Master of Science-Non-Thesis Program Requirements

The Master of Science-Non-Thesis (MSNT) degree is a coursework-orientated degree. It provides an in-depth educational experience in a specific focus area and more breadth at an advanced level through elective courses in complementary areas. An MSNT student is required to take more classes than MST students, but there is no required research component. Students desiring some research experience may enroll in an independent study with a research faculty member. Students desiring rigorous research experience or who are planning to pursue a Ph.D. degree are encouraged to pursue the MST instead of the MSNT.

Additional information on MS student policies can be found on the University’s Graduate School website.

Course Requirements
A minimum of 30 Course Credit Hours (graded B- or better)

  • Majority of course credit hours must be in ME EN (6000 or above)
    • Minimum of 3 credit hours in ME EN classes at the 7000 level
    • Remaining credit hours from Math, Science, or Engineering (including ME if desired)
    • Students following established MS tracks (e.g., Robotics) may deviate from the majority of credits in ME EN based on the track’s requirements
  • No more than 3 credit hours of Independent Study (ME EN 6950)
  • No more than 3 Seminar credit hours
  • Additional course guidelines
    • No more than 9 non-matriculated credit hours graded B or better
    • No more than 6 transfer credits hours graded B or better
    • Only courses in engineering, mathematics, and science are acceptable
    • The student must obtain an overall GPA of at least 3.0 from all courses used on their Program of Study

Additional Program Requirements

  • Formation of the MS Supervisory Committee
  • Successful completion of coursework associated with an approved program of study
  • Successful completion of an exit examination

Faculty Advisor
Each student is assigned the Director of Graduate as their faculty advisor at the time of admission. Prior to graduation, the student may instead select any tenure-line faculty member within the department to be their advisor. The advisor oversees the MS student’s program and gives recommendations for selecting courses. The advisor must be a tenured/tenure-track faculty member within the department.

Supervisory Committee
By the end of the student’s second semester, a three-member Supervisory Committee is selected. MSNT students may opt to choose either the department’s “Standing Committee” or select the individual committee members.

  • The MSNT Standing Committee is comprised of 3 Mechanical Engineering faculty determined by the department’s Graduate Committee
  • If using the MSNT Standing Committee, students must notify the Graduate Advising office. In this case, they do not need to obtain committee member signatures on Committee and Program of Study forms.
  • If a student opts to select their own committee members, they must follow these rules:
    • The student’s advisor serves as the chair of the committee and must be regular (tenure-line) faculty from the Department of Mechanical Engineering.
    • The remaining two committee members must also be regular (tenure-line) faculty from the Department of Mechanical Engineering.
    • MSNT Students may not petition for exception to policy regarding their committee.
    • The student will obtain approval and signatures from committee members on all paperwork.

Program of Study
The Program of Study and thesis work is completed under the direction and approval of the supervisory committee. The committee chair (usually the student’s advisor) should assist the student in planning the Program of Study and should encourage breadth by selecting of one or more courses outside of the department in areas such as basic mathematics, science, and other engineering topics. The cumulative GPA of courses listed on the program of study must be greater than or equal to a 3.0 with no grades lower than B-

Preliminary Program of Study Approval
By the end of their first semester, the student must:

  • Obtain and fill out the MS Non-Thesis Preliminary Program of Study form.
  • Select graduate courses after consultation with their advisor or the Director of Graduate Studies.
  • List all taken and planned classes on the form that are to count toward the MSNT.
  • Obtain signature approval from their advisor and then submit the form to Graduate Advising.

The Graduate Advisor will obtain approval from the Director of Graduate Studies before filing the form in the student’s departmental records. If the form is not approved, the Graduate Advisor will return the form to the student.

Final Program of Study Approval
Upon registering for their final course(s), the student must:

  • Obtain and fill out the MS Non-Thesis Program of Study form.
  • List all classes that are to count toward the MSNT.
  • If the student opted for the department’s Standing Committee, they submit the completed form to the Graduate Advisor for departmental approval.
  • If the student selected their committee members, they must obtain approval from them, and then submit the form to the Graduate Advisor.

The Graduate Advisor will input the information from the form into the electronic records system via CIS. The Director of Graduate Studies will electronically approve the Program of Study.

Research and/or Project Opportunities
There are no research and/or project requirements for the MSNT degree. A student desiring to conduct a project must first find a faculty member willing to sponsor it. After finding a sponsor, they may register for up to 3 credit hours of ME EN 6950 – Independent Study course. Should a project be undertaken, no formal presentation or defense is required. Under no circumstance may a project defense be substituted for the Comprehensive Final Exam requirement.

Exit Examination
The exam covers the breadth and integration of material in the field and may be written, oral, or both.

  • The examination is conducted the department.
  • The exam must be completed prior to degree conferral.
  • Contact Graduate Advising regarding the current structure of the exam.

Residency Requirement
At least one year of the MS program must be spent in full-time academic work at the University of Utah. This means that for two consecutive semesters, the student must be registered for 9 or more credit hours.

Time Limits
A maximum time of four years is allowed for completion of the MS degree. If the student requires additional time, the student’s advisor must submit a petition to the Director of Graduate Studies and the Dean of the Graduate School requesting an extension with a plan for completing the program.

Students can monitor their degree progress and milestones by logging into CIS, locating the Graduation panel under their Student Information, and clicking on “Graduate Student Summary.” It is the responsibility of the student to monitor and ensure the correctness of their online records.