Master of Science in Mechanical Engineering

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 (Faculty Research)

All requirements for the master's degree coursework must be completed within six consecutive calendar years after initial registration.

The Program Educational Objectives of the Master of Science program in Mechanical Engineering program are to produce graduates who will:

  • Be prepared for successful careers in industry, government, academia or non-profit establishments, and will have an appreciation for lifelong learning.
  • 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.
  • Have a breadth of knowledge that fosters an awareness of and skill in interdisciplinary approaches to problem solving.
  • Have a keen sense of professionalism and a commitment to work toward the betterment of society and the world.
  • Embrace diversity and work to foster successful collaborations that are inclusive of all people.
  1. Excellence. Mastery of the knowledge in their area of specialization, and the ability to apply associated technologies to novel and emerging problems.

  2. Breadth. Broaden professional foundations through activities such as internships, fellowships, the Student Research Symposium, and serving on student committees, as appropriate.

  3. Problem definition. State a research problem in such a way that it clearly fits within the context of the literature in an area of study, and demonstrate the value of the solution to the research problem in advancing knowledge within that area.

  4. Problem solving. Apply sound research methods/tools to problems in an area of study, and describe the methods/tools effectively. Analyze/interpret research data.

  5. Professionalism. Participate in professional organizations, becoming members and attending meetings. Present research to local, regional, national, and international audiences through publications in professional journals and conference papers.

  6. Communication. Communicate research clearly and professionally in both written and oral forms appropriate to the field.

  7. Societal Context. Understand the impact of engineering solutions in a global, economic, and societal context.

Admission to the MSME program at SDSU depends on GPA. A minimum TOEFL score of 85 or IELTS score of 6.5 is required for non-native speakers. Scores from these tests should be directed to the University, not the Mechanical Engineering Department.

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 some undergraduate Mechanical Engineering courses as prerequisites. Please see or email the Graduate Adviser with your transcript to establish the list of these courses that may apply to you as soon as possible.

    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, and Computer Aided Design.

    For more, see For admission criteria catalog, see:

  2. 2. If an applicant is deficient in GPA or they may be admitted with the condition that they perform well in their first semester (or year, for full time working students) demonstrating that they can be successful at the graduate level. In some cases, the courses can be taken through SDSU Global Campus Open University. Please contact the Graduate Adviser if you are in this category.

  1. Steps to apply. Follow instructions here.

    GRE Scores are not required.

  2. The application 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 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; please see the email from the Graduate Advisor about that.
  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

Students must choose to follow either Plan A or Plan B within the first year.

Plan A:

Thesis option. Under this plan, you will need to take 7 classroom courses for 21 units, plus 6 units of research towards your thesis, and a thesis class (3 units), for a total of 30 units, needed to graduate.

Plan B:

Non-thesis. Under this option, you will need to take 9 classroom 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:
    1. 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.
    2. Nine additional units of 500-, 600-, or 700-level courses (excluding ME 797, 798, 799A, 799B, 799C) selected in consultation with the graduate adviser.
    3. At least 15 units of coursework (excluding ME 797, 798, 799A, 799B, 799C) from mechanical engineering.
  2. Nine additional units:
    1. Thesis students: Six units of ME 797 and three units of 799A or 799B (thesis).
    2. 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 either at the beginning of their career or after one semester in consultation with the Graduate Advisor 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.