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.

Sustainable Systems

The sustainability and advanced engineering design themes naturally intersect—the methods of design and innovation are a necessary element to the successful development or support of sustainable systems.

Advanced Engineering Design

This theme of design and innovation accommodates the many diverse research areas in engineering that are directed towards meeting the demands of rapidly-developing interdisciplinary technologies of the 21st century.

Student Learning Outcomes

LO1. Demonstrate the ability to apply graduate-level critical thinking skills to formulate and solve advanced mechanical engineering problems:

  • 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.

LO2. 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.

LO3. 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


The MSE is a graduate degree program built upon the overarching themes of sustainability and engineering design, with a core of common coursework that permits specialization through the selection of technical electives and a thesis topic. The program allows students to achieve depth in a single discipline or breadth across multiple disciplines. The program requires the completion of 30 credit hours of post-baccalaureate work and builds upon the commitment of the faculty in NAU’s College of Engineering, Forestry and Natural Sciences to integrate research and disciplinary practice while advancing both individual and collaborative research and scholarship.

Degree Requirements

  • BS degree in engineering, computer science or an equivalent (as defined below) with a 3.0 GPA or above in the last 60 hours for regular admission. In exceptional circumstances, those with a lower GPA may be accepted under a provisional status.
  • If the applicant does not have a bachelor’s degree or equivalent in his/her chosen primary disciplinary focus, then he or she will be required to complete a pre-MSE course of study in the primary disciplinary focus to achieve equivalency.
  • Note that if the applicant has a BS degree in a closely related field (for example, Chemical Engineering or Engineering Physics), then courses toward that degree (if completed with a grade of B or better) may serve as prerequisites for the primary disciplinary focus, shortening the pre-MSE course of study.
  • All applicants must submit scores for the GRE general examination. International applicants whose native language is not English must also submit TOEFL scores; click here for more information.
  • Each student must submit a Program of Study of courses for approval by his/her graduate advisory committee during the first semester.
  • Except for the core courses, the student will select elective and math/statistics courses in consultation with, and subject to approval by, the student’s graduate advisory committee. A maximum of two courses, up to 6 credits, may be at the 400-level. Since the MSE program emphasizes interdisciplinary topics, students may wish to take courses outside of their primary disciplinary focus. Some of these courses may require completion of prerequisite courses.

Financial support

Teaching and research assistantships are available for qualified students. For other sources of financial support, see the website of the Graduate College at NAU. Early application to the program will increase your chances for financial support.

Program taught in:
  • English

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