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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 Dollars15.5MMillion
average annual research funding
undergraduate ranking among public universities
graduate ranking among public universities

Learn more about what information you need to apply.

Fall Deadline December 15
Spring Deadline October 1
Summer Deadline December 15
GRE (Graduate Record Examinations) Required.*
English Proficiency Test Every applicant whose native language is not English or whose undergraduate instruction was not in English must provide an English proficiency test score and meet the Graduate School minimum requirements (
Other Test(s) (e.g., GMAT, MCAT) n/a
Letters of Recommendation Required 3

*Due to COVID-19, GRE scores will not be required for applications to Mechanical Engineering graduate programs for admission to the Spring 2022, Summer 2022, and Fall 2022 terms.

Students with a strong background in mechanical engineering or a related field with interest in furthering their education in mechanical engineering are encouraged to apply for admission to the department. Applicants accepted into the program generally have an undergraduate grade point average well above the graduate school minimum of 3.0 on a 4.0 scale. All applicants are required to take the Graduate Record Exam (GRE). Applications are evaluated on the basis of previous academic record, GRE scores, letters of recommendation, and a personal statement. Applicants are strongly encouraged to identify a faculty advisor during the application process. For more information on admission requirements see the department’s MS degree website


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

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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 M.S. Mechanical Engineering: Research students:

  1. Fellowships
  2. Graduate assistantships: project assistantships, teaching ssistantships, and research asistantships
  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 M.S. 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 department will be automatically considered for fellowship opportunities within the department. For information on applying for teaching assistant positions and for other information on funding please see the department website.

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

Additional resources

Federal 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. These loans are available to qualified graduate students who are taking at least 4 credits during the fall and spring semesters, and 2 credits during summer. Private loans are also available. Learn more about financial aid at their website.

International student services funding and scholarships

For information on International Student Funding and Scholarships visit the ISS 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.

Minimum Credit Requirement 30 credits
Minimum Residence Credit Requirement Thesis track: 21 credits.
Independent Study track: 18 credits (Fall 2021 is the final term in which students can select this track. Students admitted to Spring 2022 and beyond will be required to follow the ‘thesis’ track.)
Minimum Graduate Coursework Requirement At least 50% of credits applied toward the graduate degree credit requirement must be completed in graduate-level coursework.
Overall Graduate GPA Requirement 3.00 GPA required.
Other Grade Requirements The Graduate School requires an average grade of B or better in all coursework (300 or above, not including research credits) taken as a graduate student unless conditions for probationary status require higher grades. Grades of Incomplete are considered to be unsatisfactory if they are not removed during the next enrolled semester.
Assessments and Examinations The M.S. Mechanical Engineering: Research, thesis track requires the student pass a formal thesis defense. The independent study track does not require a thesis.
Language Requirements No language requirements.

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

Thesis Track Required Courses:

A minimum of 18 formal course credits (minimum of 9 formal course credits in ME taken at UW–Madison); at least 3 of these credits must be numbered 700 or higher, and a minimum of 9 thesis credits (M E 790 Master’s Research and Thesis).

Independent Study Track Required Courses: (Fall 2021 is the final term in which students can select this track. Students admitted to Spring 2022 and beyond will be required to follow the ‘thesis’ track.)

A minimum of 24 formal course credits (minimum of 15 formal course credits in ME taken at UW–Madison); at least 3 of these credits must be numbered 700 or higher, and a minimum of 3 independent study credits (M E 699 Advanced Independent Study).

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 adviser 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
Graduate Program Webpage

Director of Graduate Studies

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

Mechanical engineering news

From classrooms to major research to recognition for a lifetime of service, our students and faculty are proud of their accomplishments and collaborations. These stories are just a few of the many achievements made by Badger mechanical engineers.

Become a Badger Engineer