
Dr. Fletcher Miller
Mechanical Engineering Graduate Adviser
Mechanical Engineering Department
San Diego State University
5500 Campanile Drive
San Diego, CA 92182-1323
Email: [email protected]
Telephone:  (619) 594-5791