The department offers two Master’s degrees: a Master of Science (MS), which requires a thesis, and a Master of Engineering (ME), which is a course-based masters degree requiring no research.  Only students working on research towards an MS degree (thesis option) are eligible to receive financial support from the department in the form  of a GRA, GTA, or a fellowship.  Masters students enrolled in the MS program must obtain the agreement of an advisor to supervise an MS thesis. In addition to the MAE Department requirements, there are degree requirements set by the Engineering School, which are given in the SEAS Graduate Record.  ME students are assigned a faculty member to serve as their advisor to aid in course selection.

Degree Requirements
The MS degree requires completion of at least one semester in residence at UVa as a full-time student.  MS degrees require 24 course hours fulfilling the below requirements, plus a thesis of publishable quality reporting their original research. In addition,  the MS student will be required to present the thesis in a public oral defense. This examination normally covers the research done for the thesis but may also include questions from related coursework.  The ME degree requires completion of at least 30 course hours. All ME students must have 3 outcome assessments completed before they complete the program. These assessments are intended to be an assessment of the program, not of the student. All ME students should have an assessment of their plan of study  completed by their advisor, and they should then choose the two other assessments most appropriate to the work they complete during their degree. In addition to the Plan of Study Assessment, assessments may be in the following areas: Engineering Analysis, Engineering Design, Oral Communication, or Technical Writing. The student is responsible for identifying a faculty member who is capable of assessing the outcome on the basis of their completed course work.  They should then invite the faculty member to complete an assessment on their behalf.  It is the ME student’s responsibility to ensure that 3 assessment forms are completed prior to their graduation.

Master of Engineering – Course Requirements:

  • 30 credits of graduate coursework
  • 18 credits from Mechanical and Aerospace (MAE) graduate classes
  • No more than 9 credits from 5000 level classes
  • No more than 6 credits from 5000 level MAE classes

Master of Science – Course Requirements:

Three Core courses from the Discipline chosen by the student (as detailed for each Discipline)

One Core course from an MAE Discipline outside the student’s field of study:

  • One Engineering Analysis class
  • Any three graduate classes
  • No more than 9 credits from 5000 level classes
  • No more than 6 credits from 5000 level MAE classes

Time Limit for Degree Completion
Although most students finish within two years, the time limit for completion of the Masters program is five years for the MS and seven years for the ME. The time to degree can be extended beyond its ordinary term for SEAS graduate students for: (1) maternity or family parenting, (2) serious personal or family illness upon notification to and approval of the department and the Associate Dean for Graduate Studies. The “clockstopping” will be for a period of up to one year. Utilization of this policy should be invoked as soon as the need for additional time becomes known.

Masters Degree Plan of Study
All Masters students are required to complete an approved course Plan of Study (form G101) with their advisor’s approval. The plan of study should be discussed with the advisor and the advisory committee as early as possible and ideally the plan of study is submitted to the MAE Graduate Office during the first semester of study. When properly completed and approved, the plan of study represents the course curriculum for the degree. For an ME degree, 30 credits of graduate courses are required. For the MS degree 24 15 credits of coursework, in addition to 6 credits of MAE 8999 (thesis research), are required. A REVISED PLAN OF STUDY MUST BE SUBMITTED should the course curriculum change.

Transfer Credit
Master of Science candidates may transfer a maximum of six credits of approved graduate courses into the program. Master of Engineering candidates may transfer twelve hours. Students in the Cooperative Graduate Engineering Program may include up to fifteen hours of credit with grades of C or better from participating institutions. The student must fill out form G112 to request approval of transfer courses, and he/she must include a transcript along with the request. Students not enrolled in the Cooperative Graduate Engineering Program may only transfer courses with a grade of B or better. Requests for transfer credit should be accompanied by a plan of study and are due by the end of the first semester of graduate study.

Application for Graduation
All students are required to complete and submit an application for degree form G-113 by the following deadlines:

  • October 1 for January graduation
  • February 1 for May graduation
  • June 1 for August graduation

Admission into PhD Program after the Masters Program
Masters students already enrolled at UVa who wish to be considered for admissions into the PhD program after completion of the Master’s degree are required to complete form G-123 and submit a recommendation for admission into the PhD program.

Thesis Preparation and Examination

Announcements (MS Students Only)
Before beginning to write a thesis the student should obtain and read form G-122, Instructions for Thesis Preparation, which outlines the approved school format and requirements for a thesis. Once the thesis has been written and approved by the advisor, a public oral defense of the thesis is required. The examining committee for this oral defense consists of a minimum of three faculty members. The Chair of the committee cannot be the advisor and must be from the MAE Department. This examining committee is selected by the student and the advisor and approved by the Graduate Committee Chair (Form G-105).

The format of the public oral defense is a presentation by the student, which is followed by a question and answer period. The student presentation portion of the defense should not exceed 30 minutes. The student is responsible for reserving a suitable conference room and should send the abstract to the graduate coordinator at least 7 days prior to the date of the exam so that the coordinator can announce the exam. The completed thesis should be delivered to each member of the examining committee  at least 14 days prior to the date of the final oral exam. After your thesis defense, your committee must complete a Report of Thesis Final Examination on form G-110 (MS) and a Thesis Assessment Form. A completed MAE Course Requirements- Master of Science form should accompany these forms.  These forms are due at least  1 week  before graduation date.

After successfully completing any necessary changes to the thesis, take three copies of the final revision of the thesis on acceptable permalife paper signed by author and committee members in manila envelopes with the necessary information  (see thesis check list) on the front to Sara Thacker, Graduate Office, Thornton Hall. This must be done at least 10 days before graduation date. She will prepare your paperwork and once complete you will go to Printing Services in Alderman Library and drop your thesis off to be bound. At this time, you must pay to have these three official university copies bound. You will get a receipt. Your binding receipt must be given to Sara Thacker by the 10th day of the month of your graduation.  For more detailed  information on preparation of the written thesis please refer to the section of this handbook entitled “Instruction for Thesis (and Dissertation) Preparation.”

Appointment of Committee Requirements
MS students must select an advisor and, in consultation with that advisor, an examining committee during their first semester of Master study. The advisor is normally a faculty member in the student’s primary area of interest. The examining committee should consist of at least three UVa faculty members (including the advisor), at least 2 of whom must be SEAS faculty. The chair of the committee must be a MAE faculty member and may not be the advisor. Note that the purpose of the examining committee is to provide the student with a broad base of guidance in formulating and executing a plan of study and thesis project. One research professional from outside UVa or faculty member from outside SEAS may be a fourth voting member, provided that his/her qualifications are commensurate with that of a research faculty or equivalent rank. Should the student’s interest change, the examining committee may be reconstructed as appropriate. Form G-104 should be used for the selection of an advisor and form G-105 should be used for the selection of the examining committee at least 2 weeks prior to the examination date.

All MS and PhD students are expected to complete publishable quality original research. Regular publication and presentation of scholarly work is an expected part of any graduate level research program.

Masters Degree Forms
The following is a list of required forms that must be filed with the graduate office according to SEAS deadlines. Forms may be obtained from the MAE Graduate Office or the graduate office located in Thornton Hall. A sample of each form is displayed in Appendix II.

First Semester

  • Appointment of Advisor G-104
  • Master’s Degree Plan of Study G-101
  • (+ Assessment Forms for ME)
  • Transfer of Credit (if applicable) G-112

Each Semester — as Necessary

  • Revised Plan of Study G-101

Final Semester

  • Degree Application G-113
  • Assessment Forms (3 total required for ME students only)

Final Semester — MS ONLY

  • MAE Course Requirements – Master of Science
  • Appointment of Examining Committee G-105
  • Announce Thesis Defense
  • MS Thesis Final Examination Report G-110
  • (+ 3 Assessment Forms)