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M.S. degree course requirements

The master's degree requires 42 total credits. Thesis option students must register for 12 credits of thesis research and 30 credits of related numerically graded coursework. Non-thesis option students must take all 42 credits in numerically graded courses.

Numerically-graded courses

Course grades must be 2.7 or above; a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.0 must be maintained for graduation.

500-level ME courses

At least 12 credits for the thesis option and 18 credits for the non-thesis/project-based options must be taken in 500-level ME coursework. These must include 6 credits of Mechanical Engineering Analysis, ME 564 and ME 565. Credits earned from ME 598 (Graduate Projects) and ME592 (Mechatronics Master's Project) are considered elective credits and are not included in the 500-level ME coursework requirement.

Engineering Analysis (required)

Quarter Course Credits Title
Autumn ME 564 3 Mechanical Engineering Analysis I
Winter ME 565 3 Mechanical Engineering Analysis II

Numerical Analysis (one course required)

At least 1 course in the computational or numerical analysis must be taken from the following list of approved courses. ME 535, ME 578, and ME 574 also count toward the core 500-level ME coursework requirement, above; courses from other departments count toward the student's elective credits total.

Quarter Course Credits Title
Winter AA 540 3 Finite Element Analysis I
Winter AA 543 3 Computational Fluid Dynamics
Winter ME 578 4 Convex Optimization
Winter ME 535 3 Computational Techniques in Mechanical Engineering
Spring CESG 504 4 Finite Element Methods in Structural Mechanics
Spring ME 574 3 Introduction to Applied Parallel Computing

On-campus MS students who completed AMATH 581 or 584 with a passing grade prior to winter quarter 2020 have satisfied the numerical analysis requirement and are not required to complete another course from this list.  Online/EDGE MS students may continue to register for AMATH 581 and 584 through EDGE shared access and use the course to complete the numerical analysis requirement.


The remaining credits (18 for thesis-option students and 24 for non-thesis-option students) can be from other departments and may include a maximum of 9 credits (12 credits for non-thesis) of 400-level coursework. This excludes capstone project or project-based courses such as ME 495, 498 & 499. Courses from other departments should be closely related to the student's overall plan of study and drawn from the following departments or appear on a curriculum concentration course list:

  • Engineering departments (BioE, AA, ChemE, CEE, CSE, EE, HCDE, INDE, MSE)
  • Mathematical and computational sciences (Math, AMath, Stat)
  • Physical sciences (AtmS, Chem, Gphys, Ocean, Phys)
  • Approved biological sciences

Graduate Projects and Independent Study

Non-thesis option students may count up to a total of 9 numerically-graded credits of ME 592 (Mechatronics Master's Project), ME 598 (Graduate Projects), and/or ME 600 (Independent Study) toward their elective credits. The Project Registration Web Form, including faculty approval for your registration, must be submitted prior to receiving an add code and registering for the credits.

For thesis-option students, project and independent study credits from ME 592, ME 598, and ME 600 do not count toward the 42-credit total. Students entering the thesis track having already earned ME 592, ME 598 or ME 600 credits should consult with their academic advisor.


Although there is no formal seminar course requirement for the M.S. degree, students are expected to attend campus seminars to expand their general knowledge of research in relevant fields. For example, the department regularly invites prestigious speakers to discuss their latest research in the ME Departmental Seminars. Seminar information can be found on the Leadership Seminars and Graduate Seminars pages.

Full-time status

Full-time status (10 or more credits) may be necessary to fulfill financial aid or visa requirements. On-campus M.S. students who are not required to maintain full-time status may register for fewer than 10 credits. M.S. students who need to maintain a full-time status have the following options:

  1. Take two 3-credit courses and one 4-credit course.

  2. Take three 3-credit courses and one credit of ME592, ME 598 or ME 600 (independent study). Up to 9 credits of ME 592, ME 598, and/or ME 600 may be counted toward the 42 credits of numerically-graded courses required for graduation. Students choosing this option must receive faculty approval to register for ME 598/ME 600 credits before they may receive an add code and register for the credits. Students in the thesis option may use ME 700 credits to reach the full-time, 10-credit status.

  3. Take three 3-credit courses and a 1-credit seminar course. For the ME Department, the default seminar course for this purpose is ME 520. Other 1-credit seminar courses offered by other UW engineering programs are another option. Note that while these seminar courses can be used to reach the 10-credit full-time enrollment requirement, these seminar credits do not count toward the 42 credits required toward the M.S. degree.