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 students choose from seven focus areas:

  • Air Quality
  • Biomedical
  • Materials
  • Mechanics of Materials
  • Micro/Nanoscale
  • Robotics and Systems Design
  • Thermo Fluid Sciences

Master of Science thesis-option (MS) students choose from eight focus areas:

  • Air Quality
  • Biomedical
  • Design
  • Energy and Environment
  • Materials
  • Mechanics of Materials
  • Microsystems
  • Robotics / Control

Masters of Science professional students (Professional MS) choose from five focus areas (a thesis is not required):

  • Biomedical
  • Clean Tech
  • Design
  • Modeling, Simulation & Analysis
  • Flex Option

Areas of Study and Research

  • Research and coursework in the Air Quality track encompass a broad range of topics from air quality monitoring, climate change, atmospheric chemistry and dynamics, and health impacts, to air pollution engineering, control and policy. Research addresses monitoring and impact assessment on scales spanning from local (building-scale) to regional and global; from fundamental science to applied social science and community-driven research; and from computational studies to field-based experiments in remote locations. The University of Colorado is uniquely situated amongst one of the world’s greatest ecosystems of academic institutions and national labs engaged in atmospheric research. The National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR), National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), and National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) are located within 30 minutes of CU Boulder.

  • Biomedical engineering is a field which employs quantitative methods in physics, chemistry and biology to develop innovative medical technologies. At CU, we draw from our strengths in biomechanics – the application of classical and quantum mechanics to analyze biological systems – and product design to tackle current and emerging medical challenges, including those in the areas of biomaterials, tissue engineering, imaging and theranostics.

  • The Materials program offers students a mixture of high quality education and cutting-edge research. Faculty members carry out research in many different areas including polymers, thin films, soft actuators, battery materials, laser ultrasonics, flash sintering, nanomaterials for energy, heat transfer and meta materials. Graduate students have ample opportunities to choose to specialize in various aspects of materials science and engineering.

  • Mechanics of materials is an area focusing on quantitative description of the motion and deformation of solid materials subjected to forces, temperature changes, electrical voltage or other external stimuli. At CU, we apply theoretical modeling, computational simulation and experimental characterization to study a wide range of soft materials, from biological tissues and gels to smart polymers. Our applications cover a long list of current and emerging technologies including tissue engineering, membrane filtration, stretchable electronics, smart materials, medical robots and innovative surgical devices. 

  • Micro/Nanoscale research involves micro- and nano-electromechanical systems (MEMS and NEMS) for transducers, sensors and actuators. ​Strengths include atomic, nano, micro fabrication technologies and advanced packaging. Visible, active programs are also underway in nano and microscale characterization, simulation and design of materials.

  • Robotics and systems design research focuses on identifying fundamental principles and methodologies that enable engineered systems to exhibit intelligent, goal-oriented behavior, and developing innovative instruments to monitor, control and manipulate systems. Faculty and students participate in several major sponsored research centers, including the Army’s Micro Autonomous Science and Technology (MAST) CTA, and the AFOSR Center of Excellence on Nature-Inspired Flight Technologies and Ideas (NIFTI). Research in the Robotics and Systems Design Area typically leverages three core competencies in service to diverse needs in such areas as healthcare, security, education, space and ocean exploration, and autonomous systems in air, land and underwater.

  • Thermo Fluid Sciences research in the Department of Mechanical Engineering is focused on a wide range of both fundamental and applied problems related to energy conversion, heat and mass transfer, combustion, and fluid mechanics. Experimental, theoretical, and computational approaches are used to study thermal-fluids phenomena covering an enormous range of scales, from heat transport at micro and nano scales to the properties of the atmosphere and ocean over many kilometers.

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


Contact Information

Department of Mechanical Engineering Website


Phone: 303-492-4717