This program will help you understand the application of your profession in the context of two of the most important issues of our time—sustainability and innovation.

With your thesis, you will be challenged to devise innovative solutions and improve upon existing methods to better our world.

Degree requirements

To earn this degree, you must complete a minimum of 30 credit hours:

  • 6 thesis credit hours in CENE 699, CS 699, EE 699, EGR 699 or ME 699
  • advanced math or statistics (3 credit hours)
  • 6 credit hours engineering core courses (EGR 501 and EGR 502)
  • electives (15 credit hours) selected with your committee's approval

Admission information

Applicants must select one primary emphasis in:

  • civil engineering
  • electrical engineering
  • environmental engineering
  • mechanical engineering
  • computer science

Prerequisites/Admission Requirements

  1. You must have a B.S. degree in the discipline and an overall GPA of 3.0 or higher. If you have a B.S. degree in a different discipline from that of your master’s application, you must complete a pre-admission course of study while earning a grade of "B" or higher in all pre-admission courses. See the prerequisite link below for this information.

  2. You must take the GRE General Test unless you earned your B.S. degree from NAU or are in our Integrated Program in the discipline of your master’s application. If you are an international applicant whose native language is not English, you must also submit TOEFL scores.

  3. Your application must include a statement that includes your educational goals and top areas of interest for your study and/or research.

  4. Your application must include three letters of recommendation.

  5. You must be accepted by a faculty member who will serve as your committee chair.

Environmental engineering emphasis prerequisites

Applicants without a BS degree in the discipline are required to attain equivalency of BS-level knowledge of the subject before being fully admitted to the MS program. Equivalency is determined by the CENE department faculty and Chair and may consist of additional coursework, experience, testing or a combination of these items. After determining the equivalency requirements, a representative of the CENE department faculty will meet with the applicant to develop a plan so that the applicant can be provisionally accepted to the program. Demonstration of achievement (B or better) in the following prerequisite courses is required to attain equivalency.

This program assists students who wish to further their engineering education and acquire the knowledge and skills to tackle important engineering tracks of our time: sustainability and innovation. The plan of study features real-world relevancy and considers how sustainable systems impact economics, design, and usability.

What Can I Do with a Master of Science in Engineering?

The knowledge gained during this program, in the emphasis area of choice, will prepare you for tackling real-world engineering challenges, providing solutions to complex engineering problems, and creating products that will benefit the society. The Master of Science in Engineering will help you enter a satisfying, productive and exciting profession, or continue on to a doctoral degree.

The program will help you understand the application of your profession to sustainability and/or advanced engineering design. The faculty is engaged in research and its creative application to relevant problems, and you will have the opportunity to join them. The methods of design and innovation are necessary to the successful development of sustainable systems. Likewise, the principles of sustainability can foster innovation and economic development. By combining both themes, you will have the opportunity to engineer a brighter future for yourself and for the world.

Students wanting to earn their bachelor’s and master’s degrees simultaneously may qualify for our Accelerated Program which allows students to count six units toward both degrees, shortening the time to graduation.

With further education, one of these paths is possible:

  • Sustainability or Design Engineer
  • Engineering Consultant or Entrepreneur
  • Teaching and Research Faculty
  • Research and Development Engineer

University Requirements

To receive a master’s degree at Northern Arizona University, you must complete a planned group of courses from one or more subject areas, consisting of at least 30 units of graduate-level courses. (Many master’s degree programs require more than 30 units.)

You must additionally complete:

  • All requirements for your specific academic plan(s). This may include a thesis.
  • All graduate work with a cumulative grade point average of at least 3.0.
  • All work toward the master’s degree must be completed within six consecutive years. The six years begins with the semester and year of admission to the program.

In addition to University Requirements:

  • Research and Thesis (6 units)
  • Graduate-level mathematics or statistics (3 units)
  • Core Courses in sustainable systems and advanced engineering design (6 units)
  • Electives (15 units)


Admission requirements over and above admission to NAU are required.

  • NAU Graduate Online application is required for all programs. Details on admission requirements are included in the online application.
  • Undergraduate degree from a regionally accredited institution.
  • Grade Point Average (GPA) of 3.00 (scale is 4.00 = "A"), or the equivalent.
  • Admission to many graduate programs is on a competitive basis, and programs may have higher standards than those established by the Graduate College.
  • Transcripts.

For details on graduate admission policies, please visit the Graduate Admissions Policy International applicants have additional admission requirements. Please see the International Graduate Admissions Policy

Individual program admission requirements include:

  • B.S. degree in Engineering or completion of prerequisite courses (see department website for details);
  • GRE® revised General Test;
  • 3 letters of recommendation;
  • Personal statement or essay.

Student Learning Outcomes

Engineering M.S. with an Emphasis in Civil and Environmental, Computer Science, Electrical, or Mechanical Engineering.

The Master of Science in Engineering (MSE) is a thesis-based/research focused graduate degree program. Students work closely with a faculty advisor to develop a personal research plan within their emphasis area (Civil and Environmental, Computer Science, Electrical, or Mechanical Engineering), which allows the student to design and complete an original research study in their area of specialty. This degree program is valuable to engineers interested in pursuing doctoral studies, academic careers, or professional careers in research or product innovation.

Demonstrate the ability to apply graduate-level critical thinking skills to formulate and solve advanced engineering problems in the emphasis area (Civil and Environmental, Computer Science, Electrical, or Mechanical Engineering):

  • Acquire knowledge of advanced contemporary engineering topics and computational tools specific to the emphasis area.
  • Develop the ability to identify, formulate, and solve advanced engineering problems relevant to the emphasis area.
  • Develop the ability to synthesize, explain, verify, and justify solutions to complex engineering problems specific to the emphasis area.

Demonstrate the ability to independently and creatively design and conduct research studies:

  • Assess the state of the art in their field of study, including a thorough literature review
  • Design a research study of personal or professional interest and importance including planning, organizing, scheduling, and executing the project with the guidance and input of their thesis advisor.
  • Apply independently and creatively appropriate engineering theories and tools towards finding a viable solution to the thesis topic.
  • Perform and interpret complex quantitative analyses specific to the thesis.

Demonstrate the ability to communicate effectively the results of a comprehensive research study/project through oral presentations and publications:

  • Create a publishable paper reflecting the integration of knowledge acquired through the thesis study.
  • Evaluate the effectiveness of the project and the implications of the resulting data
  • Synthesize and present the relevance of the research study in both technical and non-technical terms.
  • Deliver an oral presentation to peers summarizing the work performed on the research study and its outcomes.
  • Conduct a thesis defense to a community of engineering faculty and peers.
Program taught in:
  • English

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