Mechanical Engineering with Concentration in Mechanics and Design, MSME

While pursuing a Master of Science (MS) in Mechanical Engineering with Concentration in Mechanics and Design, the students will study the motion, deformation, and failure of solid materials in response to the action of direct forces and external fields. The students will also get a chance to conduct research with faculty and observe how these studies will lead to key engineering innovations and designs. Using complementary analytical, computational, experimental, and design tools, the M&D faculty members conduct research in the design and analysis of engineered functional materials/structures, in mechanics of adhesion and contact, and in biomechanics and mechanobiology. For example, in our biomechanics research, we strive to close the gap between function, form, and disease in the bone by using experimental and computational techniques; also, we explore the mechanics of lipid-based drug delivery vesicles. At the small length scales, we are creating a new understanding of nanomechanics, contact mechanics, tribology, MEMS, and the application of nanomaterials for energy storage systems. Our research and teaching together are designed to prepare students to understand and exploit mechanics to enable their future engineering innovations.

General Degree Requirements

To be eligible for admission to any of the MS degree programs, a prospective student must hold a Bachelor of Science in engineering, science, mathematics, or an equivalent field. Students in all master’s degree programs must complete a minimum of 32 semester hours of approved course work (exclusive of any preparatory courses) with a minimum grade-point average (GPA) of 3.000. Students can complete a master's degree by pursuing one of the three tracks: course work option, project option, and thesis option. Specific degree requirements for each of these tracks can be found under the "Program Requirements" tab. Students may pursue any program either on a full-time or part-time basis; however, certain restrictions may apply.

Special Ethics Requirement

All MIE graduate students are required to complete a brief online session on Responsible Conduct of Research and Plagiarism during their first semester of full-time study. All enrolled students will be sent proper instructions on how to complete this assignment and satisfy this important requirement. The outcome of the online session will be filed with the student’s records.

Academic and Research Advisors

All nonthesis students (students doing course work or project options) are advised by the academic advisor designated for their respective concentration or program. MS students doing a thesis option must find a research advisor within their first year of study and may have thesis reader(s) at the discretion of their research advisor. The research advisor must be a full-time or jointly appointed faculty or affiliated member of the MIE department; otherwise, a petition must be filed and approved by the MIE Graduate Affairs Committee. If the research advisor is outside the MIE department, a faculty member with 50 percent or more appointments in the MIE department must be chosen as the co-advisor. Thesis option students are advised by the academic advisor designated for their specific concentration before they select their research advisor(s).

Plan of Study and Course Selection

It is recommended that all new students attend orientation sessions held by the MIE department and the Graduate School of Engineering to acquaint themselves with the course work requirements and research activities of the department as well as with the general policies, procedures, and expectations.

In order to receive proper guidance with their course work needs, all MS students are strongly encouraged to complete and submit a fully signed Plan of Study (PS) to the department before enrolling in second-semester courses. This form helps the students manage their course work as well as helps the department to plan for requested course offerings. The PS may be modified at any time as students progress in their degree programs. However, requests for changes in the PS must be processed before the requested change actually takes place. A revised PS form must also be approved and signed.

Each student’s academic advisor must approve all courses prior to registration. Students may only use courses taken with the approval of the academic advisor toward the 32-semester-hour minimum requirement. However, students may petition the MIE Graduate Affairs Committee to substitute graduate-level courses from outside the approved list of electives.

Students pursuing study or research under the guidance of a faculty member can elect for the project option by taking Master’s Project (ME 7945). A MS project must be petitioned to the MIE Graduate Affairs Committee and approved by both the faculty member (instructor for Master's Project) and the student's academic advisor. The petition must clearly state the reason for taking the course; a brief description of the goals; as well as the expected outcomes, deliverables, and grading scheme. 

Students doing course work option may petition the MIE Graduate Affairs Committee to substitute up to a 4-semester-hour Independent Study (ME 7978). An independent study must be approved by the academic advisor. The petition must clearly state the reason for taking the course; a brief description of the goals; as well as the expected outcomes, deliverables, and grading scheme. Students in other options (i.e., thesis or project) are not eligible to take independent study.

Options for MS Students (course work only, project, or thesis)

Students accepted into any of the MS programs in the MIE department can choose one of the three options; course work only, project, or thesis. Please see the “Program Requirements” tab on the top menu of this page for more information. MS students who want to pursue project or thesis options must find, within their first year of study, a faculty member or a research advisor who will be willing to direct and supervise a mutually agreed research project or MS thesis. Moreover, students who receive financial support from the university in the form of a research, teaching, or tuition assistantship must complete an 8-semester-hour thesis.

Students who complete thesis option must make a presentation of their thesis before approval by the department. The MS thesis presentation shall be publicly advertised at least one week in advance and all faculty members and students may attend and participate. If deemed appropriate by the research advisor, other faculty members may be invited to serve as thesis readers to provide technical opinions and judge the quality of the thesis and presentation.

Change of Program/Concentration

Students enrolled in any of the MIE department programs or concentrations may change their current program or concentration no sooner than the beginning of their second full-time semester of study. In order for the program or concentration change request to be considered by the MIE Graduate Affairs Committee, the student must be in good academic standing and have completed at least 8 semester hours of required course work in their sought program at Northeastern. See here for instructions on how to request a program or concentration change.

Graduate Certificate Options

Students enrolled in a master's degree have the opportunity to also pursue one of the many engineering graduate certificate options in addition to or in combination with the MS degree. Students should consult their faculty advisor regarding these options.

Gordon Institute of Engineering Leadership

Master's Degree in Mechanical Engineering with a Concentration in Mechanics and Design with Graduate Certificate in Engineering Leadership

Students may complete a Master of Science in Mechanical Engineering with a Concentration in Mechanics and Design in addition to earning a Graduate Certificate in Engineering Leadership. Students must apply and be admitted to the Gordon Engineering Leadership Program in order to pursue this option. The program requires fulfillment of the 16 semester-hour curriculum required to earn the Graduate Certificate in Engineering Leadership, which includes an industry-based challenge project with multiple mentors. The integrated 32-semester-hour degree and certificate will require 16 hours of advisor-approved mechanics and design technical courses.

Engineering Leadership

Complete all courses and requirements listed below unless otherwise indicated.

Core Requirements

Mathematics Competency
Complete 4 semester hours from the following:4
Mathematical Methods for Mechanical Engineers 1
Mathematical Methods for Mechanical Engineers 2
Mechanics Competency
Complete 12 semester hours from the following:12
Advanced Mechanics of Materials
Dynamics and Mechanical Vibration
Finite Element Method
Control Systems Engineering
Elasticity and Plasticity


Complete one of the following options:

Course Work Option

Complete 16 semester hours in the following subject areas:16
ME, MATL, or other graduate engineering courses

Project Option

ME 7945Master’s Project4
Complete 12 semester hours in the following subject areas:12
ME, MATL, or other graduate engineering courses

Thesis Option

ME 7990Thesis 18
Complete 8 semester hours in the following subject areas:8
ME, MATL, or other graduate engineering courses

Program Credit/GPA Requirements

32 total semester hours required
Minimum 3.000 GPA required