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Online Master of Science Degree in Mechanical Engineering
A Graduate Program for Distance Learners

Admission Requirements | Application Procedures | Application Deadlines
Degree Requirements | Transfer of Credit

The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign offers its Master of Science in Mechanical Engineering (MSME) completely online. No campus visits are required. Specific information about the Department of Mechanical Science and Engineering's (MechSE) on-campus programs can be found at the departmental Web site,

Admission Requirements

Statement of purpose
The Statement of Purpose must be submitted online with the application. If you choose to send the statement of purpose after the application submission deadline, it must be mailed or sent electronically by e-mail to the "Graduate Admission Coordinator" at the address below under the Application Procedures section.

Unofficial transcripts must be uploaded with your application. If you are admitted and decide to attend the University of Illinois, you will be required to submit official transcripts during your first semester.

Area of specialization form
You will receive directions for completing this form electronically after you submit your application.

Three letters of reference
The letters of reference should come from instructors in the applicant's undergraduate program or from employers who can address quantitative and qualitative skills as well as potential success in graduate school. These letters must also be submitted by the recommender online.

Rank in class should be submitted for international applicants

TOEFL exam scores (if applicable)
Applicants whose native language is not English are required to have the Educational Testing Service (ETS) submit the results of the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL). A graduate applicant is exempt from this testing if, within five years of the proposed term of enrollment, he or she has completed at least two academic years of full-time study as defined by the home institution, or completed a graduate degree, in a country where English is the primary language and in a school where English is the primary language of instruction. For admission purposes, TOEFL scores are valid for only two years prior to the proposed term of entry. The institution code for the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign is 1836. The department code can be listed as 00 or 99.

The MechSE Department requires a minimum 257 (computer based) / 613 (paper based) / 103 (Internet based) score. Applicants will not be considered if they do not meet this minimum score.

Individuals do not have to be admitted to a degree program in order to enroll in an online course. Only 12 hours of coursework completed prior to being admitted to the degree program can be transferred into the program. Please see Transfer of Credit for details.

Taking courses prior to enrolling in the degree program does not in any way guarantee a future admission to the regular or online degree program. Your application will be reviewed in the same manner as all other prospective applicants. All prior coursework taken will be reviewed including online UIUC coursework.

Application Procedures

Submission of Application Materials

Please apply online at:

Your statement of purpose should be submitted online. In your statement of purpose, identify yourself as online student, give examples of your work experiences, state the nature of your work with your present employer, and identify professional goals that you might have regarding the completion of the degree program or future areas of employment.

Application materials must be be submitted online. The only form that needs to be the submitted in hard copy is the optional class rank form (international applicants only). The class rank form can be sent to:

Department of Mechanical Science and Engineering
Attn: Graduate Admission Coordinator
158 Mechanical Engineering Building, MC-244
1206 West Green Street
Urbana, Illinois 61801

Nonrefundable Application Processing Fee

US Citizens: $70 application processing fee
Required with the receipt of the application. Please pay by credit card online.

International Applicants: $90 (US) application processing fee
Required with the receipt of the application. Please pay by credit card online.

The nonrefundable application processing fee is valid for only one semester and must be submitted before any action can be taken. The fee cannot be waived or temporarily deferred regardless of currency restrictions imposed by certain countries.

Application Deadlines

In order to be considered for admission, the following deadlines for receipt of the application are in effect for applicants to the MechSE Department:

Applicants are strongly urged to submit their applications and supporting documents in advance of the above dates. The application will not be acted on until all documentation is received and the file is complete.

Admission Decisions

The Department will notify an applicant by letter and/or e-mail as soon as a decision on admission has been reached. No decision will be made on an application until the processing fee is paid. Admission recommendations by the MechSE Department are not official until the Office of Admissions and Records issues a Notice of Admission and sends registration instructions.

Staff in the graduate programs office will be happy to answer any questions about the application process (217-244-3416 or

Re-entry Procedures

Any degree student who has not been registered over two consecutive semesters (including summer) must petition to re-enter the program. Such students should fill out the following two forms and fax or scan and e-mail them to Kathy Smith in the MechSE Department (fax: 217-244-6534; e-mail:

Graduate Petition Form
Re-entry Data Form

Kathy will obtain the required signatures and submit the forms to the Graduate College for processing.


Degree Requirements for the MSME Program

Thesis Option

The Graduate College specifies that at least 32 hours of graduate level credit are required for a Master of Science (MS) degree at the University of Illinois. Of these 32 hours:

Both the department and the Graduate College require a format check for a thesis. Thesis titles should be reported to the Graduate College at least six weeks before the expected conferral date. The Master of Science degree is conferred in May, August, October, and January. Graduate College thesis information can be found at

Non-thesis Option

Upon consent of the advisor and approval by petition of the Graduate Programs Committee, the ME thesis requirement may be waived. The non-thesis option requires a total of 36 hours. Of these 36 hours:

After admission to the degree program and completion of several online courses, we recommend that online students intending to pursue the non-thesis MSME option begin searching for a faculty member who would be willing to work with them on the Independent Study: Master's Project. Once an Independent Study adviser has been chosen, please complete the MS Degree Non-thesis Option form:

Please mail this form to:

Department of Mechanical Science and Engineering
Attn: Kathy Smith
158 Mechanical Engineering Building, MC-244
1206 West Green Street
Urbana, IL 61801

Application for Graduation

The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign confers graduate degrees four times each year: August, December, and May.

All graduate students must apply for graduation prior to the application deadline which is found on the calendar for the current semester. There is no penalty for applying for a particular graduation period and then not completing degree requirements by the deadline. However, your name will not be automatically rolled over to the next graduation list: You must reapply for graduation.

During registration, students can use the “Graduation Information” tab to add themselves to the Pending Degree List for the next degree conferral. This online option is only available to students during the first 10 days of each term. After that, students may apply for graduation by submitting an official Application for Degree form to Kathy Smith. This form is available online at

Courses Available Online

Courses numbered 400-499 are graduate level courses open to senior-level undergraduates and entry-level graduate students; 500-599 are open to graduate students only.

Graduate credit at UIUC is measured in semester hours. Most 400-level courses carry either 3 or 4 hours of credit. Most 500-level courses carry 4 hours of credit.

Visit the Course Offerings section of the Engineering and Computer Science Online Web site to determine the semester offering of the following courses:

ME 400 - Energy Conversion Systems
ME 412 - Numerical Thermo-Fluid Mechs
ME 420 - Intermediate Heat Transfer
ME 430 - Failure Mechanisms in Engineering Materials
ME 431 - Failure Analysis of Mechanical Components
ME 450 - Modeling in Materials Processing
ME 460 - Industrial Control Systems
ME 471 - Finite Element Analysis
TAM 470 - Computational Mechanics
TAM 498 IND - Introduction to Nonlinear Dynamics
ME 510 - Advanced Gas Dynamics
ME 521 - Convective Heat Transfer
ME 532 - Fracture Resistant Design
ME 533 - Physical Basis for Plasticity
ME 597 - Non-thesis Project (offered upon request)
ME 598 AV2 - Advanced Nonlinear Dynamics and Chaos
ME 598 WT - Advanced Materials for Water Treatment
ME 599 - Thesis Research (offered upon request)
TAM 514 - Elastodynamics and Vibrations
TAM 524 - Micromechanical Behavior of Materials
(TAM 514 and TAM 524 count as 500-level courses "in the major field" toward fulfillment of the MSME degree requirements)

In addition, other online courses offered by the College of Engineering will count toward the MSME degree requirements. Examples of these courses include:

CEE 406 - Pavement Design I
CEE 407 - Airport Design
CEE 409 - Railroad Track Engineering
CEE 411 - Railroad Project Planning and Design
CEE 421 - Construction Planning
CEE 422 - Construction Cost Analysis
CEE 440 - Fate Cleanup Environ Pollutant
CEE 446 - Air Quality Engineering
CEE 453 - Urban Hydrology and Hydraulics
CEE 457 - Groundwater
CEE 472 - Structural Dynamics I
CEE 491 - Decision and Risk Analysis
CEE 498 PO3 - Public Transportation
CEE 498 PO4 - Public Transportation
CEE 509 - Transportation Soils
CEE 512 - Logistics Systems Analysis
CEE 525 - Construction Case Studies
CEE 535 - Environmental Systems II
CEE 572 - Earthquake Engineering
CEE 573 - Structural Dynamics II
CEE 574 - Probabilistic Loads and Design
CEE 575 - Fracture and Fatigue
CEE 581 - Earth Dams
CEE 589 - Computational Geomechanics
CEE 597 - Independent Study
CEE 598 ABO - Advanced Bituminous Materials
CEE 598 HRO - High-Speed Rail
CEE 598 IRO - Repair of Civil Infrastructure
CEE 598 SCO - Sustainable Construction Methods
CEE 598 SSO - Transportation Soil Stabilization
Online courses in Computer Science (CS)
ECE 432 - Advanced Electric Machinery
ENG 460 - Entrepreneurship for Engineering
ENG 461 - Technology Entrepreneurship
ENG 466 - High-Tech Venture Marketing
ENG 471 - Seminar Energy & Sustain Engrg
ENG 560 - Managing Advanced Technol I
ENG 561 - Managing Advanced Technol II
ENG 565 - Technology Innovation and Strategy
ENG 566 - Finance for Engineering Managers
- OR -
ENG 598 FM - Financial Statement Analysis
(Credit will not be awarded for both ENG 566 and ENG 598 FM)
ENG 567 - Venture Funded Startups
GE 411 - Reliability Engineering
GE 498 TV - Creative Modeling for Technology Visionaries
GE 530 - Multiattribute Decision Making
GE 531 - Genetic Algorithm Methods
IE 400 - Design and Analysis of Experiments
IE 431 - Quality Engineering
MATH 446 - Applied Complex Variables
MATH 461 - Probability Theory I
MATH 488 - Math Methods in Engineering
MSE 445 - Corrosion of Metals

GE 400, Math 415 - Linear Algebra (Math 315) and as of Fall 2010 MATH 490 A - Calculus Refresher and MATH 490 B - Systems of Linear Differential Equations cannot be used to satisfy MSME course requirements.

The requirements listed above are subject to change by the MechSE Department.


Transfer of Credit

Students may take UIUC courses prior to being admitted to a degree program or courses at other institutions and petition to transfer credit toward the MSME degree. For Mechanical Engineering, no more than 8 semester hours may be transferred from another institution and only 12 semester hours total may be transferred. The petition must mention the UIUC course that is believed to be the equivalent of the course that is being transferred. Both the Department and the Graduate College must approve all transfer credit. Restrictions by the Graduate College, on the transfer of credit, are as follows:

The maximum credit for a three-hour course on the quarter system is 2 hours. An instructor may recommend less credit if he or she feels that a smaller portion of the UIUC course has been mastered by the student.

Petition forms are available on the Engineering and Computer Science Online Policies Web site. The completed form should be sent to:

Department of Mechanical Science and Engineering
Attn: Kathy Smith
158 Mechanical Engineering Building, MC-244
1206 West Green Street
Urbana, IL 61801