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Mechanical Engineering

The department of Mechanical Engineering prepares students for careers involving technical innovation and leadership. Our graduate programs provide a solid foundation for careers in industry, research labs, and academia. The department tradition of interdisciplinary research provides students with exciting new opportunities in the broad areas of:

PhD Student choose from six Focus Areas of Studies:

  • Air Quality
  • Bioengineering
  • Materials Science
  • Mechanics of Materials
  • Micro/Nano Systems
  • Thermo Fluid Sciences

MS Students choose from nine Tracks of Studies:

  • Air Quality
  • Bioengineering
  • Design
  • Energy & Environment
  • Foundation
  • Materials Science
  • Mechanics of Materials
  • Microsystems
  • Simulation Based Mechanical Engineering Sciences

ME Students do NOT choose a Focus Area or Track.

Areas of Study and Research

Research efforts in micro/nano scale systems include: design and reliability of Micro- and Nano- ElectroMechanical Systems (MEMS and NEMS), nanosystems, mechanical properties of nanotubes and nanowires, nanomaterial processing, nanocomposites, disk drive shock analysis, microporous membranes, polymer derived ceramics, active materials and structures, multi- scale computational fluids modeling, and MEMS/NEMS /electronics packaging.

Research efforts in air quality include: air pollutant sources and their relation to human exposure and health, development and evaluation of air pollution control measures, indoor air quality, air quality modeling, atmospheric chemistry, environmental policy, and improved analytical chemistry methods for organic contaminants. These efforts are facilitated by diverse collaborations including those with the National Center for Atmospheric Research, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, and the Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Science.

Research efforts in energy include: biomass thermochemical processing, syngas ignition chemistry, space propulsion, electrostatic fuel injection, ionic liquids for propulsion applications, chemistry of biomass generated aerosols, production of energy carriers from renewable sources, solar thermal energy storage and energy harvesting from the controlled mixing of fresh and saline waters, advanced membrane materials development, and solid polymer electrolytes for fuel cell applications. These efforts are facilitated by collaborations with the National Renewable Energy Laboratory.

Research efforts in bioengineering include: optical biopsy of prostate cancer, shape memory polymers/alloys, cardiovascular fluid/ bio mechanics, patient-specific cardiovascular modeling, vascular tissue engineering, nanomechanics of hard and soft tissues, MEMS-based biosensing, ultrasound imaging, device design, nano particle synthesis for molecular diagnostics and imaging, and metallic/polymer biomaterials. These efforts are facilitated by collaborations with the University of Colorado Health Sciences center, the Children's Hospital, and the Colorado State University Veterinary School.

Department research activities are supported by a wide range of industrial and federal agencies such as the National Science Foundation (NSF), Department of Energy (DOE), National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), National Institute of Health (NIH), Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Air Force Office of Scientific Research (AFOSR) and Defense Agency Research Project Association (DARPA). Some research activities are carried out through interdisciplinary department research centers including the Joint Center for Combustion and Environmental Research (JCCER), and Membrane Applied Science and Technology (MAST) Center.

Degrees Offered:

Degree Details: 

The Department of Mechanical Engineering offers graduate programs leading to the Master of Engineering (ME), Master of Science (MS) and the Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) degrees. These programs can involve both research and course work. Graduate students work closely with faculty members to arrange their study and tailor research to their individual preferences. Many PhD students in the Mechanical Engineering department receive financial support for the duration of their studies. This support may take the form of a fellowship, a teaching assistantship, a research assistantship, or a combination of these options.

Opportunity for a dual degree with:

  • Engineering Management 
Admissions Requirements: 


Applicants must:

  1. Hold a baccalaureate degree in engineering, science or mathematics from a college or university of recognized standing (or the equivalent).
  2. Have undergraduate courses in calculus, linear algebra, and differential equations.
  3. Have two semesters of undergraduate calculus-based physics.
  4. Have at least two semesters of upper-division undergraduate courses in engineering or physics.
  5. Have an undergraduate grade point average of at least 3.2.
  6. Provide official GRE scores from an examination taken within the last 5 years.
  7. Provide three letters of recommendation.
  8. Provide a personal statement of academic and research interests.

Additional information is available on the department's website:

GRE Scores: 
Ph.D. applicants and Masters applicants must submit GRE scores. For applicants whose undergraduate language of instruction was not English, a TOEFL score of 79 (IBT) (6.5 if taking IELTS) is required for masters applicants and a TOEFL score of 100 (IBT) (7.5 if taking IELTS) is required for PhD applicants. Preferred minimum GRE scores for MS and PhD applicants are: 157 Verbal, 159 Quantitative, and 4.5 Analytical.
Financial Support: 

Financial support and tuition waivers are offered to PhD students in the form of teaching or research assistantships. Applicants are strongly encouraged to apply for national fellowships (NSF, NIH, etc.). MS students are not offered funding through the department as part of their admissions.

Please refer to the Graduate Program area of our home website for additional information and a list of frequently asked questions.

Applicant Instructions: 

The department normally only accepts PhD applications for the fall semester, unless you have funding since all our funding is given out for the fall/spring at the beginning of the academic year. Please contact about applying for PhD during a spring semester. Masters applications are accepted for fall and spring. 

Application Fee Waived for All Domestic PhD Applicants who apply by December 1st!

Apply by December 1, 2015, and your application fee will be waived. Simply fill out your application online and indicate that you will pay by “check or money order,” and your fee will be waived. Only applies to Domestic PhD applicants who apply by December 1st! If you are NOT a domestic PhD applicant and check this payment method your application will not be processed until the application fee is paid!



Fall Domestic PhD Application Deadlines:

January 15, 2016

Fall Domestic MS Application Deadline:

February 15, 2016

Spring Domestic MS or ME Application Deadline:

October 1, 2015


International Applicant Instructions: 


Fall International PhD Application Deadline:

December 15, 2015

Fall International MS Application Deadline:

January 15, 2016

Spring International MS or ME Application Deadline:

September 1, 2015


Contact Information: 

University of Colorado Boulder
Department of Mechanical Engineering
Vera Sebulsky, Graduate Advisor                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               Engineering Center ME 112-B
Box 427 UCB
Boulder, CO 80309-0427
Phone: 303-492-7444
Fax: 303-492-3498