The Department of Mechanical Engineering offers master of science (M.S.) degrees in Mechanical Engineering with a thesis option or a course option. The thesis option and course option M.S. degrees take approximately two years to complete. The thesis option has a significant research component giving students valuable hands on research experience with mentoring by faculty in the Department of Mechanical Engineering. The course-option M.S. degree has a stronger focus on coursework but also requires at least 3 credits of independent study mentored by faculty in the Department of Mechanical Engineering. For either option students are mentored by the world-class faculty in the mechanical engineering department at UW–Madison.

For a list of mechanical engineering faculty along with faculty research interests, please visit our faculty directory. For more information on research areas see our page on research in Mechanical Engineering.

Students with a strong background in mechanical engineering or a related field with interest in furthering their education in mechanical engineering are encouraged to apply for admission to the department. Applicants accepted into the program generally have an undergraduate grade point average well above the graduate school minimum of 3.0 on a 4.0 scale. All applicants are required to take the Graduate Record Exam (GRE). Applications are evaluated on the basis of previous academic record, GRE scores, letters of recommendation, and a personal statement. For more information on admission requirements see the department’s MS degree website


Applications are accepted for admission during the fall semester.

Graduate School Admissions

Graduate admissions is a two-step process between academic degree programs and the Graduate School. Applicants must meet requirements of both the program(s) and the Graduate School. Once you have researched the graduate program(s) you are interested in, apply online.  

Graduate School Resources

Resources to help you afford graduate study might include assistantships, fellowships, traineeships, and financial aid. Further funding information is available from the Graduate School. Be sure to check with your program for individual policies and processes related to funding.

Program Resources

There are three mechanisms for Graduate Student funding through the university for Mechanical Engineering M.S. students:

  1. Fellowships
  2. Graduate assistantships: project assistantships, teaching ssistantships, and research asistantships
  3. Traineeships

Funding is awarded based on the qualifications of the student, the number of applicants, the amount of available funding, and the number of continuing students receiving support. Fellowship and research assistantship funding is only considered for thesis-based M.S. students. You can apply for funding for research assistantships by contacting individual faculty members directly. Please check our website to look for faculty (only those listed with titles of assistant professor, associate professor, or professor can serve as graduate student advisors). Search for faculty who have research interests that align closely with your own by viewing faculty directory entries, visiting the faculty’s website (linked from the directory page), and reviewing publications by the faculty member. Once you have identified faculty with interests close to your own, you are encouraged to contact them by email to inquire regarding available research assistant positions. The admissions office does not know if a particular professor has research assistant positions available.

Students who apply to the department will be automatically considered for fellowship opportunities within the department. For information on applying for teaching assistant positions and for other information on funding please see the department website.

Minimum Graduate School Requirements

Review the Graduate School minimum academic progress and degree requirements, in addition to the program requirements listed below.

Major Requirements

Mode of Instruction

Face to Face Evening/Weekend Online Hybrid Accelerated
Yes No No No No

Mode of Instruction Definitions


Minimum Credit Requirement 30 credits
Minimum Residence Credit Requirement Thesis track: 21 credits.
Course track: 18 credits.
Minimum Graduate Coursework Requirement Half of degree coursework (15 out of 30 total credits) must be in graduate-level coursework; courses with the Graduate Level Coursework attribute are identified and searchable in the university's Course Guide (
Overall Graduate GPA Requirement 3.00 GPA required.
Other Grade Requirements Students must earn a C or above in all formal coursework.

Students may not have any more than two Incompletes on their record at any one time.
Assessments and Examinations The thesis track requires that the student pass a formal thesis defense.
Language Requirements No language requirements.

Required Courses

For both the thesis or course track1, two semesters of M E 903 Graduate Seminar are required. These should be taken the first two semester the student is in residence.

Thesis-track requirements: a minimum of 18 formal course credits (minimum of 9 formal course credits in ME taken at UW–Madison); one of these courses must be numbered 700 or higher, and a minimum of 9 thesis credits (M E 790 Master's Research and Thesis).

Course-track requirements: a minimum of 24 formal course credits (minimum of 15 formal course credits in ME taken at UW–Madison); one of these courses must be numbered 700 or higher, and a minimum of 3 thesis credits of independent study (M E 699 Advanced Independent Study).

Courses Numbered 400 and above in M E which count toward course, independent study, research credit requirements:

M E/​B M E  415 Biomechanics of Human Movement3
M E 417 Transport Phenomena in Polymer Processing3
M E 418 Engineering Design with Polymers3
M E 419 Fundamentals of Injection Molding3
M E 420 Introduction to Polymer Composites Processing3
M E/​STAT  424 Statistical Experimental Design3
M E/​CBE/​CHEM/​E M A  425 Undergraduate Rheology Seminar1
M E 429 Metal Cutting3
M E/​M S & E  435 Joining of Materials: Structural, Electronic, Bio and Nano Materials3
M E 437 Advanced Materials Selection3
M E/​E C E  439 Introduction to Robotics3
M E 440 Intermediate Vibrations3
M E/​BSE/​FOOD SCI  441 Rheology of Foods and Biomaterials3
M E 444 Design Problems in Elasticity3
M E 445 Mechatronics in Control & Product Realization3
M E 446 Automatic Controls3
M E 447 Computer Control of Machines and Processes3
M E 448 Mechanical Systems Analysis3
M E 449 Redesign and Prototype Fabrication3
M E 450 Design and Dynamics of Vehicles3
M E 451 Kinematics and Dynamics of Machine Systems3
M E 460 Applied Thermal / Structural Finite Element Analysis3
M E 461 Thermal Systems Modeling3
M E/​M S & E  462 Welding Metallurgy3
M E 466 Air Pollution Effects, Measurements and Control3
M E 469 Internal Combustion Engines3
M E/​BSE  475 Engineering Principles of Agricultural Machinery3
M E/​BSE  476 Engineering Principles of Off-Road Vehicles3
M E 489 Honors in Research1-3
M E 491 Mechanical Engineering Projects I1-3
M E 492 Mechanical Engineering Projects II1-3
M E/​CIV ENGR/​E M A  508 Composite Materials3
M E/​I SY E  510 Facilities Planning3
M E/​I SY E  512 Inspection, Quality Control and Reliability3
M E/​I SY E  513 Analysis of Capital Investments3
M E 514 Additive Manufacturing3
M E/​N E  520 Two-Phase Flow and Heat Transfer3
M E/​CBE  525 Macromolecular Hydrodynamics3
M E/​COMP SCI/​E C E  532 Matrix Methods in Machine Learning3
M E 535 Computer-Aided Geometric Design3
M E/​COMP SCI/​E C E  539 Introduction to Artificial Neural Network and Fuzzy Systems3
M E/​E M A  540 Experimental Vibration and Dynamic System Analysis3
M E 545 Fluid Power3
M E 549 Product Design3
M E/​COMP SCI/​I SY E  558 Introduction to Computational Geometry3
M E 561 Intermediate Thermodynamics3
M E 563 Intermediate Fluid Dynamics3
M E 564 Heat Transfer3
M E/​N E  565 Power Plant Technology3
M E/​E P  566 Cryogenics3
M E/​CBE  567 Solar Energy Technology3
M E 569 Applied Combustion3
M E/​E M A  570 Experimental Mechanics3
M E 572 Intermediate Gas Dynamics3
M E 573 Computational Fluid Dynamics3
M E/​E C E  577 Automatic Controls Laboratory4
M E 601 Special Topics in Mechanical Engineering1-3
M E/​I SY E  641 Design and Analysis of Manufacturing Systems3
M E/​I SY E  643 Performance Analysis of Manufacturing Systems3
M E 699 Advanced Independent Study1-3
M E 702 Graduate Cooperative Education Program1-2
M E/​E M A  706 Plates, Shells and Pressure Vessels3
M E/​E M A  708 Advanced Composite Materials3
M E 714 Advanced Materials Processing and Manufacturing3
M E 717 Advanced Polymer Processing3
M E 718 Modeling and Simulation in Polymer Processing3
M E/​E M A  722 Introduction to Polymer Rheology3
M E/​E C E  739 Advanced Robotics3
M E 740 Advanced Vibrations3
M E 746 Dynamics of Controlled Systems3
M E 747 Advanced Computer Control of Machines and Processes3
M E 748 Optimum Design of Mechanical Elements and Systems3
M E 751 Matrix Methods in the Design and Analysis of Mechanisms3
M E 753 Friction, Lubrication and Wear3
M E 758 Solid Modeling3
M E/​COMP SCI/​E C E/​E M A/​E P  759 High Performance Computing for Applications in Engineering3
M E 761 Topics in Thermodynamics3
M E 764 Advanced Heat Transfer I-Conduction3
M E 765 Advanced Heat Transfer II-Convection3
M E 769 Combustion Processes3
M E 770 Advanced Experimental Instrumentation3
M E 773 Boundary Layer Theory3
M E 774 Chem Kinetics of Combust Systems3
M E 775 Turbulent Heat and Momentum Transfer3
M E/​E P  777 Vacuum Technology3
M E 790 Master's Research and Thesis1-9
M E 890 PhD Research and Thesis1-9
M E 903 Graduate Seminar0
M E/​CBE/​CHEM/​E M A  925 Rheology Research Seminar1
M E 964 Special Advanced Topics in Mechanical Engineering1-3
M E 990 Dissertator Research and Thesis1-9
M E 999 Advanced Independent Study1-5

Named Options (Sub-Majors)

A named option is a formally documented sub-major within an academic major program. Named options appear on the transcript with degree conferral.

Graduate School Policies

The Graduate School’s Academic Policies and Procedures provide essential information regarding general university policies. Program authority to set degree policies beyond the minimum required by the Graduate School lies with the degree program faculty. Policies set by the academic degree program can be found below.

Major-Specific Policies

Graduate Program Handbook

The Graduate Program Handbook is the repository for all of the program's policies and requirements.

Prior Coursework

Graduate Work from Other Institutions

With program approval, students are allowed to count graduate coursework from other institutions (up to 50% of the formal course requirement) toward the minimum graduate degree credit requirement and the minimum graduate coursework (50%) requirement.  No credits from other institutions can be counted toward the minimum graduate residence credit requirement. Coursework earned five or more years prior to admission is not allowed to satisfy requirements.

UW–Madison Undergraduate

Up to 7 credits numbered 400 or above may be counted toward the minimum graduate degree credit requirement. These credits may be counted toward the minimum graduate coursework (50%) requirement if they are in courses numbered 700 or above.  No credits may be counted toward the minimum graduate residence credit requirement.  Coursework earned five or more years prior to admission to a master’s degree is not allowed to satisfy requirements.

UW–Madison University Special

With program approval, and payment of the difference in tuition, students are allowed to count up to 15 credits of coursework numbered 400 or above taken as a UW–Madison Special student toward the minimum graduate residence credit requirement and the minimum graduate degree credit requirement.  These credits may be counted toward the minimum graduate coursework (50%) requirement if they are in courses numbered 700 or above. Coursework earned five or more years prior to admission is not allowed to satisfy requirements.


The Graduate School regularly reviews the record of any student who earned grades of BC, C, D, F, or Incomplete in a graduate course (300 or above), or grade of U in research credits. This review could result in academic probation with a hold on future enrollment or in being suspended from the Graduate School.

  1. Good standing (progressing according to standards; any funding guarantee remains in place).
  2. Probation (not progressing according to standards but permitted to enroll; loss of funding guarantee; specific plan with dates and deadlines in place in regard to removal of probationary status).
  3. Unsatisfactory progress (not progressing according to standards; not permitted to enroll, dismissal, leave of absence or change of advisor or program).

A semester GPA below 3.0 will result in the student being placed on academic probation. If a semester GPA of 3.0 is not attained during the subsequent semester of full time enrollment (or 12 credits of enrollment if enrolled part-time), this will be deemed unsatisfactory progress and the student may be dismissed from the program or allowed to continue for one additional semester based on advisor appeal to the Graduate School.


All students are required to obtain a mechanical engineering faculty advisor who assists them in planning a course sequence that meets degrees requirements and who will discuss career objectives with the students.

Thesis-track: An M.S. thesis committee must include the student’s mechanical engineering faculty advisor and at least two other members: one other graduate faculty or former graduate faculty up to one year after resignation or retirement, and one of the following: a third graduate faculty member, a retired faculty member with emeritus status, or a UW–Madison research scientist with principal investigator status who has been approved by the M E executive committee.


15 credits

Time Constraints

Master’s degree students who have been absent for five or more consecutive years lose all credits that they have earned before their absence. Individual programs may count the coursework students completed prior to their absence for meeting program requirements; that coursework may not count toward Graduate School credit requirements.



Graduate School Resources

Take advantage of the Graduate School's professional development resources to build skills, thrive academically, and launch your career. 

1. Demonstrate a strong understanding of mathematical, scientific, and engineering principles in the field.

2. Demonstrate an ability to formulate, analyze, and independently solve advanced engineering problems.

3. Apply the relevant scientific and technological advancements, techniques, and engineering tools to address these problems.

4. Recognize and apply principles of ethical and professional conduct.

Faculty: Professors Ghandhi (chair), Lorenz, Nellis, Osswald, Pfotenhauer, Rowlands, Rutland, Sanders, Shapiro, Thelen, Turng; Associate Professors Krupenkin, Negrut, Pfefferkorn, Ploeg, Qian, Rothamer, Suresh, Trujillo, Zinn; Assistant Professors Adamczyk, Eriten, Henak, Kokjohn, Miller, Min, Roldan-Alzate, Rudolph; Faculty affiliates Allen, Bonazza, Holloway, Luzzio, Reindl, Scarlat, Schauer