45.00 Hours Required

At the graduate level, the Mechanical Engineering program aligns academic course work with research, to prepare scholars in specialized areas within the field of mechanical engineering. Human-centered design and design for sustainability are themes that span all of the programs in the department. Where engineering has in the past been primarily concerned with "feasibility" the department recognizes a critical need to focus on a broader set of design criteria, including "usability", "viability", "desirability", "sustainability", and environmental impact.

There are 5 main academic themes that shape the Mechanical Engineering department. They are:

  • Biomedicine
  • Computational Engineering
  • Design
  • Energy
  • Multi-Scale Engineering

The department's aim is to help produce academic and industry leaders. We believe that because of our unique and forward-thinking approach to research incorporating these 5 academic themes, as well as our emphasis on human-centered design and sustainability, our graduates are widely sought after.

The Master's degree program requires the completion of 45 units which comprise a specific course of study. Students may need to come to campus to complete the requirements if required courses are not offered online. The following requirements must be met in order to earn the MS degree in Mechanical Engineering:

  • Mathematics Fundamentals (6 units)
  • Breadth in Mechanical Engineering
  • Depth in Mechanical Engineering (10-12 units)
  • Sufficient Mechanical Engineering Coursework (minimum of 24 units)
  • Approved Electives
  • Unrestricted Electives (up to 6 units)
  • Laboratory Requirement

Mathematics Fundamentals

2 math courses are required for the MS degree. Courses should be chosen in 2 different areas of mathematics (partial differential equations, linear algebra, complex variables, numerical analysis, or statistics). Courses taken for the math requirement must be taken for a grade.

Breadth Requirement

"Breadth" refers to graduate level Mechanical Engineering courses outside of the student's depth area. The intent is for students to engage in course work in areas of mechanical engineering outside of the depth to broaden understanding and competency in a wider range of topics. 2 courses are required from a list of eligible breadth courses, and must be taken for a letter grade. Contact the department of Mechanical Engineering for specific information about eligible breadth courses using the following email address: mechanical@stanford.edu

Depth Requirement

"Depth" refers to a cluster of courses with thematic and/or technical continuity that enables a student to study a part of mechanical engineering in more depth, with more focus, and over a period of time. A depth cluster or area typically is made up of 10-12 units (2-3 courses). The depth areas listed below have been approved by the faculty as providing depth in specific areas as well as a significant component of applications of the material in the context of engineering synthesis. Courses taken in the depth area must be taken for a letter grade.

  • Automatic Controls
  • Biomechanical Engineering
  • Mechatronics
  • Design Methodology
  • Design for Manufacturability
  • Fluid Mechanics
  • Energy Systems
  • Heat Transfer
  • High Temperature Gas Dynamics
  • Solid Mechanics
  • Dynamics
  • Micro-Electro-Mechanical Systems (MEMS)
  • Robotics and Kinematics
  • Materials and Stress Analysis

The Mechanical Engineering Student Services office can provide detailed information about which courses comprise each depth area listed above: mechanical@stanford.edu

Sufficient Mechanical Engineering Coursework

Students must take a minimum of 24 units of coursework in mechanical engineering topics. For the purposes of determining mechanical engineering topics, any course on approved lists for the math requirement, breadth requirement, and depth requirement counts toward these units. In addition, any graduate level course with a ME course number is considered a mechanical engineering topic. Contact the Mechanical Engineering Student Services office for detail about which courses contribute to this requirement: mechanical@stanford.edu

Approved Electives

Additional graduate engineering, math, and science courses will bring the total number of units to at least 39. All of these units must be approved by the student's advisor. Graduate engineering, math, and science courses are normally approved. Of these 39 units, no more than 3 units may come from seminars. Approved electives must be taken for a grade unless grades are not an option (e.g. seminars). For additional information about approved electives, contact the Mechanical Engineering Student Services office: mechanical@stanford.edu

Unrestricted Electives

These courses will bring the total number of units submitted for the MS degree to 45. Students are strongly encouraged to take these units outside of engineering, mathematics, or the sciences. Students should consult their advisor for recommendations on course loads and on ways to use the unrestricted electives to make a manageable program. Unrestricted electives may be taken for credit/no credit.

Laboratory Requirement

Within the courses satisfying the requirements above, there must be at least one graduate-level course with a laboratory component. For detailed information about courses with laboratory components please contact the Mechanical Engineering Student Services office: mechanical@stanford.edu


For course tuition and fees, please click Tuition & Fees.

Time Commitment

Most part-time students take an average of 3 to 5 years to complete the 45-unit requirement. You must complete a Master's degree within 5 years of starting the program. Note: Some on-campus attendance will be required for degree completion.


For assistance while in the application process, please contact the Mechanical Engineering Graduate Admissions Office using the following email address: mechanical@stanford.edu

Program Proposal

In accordance with University academic policy, MS students are required to file a program proposal by the end of the first quarter of matriculation (Honor's Coop Students have until the 4th quarter). Students obtain this form through the Student Services office, complete by listing planned courses of study, consulting with their advisor in order to have signed off and approved. Return to Student Services office for review and final approval. All programs are subject to the approval of the student's advisor and the Associate Chair of Graduate Curriculum (via the Student Services Manager). Students who alter their MS program during their course of study must submit a new program proposal by the third week of their final quarter. This is a firm deadline and there are no exceptions.

Additional Requirements

Courses used to fulfill math, depth, breadth, laboratory requirement, and approved electives requirements must be taken for a letter grade, except where a credit/no credit is given to all students. Up to 3 units of approved electives may be taken as seminars.

Candidates for the MSME degree are expected to have a minimum GPA of 3.0 in the 45 units counted toward the degree.ß

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