Master of Science in Mechanical Engineering
To register for a graduate level mechanical engineering course you need to meet the minimum requirements below. If you do not have an undergraduate degree in mechanical engineering, please look at the core courses for our undergraduate program to see what additional courses you might need based on your background. Suggested core courses for the MS degree can be found on the ME program overview page.
- A minimum of 30 graduate course credits, 20 of which must be earned at Penn State's University Park campus.
- The required course credits must be completed with a grade point average of 3.00 or higher.
- Preparatory course(s) required for teaching assistants (such as ENGR 888), remedial courses, and any courses required in our undergraduate program are not counted toward degree requirements.
- At least 18 credits in 500 and 600 level courses.
- A minimum of 12 credits in 400 and 500 level courses in mechanical engineering. ME 410, 440W, 442W, 443W, 450, and any other required undergraduate courses cannot be included in those 12 credits.
- ME 596 cannot be used to fulfill this requirement if submitting a thesis, nor can 596 courses in other departments. ME 600 cannot be used to fulfill this requirement if submitting a paper.
- Three credits of mathematics.
- Credits must be chosen from the following group of courses: E MCH 524A, E MCH 524B, ME 512, ME 550, and all 400 and 500 level MATH designated courses except MATH 419, 427, 428, 435, 451, 455, 456, 461, 470, 471, 475, 475W, 482, and 484.
- Courses with a specific focus on numerical analysis will not count toward the mathematics requirement.
- A thesis, paper, or doctoral research proposal must be presented to meet the specific requirement of the degree option selected.
- Two credits of ME 590 Colloquium, preferably in the first two semesters in the program. These two colloquium credits do not count toward the 30 graduate course credits.
- Scholarship and Research Integrity (SARI) training.
For more detailed information on Graduate School program requirements and deadlines, consult the Graduate Degree Programs Bulletin and the Graduate School Thesis and Dissertation Information site.
Final Paper Options
To complete the requirements of the M.S. Thesis option, you must successfully complete a minimum of six credits of ME 600 and submit a thesis following the procedures specified by the Graduate School.
This program will consist of at least 24 course credits, 12 of which must be at the 500 level (not including ME 596), and 6 thesis credits. At least 12 credits must be 400 or 500 level Mechanical Engineering courses.
To complete the requirements of the M.S. Paper option, you must successfully complete 30 course credits, 18 of which must be at the 500 level. A maximum of 3 credits of ME 596 can be counted in the total of 30 credits (not including ME 600). At least 12 credits must be 400 or 500 level Mechanical Engineering courses.
You will write a paper on a topic mutually agreed upon by you and your adviser that is suitable for publication in a professional journal or for presentation at a national or international conference. (See specific requirements for M.S. papers below.)
Oral Presentation of Thesis or Paper
All master’s degree students will present the results of their thesis or paper at a meeting consisting of their advisor, thesis or paper reviewer, and other members of the faculty and graduate student body. This requirement may be waived if the student makes a presentation at a national or international scientific conference.
Ph.D. Research Proposal
Ph.D. candidates must submit a dissertation research proposal, demonstrating scholarship and the ability to plan a major research activity, to their doctoral committee for approval. This proposal may be used in lieu of an M.S. paper.
The requirements for this option include:
- Successful completion of the candidacy examination
- Completion of required courses matching M.S. Paper Option
- Acceptance of the research proposal by your doctoral committee
- Designating this option to the Graduate Programs Office prior to the comprehensive exam
M.S. Paper Guide
To ensure that M.S. papers meet accepted professional quality standards, the mechanical engineering graduate faculty established the following guidelines. Your paper adviser, paper reader, and the associate head of graduate programs will ensure all requirements are met.
The content, length, and structure of the paper is expected to be acceptable for publication in a peer-reviewed professional journal or presentation at a peer-reviewed national or international conference. Examples of papers that would not meet this standard would be a technical report to a sponsor, a presentation at a local or regional conference, or a presentation at a conference where selection is not based on a full-paper peer-review process.
In the case of a multiple-author paper, the degree candidate must be the first author, and the paper must be primarily the work of the degree candidate. If there are coauthors other than the degree candidate and his/her faculty advisor, then a brief summary of the contributions of each coauthor and an estimate of each coauthor's percentage of effort must be included.
If the paper has already been published and/or presented, or has been accepted for publication and/or presentation, then the actual journal- or conference-formatted paper or manuscript should be submitted. Documentation must be provided to show that the paper has been published and/or presented, or has been accepted for publication and/or presentation. The role of the reader in this case is primarily to confirm that the target journal or conference meets the criteria outlined above, and that the documentation is in order.
If the paper has been submitted for publication or presentation, but has not yet been accepted, then the actual journal- or conference-formatted manuscript should be submitted. Documentation must be provided to show that the manuscript is under consideration for publication and/or presentation. If reviewer comments are available, those should be provided. In addition to confirming that the journal or conference is appropriate, the reader in this case will effectively have the role of a peer reviewer, and will judge whether the manuscript is, in principle, suitable for publication in the target journal or presentation at the target conference.
If the paper has not yet been submitted for publication and/or presentation, but will be in the near future, then the requirements in the previous paragraph still apply, with the exception of the requirement to provide documentation that the paper is under consideration.
Finally, if the paper is not one that has been or will be submitted for publication or presentation, then an appropriate target journal or conference must be selected by the student and paper advisor, and the paper must be prepared as if it were going to be submitted to that journal or conference. An appropriate template to use in this case would be the one that is available for ASME technical papers. In this case, the paper reader must judge whether the paper would be acceptable, in principle, for publication in the target journal or presentation at the target conference. This option will place a greater burden on the reader, as he/she will not have the advantage of knowing that external peer reviewers are also reading and evaluating the paper.