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Mechanical Engineering in the DC Metro Area

DC-area Graduate Programs in Mechanical Engineering

The mechanical engineering program offers master’s level graduate programs leading to the M.S. with or without thesis and MEng degrees. Our curriculum is designed to allow flexibility to meet your needs with focus areas for students that prefer a more-structured program.

Focus Areas

Focus areas allow students to target specific subtopics within the study of mechanical engineering. Electives are offered to expand either the depth or breadth of study. M.S. thesis students may also opt for courses that support their research question and project.

Materials, Energy, and Sustainability

Goal: Develop future leaders in sustainable materials and energy systems through advanced training in numerical, applied and statistical mathematics, advanced engineering principles, and innovative materials engineering.

Core Courses: (12 credit hours)

  • ME 5404 Fluid Dynamics
  • ME 5304 Conduction and Radiation Heat Transfer
  • ME 5314 Convection Heat and Mass Transfer
  • NSEG 5134 Monte Carlo Particle Transport Methods (fulfills the engineering math requirement)

Recommended Electives: choose 3 (9 credit hours)

  • CS 5024 Ethics & Professionalism in Data Science*
  • ME 4194 Sustainable Energy Solutions
  • NSEG 5114 Nuclear Engineering Fundamentals
  • MSE 5384G Advanced Nuclear Materials
  • NSEG 5514 STructural Materials Degradation in Nuclear Power Systems
  • ME 4674 Materials Selection in Mechanical Design
  • NSEG 5424 Reactor Thermal Hydraulics

Research or Project/Report: choose 1 (6 credit hours)

  • ME 5994 Research and Thesis (for MS-thesis students)
  • ME 5904 Project and Report (for MS-non-thesis and MEng students)

Ethics Requirement: choose 1

  • CS 5024 Ethics & Professionalism in Data Science*, 3 credit hours
  • GRAD 5014 Ethics and Plagiarism, 2 credit hours

*CS 5024 may count as both a technical elective and ethics course.


Design your own MEng or M.S. curriculum

Broad requirements allow students to pursue customized degrees designed for specific goals and objectives. Whether you seek depth in a focus area or breadth over a larger range of studies, our program can meet your needs.


30 credit hours, approved by your committee

  • 24 credit hours graduate coursework
    • 3 credit hours of approved Math*
    • 18 hours at 5000 level or above
    • No more than 6 hours at 4000 level
  • 6 credit hours of Project Report (MEng) or Research (M.S.)
  • Ethics requirement (choose 1)
    • GRAD 5014, 2 credit hours
    • CS 5024, 3 credit hours
    • Other courses as approved to meet the requirement by the graduate school

Creating your own curriculum:

Start by defining what you want to learn. A faculty advisor can prove most useful in this endeavor, regardless of your intention to pursue a research-based or a project-based degree. Your goals will drive the coursework that you choose.

  • Choose your direction: research-based (M.S.-thesis) or project-based (MEng or M.S.-non-thesis).
  • Make a list of your areas of interest.
  • Prioritize these areas into primary or secondary areas of study.
  • Look for courses that fit into your designated primary areas of study. Supplement with secondary electives.
  • Think about project ideas.
  • Plan a meeting with your faculty advisor.

Available courses by semester and thrust area:

Fall Spring Summer
  ME 5034: Bio-Inspired Technology  
Fall Spring Summer
ME 5634: Finite Elements in Machine Design ME 5634: Finite Elements in Machine Design ME 4674: Materials Selection in Mechanical Design
  ME 5644: Rapid Prototyping   
  ME 5804: Active Material Systems and Smart Structures I (Vibrations of Active Materials)  
  ME 5884: Applied Machine Learning  
Fall Spring Summer
ME 5104: Thermodynamics: Foundations and Applications    
ME 5135: Vehicle Propulsion ME 5214: Combustion  
ME 5304: Radiation and Heat Transfer ME 5314: Convective Heat and Mass Transfer  
ME 5404: Fluid Dynamics ME 5424: Turbomachinery  
ME 5434: Advanced Introduction to Computational Fluid Dynamics* ME 5444: Interfacial Fluid Mechanics  
Fall Spring Summer
ME 5544: Linear Systems Theory    
ME 5554: Applied Linear Systems ME 5564: Applied Linear Control  
ME 5574: Nonlinear Systems Theory* ME 5704: Robotics and Automation  
  ME 5714: Digital Signal Processing for Mechanical Measurements  
  ME 5734: Advanced Engineering Acoustics  
  ME 5736G: Advanced Mechatronics  
Fall Spring Summer
NSEG 5114: Nuclear Engineering Fundamentals NSEG 5124: Nuclear Reactor Analysis  
NSEG 5134: Monte Carlo Methods* NSEG 5204: Nuclear Fuel Cycle NSEG 5134: Monte Carlo Methods*
  NSEG 5214: Nuclear Plant Systems and Operations  
  NSEG 5284: Nuclear Nonproliferation, Safeguards, and Security  
NSEG 5384G: Advanced Nuclear Materials NSEG 5384G: Advanced Nuclear Materials  
NSEG 5424: Reactor Thermal Hydraulics NSEG 5504: Radiation Effects on Metals and Alloys  
NSEG 5514: Structural Materials Degradation NSEG 5604: Radiation Detection and Shielding  
NSEG 5984: Applied Math* NSEG 6124: Advanced Nuclear Reactor Analysis NSEG 6124: Advanced Nuclear Reactor Analysis
  NSEG 6334: Nuclear Reactor Safety  

Course listings may be found in the timetable and historic timetable, and faculty and staff advisors can help inform curriculum-building decisions based on course offerings.

Freqently asked questions

Yes! We have options for full- and part-time enrollment. Students may choose to take one or more courses per semester.

Please be aware that financial aid is typically granted to full-time students only, with few exceptions.

We accept applications for start times in the fall and spring semesters. See information about taking courses as a non-degree student to get a jump start on your program.

The DC area campus deadlines are different than those for Blacksburg.

  • Fall application deadline: July 1
  • Spring application deadline: December 1

Yes, under certain circumstances. We pride ourselves on our holistic approach to applications, and we don ‘t want testing requirements to stand in the way of a potential student. Please reach out to us for more information!

Yes! Fundamental knowledge in math and physics is important, and we know this isn’t always reflected in your transcripts. If you are willing to work hard, we are willing to teach you. Please be prepared to address the discrepancy of grades to knowledge in your personal statement.

Courses are delivered in-person, synchronously by teleconference, and asynchronously. The majority of courses will be delivered synchronously using a combination of zoom and canvas. We understand that life happens, so lectures are recorded when delivered synchronously.

Some of our faculty have been certified to teach asynchronously, and these courses will be offered through canvas with specific instructions on how to meet course requirements in the time allotted.

We do have faculty in the DC area who teach at the Northern Virginia Center in Falls Church. Classes are delivered synchronously to Blacksburg, and students in the area are welcome to attend in-person, although this is not required for ME courses.