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Bulletin Archive

This archived information is dated to the 2009-10 academic year only and may no longer be current.

For currently applicable policies and information, see the current Stanford Bulletin.

Master of Science in Mechanical Engineering

The basic University requirements for the M.S. degree are discussed in the "Graduate Degrees" section of this bulletin.

The master's program consists of 45 units of course work taken at Stanford. No thesis is required, although many students become involved in research projects during the master's program, particularly to explore their interests in working towards a Ph.D. degree. Students whose undergraduate backgrounds are entirely devoid of some of the major subject disciplines of engineering (for example, applied mechanics, applied thermodynamics, fluid mechanics, ordinary differential equations) may need to take some undergraduate courses to fill obvious gaps and prepare themselves to take graduate courses in these areas. Such students may require more than three quarters to fulfill the master's degree requirements, as the makeup courses may only be used as unrestricted electives (see item 4 below) in the M.S. degree program. However, it is not the policy to require fulfillment of mechanical engineering B.S. degree requirements to obtain an M.S. degree.


The master's degree program requires 45 units of course work taken as a graduate student at Stanford. No thesis is required. However, students who want some research experience during the master's program may participate in research through ME 391 and 392.

Requirements are subject to change and students are encouraged to refer to the most recent Mechanical Engineering Graduate Student Handbook provided by the student services office and located at The department's requirements for the M.S. in Mechanical Engineering are as follows:

  1. Mathematical Fundamentals: two mathematics courses for a total of at least 6 units from the following list are required: ME 300A, 300B, 300C; CME 302; MATH 106, 109; CS 205A or B; EE 261, 263; STATS 110, 141; ENGR 155C. Other MATH and CME courses with catalog numbers of 200 and above also fulfill the mathematics requirement. Mathematics courses must be taken for a letter grade.
  2. Depth in Mechanical Engineering: a set of graduate-level courses in Mechanical Engineering to provide depth in one area. The faculty have approved these sets as providing depth in specific areas as well as a significant component of applications of the material in the context of engineering synthesis. These sets are outlined in the Mechanical Engineering Graduate Student Handbook. Depth courses must be taken for a letter grade.
  3. Breadth in Mechanical Engineering: two additional graduate level courses (outside the depth) from the depth/breadth charts listed in the Mechanical Engineering Graduate Handbook. Breadth courses must be taken for a letter grade.
  4. Sufficient Mechanical Engineering Course Work: students must take a minimum of 24 units of course work in mechanical engineering topics. For the purposes of determining mechanical engineering topics, any course on approved lists for the mathematics, depth, and breadth requirements counts towards these units. In addition, any graduate-level course with an ME course number is considered a mechanical engineering topic.
  5. Approved Electives (to bring the total number of units to at least 39): electives must be approved by an adviser. Graduate engineering, mathematics, and science courses are normally approved. Approved electives must be taken for a letter grade. No more than 6 of the 39 units may come from ME 391/392 (or other independent study/research courses), and no more than 3 may come from seminars. Students planning a Ph.D. should discuss with their advisers the option of taking 391 or 392 during the master's program. ME 391/392 (and other independent study courses) may only be taken on a credit/no credit basis.
  6. Unrestricted electives (to bring the total number of units submitted for the M.S. degree to 45): students are encouraged to take these units outside engineering, mathematics, or the sciences. Students should consult their advisers on course loads and on ways to use the unrestricted electives to make a manageable program. Unrestricted electives may be taken CR/NC.
  7. Within the courses satisfying the requirements above, there must be at least one graduate-level course with a laboratory component. Courses which satisfy this requirement are: ENGR 206, 341; ME203, 210, 220, 218A,B,C,D, 310A,B,C, 317A,B, 318, 323, 324, 348, 354, 367, 382A,B, 385. ME 391/392 (or other independent study courses) may satisfy this requirement if 3 units are taken for work involving laboratory experiments.

Candidates for the M.S. in Mechanical Engineering are expected to have the approval of the faculty; they must maintain a minimum grade point average (GPA) of 2.75 in the 45 units presented for fulfillment of degree requirements (exclusive of independent study courses). All courses used to fulfill mathematics, depth, breadth, approved electives, and lab studies must be taken for a letter grade (excluding seminars, independent study, and courses for which a letter grade is not an option for any student).

Students falling below a GPA of 2.5 at the end of 20 units may be disqualified from further registration. Students failing to meet the complete degree requirements at the end of 60 units of graduate registration are disqualified from further registration. Courses used to fulfill deficiencies arising from inadequate undergraduate preparation for mechanical engineering graduate work may not be applied to the 45 units required for completion of the MS degree.


As described in the "School of Engineering" section of this bulletin, each department in the school may sponsor students in a more general degree, the M.S. in Engineering. Sponsorship by the Department of Mechanical Engineering (ME) requires (1) filing a petition for admission to the program by no later than the day before instruction begins, and (2) that the center of gravity of the proposed program lies in ME. No more than 18 units used for the proposed program may have been previously completed. The program must include at least 9 units of graduate-level work in the department other than ME 300A,B,C, seminars, and independent study. The petition must be accompanied by a statement explaining the program objectives and how it is coherent, contains depth, and fulfills a well-defined career objective. The grade requirements are the same as for the M.S. in Mechanical Engineering.


ANTHRO 332. Transformative Design

CS 223A. Introduction to Robotics

CS 327A. Advanced Robotics

ENGR 207B. Linear Control Systems II

ENGR 209A. Analysis and Control of Nonlinear Systems

ENGR 231. Transformative Design

ENGR 240. Introduction to Micro and Nano Electromechanical Systems (M/NEMS)

ENGR 341. Micro/Nano Systems Design and Fabrication Laboratory

MS&E 250A. Engineering Risk Analysis

MS&E 264. Sustainable Product Development and Manufacturing

MS&E 289. Clicks and Bricks: Creating Customer Experiences

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