A thesis is not required to earn a Master's degree in mechanical engineering from CU Boulder, but is recommended if you are interested in pursuing a career in research or academia. As a student, you will choose from one of the following focus areas for your education and thesis:

If you plan to earn a Master's degree and then immediately continue on to a PhD, you can apply directly to our PhD program. It is not necessary to earn your Master's separately.

Program Information

You must complete 30 graduate-level credits at the 5000 level or higher and obtain a minimum of a C (2.0) in each class for the course to count toward your degree. PhD students must receive a B- (2.7) or higher in each course. You must maintain a 3.0 cumulative GPA or higher in order to be in good standing with the Graduate School. At least 21 credits must be in Mechanical Engineering and up to 9 credits can be taken outside of the department.

Beginning in Spring 2017, Master of Science Thesis students must complete the following requirements to obtain the MS degree:

  • 30 graduate-level credits (10 courses)
    • At least 21 credits (7 courses) must be in Mechanical Engineering, including:
      • 9-15 credits (3-5 courses) must be taken from a list of “core courses” listed under each focus area.
      • 6 credits of master’s thesis credits (MCEN 6959), spread out over final two semesters of degree.
    • Up to 9 credits (3 courses) that can be taken outside of the department.
  • Intro to Research (MCEN 5208).
  • To fulfill the Professional Development Program (PDP) requirement, you must attend a series of seminars/colloquiums and workshops. MS Professional students must attend 15 seminars/colloquiums. More information on PDP requirements can be found in your individual student portal. 
  • Passing the MS thesis defense.

You must secure a thesis advisor within the first semester. A list of recommended courses will be provided for each focus area. You should consult with your thesis advisor for course selection recommendations. Exception: If you are a PhD student and wish to earn a master’s degree while obtaining your PhD, you may complete the MS program without writing a thesis.

For information on tuition, visit the Bursar's Office site, click on the tuition and fees PDFs listed under the graduate heading, and review the 'Engineering' category.