MAE Graduate Program

Mechanical engineering is one of the largest, broadest, and oldest engineering disciplines.  Mechanical engineers use the principles of energy, materials, and mechanics to design, analyze, optimize and manufacture machines and devices of all types and scales.  They create the processes and systems that drive technology and industry.  Aerospace engineering is a highly specialized, yet widely diverse field.  Aerospace engineers develop innovations and technologies for use in aviation, defense systems, and space exploration.  Our combined graduate program offers the degrees of:

Both the M.S. and Ph.D. are research degrees requiring independent research as reported in a final thesis/defense, while the M.E. degree is a course-based degree with no research requirement. In addition to the residential M.E. degree, there is an online learning option available for the M.E. degree through Virginia Engineering Online (VEO)


How to apply


Ayodeji Bode-Oke

"UVA Engineering's rigorous curriculum, coupled with my experience as an undergraduate research assistant, convinced me to enroll as a graduate student."

Ayodeji Bode-Oke, Mechanical Engineering Classes of 2015 and 2019; 2015 Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics Abe M. Zarem Award for Distinguished Achievement in Aeronautics


Recent Student National Awards and Honors: 


The Curriculum

The MAE graduate curriculum is located in the MAE graduate handbook.

The faculty of the department strives to offer graduate courses that will challenge the students’ capabilities, inform them of cutting-edge innovations, and develop in them an appreciation of the deep beauty and history of our discipline. Toward these ends, the curriculum has three goals: 

  1. To ensure that all graduates possess a broad knowledge of the fundamentals that underlie Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering

  2. To ensure that all graduates have a deep knowledge within one of the department’s three primary disciplines

  3. To provide sufficient flexibility within our program for interdisciplinary students, acknowledging the great diversity within MAE and its emerging areas

The particular focus areas range in scales from macro to nano, and in scope from highly theoretical to quite applied, and utilize state-of-the-art analytical, computational, and experimental tools.

The courses in the MAE department are categorized into the following three areas: analytical math, numerical, and topical. With the approval of their advisor and the Department, graduate students must take a minimum number of classes from each area that form the graduate student’s “Core Courses.”

  • Ph.D. students must complete 36 credit hours of course work, including 15 credit hours of core courses, and 6 semesters of MAE seminar.

  • Masters of Science students must complete 24 credit hours of course work, including 12 credit hours of core courses, and 2 semesters of MAE seminar.

  • Masters of Engineering students must complete 30 credit hours of course work, and 1 semester of MAE seminar.

​This department also offers a direct Ph.D option, in which students do not earn a Masters of Science degree and proceed directly to a Ph.D. This allows for faster completion of the Ph.D program. Students can decide if this is a good option for them by discussing it with their advisor.

Multi-disciplinary Approach

Flexibility exists within our curriculum for multi-disciplinary research and a significant number of courses can be taken outside of MAE. The curriculum is designed to accommodate non-traditional students with undergraduate degrees in other scientific or engineering fields.  It is expected that all applicants will have completed a calculus-based physics course and college mathematics through differential equations.


Research in the solid mechanics area includes studies in: collision/injury mechanics, complex nonlinear simulation restraint optimization, morphing structures, polymer electromechanical devices (PEMs), mechanics of soft materials, neuromuscular biomechanics, movement disorders, musculoskeletal modeling and simulation. Research in dynamical systems and control covers a wide range of problems of practical interest including vibration control, rotor dynamics, magnetic bearings, mechatronics, fluid control, and the use of periodicity to enhance the achievable performance of controlled systems. Research in thermofluids includes topics from micro-scale and non-Fourier heat transfer, combustion (including supersonic), reduced-order chemical kinetics, thermoacoustics, aerogels, low-speed unsteady aerodynamic flows, atmospheric re-entry flows, supersonic mixing, flows in liquid centrifuges, flow in centrifugal pumps, turbomachinery flows, hydrodynamic stability, multi free-surface flows, non-Newtonian fluid mechanics, flow/structure interactions, and free and forced convection. More about MAE research.


The department’s mechanical and aerospace research facilities include a rotating machinery and controls laboratory; several subsonic wind tunnel laboratories; a supersonic combustion laboratory; a supersonic wind tunnel laboratory; the center for applied biomechanics; the bio-inspired engineering and research lab, the aerospace research lab; a nano-scale mechanics and materials characterization laboratory; a bio thermofluids laboratory; a nano-scale energy transfer laboratory; a control systems laboratory; and an aerogel laboratory.  Several of these laboratories are unique among all universities in the world. More about MAE facilites.