This is a named option within the Engineering Mechanics M.S.

The Fundamentals of Applied Mechanics option of the Master of Science degree in Engineering Mechanics (FAM) is primarily designed for students with a science background who would like to transition to engineering. It may also be suitable for non-mechanics engineering students (electrical, chemical, etc.) who are interested in transitioning to mechanics. The goal of this program is to provide a bridge to careers in engineering or to a Ph.D program in mechanics. FAM is fast-paced; students are expected to complete the curriculum over a twelve-month period, starting in a summer session. Prospective graduate students with a background in mechanics are encouraged to consider our primary M.S. and Ph.D. in Engineering Mechanics programs.

The Graduate School sets minimum requirements for admissions. Academic program admission requirements are often more rigorous than those set by the Graduate School. Please check the program website for details and admissions deadlines.

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

The Department of Engineering Physics does not offer assistantship positions to its FAM students.  The two semesters of the program are academically accelerated, and students are not expected to accommodate time for assistantship work.

Minimum Graduate School Requirements

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

Named Option Requirements


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

Mode of Instruction Definitions


Minimum Credit Requirement 30 credits
Minimum Residence Credit Requirement 16 credits
Minimum Graduate Coursework Requirement 15 of the required 30 credits must be in graduate-level coursework from E M A and Engineering Physics; 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 Courses in which grades of BC, C, or below are received cannot be counted toward the degree except as follows: 1) Credits of C will be allowed provided they are balanced by twice as many credits of A or by four times as many credits of AB, 2) Credits of BC will be allowed provided they are balanced by twice as many credits of AB or by an equal number of credits of A.
Assessments and Examinations None.
Language Requirements No language requirements.

Required COURSES

Summer Session3-6
E M A 303 Mechanics of Materials3
Recommended prerequisite (strongly recommended):
E M A 202 Dynamics3
Fall Semester14
M E/​E M A  307 Mechanics of Materials Lab1
E M A 506 Advanced Mechanics of Materials I3
E M A 542 Advanced Dynamics3
E M A/​E P  547 Engineering Analysis I3
E M A 601 Special Topics in Engineering Mechanics1-3
E M A 405 Practicum in Finite Elements3
or E M A 605 Introduction to Finite Elements
Spring Semester13
E M A/​E P  548 Engineering Analysis II3
E M A 601 Special Topics in Engineering Mechanics1-3
Choose three of the following: 19
Composite Materials
Fracture Mechanics
Experimental Mechanics
Advanced Mechanical Testing of Materials
Mechanics of Continua
Satellite Dynamics
Advanced Topics in Finite Elements

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.

Named Option-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

No transfer credits are allowed.

UW–Madison Undergraduate

With program approval, students are allowed to count up to 7 credits of coursework from the following list of courses:

E P/​E M A  547 Engineering Analysis I3
E P/​E M A  548 Engineering Analysis II3
E M A 303 Mechanics of Materials3
E M A/​M E  307 Mechanics of Materials Lab1
E M A 405 Practicum in Finite Elements3
E M A 405 Practicum in Finite Elements3
E M A 506 Advanced Mechanics of Materials I3
E M A/​CIV ENGR/​M E  508 Composite Materials3
E M A 519 Fracture Mechanics3
E M A 542 Advanced Dynamics3
E M A/​M E  570 Experimental Mechanics3
E M A 605 Introduction to Finite Elements3
E M A 611 Advanced Mechanical Testing of Materials3
E M A 622 Mechanics of Continua3
E M A 642 Satellite Dynamics3
E M A 705 Advanced Topics in Finite Elements3

These may be counted toward the Minimum Graduate Degree Credit Requirement as applicable. 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, 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. UW–Madison coursework taken as a University Special student would not be allowed to count toward the 50% graduate coursework minimum unless taken at the 700 level or above. Coursework earned five or more years prior to admission to a master’s is not allowed to satisfy requirements.


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) the student may be dismissed from the program or allowed to continue for one additional semester based on advisor appeal to the Graduate School.


Each student is required to meet with his or her advisor prior to registration every semester.


15 credits

Time Constraints

Students are expected to complete the FAM degree program in one calendar year, i.e., 12 months (summer session plus two semesters). One additional semester is permitted to complete the requirements, if needed.


Students in the accelerated Fundamentals of Applied Mechanics (M.S.) program are not eligible for graduate assistantships; as it is an accelerated program students are not expected to accommodate time for assistantship work.

Graduate School Resources

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

Faculty: Professors T. Allen, Blanchard, Bonazza, Crone, Fonck, Hegna, Henderson (chair), Lakes, Smith, Sovinec, Waleffe, Wilson; Associate Professors M. Allen, Schmitz, Witt; Assistant Professors Couet, Notbohm, Scarlat, Thevamaran; Affiliate Professors Bednarz, Bier, Graham, Ludois, Ma, Miller, Morgan, Nellis, Pfotenhauer, Porter, Prabhakar, Robertson, Szlufarska, Thomadsen, Trujillo, Vanderby; Emeritus Professors Abdel-Khalik, Bisognano, Callen, Carbon, Conrad, Cook, Corradini, DeLuca, Drugan, Emmert, Hershkowitz, Kammer, Kulcinski, Mackie, Malkus, Moses, Plesha, Sandor, Schlack, Vogelsang