College of Engineering

Graduate work in the College of Engineering is administered jointly by the Graduate School, the College of Engineering, and various administrative subdivisions of the College of Engineering.

Graduate Degrees

The College of Engineering offers the following graduate degrees:

Master of Science in aerospace engineering, chemical engineering, civil engineering, computer science, electrical engineering,  environmental engineering, mechanical engineering, and metallurgical engineering

Doctor of Philosophy in the fields of aerospace engineering and mechanics, chemical engineering, civil engineering, computer science, electrical engineering, mechanical engineering and materials/metallurgical engineering (the PhD in materials/metallurgical engineering is offered jointly with The University of Alabama at Birmingham)

Joint interdisciplinary PhD program in Materials Science

A PhD degree in the field of materials science is also offered, in collaboration with The University of Alabama at Birmingham and The University of Alabama in Huntsville. Full details of the program and its admission requirements may be found in the Interdisciplinary Programs section of the Graduate School Catalog.

Requirements for the Graduate School (Admission Criteria and Degree Requirements) and the College of Engineering (General Admission, MS Degree, and PhD Degree) are detailed in sections of this catalog. Additional requirements are outlined in the individual department descriptions in this catalog.

Master of Science Degrees

Master of Science degrees with appropriate designations are conferred on those students who satisfy the requirements of:

  1. the programs or departments in which they are enrolled,
  2. the College of Engineering, and
  3. the Graduate School as outlined earlier in the Degree Requirements section of this catalog. 

Any requirements established by the individual departments are outlined in the departmental information that follows.

Master of Science Degree Requirements

Minimum requirements for the master's degree in all programs are 24 semester hours of acceptable coursework under Plan I (plus 6 thesis hours) or 30 hours under Plan II. Specific course requirements (in addition to those established by the Graduate School) are as follows:

  • The greater of 12 hours or 25 percent of the required coursework for a master’s degree may be transferred, subject to the approval of the appropriate faculty and final approval by the Graduate School. Average grade must be at least "B." The Request for Transfer of Graduate Credit is available at the website of the Graduate School.   
  • Engineering courses numbered 400 to 499 (offered primarily for senior undergraduates) may be taken by master’s students (not doctoral) for graduate credit with prior approval of the student's supervisory committee and prior approval of the Graduate School requested on the Approval of 400-Level Course for Master’s Credit form. A maximum of 6 semester hours of 400-level course credit may be accepted for a master's degree. To receive graduate credit for such courses, a minimum grade of "B" must be made in courses in the student's major field of study, and a minimum grade of "C" in courses outside the major field. Courses numbered 500 to 599 are offered primarily for master's students. Courses numbered 600 to 699 are offered primarily for students beyond the master's level.
  • Students will be expected to have received credit for MATH 238 Appld Diff Equations I prior to admission, or to complete the course with a passing grade after admission (no graduate credit will be awarded), unless they are enrolled in the computer science program.
  • All courses are selected by the student with the approval of the student's supervisory committee. If there are deficiencies in undergraduate subjects, the student's supervisory committee may require additional coursework to correct them.
  • Under no circumstances will graduate credit be given for courses numbered below 400.
  • Under Plan I, an approved thesis must be completed; a minimum of 6 semester hours of credit in 599 Thesis Research is required for Plan I students, in addition to the 24 hours of coursework.
  • Under both Plan I and Plan II, students must pass a final comprehensive examination on the content of the degree program. Information about the comprehensive examination is detailed in the Degree Requirements section of this catalog. 

Master of Science (Environmental Engineering) Degree Requirements

The master of science in environmental engineering is administered by the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering; for more information, please visit The program is open to persons with baccalaureate degrees who have completed at least one year's work in chemistry, mathematics through differential equations, and an engineering mechanics sequence through fluid mechanics. These prerequisites and others may be satisfied by completing appropriate coursework for non graduate credit.
The versatile master of science in environmental engineering program uses environmental engineering courses offered by the College of Engineering and appropriate courses in biology, chemistry, geology, and microbiology. A list of courses approved for inclusion in the environmental engineering major is available upon request. The flexibility of the degree requirements permits a student to follow a course of study designed to suit individual interests and needs. Degree requirements are as follows:

  • For Plan I students, 24 semester hours of approved environmental coursework and a minimum of 6 additional semester hours of credit in CE 599 Thesis Research is required, along with an approved completed thesis. For Plan II students, 30 semester hours of approved environmental coursework is required. It is expected that master's students will pursue the Plan I (thesis) option. The Plan II (non-thesis) option may be pursued only with approval of the faculty of the department. Students wishing to pursue the Plan II option must formally petition the department faculty to be considered for approval and must present substantial reasons for seeking the variance.
  • No more than 6 hours at the 400-level may be applied to this program, and as noted on the Approval of 400-Level Course for Master’s Credit form, approval must be obtained from the department and Graduate School before a 400-level course is taken for master's credit.
  • One course in air pollution and one course in water pollution are required.

Doctor of Philosophy Degree

Doctor of Philosophy students in each College of Engineering department with a PhD program must meet minimum course requirements and all other requirements described in the Doctoral Degrees and Degree Requirements section of this catalog.

Plan of Study

Requirements for the Graduate School include but are not limited to submission of a completed PhD Plan of Study (available on the Graduate School website) to the Graduate School. Early in the graduate program, students must meet with their program advisor to select courses, discuss when and by which method the doctoral residency requirement will be completed, discuss research interests, and so forth. All doctoral students must have a completed PhD Plan of Study approved by the Graduate School no later than the semester during which the student will complete 30 semester hours of UA and/or transfer credit toward the doctoral degree. Otherwise, a hold may be placed on future registration.
An amended Plan of Study (if needed) must be submitted to the Graduate School when the student submits the form for Admission to Candidacy for Doctoral Degree.

Admission to Candidacy

A department-approved Admission to Candidacy for the Doctoral Degree is submitted to the Graduate School as soon as possible after passing the comprehensive (preliminary) examination. See the online Graduate Catalog (Sec. 4.11.3) for details on Plan of Study, Admission to Candidacy, and all other degree requirements.

400-level Credit

Under no circumstances will graduate credit be given for courses numbered below 400. Only the 400-level credit (6 hours maximum) that was accepted for a master's program may be accepted for a doctoral degree program.

Research Skill/Language Requirements

Each college or department offering the PhD degree may set its own requirements for the language/research skill. This policy reaffirms the importance of research skills and foreign languages in the highest academic degree granted by American universities, but it also recognizes that the departments offering the degrees are in the best position to determine the number and nature of such requirements in the interests of their students. For further information about PhD foreign language/research skill requirements, students may contact their departments or the Graduate School Degree Requirements section of this catalog.
For additional information about all requirements for the PhD degree, see Admission Criteria and Degree Requirements in earlier sections of this catalog,  Students need to review requirements outlined in individual department descriptions in this catalog and visit the College of Engineering website.

Cooperative Education Program

Graduate students in the College of Engineering may choose to pursue their studies under a cooperative plan of education. The program is necessarily flexible, so that the study-work experience schedule will meet the needs of individual students. The availability of the cooperative plan will be dependent on the employment being approved by the student's graduate committee.

A student in the Cooperative Education Program should be able to complete all requirements for the MS degree in two years. The schedule for PhD candidates is arranged, in cooperation with the participating industry, to fit the needs of the individual student.

Admission Requirements

Applicants for graduate work in engineering must apply for admission to the Graduate School of the University. Regular admission to graduate study may be granted to applicants who:

  • have earned a baccalaureate degree from institutions with programs accredited by ABET
  • have an overall GPA of at least 3.0 on a 4.0 scale, or at least 3.0 for the last 60 hours completed
  • have Graduate Record Examination general test scores of 300 or higher, as specified by the department of interest (this is not required for the Accelerated Masters Program) 

Each applicant is required to submit a statement of purpose as part of the application packet; there are no exceptions.
Other appropriate requirements may be established by the individual engineering departments.
Regular admission may also be granted to applicants who are not graduates of ABET accredited programs. Other appropriate requirements may be established by the individual engineering departments.

The student's proposed plan of study shall include a schedule for removing any undergraduate course deficiencies.

International Admission

International applicants for engineering graduate programs must satisfy the above requirements and may also be required to supply a TOEFL score of at least 79, an IELTS score of at least 6.5, or a PTE score of at least 59.

Admission with Permission to Continue

This status may be granted to applicants who do not meet the GPA or GRE requirement. 

A student who has is granted this status is required to maintain a "B" average for the first 12 semester hours of graduate coursework and to remove any conditions imposed for admission in order to continue graduate study.
Applicants with GPAs of less than 2.5 (out of a possible 4.0) may be considered for admission to the Graduate School only after demonstrating the ability to pursue advanced work successfully.

See the Admission Criteria section of this catalog for more information.

Advisement and Committees

After admission to graduate study by the dean of the Graduate School, the student will be referred to the head of the appropriate department for assignment to a temporary advisor. The chairman and other members of the graduate student's supervisory committee are usually appointed during the first term of enrollment. The examining committee (the membership of which is normally the same as that of the supervisory committee) is appointed approximately one semester before the student expects to graduate.

General Engineering Studies Courses

Graduate courses are offered on a regular basis in some departments, as indicated in the course listings. However, all graduate courses are taught only upon sufficient demand. In the following course listing, each description contains a set of parentheses immediately preceding the semester hours. The first number within the parentheses indicates the number of contact hours per week in lecture, recitation, or seminar. The second number indicates the number of contact hours per week in laboratory.

The College of Engineering requires that a grade of "C" or better be earned in all prerequisite courses.

Additional information is in the Admission Criteria section and the Degree Requirements section of this catalog.

GES courses are interdisciplinary and may be taken to meet individual program requirements.1

Engineering Statistics

Probability and basic statistical concepts. Discrete and continuous distributions; the central limit theorem; sampling distributions; point and interval estimation; hypothesis testing; regression and correlation analysis; analysis of variance.

Operations Research

Model construction, linear programming, network models, dynamic models, stochastic models, queueing theory, and decision theory.

Matrix And Vector Analysis

This course provides a graduate level overview of linear algebra and vector analysis. Topics covered include; linear simultaneous equations, eigenvalues and eigenvectors, matrix functions, computer techniques, and transformations, vector calculus, the Laplacian, and integral theorems such as the theorems of Green and Stokes.

Partial Diff Equations

This course examines the solution of partial differential equations by focusing on three specific equations: (1) the heat equation, (2) the wave equation, and (3) Laplace 's equation. Topics covered include: Fourier transforms, Sturm-Liouville problems, classification of partial differential equations, Bessel functions, and numerical methods for solving partial differential equations.