M.S. degree thesis requirements

Thesis requirements apply to all students in the thesis option, including part-time and online students.

Thesis credits

Students in the thesis option need to register for a total of 12 thesis credits: ME 700.

Thesis supervisor and committee

To formally opt into the thesis track, students must complete the following three steps. There is no hard deadline by when these steps must be completed; however, students are recommended to enter the thesis track as soon as possible after enrolling in the MS program.

  1. Identify their faculty supervisor
  2. Identify at least two additional members of their thesis committee
  3. Submit their thesis proposal, including their faculty supervisor's signature

The ME Department requires that students who plan to write a thesis have at least three committee members, including the faculty supervisor who serves as Committee Chair. These must be members of the graduate faculty. The Committee Chair must be from the Mechanical Engineering Department core faculty. Core faculty comprises Mechanical Engineering Faculty in all ranks with tenure or tenure-track appointments, and research, emeritus, and joint appointments. Faculty with adjunct and affiliate ranks are not included. The Department further requires that at least one committee member be core Mechanical Engineering faculty.

Alternatively, non-core faculty may act as Committee Chair, but in that case, the remaining members of the thesis committee must include at least two core faculty members. All MS thesis committees must include at least two core Mechanical Engineering faculty.

Thesis proposal

The thesis proposal should be submitted by the student, to the ME Graduate Adviser, as soon as possible after the student identifies their supervisor and before the student may begin registering for thesis credits (ME 700). The proposal should include:

  1. Objective
  2. Justification for conducting research
  3. Approach and methodology
  4. Schedule of work
  5. Estimated cost

Thesis approval and presentation

During the student’s last quarter, the student must request graduation from the Graduate School; have the written thesis approved by their committee; and make the M.S. presentation (prior to the last day of class instruction) before an audience that includes the committee, other faculty, and invited guests.

Students are strongly encouraged to familiarize themselves with Graduate School policies about Submitting a Thesis/Dissertation during the beginning stages of research.

At least one week before the M.S. presentation, the student must send an email to with the following presentation details:

  • Exact title
  • Date, time and room number of the presentation
  • Names (please indicate chair), titles, affiliations, and email addresses of all committee members.

The morning of the presentation, the student must stop by the ME office to pick up their ME warrant and Masters Supervisory Committee Approval Form. Both documents will need to be signed by the committee at the conclusion of the student's presentation or when the committee determines that the student's thesis is ready for submission to the Graduate School.

After their M.S. presentation, the student must return the signed warrant to the ME Office.

By 11:59 p.m. on the last day of the quarter, students must submit a final, electronic copy of their thesis and Master's Supervisory Committee Approval Form to the Graduate School through the MyGrad system.

Students who make their M.S. presentation but cannot submit their thesis by the deadline should consider applying for the Graduate Registration Waiver Fee.