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:

  • Master of Engineering (M.E.)
  • Master of Science (M.S.)
  • Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) in Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering

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 micro and 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, as approved by their advisor. 15 of these aforementioned credit hours must come from the approved list of MAE core courses. Within these 15 credit hours of MAE core courses, the student must complete:
    • at least 1 course from the “analytical math” category
    • at least 1 course from the “numerical” category
    • at least 3 courses from the “topical” category
  • Masters of Science students must complete 24 credit hours of course work, as approved by their advisor. 12 of these credit hours must come from the approved list of MAE core courses. Within these 12 credit hours of MAE core courses, the student must complete:
    • at least 1 course from the “analytical math” category
    • at least 1 course from the “numerical” category
    • at least 2 courses from the “topical” category
  • Masters of Engineering students must complete 30 credit hours of course work, as approved by their advisor. At least 18 of these 30 credits must come from MAE classes. There is no common core course requirement among students pursuing a ME degree.

The Core Courses are:

  • Analytical Math
    • Engineering Math I (6410)
    • Engineering Math II (6420)
    • Statistics for Engineers and Scientists (6430)
  • Numerical
    • Multibody Mechanical Systems (6250)
    • Finite Element Analysis (6710)
    • Computational Fluid Dynamics I (6720)
  • Topical
    • Any 6000-level MAE course, including Special Topics courses. This does not include Independent Study courses. All topical courses that fulfill the core requirements must be approved by both the advisor and the advisory committee.

The graduation requirements also include completion (satisfactory grade) in the Research Seminar class, which requires attendance at MAE seminars and lectures. The specific requirements are:

  • At least one semester of MAE 7510 for a ME degree
  • At least two semesters of MAE 7510 for a MS degree
  • At least six semesters of MAE 8591 or MAE 7510 for a PhD degree (seminar series courses taken towards an MS degree can satisfy this requirement).

These seminar courses can be taken for 0 credits each semester and a satisfactory grade requires attendance at six or more seminars. The student should contact the seminar course instructor to discuss these potential conflicts before the beginning of the semester or immediately when knowledge of these conflicts arises.

Students may have the opportunity to enroll in Independent Study courses during their graduate program. These courses may count towards their graduate degree requirements provided approval by his/her advisor, advisory committee and the graduate director. The department recommends that no more than 6 credits of Independent Study course work be applied to the PhD course requirements, no more than 3 credits of Independent Study course work be applied to the MS course requirements, and no more than 6 credits of Independent Study course work be applied to the ME course requirements. 

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.