M.S. Program

The M.S. program focuses on providing students advanced training in the fundamental sciences and technology of Mechanical Engineering to enable them to pursue careers in applied research and development in government laboratories or advanced technology firms.  The M.S. degree can also be a stepping-stone to the Ph.D. degree.  Generally, the M.S. degree can be earned in three to four semesters full-time, or pursued on a part-time basis.

The M.S. program has a thesis and a non-thesis option.  All full-time students are encouraged to take the thesis option.  This is the preferred program of study for those interested in careers in advanced research or plan to continue for a doctoral degree.  The non-thesis option may be more appropriate for part-time students or those pursuing careers in industry.

The program requirements are intended to provide students with both depth and breadth of knowledge in Mechanical Engineering while being flexible enough to allow students the opportunity to explore non-traditional and emerging areas in which Mechanical Engineering plays a central role.  Course work plans must be prepared in consultation with the student’s academic advisor and should be submitted to the Graduate Program Director (GPD) for approval during the first semester of study.  Changes in the plan are permitted, but must be approved prior to implementation.

Program Requirements

The M.S. thesis option requires a combination of coursework and research, culminating in the defense of a thesis based on original research.  The non-thesis option requires additional coursework plus a scholarly report and a comprehensive examination demonstrating academic competence across the field of Mechanical Engineering.  The minimum program requirements are summarized in the table below.


Core curriculum – 12 credits

Core curriculum – 12 credits

Supplementary courses – 12 credits

Supplementary courses – 18 credits

Master’s Thesis Research (ENME799)
6 credits minimum

Master’s Thesis Research (ENME799)
2 credits minimum


Written scholarly report

Thesis defense

Comprehensive examination

Curriculum (for Thesis or Non-Thesis options)

All full-time graduate students pursuing the M.S. degree in Mechanical Engineering at UMBC are advised to focus on the designated Core Curriculum within their first year of study.

Supplementary courses should be primarily from one of the four technical areas within the Mechanical Engineering Department.  However, courses from other departments in the College of Engineering and from other branches of the physical, mathematical, or biological sciences may also be included to round out a student’s overall program of study.

All courses from outside the Mechanical Engineering Department must have prior approval of the student’s academic advisor and the Graduate Program Director (GPD).

400-level Mechanical Engineering courses may not be used toward this requirement.  The course work plan may include a maximum of 6 approved transfer credits for graduate work undertaken at other accredited U.S. or foreign institutions.

Thesis Option

Course Work – A minimum of 24 credits of graduate course work is required, made up of core courses (12 credits) and supplementary courses (12 credits). At least 9 credits of the supplementary courses must be at the 600 level or above.

Research Work – A minimum of six (6) credits of Masters Thesis Research (ENME 799) is required.  After the student has completed the research work, he/she must defend his/her thesis in public and stand for an oral examination by a thesis committee.

The thesis committee is comprised of the advisor and at least two other members of the Graduate Faculty of the University of Maryland, Baltimore Graduate School. After evaluating the student’s written dissertation, presentation and performance in the oral examination, the examination committee will recommend one of four options:

  • Unconditional pass
  • Conditional pass with minor revisions to the thesis
  • Conditional pass with major revisions (which may require a second oral examination at the discretion of the committee)
  • Failure (requires major revisions to the thesis and a second oral examination)

Non-Thesis Option

Course Work – A minimum of 30 credits of graduate course work is required, made up of core courses (12 credits) and supplementary courses (18 credits). At least 15 credits of the supplementary courses must be taken at the 600 level or above and at least 12 credits must be for courses in Mechanical Engineering, Mathematics, or Physics.

Scholarly Report – The 2 credits of ENME799 Thesis Research (minimum) is intended to be used to prepare the written scholarly report.  The student should consult with his/her advisor for the specific format for the report.

Comprehensive Examination – The M.S. comprehensive examination is a written, closed book examination comprising a selection of questions based on the following areas: Applied Elasticity, Vibrations, Advanced Controls, Heat Transfer, Dynamics, Continuum Mechanics, Advanced Fluid Mechanics, Fracture Mechanics, Kinematics, Biomaterials, and Biomechanics. There are 5 questions per topic. The student will be required to select and answer any 15 questions in a 90-minute time period. A minimum grade of 70% based on the 15 questions answered is required to pass the exam.

GPA Requirements

M.S. students must maintain a minimum GPA of 3.0. No more than two (2) courses with a grade of C may be counted.  If a student falls below a 3.0 GPA, he/she must raise the GPA to a 3.0 by the end of the following semester or risk termination of his/her program. Graduate students may repeat only two courses (once each course) for the purpose of raising their grades.  No financial aid tuition credits may be used to repeat a course (i.e., the student must pay for a repeat of a course).