Department of Mechanical Engineering

Graduate Program in Mechanical Engineering

Coordinator: Dr. Troy Topping
Voice: (916) 278-6658
Fax: (916) 278-7713

General Information  

The Master of Science program in Mechanical Engineering at California State University, Sacramento, prepares students for leadership in the practice of mechanical engineering. The program includes the study of the scientific and technical principles underlying modern engineering practice and of the advanced mathematical techniques needed for their application in research and design. An individual applied research or design study, the results of which are presented in a Master's thesis or project report, complements the formal class work and completes the program.

Graduate courses are generally offered in the evenings, after 5:00 pm, to allow students to pursue their advanced educational goals without interfering with their professional work schedules.  A student working full time can usually take two courses each semester, spending two evenings per week on campus. Of course, full time students may schedule more than two courses each semester.

Specialty Areas

A student selects one of the following four options as his/her specialty area:

  • Aerospace Systems
  • Design and Dynamic Systems
  • Manufacturing and Material Engineering
  • Thermal and Fluid Systems

Elective courses allow for the development of the particular interests of each student.

Admission Requirements

Admission as a classified student requires:

  • A Bachelor of Science degree in Engineering or Computer Science;
  • A minimum grade point average (GPA) of 3.0 in upper division engineering courses; and
  • (For international students) English Language Requirement.

Applicants who do not meet the three admission requirements listed above because they have a Baccalaureate degree in a field other than Engineering or Computer Science and/or because their grade point average is below 3.0 but above 2.5 (in the last 60 units of undergraduate work) may be admitted with conditionally classified status. Any such deficiencies will be noted on a written response to the applicant.

If a student lacks some of the undergraduate courses needed for successful completion of the graduate program, such prerequisite courses must be taken before the student can be fully accepted to the program.

Admission Procedures

Applications are accepted as long as space for new students exists. All prospective graduate students, including Sacramento State graduates, must file the following with the Office of Graduate Studies. (River Front Center 215, (916) 278-6470).

  • An online application for admission;
  • Two sets of official transcripts from all colleges and universities attended other than Sacramento State; and
  • (For international students only) English Language Requirement.

For more admissions information and application deadlines, please visit

Approximately six weeks after receipt of all items listed above, a decision regarding admission will be mailed.

Advancement to Candidacy

Each student must file an application for Advancement to Candidacy, indicating a proposed program of graduate study. This procedure should begin as soon as the classified graduate student has:

  • Removed any deficiencies in admission requirements;
  • Completed at least 12 units in the graduate program with a minimum 3.0 GPA, including ME 209 (2 units) and at least 7 other units at the 200 level (graduate level). Note: For our program, completion of ME 209 with a grade of "B" or above satisfies the Graduate Writing Assessment Requirement (GWAR); and
  • Obtained approval of a thesis/project topic using our form: Mechanical Engineering Master's Thesis/Project Approval Form

Advancement to Candidacy forms are available here. The student fills out the form after planning a degree program in consultation with a faculty advisor. After approval by the Mechanical Engineering Graduate Coordinator, the form is then returned to the Office of Graduate Studies for approval.

General Degree Requirements

The Master's degree requires 30 semester units:

These consist of 24 units (eight courses) of course work, a 2-unit research methodology seminar, and an applied research or design thesis study (4 units).
The course work may include up to 6 units of undergraduate-level courses.

Aerospace Systems

This area focuses on the design of aerospace systems. Classical and computer-aided techniques are studied to provide a strong background in mechanical design theory and practice. Industrial software tools are used to perform finite-element modeling, dynamic system analysis, and optimum design.

Design and Dynamic Systems

This area focuses on the design of products and on the manufacturing systems needed for their production. Classical and computer-aided techniques are studied to provide a strong background in mechanical design theory and practice. Industrial software tools are used to perform finite-element modeling, dynamic system analysis and design optimization.

Manufacturing and Material Engineering

This area involves the use of mathematical methods as well as current computer techniques to solve problems encountered in planning, designing and/or controlling manufacturing systems. Study of the techniques for Product Design and Manufacturing, Neural Networks, Artificial Intelligence, and Industrial Management is conducted.

Thermal and Fluids Systems

This area concentrates on the principles of thermodynamics, heat transfer, and fluid mechanics as applied to such products as heat exchangers, internal combustion engines, gas turbines, and solar energy systems. Courses make use of computational fluid dynamics (CFD) and finite element analysis (FEA) software tools to explore the behavior of a variety of thermal energy conversion systems and components. In this area of interest, innovative system design is becoming more important as progress is made toward increasing the efficiency of thermal systems while reducing the adverse effects on the environment.


The Graduate Program Coordinator serves as the liaison between graduate students and the office of the Dean of Research and Graduate Studies. Upon admission to the graduate program, a student is assigned an academic advisor to lay out a mutually agreeable course of study for accomplishing the degree objectives. After advancement to candidacy, the student proceeds with research for the thesis or project. Guidance of this phase of study is given by a faculty member with expertise in the particular thesis/project topic, who becomes the supervising professor for the thesis or project.

For further information, contact the Mechanical Engineering Graduate Program Coordinator, Dr. Troy Topping.