Graduate Program Frequently Asked Questions

(Prospective and New Student)

How Do I Apply to the Mechanical Engineering Graduate Program
Thank you for your interest in our graduate program! Please visit our Future Students page to view more information on the application process and our admission requirements.
How Do I Check the Status of my Application

Log back into the ApplyYourself application to check if your application is complete and if a decision has been entered. If you don’t see a decision after several weeks, keep in mind the following:

  • Your application could be incomplete. Check in ApplyYourself to make sure all required documents have been received.
  • If you are a PhD applicant, we require a two-way match with a faculty member to be admitted (i.e. a faculty makes you an offer and you accept) or if you have external funding you can also potentially be admitted if you can find a faculty supervisor. If you haven’t communicated with any faculty and none have contacted you, you might want to email faculty who might be a good fit and find out if they’re looking for students. Your application will remain pending unless an offer is made and accepted and your application will be denied and closed at the end of the admission period (end of prior semester to the semester you’re applying for) if an offer wasn’t made to you.
  • Most Master’s students who meet the Graduate School admission criteria should be admitted but international students may need to show they have funding for at least travel to the U.S. and the first year’s expenses because not much funding is available for Master’s students.
  • All Master’s students that are admitted are admitted as non-thesis by default. If you find and confirm an advisor and research topic, you can be considered for admission into the M.S. Thesis Program.

Why Does It Say My Application Is Incomplete
Four items are required for your application to be complete: application fee payment, 3 letters of recommendation, upload of unofficial transcripts, and upload of personal statement. Please allow at least 2 working days after submission of these items for your application to show a complete status. If all items have been uploaded and your application still shows incomplete after 2 working days, please contact me again.
Is the GRE Exam Required?
In a normal year, we require a score of 80th percentile or higher on the GRE Quantitative section to be admitted to our graduate program, however due to the global COVID-19 pandemic, the GRE exam is optional for 2021 and 2022 admission but recommended if it will enhance your application (e.g. like if your GPA is a little low).

Send scores using Institution Code 4853 (U Utah) Department Code 1502 (Mechanical Engineering).

What if My Recommenders are Having Problems Receiving the Form or Submitting Their Recommendation?

  1. Log in to ApplyYourself
  2. Edit your Application
  3. On the Left Sidebar under Important Links, select Recommendations
  4. Check the email address. If it is correct, click Resend. If it is incorrect, delete the recommender and add a new recommender with the correct email address.
  5. Reach out to the ApplyYourself vendor’s technical support team. There is a link for technical support at the bottom of the main login page and at the top if an applicant is logged into the application.
  6. If the person is not receiving the email, you can try to get a different email address for your recommender and add a new recommender listing using the new email address and see if the request goes through.
  7. If nothing else works, contact us about alternative submission methods.

What are the Steps for Being Admitted Once my Application is Complete
The Mechanical Engineering Department reviews your file first and recommends you for admission to the Graduate School and the decision is forwarded to University’s Office of Admissions for review. Acceptance by the Office of Admissions is contingent upon their verification of your meeting the Graduate School’s minimum requirements for admissions. If they concur with our decision, a formal letter of acceptance will be sent from the University Office of Admissions.  The whole process can take several weeks, or potentially longer if you applied close to an application deadline.
What if My GPA or GRE Scores (If Required the Semester You're Applying For) Are Too Low For Admission?

If your GPA or GRE scores (if required the semester you’re applying) are too low, domestic students may be invited to apply to the University as a non-matriculated student and re-apply to the graduate program for a future semester. You can take up to 9 credits as a non-matriculated student and transfer them to your degree with a B or higher (9 credits total can be transferred so if you already have some graduate credit this may not apply).  If you want to re-apply for the next semester, we can just defer your current application and you will not need to fill out a new one. Contact the Director of Graduate Studies for more information.

If a faculty member wants to recommend you for admission, we may be able to admit you with lower GPA or GRE than required on an appeal. Contact Director of Graduate Studies for more information if you have a faculty member interested in hiring you in their lab.

You can also retake the GRE to try to get a higher score, if it’s required for the semester you’re applying for (currently optional for 2021 and 2022 due to COVID-19).

How Do I Accept My Admission Offer

You should have received an email from the Admissions Office notifying you of your admissions offer. To accept the offer and begin the enrollment process, please complete the following steps:

  1. Log in to ApplyYourself
  2. At the bottom of the page, click link for Decision Status Available
  3. Open and view the letter
  4. Click the link at the bottom of the letter and fill out required info

What Funding is Available for Graduate Students?
Graduate students in Mechanical Engineering receive financial support from several different sources including assistantships, tuition waivers, scholarships and financial aid. Assistantships are paid appointments awarded on a semester or annual basis to qualified graduate students. Assistantships are highly sought after because of the number of benefits it can provide such as relevant research/work experience, expansion of networks, flexible schedule, and financial assistance. Below please find information on assistantships offered through our department. Please be mindful that funding is not guaranteed.

  1. Assistantships (to obtain, contact faculty with whom you share common research interests and attempt to get one of them to sponsor you in their lab)
    1. Teaching Assistantship (TA) – TA positions are available primarily to MS Thesis and PhD students. These awards are determined by the recommendation of a faculty sponsor. Once admitted, MS Non-Thesis students can apply through our TA database and upload a resume so that professors can view and select qualified applicants for their courses.
    2. Research Assistantship (RA) – RA positions are available to MS Thesis and PhD students only. These positions are by recommendation of a professor and are awarded during admissions.
    3. Graduate Fellowships (GF) – GFs are by nomination and are typically given to PhD candidates. GFs usually perform the work of RAs.
  2. Scholarships
    4. (international students)
What if I Haven't Heard Back from a Faculty Member About Funding/Research Assistantships?
You are welcome to direct any questions to the Graduate Advisor or Director of Graduate Studies but they may not have current information as to the status of which faculty are still looking for students.  Please be mindful that our faculty are extremely busy and receive a lot of inquiries and many of them may have already recommended students for assistantship positions. If you have not been made an offer, PhD applicants will not be admitted and Master’s students will have to wait to apply to our teaching assistant (TA) database once you are enrolled in our program. TA application submission will become available around mid-summer for Fall semester and the end of Fall semester for Spring semester positions. Once you are in the University of Utah mailing system you can be added to our graduate student list serve and receive my email notifications.
Do All Admitted Graduate Students Get Funding/Assistantships?
Please know that we do not automatically provide financial assistance to all students that are admitted to our graduate program. Unless indicated explicitly in the letter, there is no financial aid associated with your admission offer. To receive financial support as a Research Assistant (RA), Graduate Assistant (GA) or a Teaching Assistant (TA), you must be recommended by a professor in the Department of Mechanical Engineering at the University of Utah. If a financial aid offer becomes available in the near future you will be notified separately.
Does Being an International Student Affect Funding/TA Assistantships At All?

All incoming international students must provide proof of financial responsibility in order to be accepted to the University of Utah (can include RA funding from faculty). Please visit International Graduate Admissions for more details. In order to receive a tuition benefit for a TA position, graduate students whose first language is not English must be certified by the International Teaching Assitant (ITA) Program prior to beginning their assignment. This program is offered through The Graduate School and begins with an evaluation of spoken English for admission to an ITA workshop. The workshop is designed to facilitate ITA’s acquisition of skills in oral English and cultural awareness of higher education in the United States.

Students who are not cleared before the semester begins will be ineligible to receive a tuition benefit under the TA job code. Work as an RA or GA does not require the ITA clearance; however, we highly encourage all international students to participate in an ITA workshop. You must be recommended by the Department of Mechanical Engineering in order to attend the ITA workshop. Priority is given first to students already on campus, then to students who submitted all application materials by the December 1 deadline.

What is the Best Way to Find Faculty Who May Be Hiring?
We suggest that you look at our recent funding highlights for professors that have received recent funding. Professors with new funding are generally the ones that are hiring. We also suggest that you look at the professor’s lab website (links here: When you look at the websites, try to familiarize yourself with their research and look for professors with recent publications. Professors without recent publications are generally no longer active in research and aren’t looking to hire new students.
Am I Required to Complete an Orientation?
All international students must attend an orientation, which typically takes place a week before classes start. Information regarding orientation, and also crucial dates, visas and living in Salt Lake City can be found on the International Student & Scholar Services website. Domestic students are not required to attend an orientation.

A department-specific new student orientation is available to all students typically the first week of classes but is optional. This orientation typically lasts 2-3 hours.

When Can I Register for Classes?

To view the assigned registration date, log in to the Campus Information Services, click on the “Registration” tile on your Student Homepage, and then click on the “View Your Registration Dates’ link. For more detailed information, see our View Your Registration Dates Tutorial (PDF).

Newly admitted students register fairly late compared to current students but for your second semester on, you will register on the first 1-2 days of the published registration period.

When Do Classes Start for the Next Term?

For a listing of classes available by semester, see the Class Schedule.

How Many Credits Can I Take in a Semester?
9 credits is considered full time for a graduate student.  Most graduate students probably enroll in 9-12 credits.  Campus Information Services limits registration to 16 credit hours. To register for more than 16 credit hours, a graduate student should work with his/her department to get permission on letterhead from the dean of the Graduate School. The Graduate School forwards the approval to our office and it is the student’s responsibility to register for these classes during the open enrollment period.
Where Can I View My Current Class Schedule?
To view the classes for which you are currently registered, log into the Campus Information Services and select “view your class schedule” under the registration menu; you will need to specify which term you wish to view.
How Do I Add and Drop Classes?

Here’s a tutorial about how to add a class.

Here’s a tutorial about how to drop a class.

How Do I Used Schedule Builder?
Log in to CIS, click the “Registration” tile on your Student Homepage, click on the “Add Class” link, select your term (if needed), and then click “Schedule Builder” and create your own optimized, personalized class schedule. Instructions available here.