Graduate Programs

Below you will find links to a wealth of information about the graduate programs in the Department of Mechanical Science and Engineering at Illinois. MechSE has 7 graduate degree programs (5 on campus programs and 2 online programs). Degree programs consist of M.S., M.Eng., and Ph.D. degrees in Mechanical Engineering and M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in Theoretical and Applied Mechanics. The M.S. and M.Eng. degrees in Mechanical Engineering are offered both on campus and online. The following links will direct you to important information about these MechSE programs and life at Illinois.

The Department of Mechanical Science and Engineering (MechSE) offers graduate degrees in both Mechanical Engineering and Theoretical and Applied Mechanics. MechSE is a large and comprehensive department, and the ME and TAM programs are among the top ranked programs in the world. MechSE MS and PhD graduates go on to careers as leaders in research, industry, education, and government.

A Message from the Associate Head for Graduate Programs

Taher Saif, Associate Head for Graduate ProgramsThe MechSE department offers world-class graduate-level engineering education and research opportunities in both Mechanical Engineering and Theoretical and Applied Mechanics. As part of the College of Engineering— consistently ranked among the top five in the world—the department has earned a reputation as one of the best programs in the nation. MechSE graduates go on to top research positions in academia, industry, and government labs. Our students are future leaders and innovators.

Research opportunities in MechSE are unparalleled. Our faculty and students are engaged in multidisciplinary research based on five primary areas: Fluid Mechanics & Thermal Sciences, Solid Mechanics & Materials, Controls & Dynamics, Nanomechanics & Nanomanufacturing, and Biomechanics. Research projects in the department are also categorized by their impact on society.

Student engagement in MechSE is another defining element of our programs. MechSE is committed to fostering an environment in which students receive the benefits of a large department while maintaining a supportive and collegial environment. Many of our graduate students actively contribute to this environment by participating in our departmental student organizations, including Graduate MechSE Students (GraMS), MechSE Graduate Women, and ENVISION.

If you are a prospective MechSE student, we are excited that you might join us at the University of Illinois, where our teaching and research, and the personalized nature of our programs, offer a world-class and nurturing intellectual climate for your advanced study. I encourage you to view our What to Expect in MechSE page to get an idea of what life in MechSE’s graduate program is like.


Taher Saif
Edward William and Jane Marr Gutgsell Professor
Associate Head for Graduate Programs
Department of Mechanical Science and Engineering

MechSE Graduate Program Facts

Applications: Approximately 1200 applications are received and reviewed annually by the Graduate Programs Office in MechSE. MechSE accepts applications for both Spring and Fall admission to 8 graduate programs (6 on campus and 2 online).

Admissions: The average quantitative GRE percentile for admitted students in recent years is in the 90th percentile range. In recent years, the average GPA for newly admitted students ranged from 3.6-3.7/4.0.

Enrollment: Current graduate student enrollment is greater than 400 students with approximately 50% currently in PhD programs. A majority of students enrolled in MS programs will continue for the PhD.

Degrees granted: In 2015-2016, 111 master's degrees were awarded and 33 PhD degrees were awarded.

Faculty: MechSE has more than 60 full-time faculty who are all active in research and publish in high-impact journals. On average, 20 or more of the papers written by senior professors are cited more than 10 times. More than half have received young investigator awards from the National Science Foundation (NSF) or Department of Defense.

Students: Approximately 85% of MS/PhD students in the department are fully funded in the form of a fellowship, research assistantship, or teaching assistantship. Many students hold NSF, DOE, NDSEG, and other prestigious externally funded fellowships. Students enter the department having completed undergraduate degrees at top institutions from all over the world. Enrollment of women graduate students in our programs has increased by 30 percent in the last six years.

Student publications: Our students contribute an annual average of 200 refereed journal articles and present even more papers at conferences around the world.

Rankings: MechSE Graduate Programs are consistently ranked in the top 6 programs in the nation.

Placement: In a recent survey of MechSE Graduates, 25% of recent PhD’s went on to Assistant Professor positions. Other graduates went on to exciting industry, national lab, and postdoctoral positions. Over 15% of industry placement responses were at Fortune/Global 500 companies.