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Mechanical Engineering Graduate Program Descriptions

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Doctoral Program

The Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) degree is the highest degree awarded by the Mechanical Engineering Department and is recommended for students who are interested in leadership careers in academia (e.g., as a faculty member of a university), industry, or government.  

Students entering the Ph.D. program with a Master's degree complete the Ph.D. program in 4-6 years, while students who enter the Direct Ph.D. program with a bachelor's degree finish in 5-6 years.  Ph.D. students are required to be full-time status during the Fall and Winter terms.  For additional information regarding the Doctoral program, please refer to the Doctoral Degree section on the Graduate Handbook. 

Master Program

Students entering the Masters of Science in Engineering (MSE) program normally hold a baccalaureate in ME or a closely related field from an accredited institution.  If a bachelor's degree is in progress, the applicant will be asked to forward a final transcript once the degree is complete.  We encourage applications from students with diverse scientific backgrounds, such as other engineering disciplines, mathematics, physics, chemistry or biology and from industry engineers who are seeking further educational training.  

On average, students finish the Master's degree program in 1-2 years. If interested in obtaining a Ph.D., an applicant is encouraged to apply directly to Doctoral Program (a Master's degree is not necessary when applying).  For additional information regarding the Master program degree options, please refer to the Master Program section on the Graduate Handbook. 

Sequential Undergraduate/Graduate Studies (SUGS)

The Rackham SUGS program was developed to promote greater enrollment of qualified College of Engineering (CoE) students in the M.S.E. program. Undergraduate students must meet with an ME academic advisor at the end of their junior year to outline a preliminary study plan. For additional information, please refer to the Graduate Handbook to learn more about the ME SUGS program.  Currently only Mechanical Engineering students can participate in the ME SUGS program.

Joint Institute - Undergraduate/Graduate Studies (JI-SUGS)

The JI-SUGS program was developed for students who are receiving an undergraduate ME BSE degree from the UM - Shanghai Jiao Tong University's Joint Institute and wish to pursue a Mechanical Engineering Masters degree at UM. Students who have received only a ME bachelors from SJTU and have maintained a 3.6 GPA throughout their tenure may apply through the Rackham Admissions Application. In order to ensure that a student is considered for the JI-SUGS program, they must fill out a JI-SUGS Course Election Form and submit it with the application for admission. For additional information, please refer to the Graduate HandbookStudents that participate in the joint undergraduate program and receive two undergraduate degrees from UM and SJTU are not eligible for this program.

Dual Degree Program

Further information can be found in the Mechanical Engineering Graduate Handbook.

  • School of Natural Resources and Environment (SNRE)
    • Dual-degree students interested in obtaining a dual degree from the School of Natural Resource & Environment and Mechanical Engineering program, must apply to both programs.  GRE is required.
    • For current U-M students: 
      • Fill out the dual degree application, dual degree election form and provide a Statement of Purpose (see the Graduate Admission link for more information). Do not fill out the online Rackham application.
    • For new SNRE students (not from U-M previously or currently)
      • A separate Rackham online application must be submitted to both programs along with supporting documents. See the Graduate Admission link for items that must be submitted with the online application.  

Transfer of Credit to Mechanical Engineering

  • Doctoral program
    • We do not allow transfers from another Ph.D. program to Mechanical Engineering.
  • Master program
    • Master student interested in transferring to Mechanical Enginering submit an online application to apply to the program.
    • If recommended for admission to the Master program, the student must complete at least eight hours of graded graduate level coursework in the Rackham Graduate School. A cumulative grade point average of  5.0, before Rackham will process the request to transfer credits earned from the institution you are currently attending.
    • Once the eight hours are completed, the student can request to have fifteen semester hours of approved graduate level courses transferred from an accredited institution to U-M.  The grade earned must be "B" or better for each course wishing to transfer to our program.
  • Provide the below information to have the credit(s) transferred:

·         Completion of "Request for Transfer of Credit to a Master's Degree Program" form.

·         Rackham Transfer of Credit Policy 

·         Submit current official transcript from the school would like the credits transferred from to ME department.

·         Approval to transfer the classes comes from the Graduate Program Chair. 


 Non-Candidate for Degree (NCFD)

There are two types of Non-Candidate for Degree:

  • Program NCFD (Mechanical Engineering department):
    • Enrollment for 2 terms only in 2 or more courses in a single department.
    • International students seeking Departmental Non-Candidate must be enrolled full-time (8 hours per term Fall and Winter)
    • Applicant submits an online application and provides all supporting materials.  The Statement of Purpose must include the names and course numbers of the classes requested and the purpose for requesting non degree enrollment.  See the Graduate Admission link for additional information (e.g., Documents to submit, application fee, etc.).
    • Register for classes the first day of class (8 am). No late fee charged for registering late.
    • Mechanical Engineering Graduate Program Chair reviews the application and determines if the applicant is admissible to the NCFD.  The Rackham Graduate School will e-mail the applicant if they are recommended for admission.  
    • Courses elected by the student in the NCFD program cannot be counted towards a Rackham degree program unless the student receives regular admission from the program. The Graduate Program Chair determines if the courses are acceptable to be applied towards the ME graduate program. Regular admission is not guaranteed.
    • Rackham Unclassified NCFD:
      • Permission from the instructor of each course is required to register.  If you have been denied admission, dismissed, or placed on probation by Mechanical Engineering department you cannot apply to take courses.
      • The unclassified NCFD is intended to provide professional, education & personal development to individuals with a U.S. bachelor's degree or equivalent who want to take 1 or 2 courses for 1 semester.
      • Applicant allowed to take classes for one semester. Only two courses are allowed to be taken (1 course only per department or program).
      • Register for classes the first day of class (8 am). No late fee charged for registering late.
      • Undergraduate Grade Point Average (GPA) minimum is 3.00.  A bachelor's degree or master's degree earned from a regionally accredited institution.
      • Admitted applicants are automatically discontinued after one semester.
      • Unclassified NCFD students pay the same tuition as degree seeking students.
      • This type of admission is NOT applicable for international students on an F-1 or J-1 Visa. The current Department of Homeland Security (DHS) requirement for F-1 visa holders is full-time enrollment, which is not applicable for this status.
      • Regular admission is not guaranteed.
    • For both NCFD options:
      • International students must provide IELTS, MELAB or TOEFL scores and a copy of an I-20, DS-2019, passport, U.S. visa and/or I-94 card.
      • Unclassified NCFD student pays the same tuition as degree-seeking students. Financial assistance is NOT provided for Unclassified NCFD students. Visit the Office of the Office of the Registrar's website.

    View the Rackham Graduate School's Non-candidate for Degree Application Instructions for additional information.

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