This is an archive of the 2018-2019 University Catalog.
To access the most recent version, Please visit

Program: M.S., Mechanical Engineering

Program Description

The M.S. in Mechanical Engineering program provides the opportunity for students to specialize in one of four emphasis areas: aerospace systems, mechanical design, system dynamics and controls, and thermal-fluid systems.

The program also features a thesis plan and a comprehensive exam plan so that the students can tailor their studies to complement their specific career and educational goals.

Program Requirements

A. Requirements for Admission to the Program

  1. General University requirements apply for all applicants.
  2. For admission, a Bachelor of Science degree in Mechanical Engineering with a 3.0 or higher overall grade point average is required. Applicants with an overall grade point average between 2.75 and 3.0 may be admitted if their grade point average in the last 60 units is at or above 3.0.
  3. For admission with a baccalaureate degree other than Mechanical Engineering, applicants must have an overall grade point average of 3.0 or higher. Qualified applicants without a baccalaureate degree in Mechanical Engineering will be considered for admission on a case-by-case basis. Additional preparatory coursework should be anticipated.
  4. The GRE Standard test is required for all applicants to the M.S. program in Mechanical Engineering. A minimum 50th percentile score is required on the GRE Quantitative test to be eligible for admission consideration. The department may request additional supporting material to assess an applicant’s preparation and likelihood for academic success.
  5. Approval by the College of Engineering and Computer Science and the department graduate coordinator.
  6. Foreign students must submit a minimum TOEFL score of 550 (paper-based test) or 213 (computer-based test) to demonstrate their proficiency in the English language.
  7. This admission requirement applies to applicants whose undergraduate (or other) institution does not report course grades in a letter format corresponding to a four-point numerical scale (A = 4, B = 3, C = 2, D = 1, F = 0) equivalent to the grading system used at CSUN. Those individuals are required to submit the results of a third party official transcript evaluation as the report of their official transcript. The Mechanical Engineering department only recognizes evaluations only organizations that are members of the National Association of Credential Evaluation Service (NACES), which is an association of private educational credential evaluation services committed to formulating and maintaining ethical standards in the field of foreign educational evaluation. Visit the NACES home page to obtain a listing of member evaluation services. An example of an acceptable service would be the World Education Services (WES) ICAP report, which includes course-by-course evaluations.

B. Requirements for Advancement to Classified Graduate Status

  1. Upon completion of 6 to 12 units and satisfaction of University requirements for classified status (see University section regarding Graduate Programs in this Catalog).
  2. Completion of all requirements noted on individual admissions documents.
  3. Submission of a tentative program of study to the graduate coordinator.
  4. Approval by the department graduate coordinator.

Note: Classified status is required for enrollment in culminating experience courses (ME 697, ME 698).

C. For the Degree

  1. Completion of 30 units under the thesis plan or 33 units under the comprehensive examination plan.
  2. Completion of ME 501A or ME 501B.
  3. Completion of a minimum of one course in each of three different emphasis areas.

Thesis Plan

  1. 24 units of coursework applicable to the M.S. degree, of which at least 18 units must be Engineering courses at the 500- or 600-level. All coursework in the student’s graduate program must be completed with a grade of “C” or better.
  2. 6 units of thesis and successful defense of thesis.

Comprehensive Examination Plan

  1. 30 units of coursework applicable to the M.S. degree, of which at least 21 units must be Engineering courses at the 500- or 600-level. All coursework in the student’s graduate program must be completed with a grade of “C” or better.
  2. 3 units of Directed Comprehensive Studies and successful passage of a comprehensive examination.

Formal approval of granting of the Degree by the Mechanical Engineering faculty.

D. Required Courses

The number of required units depends on the number of “Expected Background” courses taken previously as part of a B.S. degree program and whether the thesis or comprehensive examination plan is chosen. Any “Expected Background” courses not taken are required in the M.S. degree program. The “Prerequisites” courses or their equivalents are required if they have not been taken previously, but they do not count as part of the M.S. program. Students interested in this program who do not have an undergraduate degree in Mechanical Engineering should contact the graduate coordinator regarding prerequisite requirements.

1. Required Core Courses (15-18 units)

Select one of the following:

ME 501A Seminar in Engineering Analysis I (3)
ME 501B Seminar in Engineering Analysis II (3)*

*Students in the Thermofluids Emphasis should take ME 501B.

Select one of the following:

AE 697 Direct Comprehensive Studies (3)
AE 698 Thesis (6)
ME 697 Direct Comprehensive Studies (3)
ME 698 Thesis (6)

Select at least one course from three of the four emphasis groups shown below.

Students may select appropriate experimental or special topics courses in an emphasis that are not shown on the list below with the approval of their advisor and the graduate coordinator.

2. Electives (12-18 units)

The number of required units of elective courses depends on the number of units of required courses described above. The total number of units in the M.S. degree program, both required and elective, must be at least 30 (33 with the comprehensive examination option). Students are expected to have the prerequisite courses listed below upon admission to the program. If they do not have these courses (or appropriate transfer courses), they will have to take the courses when they enter the M.S. program. Since these prerequisite courses are all 300-level courses, they carry no credit toward the M.S. degree.

The courses listed below as “Expected Background” also must be completed as part of the M.S. degree program if students have not already taken them (or appropriate transfer courses) as part of their undergraduate degree. Students can take a maximum of 6 units (thesis option) or 9 units (exam option) of 400-level courses as part of their M.S. degree program. The 400-level courses in the “expected background” list, which are taken as part of the M.S. degree program, will be part of this 6- or 9-unit maximum. The elective courses in the M.S. degree program are generally selected with the approval of an advisor to be consistent with the chosen emphasis. With the approval of an advisor, courses taken outside of the department are eligible for graduate credit. The elective courses in the M.S. degree program are normally chosen from the “Suggested Electives” for each emphasis.

a. Aerospace Emphasis

Prerequisites: ME 309, 370, 375, 390

Expected Background

AE 472 Aeropropulsion Systems (3)
AE 480 Fundamentals of Aerospace Engineering (3)
AE 589 Aerodynamics (3)

Suggested Electives

AE 572 Rocket Propulsion (3)
AE 586 Aircraft Design (3)
AE 672 Advanced Topics in Aero-Propulsion (3)
AE 680 Flight Vehicle Performance (3)
AE 689 Advanced Aerodynamics (3)

b. Mechanical Systems Design Emphasis

Prerequisites: ME 309, 330, 370, 375, 384, 390

Expected Background

AM 410 Vibration Analysis (3)
ME 415 Kinematics of Mechanisms (3)
ME 430 Machine Design Applications (3)

Suggested Electives

ME 409/L Fundamentals of Computer-Aided Mechanical Engineering  and Lab (2/1)
ME 515 Dynamics of Machinery (3)
ME 531 Mechanical Design with Composites (3)
ME 532 Mechanics of Polymers (3)
ME 630 Computer-Aided Design of Machinery (3)
ME 686A Advanced Modeling, Analysis and Optimization I (3)
ME 686B Advanced Modeling, Analysis and Optimization II (3)

c. System Dynamics and Controls Emphasis

Prerequisites: ME 309, 330, 370, 375, 384, 390

Expected Background

AM 410 Vibration Analysis (3)
ME 415 Kinematics of Mechanisms (3)
ME 484 Control of Mechanical Systems (3)

Suggested Electives

ME 501B Seminar in Engineering Analysis II (3)
ME 503 Biomedical Instrumentation (3)
ME 520 Robot Mechanics and Control (3)
ME 522 Autonomous Intelligent Vehicle (3)
ME 584 Modeling and Simulation of Dynamic Systems (3)
ME 684 Design and Control of Dynamic Systems (3)

d. Thermofluid Systems Emphasis

Prerequisites: ME 309, 370, 375, 390

Expected Background

ME 470 Thermodynamics II (3)
ME 490 Fluid Dynamics (3)
ME 575 Applied Heat and Mass Transfer (3)

Suggested Electives

ME 483 Solar, Wind and Geothermal Energy (3)
ME 485 Introduction to Environmental Engineering (3)
ME 493 Hydraulics (3)
ME 501B Seminar in Engineering Analysis II (3)
ME 573 Chemical Reaction Engineering (3)
ME 583 Thermal-Fluids System Design (3)
ME 590 Advanced Fluid Dynamics (3)
ME 593 Compressible Flow (3)
ME 670 Advanced Topics in Thermodynamics (3)
ME 675A Conductive and Radiative Heat Transfer (3)
ME 675B Convective Heat and Mass Transfer (3)
ME 678 Transport Phenomena (3)
ME 683 Energy Processes (3)
ME 692 Computational Fluid Dynamics (3)

Total Units Required for the M.S. Degree: 30-33


Department of Mechanical Engineering
Chair: J. Michael Kabo
Jacaranda Hall (JD) 4513
(818) 677-2187

Graduate Coordinator: J. Michael Kabo
(818) 677-2187

Student Learning Outcomes

The overall learning outcomes for the program are:

  1. Understand and apply advanced engineering mathematics, particularly to problems requiring matrix analysis and solutions of differential equations.
  2. Be able to apply modern computational tools to attain solutions of complex mechanical engineering problems in one of the four emphasis areas.
  3. Demonstrate achievement of the specific learning outcomes assigned to their chosen emphasis area.