Master of Science, Mechanical Engineering and Blended 4+1 Programs

The Mechanical Engineering department offers both a Masters Degree in Mechanical Engineering (MSME) as well as a blended BMS program (for current Cal Poly students only) leading to MSME degree. The only difference between the two programs is that in the blended program, up to 8 units of undergraduate technical electives may be double-counted towards the masters requirements (only 5 units are double-counted if course option is chosen). Other differences between the two programs are only internal and relate to the processing of application and financial aid. In the Blended program the undergraduate degree is not awarded until requirements for both BSc and MSc are satisfied.

CSU now requires that you change your objective as close to, but before, you have 180 units towards graduation (out of about 200 required depending on your catalog).

Cal Poly's masters program includes 45 units of course work including a thesis or coursework and an exam. The same philosophy and emphasis on best teaching practices, hands-on education with classes and labs taught by faculty, apply to the masters program as well. Our program is still more hands-on than most other schools, especially when a thesis is involved.

We offer both a thesis oriented program as well as coursework oriented program. The thesis (9 units) is conducted by the student under the advice of a committee of three faculty members. Alternately, 9 units of ME-500 level courses and a comprehensive exam may be taken in lieu of the thesis.

It is required that you have a GPA of at least 3 in your formal study plan to receive your masters degree.

The Blended program is applicable only to Cal Poly continuing students. CSU now requires that the students change their objective close to, but before, 180 units are accomplished towards graduation. The Blended program is accomplished by changing the objective of the student from BSc degree to MSc degree. Please also request 3 letters of recommendation be sent to the graduate advisor. After you are admitted, by submitting the Change of Objective form, your status changes to a graduate student with its new fee requirement, changes in financial aid, as well as priority registration. You will not get your undergraduate degree until all requirements for both degrees are satisfied. Therefore, both degrees will be conferred simultaneously. You may change your objective back to BSc if you change your mind. In the Blended program, up to 8 units of ME-400 level senior electives may be double-counted towards your masters degree. The graduate advisor must approve all courses.

Admission Requirements

We require a minimum GPA of 3 (exceptions possible), three letters of recommendation (see address below), an application, your transcripts, plus GRE scores (having the minimum GPA required does not guarantee admission). The application for masters degree must be submitted electronically through site with the admissions office. Official transcripts must also be sent to the admissions office. The application information, transcripts, and statement of purpose must also be entered through Interfolio site. Letters of recommendation and GRE may be entered through Interfolio (preferred) or sent directly to the graduate advisor.

For the Blended BMS program applicants, a paper version of the application (Part B only) must be delivered to the graduate advisor (transcripts are not required for the BMS candidates). All letters of recommendation must be sent directly to the graduate advisor to the following address:

Dr. Saeed Niku
Mechanical Engineering Department
Cal Poly State University
San Luis Obispo, CA 93407-0358


Core Courses

A combination of 17 Units

  • ME 599 (Thesis), or courses from Recommended Restricted Units (See below) AND a comprehensive examination, 9 units total.
  • Approved courses chosen from MATH, STAT, or CSC courses (such as ME 501, ME 540, Math 501, 502, 408, 409, 418,..) 8 units total. At least one course must be at 500-level.

Recommended Restricted Units

A minimum of 12 units

  • ME 501 Linear Elasticity (4)
  • ME 503 Inelastic Stress Analysis (4)
  • ME 504 Stress Analysis (4)
  • ME 506 System Dynamics (4)
  • ME 507 Mechanical Control System Design (4)
  • ME 517 Advanced Vibrations (4)
  • ME 518 Rotor Dynamics (4)  
  • ME 540 Viscous Flow (4)
  • ME 541 Advanced Thermodynamics (4)
  • ME 542 Dynamics of Compressible Flow (4)
  • ME 552 Conductive Heat Transfer (4)
  • ME 553 Convective Heat Transfer (4)
  • ME 554 Computational Heat Transfer (4)
  • ME 579 Fluid Power Control (4)

Approved Technical Electives

A minimum of 16 units

  • (400-500-level ME or non-ME courses; maximum of 12 units of 400-level courses allowed. Up to 8 units in this category may be double counted in the blended BMS program).

Total Units Required for the M.S. Degree in Mechanical Engineering: 45 Units


The University has restricted the total number of required remedial classes for students whose degree is not in mechanical engineering to 12 units only. Therefore, if you miss more than 12 units of undergraduate classes, you will need to take those classes in community colleges, other institutions, or through Cal Poly Open University. Mechanical Engineering Department does not yet have a list of minimum required classes. Therefore, if you apply and are conditionally admitted, you may have to take the required classes as mentioned above. Taking these classes before applying does not guarantee admission either.

Continuous Enrollment Requirement

Until a student completely finishes all requirements and a thesis is uploaded, he or she must be continuously registered. Therefore, if a student is finished with his or her required classes, but continues to work on a thesis, he or she must continually register for 1 unit of GS-S597 course through Continuing Education Department, regardless of whether or not he or she is on campus. The only exception is summer quarters, unless the student finishes during summer quarter. In that case, it is required that he or she be registered even for the summer quarter.

Deadlines for Masters applicants:

Deadlines For Blended (4+1) applicants:

  • For Change of Objective effective Winter: October 6, 2015.
  • For Change of Objective effective Spring: February 1, 2016.
  • For Change of Objective effective Fall: May 1, 2016.
  • Letters fo recommendation for the blended program may be sent through email or printed and delivered to the coordinator
  • GRE is now required for Blended program (4+1).

For Masters degree:

  • We only admit for Fall quarters. The deadline for applications to the admissions office is January 1, 2016. The file completion deadline is 2/1/2016. Recommendation letters for the masters degree program may be entered through Interfolio (preferred).
  • The application is submitted through site. However, you MUST also enter your application information, transcripts, statement of purpose, and GRE scores through the Interfolio site.
  • GRE is now required. Paper copies of electronic transmission is accepted and should be sent directly to the coordinator of the program, Dr. Saeed Niku, Mechanical Engineering, Cal Poly, San Luis Oispo, CA 93407.