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    At the graduate level, the Mechanical Engineering program aligns academic course work with research to prepare scholars in specialized areas within the field.

    Areas of specialization range from automatic controls, energy systems, fluid mechanics, heat transfer and solid mechanics to biomechanical engineering, MEMS and design. Through course work and guided research, the program prepares students to make original contributions in Mechanical Engineering and related fields.

    Stanford is consistently ranked among the world’s top institutions for post-graduate Mechanical Engineering studies. The National Research Council’s last study of American doctoral programs ranked Stanford No. 1 in Mechanical Engineering, while US News and World Report’s graduate school rankings have named Stanford’s ME program at No. 2. Incoming graduate students work one-on-one with faculty who are at the forefront of technological innovation.

    A master’s degree program leading to the MS is offered in Mechanical Engineering, and a master’s degree program leading to the MS is offered in Engineering with a choice of the following fields of study: Biomechanical Engineering, Product Design and an individually designed major. The department also offers two post-master's degrees: Engineer and Doctor of Philosophy.

    The master’s program consists of 45 units of course work taken at Stanford. No thesis is required, although many students become involved in research projects during the master’s program, particularly to explore their interests in working towards a Ph.D. degree. Students whose undergraduate backgrounds are entirely devoid of some of the major subject disciplines of engineering (for example, applied mechanics, applied thermodynamics, fluid mechanics, ordinary differential equations) may need to take some undergraduate courses to fill obvious gaps and prepare themselves to take graduate courses in these areas. Such students may require more than three quarters to fulfill the master’s degree requirements, as the makeup courses may only be used as unrestricted electives (see item 4 below) in the M.S. degree program. However, it is not the policy to require fulfillment of mechanical engineering B.S. degree requirements to obtain an M.S. degree.

    Mechanical Engineering

    The master’s degree program requires 45 units of course work taken as a graduate student at Stanford. No thesis is required. However, students who want some research experience during the master’s program may participate in research through ME 391 Engineering Problems and ME 392Experimental Investigation of Engineering Problems.

    Students are encouraged to refer to the most recent Mechanical Engineering Graduate Student Handbook provided by the student services office. The department’s requirements for the M.S. in Mechanical Engineering are as follows:

    1. Mathematical Fundamentals: two mathematics courses for a total of at least 6 units from the following list are required: ME 300A, 300B, 300C, 408; CME 302; EE 261, 263; ENGR 155C/CME106. Only MATH courses with catalog numbers greater than 100 and CME courses with catalog numbers greater than 200 will count towards the math requirement. However, courses must cover two different areas out of the following choices: partial differential equations, linear algebra, numerical analysis and statistics. This excludes programming classes such as CS 106; CME 211, 212, 213, 214, 292. Those classes can counted towards the Approved Electives category. Courses taken for the math requirement must be taken for a letter grade.
    2. Depth in Mechanical Engineering: a set of graduate-level courses in Mechanical Engineering to provide depth in one area. The faculty have approved these sets as providing depth in specific areas as well as a significant component of applications of the material in the context of engineering synthesis. These sets are outlined in the Mechanical Engineering Graduate Student Handbook. Depth courses must be taken for a letter grade.
    3. Breadth in Mechanical Engineering: two additional graduate level courses (outside the depth) from the depth/breadth charts listed in the Mechanical Engineering Graduate Handbook.Breadth courses must be taken for a letter grade.
    4. Sufficient Mechanical Engineering Course Work: students must take a minimum of 24 units of course work in mechanical engineering topics. For the purposes of determining mechanical engineering topics, any course on approved lists for the mathematics, depth, and breadth requirements counts towards these units. In addition, any graduate-level course with an ME course number is considered a mechanical engineering topic.
    5. Approved Electives (to bring the total number of units to at least 39): electives must be approved by an adviser. Graduate engineering, mathematics, and science courses are normally approved. Approved electives must be taken for a letter grade. No more than 6 of the 39 units may come from ME 391/392 (or other independent study/research courses), and no more than 3 may come from seminars. Students planning a Ph.D. should discuss with their advisers the option of taking 391 or 392 during the master’s program. ME 391/392 (and other independent study courses) may only be taken on a credit/no credit basis.
    6. Unrestricted electives (to bring the total number of units submitted for the M.S. degree to 45): students are encouraged to take these units outside engineering, mathematics, or the sciences. Students should consult their advisers on course loads and on ways to use the unrestricted electives to make a manageable program. Unrestricted electives must have catalog numbers greater than 100. Unrestricted electives may be taken CR/NC.
    7. Within the courses satisfying the requirements above, there must be at least one graduate-level course with a laboratory component. Courses which satisfy this requirement are: 
      Course List
      ENGR 341 Micro/Nano Systems Design and Fabrication 3-5
      ME 203 Design and Manufacturing 4
      ME 210 Introduction to Mechatronics 4
      ME 220 Introduction to Sensors 3-4
      ME 218A Smart Product Design Fundamentals 4-5
      ME 218B Smart Product Design Applications 4-5
      ME 218C Smart Product Design Practice 4-5
      ME 218D Smart Product Design: Projects 3-4
      ME 250 Internal Combustion Engines 3-5
      ME 310A Product-Based Engineering Design, Innovation, and Development 4
      ME 310B Product-Based Engineering Design, Innovation, and Development 4
      ME 310C Project-Based Engineering Design, Innovation, and Development 4
      ME 318 Computer-Aided Product Creation 4
      ME 323 Modeling and Identification of Mechanical Systems for Control 3
      ME 324 Precision Engineering 4
      ME 348 Experimental Stress Analysis 3
      ME 354 Experimental Methods in Fluid Mechanics 4
      ME 367 Optical Diagnostics and Spectroscopy Laboratory 4
      ME 385 Tissue Engineering Lab 1-2
      ME 391/392 Engineering Problems 1-10
      Or other independent study courses may satisfy this requirement if 3 units are taken for work involving laboratory experiments  

    Candidates for the M.S. in Mechanical Engineering are expected to have the approval of the faculty; they must maintain a minimum grade point average (GPA) of 3.0 in the 45 units presented for fulfillment of degree requirements (exclusive of independent study courses). All courses used to fulfill mathematics, depth, breadth, approved electives, and lab studies must be taken for a letter grade (excluding seminars, independent study, and courses for which a letter grade is not an option for any student).

    Students falling below a GPA of 2.5 at the end of 20 units may be disqualified from further registration. Students failing to meet the complete degree requirements at the end of 60 units of graduate registration are disqualified from further registration. Courses used to fulfill deficiencies arising from inadequate undergraduate preparation for mechanical engineering graduate work may not be applied to the 45 units required for completion of the MS degree.


    As described in the "School of Engineering" section of this bulletin, each department in the school may sponsor students in a more general degree, the M.S. in Engineering. Sponsorship by the Department of Mechanical Engineering (ME) requires (1) filing a petition for admission to the program by no later than the day before instruction begins, and (2) that the center of gravity of the proposed program lies in ME. No more than 18 units used for the proposed program may have been previously completed. The program must include at least 9 units of graduate-level work in the department other than ME 300A,B,C, seminars, and independent study. The petition must be accompanied by a statement explaining the program objectives and how it is coherent, contains depth, and fulfills a well-defined career objective. The grade requirements are the same as for the M.S. in Mechanical Engineering.

    Master of Science in Engineering, Biomechanical Engineering

    The Master of Science in Engineering: Biomechanical Engineering (MSE:BME) promotes the integration of engineering mechanics and design with the life sciences. Applicants are expected to have an additional exposure to biology and/or bioengineering in their undergraduate studies. Students planning for subsequent medical school studies are advised to contact Stanford's Premedical Advising Office in Sweet Hall.

    Students wishing to pursue this program must complete the Graduate Program Authorization form and get approval from the Student Services Office. This form serves to officially add the field to the student's record. This form must be filled out electronically on Axess. The Mechanical Engineering Department does not have a coterminal Biomechanical Engineering Master's program.

    Degree Requirements

    1. Mathematical competence (minimum 6 units) in two of the following areas: partial differential equations, linear algebra, complex variables, or numerical analysis, as demonstrated by completion of two appropriate courses from the following list: ME300A,B,C; MATH106, 109, 113, 131M/P, 132; STATS110, or ENGR155C; CME108, 302. Students who have completed comparable graduate-level courses as an undergraduate, and who can demonstrate their competence to the satisfaction of the instructors of the Stanford courses, may be waived via petition from this requirement by their adviser and the Student Services Office. The approved equivalent courses should be placed in the approved electives category of the program proposal.
    2. Graduate Level Engineering Courses (minimum 21 units), consisting of:
      1. Biomechanical engineering restricted electives (9 units) to be chosen from:
        Course List
        ME 239 Mechanics of the Cell 3
        ME 280 Skeletal Development and Evolution 3
        ME 281 Biomechanics of Movement 3
        ME 287 Mechanics of Biological Tissues 3
        ME 337 Mechanics of Growth 3
        ME 381 Orthopaedic Bioengineering 3-4
        ME 385 Tissue Engineering Lab 1-2
        ME 387 Soft Tissue Mechanics 3
      2. Specialty in engineering (9-12 units): A set of three or four graduate level courses in engineering mechanics, materials, controls, or design (excluding bioengineering courses) selected to provide depth in one area. Such sets are approved by the Mechanical Engineering Faculty. Comparable specialty sets composed of graduate engineering courses outside the Mechanical Engineering Department can be used with the approval of the student's adviser. Examples can be obtained from the Biomechanical Engineering Group Office (Durand 223).
      3. Graduate engineering electives (to bring the total number of graduate level engineering units to at least 21). These electives must contribute to a cohesive degree program, and be approved by the student's adviser. No units may come from bioengineering courses, mathematics courses, or seminars.
    3. Life science approved electives (minimum 6 units): Undergraduate or graduate biological/medical science/chemistry courses which contribute to a cohesive program.
    4. Biomechanical engineering seminar ME 389 Biomechanical Research Symposium.
    5. General approved electives (to bring the total number of units to 39): These courses must be approved by the student's adviser. Graduate level engineering, math, and physical science courses and upper division undergraduate or graduate life science courses are normally approved.
    6. Unrestricted electives (to bring the total number of units to 45): Students without undergraduate biology are encouraged to use some of these unrestricted units to strengthen their biology background. Students should consult their adviser for recommendations on course loads and on ways to use the unrestricted electives to create a manageable program. Unrestrictive electives must have catalog numbers greater than 100. 

    All courses except unrestricted electives must be taken for a letter grade unless letter grades are not an option. A minimum cumulative GPA of 3.0 is required for degree conferral.

    Master of Science in Engineering, Product Design

    The master's program in Design focuses on the synthesis of technology with human needs and market viability (both profit and nonprofit models) to create innovative products, services and experiences. This program is offered by the Department of Mechanical Engineering. It provides a design thinking education that seeks to create design leaders who can transform organizations into cultures of creativity and innovation. Students completing the program will earn a Master of Science in Engineering degree with a concentration in Design (MSE-Design). Students complete the core product design courses in their first year of graduate study at Stanford before undertaking the master's project in their second year.

    Degree Requirements

    Please check with the Mechanical Engineering Department Student Services Office for updates on degree requirements.  

    Students must complete the following courses. Students making unsatisfactory degree progress by the end of the first year, at the faculty's discretion, may not advance to the second year (Masters Project Year). A minimum cumulative GPA of 3.0 and 54 units are required for degree conferral.

    Course List
    ME 203 Design and Manufacturing 4
    ME 277 Graduate Design Research Techniques 3-4
    ME 391 Engineering Problems (Instructor: Nicole Kahn) 3-4
    ME 313 Human Values and Innovation in Design 3
    ME 316A/316B/316C Product Design Master's Project * 2-6
    Approved Electives - including at least one d.School class ** 24-34

    ME 316A Product Design Master's Project and B/C are taken sequentially for three quarters during the second year. ME316B & C are listed on the website as Design Garage: A Deep Dive in Design Thinking. Students in the program take this sequence for 2-6 units (typically 4 unit) per quarter.  


    Students may choose classes (at the 200 level or higher) from any of the schools at the University to fulfill their elective requirement. However, electives that are not already pre-approved must be approved by the student's adviser via petition prior to enrollment. Electives should be chosen to fulfill career objectives; students may focus their energy in engineering, entrepreneurship and business, psychology, or other areas relevant to design. Taking a coherent sequence of electives focused on a subject area is recommended. For example, the patent, negotiation, and licensing classes (ME 208Patent Law and Strategy for Innovators and Entrepreneurs, ME 265 Technology Licensing and Commercialization) constitute a sequence most relevant to potential inventors. Students interested in social entrepreneurship should apply to the course ME 206A Entrepreneurial Design for Extreme Affordability,B, Extreme Affordability.

    Note: All required and approved electives must be taken for a letter grade, if offered, unless prior approval is granted to take a class CR/NC.

    Pre-approved electives list

    The following courses are pre-approved for fulfilling the elective requirement for the Masters Degree in Engineering - Design. Electives not on this list must be approved via petition prior to enrollment. Electives must be taken for a letter grade unless prior approval is obtained.

    Course List
    ME 218A/218B/218C Smart Product Design Fundamentals * 4-5
    ME 238 Patent Prosecution 2
    ME 208 Patent Law and Strategy for Innovators and Entrepreneurs 2-3
    ME 212 Calibrating the Instrument 1
    ME 265 Technology Licensing and Commercialization 3
    ME 297 Forecasting for Innovators:Technology, Tools & Social Change 3
    ME 315 The Designer in Society 3
    MS&E 273 Technology Venture Formation 3-4
    STRAMGT 353 Entrepreneurship: Formation of New Ventures 4
    STRAMGT 356/366 The Startup Garage: Design 4

    Students who opt to take ME 218A/B/C-Smart Products as one of their pre-approved electives should take the sequence during the first year.


    Additional requirements

    As part of their master's degree program, and in addition to Design Garage (ME316B/C), students are required to take at least one course offered by the Hasso Plattner Institute of Design (the d.School). All d.School courses require applications submitted the quarter prior to the start of class. All d.School classes (with the exception of 'pop-ups') count as pre-approved electives. Suggested classes are found below.

    Course List
    ME 206A/206B Entrepreneurial Design for Extreme Affordability * 4
    ENGR 231 Transformative Design 3-5
    ENGR 280 From Play to Innovation 2-4
    ENGR 281 4.0 - Designing Media that Matters 2-3
    ME 301 LaunchPad:Design and Launch your Product or Service 4

    Students who opt to take ME 206A/B Entrepreneurial Design for Extreme Affordability as one of their pre-approved electives should take the sequence during the first year.

    Engineer in Mechanical Engineering

    The basic University requirements for the degree of Engineer are discussed in the "Graduate Degrees" section of this bulletin.

    This degree requires an additional year of study beyond the M.S. degree and includes a research thesis. The program is designed for students who wish to do professional engineering work upon graduation and who want to engage in more specialized study than is afforded by the master’s degree alone.

    Admission standards are substantially the same as indicated under the master’s degree. However, since thesis supervision is required and the availability of thesis supervisors is limited, admission is not granted until the student has personally engaged a faculty member to supervise a research project. This most often involves a paid research assistantship awarded by individual faculty members (usually from the funds of sponsored research projects under their direction). Thus, individual arrangement between student and faculty is necessary. Students studying for the M.S. degree at Stanford who wish to continue to the Engineer degree ordinarily make such arrangements during the M.S. degree program. Students holding master’s degrees from other universities are invited to apply and may be admitted providing they are sufficiently well qualified and have made thesis supervision and financial aid arrangements.

    Department requirements for the degree include a thesis; up to 18 units of credit are allowed for thesis work (ME 400 Thesis). In addition to the thesis, 27 units of approved advanced course work in mathematics, science, and engineering are expected beyond the requirements for the M.S. degree; the choice of courses is subject to approval of the adviser. Students who have not fulfilled the Stanford M.S. degree requirements are required to do so, with allowance for approximate equivalence of courses taken elsewhere; up to 45 units may be transferable. A total of 90 units is required for degree conferral.

    Candidates for the degree must have faculty approval and have a minimum grade point average (GPA) of 3.0 for all courses (exclusive of thesis credit and other independent study courses) taken beyond those required for the master’s degree.

    USA requirements for international students

    Each university in the Unites States of America sets its own admission standards so there isn't the same criteria for all the students and the university can decide which applicants meet those standards. The fee for each application is between $35 to $100. 

    After the selections of the universities you want to attend, the best of all would be to contact each university for an application form and more admission information for the international students. Moreover, for a graduate or postgraduate program it's necessary to verify the admission requirements. Some programs require that you send your application directly to their department. 

    Admissions decisions are based on students's academic record and different test scores, such as TOEFL, the SAT or ACT (for undergraduate programs) and GRE or GMAT (for graduate programs). Admission decision is based on your academic results and motivation.

    University requirements

    Program requirements


    • Application
    • Application fee
    • Statement of purpose
    • Letters of recommendation
    • Transcripts*
    • GRE general results
    • TOEFL results* (if applicable)



    The Mechanical Engineering Department selectively awards several fellowships to entering graduate students. To be considered for assistance as an entering student, you must submit the Application for Admission to Graduate Study with supporting documents by the December deadline. Notifications regarding fellowships are sent to recipients in March and April.

    Stanford Graduate Fellowship

    This prestigious three-year University award is intended for outstanding candidates in graduate study leading to the PhD. The fellowship is selectively awarded to entering graduate students who are pursuing (or plan to pursue) a PhD in Mechanical Engineering. The award provides a quarterly stipend and tuition for eight to 10 units per quarter for 12 quarters. The selection process is demanding, requiring nomination and confirmation by both a department and university committee. Students are nominated for this award and cannot initiate the process.

    Graduate fellowships

    The School of Engineering and Department Fellowships are awarded to entering ME graduate students. Awards are based upon merit, including undergraduate academic performance and research potential. Recipients receive eight to 10 units of tuition per quarter and a quarterly stipend, for anywhere from three to five quarters.

    Research assistantships

    Research assistantships (RAs) are available to continuing MS and PhD Students, and more rarely, new graduate students. Assistantships are awarded by individual faculty members who have the necessary research funding. Typically, students who have successfully arranged for an RA appointment have secured it by contacting a faculty member directly. Although the majority of Research Assistants are in the PhD program, there are occasional RA appointments available for MS students who have a firm commitment to attaining a PhD.

    Research assistants typically receive eight to 10 units of tuition coverage and a salary in exchange for 20 hours of work per week. Some students opt to work fewer hours per week, and their salary and tuition benefits are adjusted accordingly. For the PhD program, incoming students are awarded RA positions based upon the information provided in their admissions application. Current students typically contact faculty members to arrange research assistantships.

    Teaching and course assistantships

    Teaching/course assistantships are offered primarily to continuing students and to a very limited number of entering graduate students. TA/CAs typically provide recipients with tuition coverage of eight to 10 units and a salary, requiring 20 hours of work per week. Reduced hours (10 hours per week) may also be available, with salary and tuition benefits adjusted accordingly. TA/CA-ships are offered by faculty members who have been allocated the necessary funds to hire a TA/CA.

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