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DEGREE Mechanical Engineering: Research, MS

Master’s degree in mechanical engineering

As a master’s student in mechanical engineering, you’ll develop your research capabilities under world-class faculty members. You’ll grow not only as researchers, but as people who can work together to lead solutions to some of today’s most pressing challenges. You’ll be able to focus in areas that include biomechanics, computational engineering, energy, manufacturing, and mechanics and controls, with additional specialties within each area.

At a glance

Mechanical engineering department

US Dollars25MMillion
average annual research funding
undergraduate ranking among public universities
graduate ranking among public universities

Learn more about what information you need to apply.


Please consult the table below for key information about this degree program’s admissions requirements. The program may have more detailed admissions requirements, which can be found below the table or on the program’s website.

Graduate admissions is a two-step process between academic programs and the Graduate School. Applicants must meet the minimum requirements of the Graduate School as well as the program(s). Once you have researched the graduate program(s) you are interested in, apply online.

Fall Deadline December 15
Spring Deadline September 1
Summer Deadline December 15
GRE (Graduate Record Examinations) Not Required.*
English Proficiency Test Every applicant whose native language is not English, or whose undergraduate instruction was not exclusively in English, must provide an English proficiency test score earned within two years of the anticipated term of enrollment. Refer to the Graduate School: Minimum Requirements for Admission policy:
Other Test(s) (e.g., GMAT, MCAT) n/a
Letters of Recommendation Required 3

Submitted scores will not be used in admission decisions.

Application Requirements and Process


Most applicants have a Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering. Applicants with a Bachelor of Science in other engineering or physical and natural science disciplines will be considered for admission. International applicants must have a degree comparable to a regionally accredited US bachelor’s degree.


The Department of Mechanical Engineering prefers a 3.2/4.0 GPA. The minimum GPA to be reviewed by the admission committee is 3.0/4.0.

Advisor selection process

Applicants must seek out and secure their own faculty advisor. International applicants must complete this process as part of the application process, before an offer of admission may be granted. To seek out a faculty advisor please review the department Research and People websites. Only those faculty listed with titles of Assistant Professor, Associate Professor, or Professor, can serve as graduate advisors. Do not contact Emeritus faculty, Lecturers, Research Scientists, or Faculty Associates. You are encouraged to inquire about possible funding opportunities. If a faculty member offers to be your advisor, ask them to email their acceptance to

Application Materials

Each application must include the following:

  • Graduate School Application
  • Academic transcripts
  • Statement of purpose
  • Resume/CV
  • Three letters of recommendation
  • English Proficiency Score (if required)
  • Application Fee

All applicants must satisfy requirements that are set forth by the Graduate School. Admitted applicants without Mechanical Engineering Bachelor of Science degrees may be required to complete one or more courses in addition to degree requirements to satisfy any deficiencies (this requirement cannot be determined prior to admission).

Academic Transcript

Within the online application, upload undergraduate transcript(s) and, if applicable, the previous graduate transcript. Unofficial copies of transcripts are required for review and official copies are required for admitted applicants. Please do not send transcripts or any other application materials to the Graduate School or the Department of Mechanical Engineering unless requested. Please review the requirements set by the Graduate School for additional information about degrees/transcripts.

Statement of Purpose

In this document, applicants should explain why they want to pursue further education in Mechanical Engineering and discuss which UW faculty members they would be interested in doing research with during their graduate study (see the Graduate School for more advice on how to structure a personal statement).


Upload your resume in your application.

Three Letters of Recommendation

These letters are required from people who can accurately judge the applicant’s academic, research, and/or work performance. Letters of recommendation are submitted electronically to graduate programs through the online application. See the Graduate School for FAQs regarding letters of recommendation. Letters of recommendation are due by the deadline listed above. 

English Proficiency Score 

Every applicant whose native language is not English, or whose undergraduate instruction was not in English, must provide an English proficiency test score. The UW-Madison Graduate School accepts TOEFL, IETLS, or Duolingo English Test scores. Your score will not be accepted if it is more than two years old from the start of your admission term. Country of citizenship does not exempt applicants from this requirement. Language of instruction at the college or university level and how recent the language instruction was taken are the determining factors in meeting this requirement.

International degree-seeking applicants must prove English proficiency using the Graduate School’s requirements.

Application Fee

Submission must be accompanied by the one-time application fee. See the Graduate School for FAQs regarding fees.

Fee grants are available through the conditions outlined here by the Graduate School. Applicants who do not qualify for a fee grant as explained above, may seek out a Mechanical Engineering faculty advisor and discuss the fee grant option with that individual. If the faculty advisor is able and willing to pay the application fee for the applicant, the faculty advisor should contact the ME Associate Chair for Graduate Studies or the ME Graduate Admissions Team for assistance.

Reentry Admissions

If previously enrolled as a graduate student in the Department of Mechanical Engineering, have not earned the degree, but have had a break in enrollment for a minimum of a fall or spring term, applicants must re-apply to resume studies. Please review the Graduate School requirements for previously enrolled students. Your previous faculty advisor (or another Mechanical Engineering faculty advisor) must be willing to supply advising support and should e-mail the Mechanical Engineering Graduate Student Services Coordinator regarding next steps in the process.

If previously enrolled in a UW-Madison graduate degree, completed that degree, have had a break in enrollment since earning the degree and would now like to apply for another UW-Madison program, applicants submit a new student application through the UW-Madison Graduate School online application. For Mechanical Engineering graduate programs, you must follow the entire application process as described above.

Currently Enrolled Graduate Student Admissions

Students currently enrolled as a graduate student at UW-Madison, whether in Mechanical Engineering or a non-Mechanical Engineering graduate program, wishing to apply to this degree program should contact the ME Graduate Admissions Team to inquire about the process and deadlines several months in advance of the anticipated enrollment term. Current students may apply to change or add programs for any term (fall, spring, or summer).


If you have questions, please contact


Tuition and segregated fee rates are always listed per semester (not for Fall and Spring combined).

View tuition rates


Graduate School Resources

Resources to help you afford graduate study might include assistantships, fellowships, traineeships, and financial aid. Further funding information is available from the Graduate School. Be sure to check with your program for individual policies and restrictions related to funding.

Program Resources

There are three mechanisms for Graduate Student funding through the university for MS Mechanical Engineering: Research students:

  1. Fellowships
  2. Graduate assistantships: project assistantships, teaching assistantships, and research assistantships
  3. Traineeships 

Funding is awarded based on the qualifications of the student, the number of applicants, the amount of available funding, the number of continuing students receiving support, and the degree program a student is enrolled in. Fellowship and research assistantship funding is only considered for thesis-based MS students. You can apply for funding for research assistantships by contacting individual faculty members directly. Please check our website to look for faculty (only those listed with titles of assistant professor, associate professor, or professor can serve as graduate student advisors). Search for faculty who have research interests that align closely with your own by viewing faculty directory entries, visiting the faculty’s website (linked from the directory page), and reviewing publications by the faculty member. Once you have identified faculty with interests close to your own, you are encouraged to contact them by email to inquire regarding available research assistant positions. The admissions office does not know if a particular professor has research assistant positions available.

Students who apply to the MS Research program will be automatically considered for fellowship opportunities within the department. Admitted students will be eligible to apply for Teaching Assistantship positions. More information, including the application, will be available to students after admission is complete.

More information on graduate student funding is available from the UW-Madison Graduate School.

Additional Resources

Student Loans

Students who are U.S. citizens or permanent residents may be eligible to receive some level of funding through the federal direct loan program. Private loans may also be available. Learn more about financial aid at the Financial Aid website

International Student Services Funding and Scholarships

For information on International Student Funding and Scholarships, visit the International Student Services website.

Global industry partners and U.S. government agencies (like the Department of Energy, National Institutes of Health, and the National Science Foundation) entrust Badger engineers to design and conduct complex research into a wide range of theoretical and practical questions. Our faculty and student lab teams create a deeply collaborative research environment to study problems ranging from renewable energy to soft robotics and osteoarthritis to vehicle traction on the Moon.

View our research

Minimum graduate school requirements

Review the Graduate School minimum academic progress and degree requirements, in addition to the program requirements listed below.

Curricular Requirements

Minimum Credit Requirement 30 credits
Minimum Residence Credit Requirement 21 credits
Minimum Graduate Coursework Requirement 15 credits must be graduate-level coursework. Refer to the Graduate School: Minimum Graduate Coursework (50%) Requirement policy:
Overall Graduate GPA Requirement 3.00 GPA required.
Refer to the Graduate School: Grade Point Average (GPA) Requirement policy:
Other Grade Requirements Students must earn a C or above in all formal coursework.

Students may not have more than two incompletes on their record at any one time.
Assessments and Examinations The MS Mechanical Engineering: Research requires the student pass a formal thesis defense.
Language Requirements No language requirements.

Required Courses

Two semesters of M E 903 Graduate Seminar are required. These should be taken the first two semesters the student is in residence.

A minimum of 18 formal course credits* are required. Within these 18 credits, a minimum of 9 formal course credits in Mechanical Engineering (M E) and/or Engineering Mechanics (E M A), taken at UW–Madison, and at least 3 formal credits numbered 700 or higher, are required. 

*Formal credits are any course offering that is not a seminar course, thesis research course, or independent study course.

A minimum of 9 thesis credits (M E 790 Master’s Research and Thesis) are required.

All courses for the Mechanical Engineering graduate program must be numbered 400 and above. Exception: Up to one (3 credit) course numbered 300-399 in engineering, math, or the sciences taken at UW-Madison can also be used towards the formal course credit requirement. This course can be from Mechanical Engineering and/or Engineering Mechanics if approved by the student’s advisor and the Mechanical Engineering graduate committee. 

Advisor Approval of Study Plan

The faculty advisor must always approve the courses a student takes in the MS program. Students should schedule an appointment with their advisor when selecting their courses. During the final semester, the faculty advisor will review the courses taken again and if approved, sign the warrant request form.

Mechanical Engineering
College of Engineering
2107 Mechanical Engineering Building
1513 University Ave., Madison, WI 53706
Department of Mechanical Engineering

Graduate Student Services
3182 Mechanical Engineering Building
1513 University Ave., Madison, WI 53706

Associate Chair for Graduate Studies

View the Graduate Guide for program-specific information on policies, rules and regulations.

Recent mechanical engineering graduate news

Our students and department alumni are making incredible impacts and collaborations across Wisconsin and the world. These stories highlight a few of the many achievements made by Mechanical Engineering Master’s students.

Become a Badger Engineer