Graduate Manual

The purpose of this manual is to outline the requirements and procedures for the Master of Science in Mechanical Engineering (MSME) and Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) Degrees.

The requirements for the degrees are specified by the department or school; however, some of these requirements are university-wide. The student should carefully study the UNM University Catalog that is applicable at the time of admission to become familiar with both general and specific requirements.

It is the student's responsibility to make sure that all requirements are satisfied at the intended time of graduation. Similarly, students must subscribe to the ME Graduate Students LISTSERV: please learn how to subscribe here. Students who choose not to subscribe to this list will accept all responsibility for consequences of not receiving important program information that is conveyed via this list.

This manual will assist the student in understanding procedures for satisfying the UNM Office of Graduate Studies (OGS) requirements.

The ME Department may change any requirements in this manual, as it deems necessary. Such changes will become effective at a time determined by the Mechanical Engineering faculty.

The student's degree requirements are fixed at the time the MSME Program of Studies or PhD Advancement to Candidacy Forms are completed and approved by the student's Committee-onStudies, the Mechanical Engineering Graduate Director, and the Dean of Graduate Studies.

Deferring an Offer of Admission

Domestic Students

Offers of admission are made only for the semester for which the student has applied. Students who do not enroll during the semester for which admission is granted will forfeit their admission, unless they submit to the ME Department a written request for deferral no later than the Friday of the second week of classes of the semester of admission. A deferral is limited to a period within one calendar year. After one year's deferral period a student must reapply. Final approval for the requested deferral is made by the Dean of Graduate Studies. For the Admission Deferral Request Form, please visit the UNM Office of Graduate Studies website.

International Students

Please contact the Office of International Admissions by sending an email message to

Emergency Contact Form. All ME students should fill out the Emergency Contact Form and submit it to the ME Program Advisement Coordinator for filing. The form is available in PDF or Word formats.

Advisement and Registration. All MSME and PhD students must receive advisement from their major professors before registering in classes. Please fill out the Advisement Worksheet for Academic Hold Removal form in consultation with your advisor and present it to the ME Graduate Office. Your advisement hold will then be lifted and you may register. The ME Graduate Office will file the form in the student's academic folder for future reference.

Make-up courses for students with a non-ME BS Degree in Engineering, Physical Sciences, or Math. A typical set of make-up (leveling) courses are prescribed; for details, visit the leveling up page.

Guidelines for Credit / No Credit (CR/NC) Grades. No more than 6 credit hours of course work in which a grade of C (2.0), C+ (2.33) or CR (grading option selected by student) was earned may be applied toward a graduate degree. All other courses applied towards a graduate degree (including transfer and non-degree courses) must be taken with the regular grading option; Seminar, Thesis, and Dissertation credits are exempt from this rule.

Incomplete Grades. The grade of "I" may be given if circumstances beyond the student's control prevent the student from completing a course. The "I" automatically becomes "F" if not removed within one year from the published ending date of the semester in which the grade was assigned.

Guidelines for Non-ME Courses. All courses taken toward the satisfaction of the M.S. and Ph.D. degree requirements must be approved by both the ME Department and the Office of Graduate Studies (OGS). Before selecting any 300- or 400-level courses, make sure that graduate credit is granted by the corresponding department.

Students may wish to take certain upper division (300 and 400 level) undergraduate courses outside the Mechanical Engineering department as a graduate student and use them in their graduate degree program. Those courses marked with ** in front of the course number (in the official UNM Catalog), such as **Math 314 Linear Algebra, are available for graduate credit except for graduate majors in the corresponding (in this case, Math) department. This means that the course in question is eligible to be used for graduate credit. To have a double-starred course count for graduate credit, the student must have the approval of his/her Advisor that it is acceptable to use the course in his/her degree program. When a course is chosen appropriately, the letter "G" will appear next to the course number on the student's transcript that shows that the course has been approved for graduate credit.

Any elective courses taken outside the department must be of a technical nature. Courses from the following departments are typically acceptable: Mathematics, Physics, or another department in the School of Engineering. When approving those course credits toward a student's degree, the ME Graduate Director shall be concerned about the cohesiveness and relevance of the courses to form a solid foundation of support for the student's project, thesis, or dissertation work. In other words, the MSME and PhD degrees shall not be used as a vehicle to complete a set of unrelated, hodgepodge, and irrelevant courses.

Transfer Credit. Transfer credit for graduate-level course work taken at an accredited institution either in graduate or non-degree status and not applied to a previous degree is limited to 12 hours. In accordance with UNM policy, only courses with a grade of B or higher will be accepted for credit.

Notification of Intent to Graduate. A student must inform the ME Graduate Office, in writing, of the intent to graduate. Please submit the Notification of Intent to Graduate form to the ME Department by the deadline dates shown on the Form. Students must be enrolled in a graduate course in the semester of graduation. If all other course work is completed, one (1) hour of ME 599 (for MSME Plan I) or ME 551/552 (for MSME Plan II) may be taken; PhD candidates must be registered in at least three (3) hours of ME 699 in their semester of graduation. Students should not register for ME 559 (3 hours, for the MSME Plan II Project) more than once.

Degrees are awarded three times during the year, while commencement exercises are only held in May and December. Graduation is dependent upon the completion of all degree requirements for graduation by November 15 for Fall, April 15 for Spring, or July 15 for Summer. If a student does not complete all degree requirements for graduation in a particular semester, the student must submit a new Intent to Graduate form for graduation in a subsequent semester.

Other Deadlines - Program of Studies (POS) for the Master's Degree

Graduation Semester Spring Summer Fall
OGS Deadline October 1st March 1st July 1st

Failure to submit this form on time will delay your graduation. ME Department will require some time to review and approve the form; so, you must submit the form to the ME Program Advisement Coordinator at least two weeks before the above OGS deadlines.

Announcement of Examination

Three weeks before your defense is scheduled

Thesis/Dissertation Due

Spring Summer Fall
April 15th July 15th November 15th

Grade Point Average (GPA) Requirements. Students failing to maintain a 3.0 GPA will be placed on academic probation in accordance with OGS policy. A student may not graduate if his/her Program of Studies includes more than six (6) hours of coursework graded C, C+, or CR (ME591/592 is excluded from this limitation). Students having a GPA of less than 3.0 are not permitted to take the Master's or Doctoral Comprehensive Examination. A student's cumulative GPA cannot be below 3.0 at the time of graduation.

Teaching and Grading Assistantships. Teaching Assistant (TA) positions typically provide recipients with tuition coverage and a salary, requiring 20 hours of work per week. Grading Assistant (GA) positions typically require 10 hours of work per week, to serve as a grader for a course. The following are the application deadlines for current students:

Spring Fall
November 1 April 15th

Click here for the application form: TA/GA Positions - Application Form.

Contract renewal applications, in the case of current TAs and GAs, must be submitted to ME Graduate Director each time (i.e., each semester) a student is requesting to be considered for these positions. Click here for the Application: TA/GA Positions - Application Form. Same deadlines (Nov. 1 and April 15) apply. Note: contract renewals are subject to availability of funds as well as student's performance (both academic and job-related) and progress towards degree.

Change of Degree to PhD. Generally, admission to the Ph.D. program requires that the applicant has earned an appropriate M.S. degree and has demonstrated a high potential for research. Exceptional students may pursue a Ph.D. without first earning an M.S. This is typically accomplished by enrolling in the M.S. program first, then changing to a Ph.D. program after the student has demonstrated outstanding potential for graduate studies and research. Admission to the Ph.D. program requires a match between the student's research interests and current departmental research activities. For this reason, students who would like to apply for a Change of Degree Level must obtain the consent and endorsement of one of the ME faculty members in writing with details about justification of admission to the PhD program.

Program Requirements. Please see the following sections of this Policy Manual for further information:

Guidelines for Petitioning the ME Graduate Director

ME Graduate students may submit a petition to the Director of Graduate Programs for an exception to Departmental (not University) policies and regulations as specified in the Graduate Policy Manual of this website. Download the Petition Form.

Complete all sections of the Petition Form. The form should be typed (filled out electronically). Allow approximately two weeks for a response.

The demographic information is required, including your home address. A written response to the petition will be sent to the student's e-mail address with a copy to his/her departmental academic folder. If additional information is required of the student, s/he will be contacted either by phone or email. If additional information is required from the advisor, the ME Graduate Director will contact him/her.

  • The "ME Policy/Regulation" section should provide a brief description of the policy to which an exception is requested.
  • The "Requested Action" should describe the desired outcome.
  • In the "Reason" section, explain why the policy exception is requested. The explanation should be thorough and provide sufficient information to allow for a full understanding of the request.
  • A statement of advisor support must accompany each petition form.
  • Please do not use this form to petition the Office of Graduate Studies (OGS).