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 option must be taken in 500-level ME courses. These must include 6 credits of Mechanical Engineering Analysis and at least 3 credits of computational or numerical analysis.

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 3 credits of computational or numerical analysis must be taken from the following list of approved courses (or from an approved plan of individual study conducted as part of thesis research).

Quarter Course Credits Title
Autumn AMATH 581 5 Scientific Computing
Autumn AMATH 584 5 Applied Linear Algebra and Introductory Numerical Analysis
Winter AA 540 3 Finite Element Analysis I
Winter AA 543 5 Computational Fluid Dynamics
Winter CEE 504 3 Finite Element Methods in Structural Mechanics
Winter ME 578 4 Convex Optimization
Winter ME 599 3 Voxel Models
Spring ME 535 3 Computational Techniques in Mechanical Engineering

To waive any of the required courses, you must file a Graduation Petition with the ME Graduate Adviser and demonstrate an equivalent background in applied mathematics and computational analysis. The petition will then be evaluated by the GPC.


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) at the 400 course level (excluding ME 498 & 499). Courses from other departments should be closely related to the student's overall plan and should be drawn from the following departments:

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

Special Projects

Non-thesis option students may substitute up to 9 credits of ME 598 Graduate Projects for 9 credits of numerical graded coursework. The ME Graduate Special Project Registration must be submitted to the ME Graduate Academic Adviser prior to registering for the course. If the project is approved by the Graduate Program Coordinator (GPC), the student must write a research paper under the supervision of a faculty member. The student must also enroll in the course for credits and earn a numerical grade.

For thesis-option students, special project courses like ME 598 and ME 600 do not count toward the 42-credit total.


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 ME 598 (graduate special project). In ME 598, students will work with a faculty member on a special project with research content. The ME 598 course is numerically graded. Up to 9 credits of ME 598 may be counted toward the 42 credits of numerically graded courses required for graduation. Students choosing this option must complete the The ME Graduate Special Project Registration form and submit it to the ME office prior to registering for the course. 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.