Mechanical Engineering Degree Coursework

Mechanical engineering is one of the largest and broadest fields of technical study. Mechanical engineers are concerned with the engineering systems used to control and transform energy to meet the needs of humanity. In mechanical engineering, students develop an understanding of basic topics and fundamental principles upon which engineered systems are conceived and developed in a modern society. It is an excellent foundation for a rewarding career in engineering, as well as for further study in business, law, medicine, and other professions that require a solid foundation in science and technology, and the ability to solve problems.

The mechanical engineering department is dedicated to graduating mechanical engineers who practice mechanical engineering in the general stems of thermal/fluid systems, mechanical systems and design, and materials and manufacturing in industry and government settings; pursue advanced education, research and development, and other creative efforts in science and technology; conduct themselves in a responsible, professional, and ethical manner; and participate as leaders in activities that support service to and economic development of the region, state, and nation.

The mechanical engineering faculty has defined 10 educational outcomes that students in the program are expected to achieve by the time of graduation. These outcomes are

  • Knowledge of and ability to apply engineering and science fundamentals to real problems
  • Ability to formulate and solve open-ended problems
  • Ability to design mechanical components, systems, and processes
  • Ability to set up, conduct, and interpret experiments, and to present the results in a professional manner
  • Ability to use modern computer tools in mechanical engineering
  • Ability to communicate in written, oral, and graphical forms
  • Ability to work in teams and apply interpersonal skills in engineering contexts
  • Ability and desire to lay a foundation for continued learning beyond the baccalaureate degree
  • Awareness of professional issues in engineering practice, including ethical responsibility, safety, the creative enterprise, and loyalty and commitment to the profession
  • Awareness of contemporary issues in engineering practice, including economic, social, political, and environmental issues and global impact

The mechanical engineering curriculum meets these outcomes by providing breadth and depth across a range of topics.

  • A combination of college-level mathematics and basic science courses (some with experimental work) that includes mathematics, probability and statistics, physics, and chemistry
  • Engineering courses that develop a working knowledge of graphics and computer-aided design, engineering mechanics, thermodynamics, kinematics, dynamics and control of mechanical systems, computational methods, fluid mechanics, heat transfer, materials science and engineering, mechatronics, technical communication, and engineering economics
  • Mechanical engineering project and laboratory experiences that develop competence in measurements and instrumentation, interpretation of data, reverse engineering analysis of mechanical systems, use of computational tools for engineering analysis, integration of multidisciplinary topics in design of complex systems, teamwork and project planning, and written and oral communication
  • A sequence of engineering design courses, culminating in a major capstone design experience in collaboration with an industrial sponsor, that draws on the knowledge and skills students have acquired in earlier coursework and incorporates modern engineering standards and realistic constraints
  • Core curriculum courses, including social and behavioral sciences, humanities, and visual and performing arts electives, that complement the technical content of the curriculum
  • A broad range of senior elective options that provide a career gateway to further study and lifelong learning in the practice of engineering and other professions

PROCEED (Project-Centered Education)

The undergraduate curriculum in mechanical engineering is built on the principle of project-centered education, or PROCEED. A number of courses throughout the curriculum are structured to motivate the study of engineering science by challenging students with in-depth analysis of real mechanical components and systems. In PROCEED, students address real-world projects based on current industrial methods and practices. Undergraduate laboratories and computer facilities are integrated into the curriculum to connect theory with practice.

Portable Computing Devices

Students entering Mechanical Engineering are expected to have a laptop computer at their disposal. The use of laptop computers will be necessary in many required courses, and individual instructors may require that a laptop be brought to class or lab sessions. For a list of minimum system requirements see:


Course requirements include courses within the Cockrell School of Engineering, and other required courses. In addition, each student must complete the University’s core curriculum. In some cases, a course required as part of the major may also be counted toward the core curriculum; these courses are identified below.

In the process of fulfilling engineering degree requirements, students must also complete coursework to satisfy the University's flag requirements: one independent inquiry flag, one course with a quantitative reasoning flag, one ethics and leadership flag, one global cultures flag, one cultural diversity in the United States flag, and three writing flags. The independent inquiry flag, the quantitative reasoning flag, the ethics and leadership flag, and three writing flags are carried by courses specifically required for the degree; these courses are identified below. Courses that may be used to fulfill flag requirements are identified in the Course Schedule.

M E 130LExperimental Fluid Mechanics1
M E 134LMaterials Engineering Laboratory1
M E 139LExperimental Heat Transfer1
M E 140LMechatronics Laboratory1
M E 144LDynamic Systems and Controls Laboratory1
M E 266KMechanical Engineering Design Project (independent inquiry flag and writing flag)2
M E 266PDesign Project Laboratory2
M E 302Introduction to Engineering Design and Graphics3
M E 314DDynamics (Dynamics)3
M E 316TThermodynamics (Thermodynamics)3
M E 318MProgramming and Engineering Computational Methods3
M E 330Fluid Mechanics3
M E 333TEngineering Communication (writing flag and ethics and leadership flag)3
M E 334Materials Engineering3
M E 335Engineering Statistics3
M E 338Machine Elements3
M E 339Heat Transfer3
M E 340Mechatronics3
M E 344Dynamic Systems and Controls3
M E 353Engineering Finance3
M E 366JMechanical Engineering Design Methodology (writing flag)3
CH 301Principles of Chemistry I (part II science and technology)3
E M 306Statics3
E M 319Mechanics of Solids3
M 408CDifferential and Integral Calculus (mathematics; quantitative reasoning flag)4
M 408DSequences, Series, and Multivariable Calculus4
M 427JDifferential Equations with Linear Algebra4
or M 427K Advanced Calculus for Applications I
M 427LAdvanced Calculus for Applications II4
PHY 303KEngineering Physics I (part I science and technology; quantitative reasoning flag)3
PHY 303LEngineering Physics II (part I science and technology; quantitative reasoning flag)3
PHY 103MLaboratory for Physics 303K1
PHY 103NLaboratory for Physics 303L1
RHE 306Rhetoric and Writing (English composition)3
E 316LBritish Literature (humanities; in E 316L, 316M, 316N, and 316P some sections carry a global cultures or cultural diversity flag)3
or E 316M American Literature
or E 316N World Literature
or E 316P Masterworks of Literature
UGS 302First-Year Signature Course (in UGS 302 all sections carry writing flag; in UGS 303 some sections carry a writing flag)3
or UGS 303 First-Year Signature Course
Total Hours126

Bridges to the Future Credential Program

The Department of Mechanical Engineering offers highly qualified senior-level undergraduate students an opportunity for in-depth study and research in an emerging area of mechanical engineering through the Bridges to the Future Credential Program. Upon completion of a prescribed series of technical electives and an independent research study under the direction of a faculty member and a doctoral student mentor, students receive a signed award and a letter from the department chair that describes the program and the work completed. This credential and its supporting documentation, plus supporting letters from supervising faculty and mentors, can be valuable assets for students applying to graduate school or pursuing competitive job opportunities. This program will not appear on the student’s transcript.

Students must apply for admission to a credential program during the junior year. In some cases, the coursework may include a graduate course, which may be credited toward a University graduate degree.

Details on course offerings and admission procedures are available from the Department of Mechanical Engineering undergraduate office and on the mechanical engineering website.

Career Gateway Elective Options

The mechanical engineering curriculum includes 12 hours of career gateway electives, which are to be selected by the student to support his or her career goals. These courses should be chosen carefully and must be pertinent to each other and to the student’s career goals.

Students are required to review these materials and to meet with an adviser to discuss their options prior to selecting their career gateway elective courses.

Career gateway electives can include approved upper-division courses from mechanical engineering and other engineering departments, as well as upper-division courses from a number of other colleges and departments. A detailed description of courses that satisfy the career gateway elective requirements is available on the advising section of the mechanical engineering website. Highly qualified students are encouraged to fulfill career gateway elective requirements as part of the Bridges to the Future Credential Program described above.

Course Requirements

Students enrolled in the M.S. program in Mechanical Engineering must complete at least 30 credits for graduation. This includes 24 credits of approved coursework and 6 credits of M.S. Thesis Research. The M.S. Coursework Plan sets forth the courses required to be taken by the student in partial fulfillment of the M.S. degree requirements. The coursework plan must be prepared in consultation with a faculty advisor in the student's technical area of interest, and submitted to the Graduate Studies Office (2180 Glenn L. Martin Hall) for approval by the Director of Graduate Studies at the beginning of the first semester of study. Changes to the plan are permitted, but must be approved by the student's advisor and the Director of Graduate Studies prior to their implementation. A new coursework plan reflecting the changes must be filed with the Graduate Studies Office every time changes are made.

The M.S. Coursework Plan can include a maximum of 6 approved transfer credits for graduate work undertaken at other accredited U.S. institutions. These transfer credits must be approved by Graduate School; approval is sought through the submission of a Transfer or Inclusion of Credit Form [pdf] to the Graduate School. Transfer of credits may be accepted on the following conditions: (a) The coursework must be no more than seven years old at the time of graduation; and (b) the Graduate Director and the advisor must indicate to the Dean of the Graduate School that the coursework taken has been revalidated by the student’s demonstration that the knowledge contained in the course(s) remains current. Each course for which revalidation is requested must be justified separately. Under no circumstances will any transfer credits be accepted that are more than seven years old at the time of graduation.

The plan must contain a minimum of 24 credits of graduate coursework (not including thesis credits). At least 15 credits must be from courses taken at the 600-level or above. The coursework must satisfy the following criteria:

  • Core courses: 3 credits minimum
  • Math courses: 3 credits minimum (see approved courses under Ph.D. in ME)
  • Elective courses: 18 credits minimum

A minimum of five courses must be completed in the Department of Mechanical Engineering.

The Core (breadth) requirement is fulfilled by completing one course that is outside of a student’s research area from the following list :

Design and Reliability of Systems

  • ENME 600: Engineering Design Methods
    (formerly known as Advanced Mechanical Design)
  • ENME 607: Engineering Decision Making
  • ENME 610: Engineering Optimization

Electronic Products and Systems

  • ENME 690: Mechanical Fundamentals of Electronic Systems
  • ENME 695: Failure Mechanisms and Reliability

Thermal-Fluid Sciences

  • ENME 632: Advanced Convection Heat Transfer
  • ENME 633: Molecular Thermodynamics
  • ENME 640: Fundamentals of Fluid Mechanics

Mechanics and Materials

  • ENME 605: Advanced Systems Control
  • ENME 662: Linear Vibrations
  • ENME 664: Dynamics
  • ENME 670: Continuum Mechanics
  • ENME677:  Elasticity of Advanced Materials and Structures

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Mathematics Courses for M.S. Students

CMSC 460* Computational Methods
CMSC 467* Intro to Numerical Analysis II
MAPL 460* Computational Methods
MAPL 467* Intro to Numerical Analysis II
MAPL 472* Methods and Models in Applied Math I
MAPL 473* Methods and Models in Applied Math II
MATH 403 Intro to Abstract Algebra
MATH 404 Field Theory
MATH 405 Linear Algebra
MATH 414 Differential Equations
MATH 415 Intro to Partial Differential Equations
MATH 417 Introduction to Fourier Analysis
MATH 432 Intro to Point Set Topology
MATH 436 Differential Geometry I
MATH 437 Differential Geometry II
MATH 452 Introduction to Dynamics and Chaos
MATH 462* PDE's for Scientists and Engineers
MATH 463 Complex Variables for Scientists and Engineers
MATH 464 Transform Methods for Scientists and Engineers
MATH 472* Methods and Models in Applied Math I
MATH 473* Methods and Models in Applied Math II
MATH 475* Combinatorics and Graph Theory
STAT 410 Introduction to Probability Theory
STAT 411 Introduction to Stochastic Processes
STAT 420 Introduction to Statistics
STAT 440 Sampling Theory
STAT 450 Regression and Analysis of Variance
ENME 605 Advanced Systems Control
ENME 610 Engineering Optimization
ENME 625 Multidisciplinary Optimization
ENME 673 Energy and Variational Methods in Applied Mechanics
ENME 725 Probabilistic Optimization
ENME 808B Computational Methods in Science and Engineering
ENRE 620 Mathematical Techniques of Reliability Engineering
ENRE 643 Advanced Product Assurance
ENRE 655 Advanced Methods in Reliability Modeling

Credit will be given for only one of the following pairs:

  • MAPL 460 and CMSC 460
  • MAPL 466 and CMSC 466
  • MAPL 467 and CMSC 467
  • MAPL 477 and CMSC 477
  • MATH 415 and MATH 462
  • MATH 415 and ENME 700
  • MATH 462 and ENME 700 and ENRE 620
  • MATH 472 and MAPL 472
  • MATH 473 and MAPL 473
  • MATH 475 and MAPL 475

Continuous Registration

All graduate students must register for courses and pay associated tuition and fees each semester, not including summer and winter sessions, until the degree is awarded. A student who fails to register and who has not requested and received a waiver of registration or "Leave of Absence for Childbearing, Adoption, Illness or Dependent Care" will be notified by the Graduate School after the first day of classes that he or she must register for the current semester. The Graduate School will also inform the Graduate Director of the graduate program that the student is in jeopardy of termination. If the student does not register, he or she will be dismissed from the Graduate School at the end of the semester for failure to comply with the continuous registration requirement. A student who is dismissed for non-registration may appeal dismissal during a 30-day period following the end of the semester of non-registration. If the student does not appeal, or if the appeal is denied, and the student wishes to continue in the Graduate School, the student must apply for readmission. In this case, readmission does not alter the initial requirements for time to complete the degree or advance to candidacy.

Thesis Requirements

M.S. students must complete a minimum of 6 credits of Master's Thesis Research (ENME 799) while preparing the M.S. thesis. Thesis research must be carried out under the guidance of an advisor who is a member of the Mechanical Engineering Graduate Faculty. The thesis must be presented formally and defended in an oral examination open to the public, which is conducted upon completion of the thesis.

The members of the thesis examining committee must be nominated at least eight weeks prior to the thesis defense. The Graduate School has further information on deadlines for submission of the Nomination of Thesis Committee form. This form must first be submitted to the ME Graduate Office for approval and then forwarded to the Registrar's Office in order to nominate the committee. Changes in a thesis committee can be made at any time, with the approval of the student’s advisor, the Graduate Director, and the Graduate School. In addition to the Graduate School’s requirements for the composition of a thesis examining committee, the Department of Mechanical Engineering requires that mechanical and reliability engineering thesis committees be comprised of three regular faculty members (tenure or tenure-track faculty). Additional members beyond these three can be made, including the special nomination of research faculty or outside scientists.

The M.S. thesis must be prepared according to the guidelines in the current edition of the University of Maryland Electronic Thesis and Dissertation (ETD) Style Guide. A copy of the thesis, after the advisor has approved it, must be provided to each member of the examining committee at least two weeks prior to the date of the examination. In addition, one week prior to the examination date, a notice must be posted on the bulletin board outside the ME Graduate Office inviting faculty and students to the formal thesis presentation. A copy of this notice should be sent to the Graduate Coordinator at, who will post the notice on the ME graduate-student list server.

After the Graduate School approves the thesis, the Report of the Examining Committee Form is mailed to the ME Graduate Office. A few days before the examination is scheduled to take place, the student should verify with the ME Graduate office that the report is in his or her file. The student’s advisor then obtains the Report of the Examining Committee Form and takes it with her to the defense. Upon passing the examination, this form is signed by each member of the examining committee and submitted to the Graduate Studies Office for forwarding to the Registrar's Office. At least one unbound copy of the thesis on regular paper is to be submitted to the Graduate Studies Office. Students are encouraged to provide their advisor with an additional bound copy of the thesis (binding is available through the Graduate Studies Office). An electronic copy of the thesis must be submitted to the Graduate School (see below).

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Graduation Paperwork

The necessary forms may be processed by the ME Graduate Office with the assistance of the student and his or her advisor. The following forms must be completed and submitted prior to graduation:

  1. The Application for Diploma, also referred to as Graduation Candidate Application must be completed online.
  2. The Approved Program Form [pdf] (this is not the same document as the department’s M.S. Coursework Plan) must be submitted to the Registrar's Office, 1113 Mitchell Building. (If the students have transferred from another program into the Mechanical Engineering M.S. program they must submit a Request for Transfer or Inclusion of Credit Form to the Graduate School, in order to include previous coursework as part of the Mechanical Engineering Approved Program Form).
  3. The Nomination of Thesis or Dissertation Committee Form [pdf] must be submitted to the Registrar's Office, 1113 Mitchell Building.
  4. The Report of the Examining Committee Form is generated by the Registrar's Office upon the Graduate School's approval of the Nomination of Thesis Committee form and kept on file in the ME Graduate Office. The signed Report of the Examining Committee form must be submitted to the Registrar's Office.
  5. An electronic copy of the thesis must be submitted to the Graduate School at UMI ETD Administrator. One copy of the approved thesis should be submitted to the ME Graduate Office, 2168 Martin Hall.

Deadlines for the above forms vary from semester to semester and are posted online. Failure to submit the forms by the established deadlines results in postponement of the student’s graduation to the following semester. During the final semester, students should verify with the ME Graduate Office that they have met all the requirements for graduation.

Summary of Requirements and Timeline

First semester

Semester Before Last

Last semester

  • Application for Diploma (submitted by first week of semester)
  • Approved Program Form [pdf] (submitted at beginning of semester)
  • M.S. Thesis Defense
  • Report of Examining Committee Form submitted following defense
    (pick up form in ME Grad Office)
  • Electronic copy of thesis submitted to Graduate School at UMI ETD Administrator
  • 1 copy of Thesis submitted to Graduate Studies Office

* M.S. students must complete all requirements for their degree within five years, this includes any credit transferred from other institutions.

Transfer into the Ph.D. Program

Students enrolled in the M.S. program with a GPA of 3.5 or above and at least 24 graduate credits have an option to take the Ph.D. qualifying exam (see Section VI.2 in the Graduate Handbook) during the following semester. This option must be exercised by no later than during their fourth semester of study, or during the semester following the semester in which the student has accumulated 24 credits or more, whichever occurs first.

Qualified M.S. students who would like to avail themselves of the opportunity to take the Ph.D. qualifying examination must notify the ME Graduate Office of their intention prior to the start of the semester in which they plan to take the exam. Students who pass the Ph.D. qualifying examination and meet the admission requirements of the Mechanical Engineering Department will be recommended for direct admission into the Ph.D. program. At their request, such students will also have an opportunity to earn an M.S. degree without thesis upon their advancement to candidacy. Students who anticipate qualifying for transfer or subsequent entry into the Ph.D. program should note that M.S. thesis credits (ENME 799) do not count toward the Ph.D. course work requirement. Students who exercise their option to take, but are unable to pass, the Ph.D. qualifying examination, will not be considered for admission into the Ph.D. program. Students wishing to switch from the M.S. Degree program to the Ph.D. must in all cases reapply to the Graduate School for admission into the Ph.D. program (see the admission requirements listed in section IV.1).

Continuation towards the Ph.D. Degree

Students who graduate from the M.S. program in good standing may reapply to the Graduate School for admission into the Ph.D. program. Such students must satisfy the Admission requirements for the Ph.D. program, and will need to take the Ph.D. qualifying exam in their first semester of the Ph.D. program as described in section VI.2 in the Graduate Handbook.

Office for approval and then forwarded to the Registrar's Office in order to nominate the committee. Changes in a thesis committee can be made at any time, with the approval of the student’s advisor, the Graduate Director, and the Graduate School. In addition to the Graduate School’s requirements for the composition of a thesis examining committee, the Department of Mechanical Engineering requires that mechanical and reliability engineering thesis committees be comprised of three regular faculty members (tenure or tenure-track faculty). Additional members beyond these three can be made, including the special nomination of research faculty or outside scientists.

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General Information and Procedures for M.S. Programs

Grade-Point Average

Students seeking a graduate degree must maintain an average grade of “B” (3.0) in all courses that have been taken for graduate credit since enrollment in the degree program. Students

Time Limitation and Transfer of Credits

With the exception of the six semester-hours of graduate-level course credits applicable for possible transfer to the master’s degree program, all requirements for the master’s degree must be completed within a five-year period. When extraordinary conditions arise, this limitation can sometimes be extended to seven years by submitting a waiver request. This time limit applies to all coursework, including transfer credits from other institutions.

Program Advising

Prior to registering for any courses, students should consult with their advisor. The Graduate Studies Office can advise and assist students in locating an advisor. It is the student’s responsibility to develop an approved coursework plan at the beginning of the first semester of study in consultation with their advisor. Courses that are not on an approved coursework plan will not be counted toward the degree. The master’s coursework plan forms can be completed online.

Official Status

Official status (either full-time or part-time) for academic purposes will be determined on the basis of a student's registration at the end of the Schedule Adjustment Period (the first ten days of classes). Students receiving a private scholarship must maintain full-time status throughout the semester in order to keep their scholarship, unless otherwise stipulated by the donor in writing. International students on F-1 and J-1 student visas must also maintain full-time status throughout each semester according to Federal regulations governing F-1 and J-1 students. Please contact an advisor in IES at 301-314-7744 if you have any questions concerning full-time status. To be certified as a full-time student a graduate student must be officially registered for a combination of courses equivalent to 48 units per semester. Graduate assistants holding full-time (20 hours per week) teaching or research assistantship appointments are considered full-time students if they are registered for at least 24 units. Courses taken for Audit do not generate graduate units and cannot be used in calculating full-time or part-time status. The list below gives the number of units per credit hour for each course level.

Graduate Unit

(Pre-candidacy doctoral research)
(Doctoral dissertation research)

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