Master of Science in Mechanical Engineering: Course and Admission Requirements

1. Coursework

The Master of Science in Mechanical Engineering program is based on 30-course units, of which at least 21 units must be earned from graduate-level courses. Students will work closely with a faculty advisor to develop a curriculum plan that ensures academic rigor while at the same time meeting the needs of the student. The curriculum includes 6 units of required engineering courses and a minimum of 9 units of elective engineering courses. A maximum of 6 units of elective non-engineering courses may be applied to the degree requirements with the consent of the faculty advisor if they are consistent with the student’s program of study. There are two options for the culminating engineering experience. A research thesis option involves 3-6 units of research (course ENGR 897, which may be taken once or twice) followed by a 3-unit thesis course (ENGR 898). The other option is an applied research project to complete a 3‑unit project-based course (ENGR 895).

In this page, only the Course codes and titles of the courses are used. Please see course descriptions on the Engineering course bulletin page.

1.1 Required Courses (6 units)

Course List

Code                             Title                                                                            Units

ENGR 800                Research Methodology                                        3

ENGR 860                Advanced Engineering Analysis                      3

The required courses are designed to give students a foundation to carry out research and engineering analysis at the graduate level.  The skills gained in these courses may be applied to any of the various mechanical engineering concentration areas.

1.2 Elective Courses (15-21 units)

Elective courses develop subject expertise in a mechanical engineering concentration area and must be selected in consultation with a faculty advisor.  Representative engineering elective courses are listed below.  Up to 6 units of graduate or upper-division courses outside of ENGR may be used with the approval of the faculty advisor prior to enrolling. Up to 9 units of undergraduate courses are allowed, if not used to satisfy undergraduate degree program requirements.

Course List

Code Title Units

ENGR 415

Mechatronics 4
ENGR 441 Fundamentals of Composite Materials 3
ENGR 451 Digital Signal Processing 4
ENGR 461 Mechanical and Structural Vibrations 3
ENGR 463 Thermal Power Systems 3
ENGR 465 Principles of HVAC 3
ENGR 466 Gas Dynamics and Boundary-Layer Flow 3
ENGR 468 Applied Fluid Mechanics and Hydraulics 3
ENGR 469 Alternative and Renewable Energy Systems 3
ENGR 470 Biomechanics 3
ENGR 478 Design with Microprocessors 3
ENGR 492 Hardware for Machine Learning 3
ENGR 801 Engineering Management 3
ENGR 820 Energy Resources and Sustainability 3
ENGR 845 Neural-Machine Interfaces: Design and Applications 3
ENGR 863 Applied Thermal Fluids 3
ENGR 864 Transport Phenomena 3
ENGR 865 Energy-Efficient Buildings 3
ENGR 866 Air Quality Engineering 3
ENGR 867 Energy Auditing and Measurement and Verification 3
ENGR 868 Advanced Control Systems 3
ENGR 869 Robotics 3
ENGR 870 Robot Control 3
ENGR 871 Advanced Electrical Power Systems 3

1.3 Culminating Experience (3-9 units)

Units selected from one of the options below.  Option A gives students an opportunity to be involved in a research project under supervision of a faculty member in a specific field of interest.  It is designed for students who want to engage in a more specialized technical study beyond a semester during their master’s program with the objective of pursuing a technical career path.  Option B provides students a semester-long project that gives practical engineering experience to lead them towards a professional engineering career.

·  Option A (6-9 units) 

ENGR 897: Research (3-6 units)  (3-unit course that may be repeated once)

ENGR 898: Master’s Thesis (3 units)

·  Option B (3 units)

ENGR 895: Applied Research Projects

1.4 Concentration Areas

fields of thermofluids, energy systems, robotics, mechatronics, controls, biomechanics, and materials. 

The following are the recommended course electives for each respective concentration area within the MSME program.  A student may want to consult with their advisor if they like to


Design & Manufacturing

Robotics & Controls

Below are the courses for this concentration area that allow students gain new knowledge and skillsets in the growing field of robotics and modern controls.  See course catalogs for their course description.

Course Code Course Title Units
ENG 869 Robotics 3
ENG 868 Advanced Control Systems 3
ENG 845 Neuro-Machine Interfaces 3
ENG 415 Mechatronics 3
ENG 470 Biomechanics 3
ENG 306 Electromechanical Systems 3
ENG 307 Dynamic Systems and Vibrations 3
ENG 451 Digital Signal Processing 4
ENG 478 Design with Microprocessors 3
ENG 492 Hardware for Machine Learning 3
ENG 441 Fundamentals of Composite Materials 3
ENG 410 Process Control 3
ENG 411 Process Control Lab 1
ENG 447 Control Systems 3
ENG 446 Control Systems Lab 1

Below are recommended non-engineering courses that will provide important fundamentals for robotic and control theory.

Course Code Course Title Units
MATH 309 Mathematical Computing 3
MATH 324 Probability & Statistics with Computing 3
MATH 325 Linear Algebra 3
MATH 400 Numerical Analysis 3

Energy Systems

2. Minimum Admission Requirements

1. B.S. in Mechanical Engineering from an ABET-accredited program, or a B.S. in other engineering or science programs and the equivalent of the following courses (See links for course descriptions):

MATH: MATH 226, 227, 228, 245

PHYS: PHYS 230/232, 240/242

ENGR: ENGR 102, 200, 201, 205, 303, 304, 309

Note: Applicants who do not have some of the above or equivalent courses may be conditionally admitted, with advancement to classified graduate status after the above requirements are completed. The program coordinator will review and approve admission on a case-by-case basis.

2. At the time of admission to the University, the minimum GPA must be 3.0 out of 4.0 for the last 60 units of the applicant’s study. An applicant with a GPA higher than 2.8 but less than 3.0 may fill out a University waiver form for this requirement and submit it with the other Engineering Requirements to:

Mechanical Engineering Graduate Program Coordinator
School of Engineering
1600 Holloway Avenue
San Francisco, CA 94132

3. For the applicants with mainly non-English preparatory education, a minimum score for TOEFL (Institution code -4683) is 550 for paper-based, and 80 for Internet-based is required. Alternatively, this requirement may be satisfied by a minimum IELTS of 7.0 or PTE Academic of 65.

4. Non-Engineering applicants holding any B.S. degree may apply to our graduate program for conditional admission consideration. In those cases:

5. Applicants must have a record well above the university minimum admission requirements stated above and demonstrate their potential in Engineering.

6. Conditional graduate students may apply for advancement to classified graduate status, after satisfying the minimum admission requirements listed above.

7. No conditional admission is issued to international students with a B.S. degree in non-Mechanical Engineering programs.

2.1 Required Documents for Admission

Unofficial Transcript: Upload unofficial transcripts from every college or university attended, including study abroad and community college coursework even if transfer credit appears on the applicant’s degree transcript. The Division of Graduate Studies may request official transcripts from the applicant at any time during the application process in order to complete our review. Photographs of documents are not accepted. At the time of admission to the University, the minimum GPA must be 3.0/4.0 for the last 60 units of the applicant’s study.

Personal Statement: The applicants are to write a 500-word essay describing their interest in our program, motivation, future goals, and ambitions in their field of interest.

CV or Resume: The applicants are to summarize their academic and professional work experience, if any.

Official Transcript Requirement: If selected for admission, the applicants are required to submit official transcripts from each college or university attended to the Division of Graduate Studies in order to secure their  admission offer.  The applicants need to enter their initials in the box below to acknowledge the SF State official transcript requirement. 

Letter of Recommendation: Two recommendation letters are required from persons familiar with the applicant’s previous academic work or professional accomplishments.  The letters should provide information on the applicant's technical knowledge in his/her field of study, ability to carry out research, written and communication skills, and the applicant’s general character, work ethics and teamwork. Letters should provide insight into the applicants:

  • Breadth of Engineering Knowledge
  • Ability in Oral Expression
  • Ability in Written Expression
  • Self-Motivation and Perseverance
  • Examples of Creative Work
  • Ability to Work in Groups
  • Ability to Work Independently

An automatic e-mail will be sent to the recommender on behalf of the applicant once an electronic recommendation has been saved.. The recommenders need to know that the request for recommendation letter might end up in their spam or junk mail folder, as emails do occasionally get filtered out.

2.2 Optional Documents for Admission

English Language Proficiency Test: Students whose native language is not English and whose preparatory education was principally in a language other than English must submit an English language proficiency score report. For the applicants with mainly non-English preparatory education, a minimum score of 550 for paper-based (Institution code - 4683) and 80 for internet-based TOEFL is required. Alternatively, this requirement may be satisfied by a minimum IELTS of 7.0 or PTE Academic score of 65 (if one of these is not satisfied, an applicant may be conditionally accepted but must complete SCI 614 within the first year of attendance at SF State).

 Test Score Report: Graduate Record Exam (GRE) scores are not required but will be considered as part of the admissions package for applicants who wish to submit them.

3. Application Instructions

Application for graduate study to SF State should be completed through Cal State Apply. Review both the Division of Graduate Studies and the School of Engineering websites thoroughly before you complete this application. The Division of Graduate Studies recommends that applicants review our TIPS to Cal State Apply.  Complete the Documents, Questions, and Recommendations sections of this application.

Graduate School of Engineering

Dr. David Quintero
Graduate Coordinator, Master of Science in Mechanical Engineering Program
1600 Holloway Avenue
San Francisco, CA 94132