Mechanical Engineering - MS, PhD

College of Engineering

About This Degree

Mechanical engineering deals with the creation of the mechanical systems and machines that serve society. Mechanical engineers are involved in researching and designing mechanical devices of all types, including engines, tools, and machines. The broad discipline allows one to work in nearly every area of industry.

Utah State’s Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering is recognized at both regional and national levels. MAE graduates consistently finish in the top 10 percent in intercollegiate national student design competitions. In 2009, the USU Unmanned Aerial Vehicle Team took first place at an international competition.

Graduate students enrolled in the program have the opportunity to study with award-winning faculty. The MAE Department received the university’s 2010 Department Teaching Excellence Award for outstanding teaching throughout the department.

What You Will Learn

The department is particularly strong in the following areas of study:

  • olid mechanics is concerned with the mechanics of displacement and stress analysis combined with material science for selection of an optimum design. Included are studies of elasticity, plasticity, and failure in traditional metals and high-tech composite materials.
  • Thermal/fluids is concerned with the transport of mass, momentum, and energy in solids, liquids, and gasses. Included within its scope are the fundamental studies of thermodynamics, heat transfer, and fluid mechanics.
  • Dynamics and control is concerned with describing and controlling the motion of mechanical systems. Included within its scope are the fundamental studies of dynamics, kinematics, vibrations, control theory, electromechanical systems, and machine design.
  • Composite Materials is concerned with how these materials are used, critical manufacturing processes, design methods, testing and structural analyses of these complex systems.

Concurrent Bachelor’s/Master’s Program:

The department also offers a concurrent bachelor’s/master’s program, which allows USU engineering students to begin taking graduate classes during their senior year as an undergraduate and to complete requirements for both the bachelor's degree and the master’s degree concurrently over two years.

At a Glance

College: College of Engineering

Department: Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering Department

Faculty: View profiles of faculty members on the department directory.

Program Requirements


MS: Logan (Main Campus)

PhD: Logan (Main Campus)

Career And Outcomes

Career Opportunities

Graduates may pursue careers in the following areas:

  • Automotive
  • Building
  • Chemical
  • Defense
  • Electronics
  • Environmental engineering
  • Food processing
  • Heating and air conditioning
  • Heavy equipment
  • Machine tools
  • Manufacturing
  • Nuclear
  • Petroleum
  • Public utilities
  • Solar energy

Aerospace Engineering Specialization

  • Aircraft design and development
  • Aircraft flight testing
  • Spacecraft and space systems design
  • Spacecraft trajectory design and analysis


Additionally, some MS students enter prestigious PhD programs in top-tier schools.

Job Outlook


Joan Rudd

Office: ENGR 417
Phone: (435) 797-0330


Admission Requirements

Students must have a bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution in mechanical engineering, aerospace engineering, manufacturing engineering, or a closely related engineering discipline. Students who do not have a bachelor’s degree in an appropriate engineering discipline may be admitted with nonmatriculated status (not officially accepted to the program) and required to complete remedial requirements. Once these courses are completed, students may be officially admitted to the program.

Students must also be well acquainted with either the FORTRAN or C programming language.

Application Requirements:

  • Complete the online application
  • Pay the $55 application fee
  • GRE scores are used by some faculty in choosing students and in funding decisions and are therefore strongly encouraged
  • Have a 3.3 or higher GPA on your last 60 semester or 90 quarter credits
  • Provide transcripts of all college/university credits
  • Provide three contacts for letters of recommendation
  • Statement of Purpose
  • Curriculum Vitae

International students have additional admissions requirements.


The department has the following deadlines:

  • Fall semester - last day of February
  • Spring semester - last day of August
  • Domestic applications are accepted after these deadlines, but students will not be considered for financial assistance.
  • International applications will be considered only at the deadline dates so accepted students have time to allow for Visa applications.

Program Requirements

PhD Qualifying Exams:

In addition to the course requirements for the degree, the PhD program requires that all students pass the PhD qualifying exams. Students must pass these three exams with 80% or higher by the end of the third semester in the program. The qualifying exams will be based on undergraduate-level coursework and will consist of individual subject area exams.

Plan Options

Students can receive the MS by pursuing one of three options:

  • In the Plan A option, students complete graduate-level coursework and must write and successfully defend a thesis.
  • The Plan B option requires the production of a paper or creative work of art and is expected to reflect equivalent scholarship standards as a thesis. A successful defense is also required.
  • A third option, Plan C, does not involve a thesis or a defense meeting and is comprised of coursework only.

Doctoral Degree Plan Option(s)

  • PhD degree beyond a Bachelor’s
  • PhD degree beyond a Master’s

Financial Aid

A variety of funding opportunities are available on the graduate school website.

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