Mechanical Engineering M.S. (Ithaca)

Field of Study

Mechanical Engineering

Program Description

The Sibley School of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering offers a terminal M.S. degree in Mechanical Engineering. This field of study is one of ninety-four major fields of study comprising The Graduate School at Cornell University. Graduate fields cross traditional college and department boundaries and afford a graduate student maximum flexibility in designing a program represented by faculty from virtually any discipline on campus. One of the top ten Mechanical Engineering departments in the U.S., our department hosts 40 faculty members with diverse research interests. Cornell, located in the beautiful New York Finger Lakes region, is home to a diverse student community with a large international student population.

Our Master of Science (M.S.) program in Mechanical Engineering provides classroom training and experience with research methodology at one of the premier research universities in the world. Our graduates find that their Cornell training and the resulting M.S. degree prepares them to succeed in industry, government, and academia. Please note there is no financial support available to students in this program—it is self-paid by the student.

The two-year M.S. program combines academic rigor with a strong research component. Working with faculty advisors, M.S. student tailor their studies to their particular interests and backgrounds, incorporating core topics in mechanical engineering as well as specialized courses. 

Our M.S. students undertake a substantive body of research in the research group of a Field faculty member. They document their research in a master's thesis, which they defend in a formal examination by a faculty committee. Research projects are chosen in consultation with the supervising faculty member and enable students to benefit from Cornell's powerful combination of an unusually collaborative and interdisciplinary culture and outstanding research facilities. Mechanical Engineering has vibrant research programs in many research areas. 

 M.S. Program details: 

  • Duration: 4 terms
  • S. Thesis required. The collective academic expectations of committee is that an M.S. Thesis should be publishable as independent research or be a significant secondary author contribution to a publication with postdoc/grad student/PI as first author. 

Course requirements:

  • 48 total credits
  • 20 credits of research (MAE 8900)
  • complete MAE 7999, the departmental colloquium, twice
  • exclusive of MAE 8900 and MAE 7999, students must complete 15 credits at 5000 level or above; 6 credits of which must be at 6000 level or above.

You do not choose a master's thesis advisor before applying. Applications, reviewed by a committee of the faculty, are selected for admission based on a combination of factors: academic performance, letters of recommendation, research experience, and research interests that are a good fit with the research interests of our faculty. Matriculated students are afforded the opportunity to interact with a number of faculty in seeking a good student-advisor match. 

The M.S. program results in a "terminal" master's degree; it is not related to the Ph.D. program and is not a pathway into the Ph.D. program in Mechanical Engineering. This program is not recommended for students wishing to pursue at PhD at Cornell.  Financial aid in the form of research assistantships and teaching assistantships are not provided for the M.S. degree program.

Contact Information

Phone: 607 255-5250

107 Upson Hall
Cornell University
Ithaca, NY  14853

Concentrations by Subject

  • biomedical mechanics
  • dynamics and control
  • energy and sustainability
  • fluid dynamics
  • micro- and nanoscale engineering
  • solid mechanics and materials
  • thermal science


Visit the Graduate School's Tuition Rates page.

Application Requirements and Deadlines

Application Deadlines:

Fall, December 1; no spring admissions

Requirements Summary:

Applicants should hold a bachelor's degree in engineering or the physical sciences. Admission is offered only for the fall semester, except in unusual cases. A field brochure is available on request from the graduate field office.


Learning Outcomes

Learn advanced research skills

  • Synthesize existing knowledge, identifying and accessing appropriate resources and other sources of relevant information and critically analyzing and evaluating one’s own findings and those of others
  • Apply existing research methodologies, techniques, and technical skills

Demonstrate commitment to advancing the values of scholarship

  • Keep abreast of current advances within one’s field and related areas
  • Show commitment to personal professional development through engagement in professional societies and other knowledge transfer modes

Demonstrate professional skills

  • Adhere to ethical standards in the discipline
  • Communicate in a style appropriate to the discipline
  • Listen, give, and receive feedback effectively