Mechanical Engineering, BS-MS

for the joint degrees of Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering and Master of Science in Mechanical Engineering

department website:

department faculty: Mechanical Science & Engineering Faculty

overview of college admissions & requirements: The Grainger College of Engineering

college website:


Formal admission to the combined program normally occurs late in the junior year or early in the senior year and is by invitation only with the following provisions:

  • Students must have a minimum Illinois GPA of 3.80 or higher, and have earned 96 credit hours toward the B.S.M.E. requirements at the time they are invited to apply (60 of these hours must have been earned at Illinois). 
  • A special B.S.-M.S. application is provided to the student with the invitation. This application along with supporting documents must be submitted to the ME Graduate Programs Office, Room 164 MEB. There are two annual application deadlines: October 15 and March 15.
  • GRE scores are not required for admission to the program. However, students are strongly encouraged to take the GRE in their senior year in order, for example, to be eligible for national fellowship competitions. 
  • Students in the combined program will be recommended by the department for admission to the Graduate College after they complete the 120 hours required for the B.S. portion of the combined program. 
  • The department will pay the application fee ($60 US, $75 International) for these students.
  • Each student is required to identify a graduate advisor and provide a tentative thesis topic at the time of application to the program.


Students may withdraw from the program at any time by notifying the Undergraduate Programs Office. Students who do not meet the Graduate College and departmental requirements for admission to the graduate program at the time they complete the 120-hour B.S. portion of the combined program will be required to leave the program.

Students who withdraw from the program for any reason may continue in the regular four-year B.S. degree program, which currently requires 128 hours, provided they meet the normal GPA requirements of that program. Students who withdraw from the combined program after they have taken courses for graduate credit may petition to have those credits counted toward their undergraduate program requirements.

Continued Graduate Study

Students who complete the combined program may petition to continue in graduate school for a Ph.D. These students will hold the same status (post M.S.) as students entering the Ph.D. program with an M.S. degree, and will be required to take the department's qualifying examination no later than the second calendar semester after graduation from the combined program.

for the joint degrees of Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering and Master of Science in Mechanical Engineering

Course Requirements

The combined program requires 120 hours of undergraduate credit and 32 hours of graduate credit. This compares with 128 hours of undergraduate credit and 32 hours of graduate credit when the B.S. and M.S. degrees are earned separately. The undergraduate requirements are identical to the four-year B.S. program, except that the following requirements are waived:

  • one MechSE elective — 3 hours
  • one Technical elective — 3 hours
  • Free electives — 2 hours

In addition, independent study project courses may not be used as MechSE or technical electives in the B.S. portion of the combined program.

The M.S. portion of the program requires completion of 32 hours of credit. This consists of a minimum of 24 hours of formal graded course work at the 400 level or above and eight hours of thesis research credit. Additionally, the formal graded course work must include eight hours at the 500 level and eight hours in the major area of study (ME) with a minimum of four of those hours at the 500 level. A Master's thesis is required, consisting of at least four and no more than eight hours of ME 599 credit. Students must also register for the graduate seminar course (ME 590) every semester following formal admission into the graduate portion of the program and complete MSE 492.  The seminar and lab safety credits will not count toward the degree. The non-thesis option is not available to students in this combined program.

A student in the combined program must spend at least two academic years in residence, full time in the combined degree program, and at least one of these years must be with graduate status. Students must maintain a graduate GPA of 3.00 in order to remain in the combined program.

The B.S. and M.S. degrees are granted simultaneously at the end of the program.