Master of Science in Engineering

The MSE degree is the primary master’s degree offered in our department and provides students with a more in-depth knowledge of aerospace engineering topics beyond what is covered in the BSE program.

The MSE is a coursework-based degree, with some research opportunities for those master’s students who are interested. The program typically takes three to four terms to complete (excluding summer, when no graduate courses are offered).

U-M undergraduate aerospace engineering students may apply to the Sequential Undergraduate/Graduate Studies (SUGS) program. This program makes it possible for students to pursue a five-year sequential BSE/MSE.

Degree requirements

To earn the MSE degree, 30 credit hours of coursework are required. Students can use the Master’s Program Requirements Checklist to keep track of their performance and progress towards the degree.

Students have substantial flexibility in selecting courses to meet their individual needs. A single course cannot count towards both the five graduate-level aerospace engineering courses requirement, and the two mathematics courses requirement. Specific requirements include:

  • Maximum of six credit hours of directed study courses (AEROSP 590).
  • Maximum of three repetitions (three credit hours) of seminars (AEROSP 585).
  • Maximum of four credit hours of non-technical courses in an approved subject area at the 500-level or higher. Pre-approved subject areas include: business, entrepreneurship, and English (including ELI). Non-technical courses not in these areas can be petitioned to the graduate chair for approval to receive credit.
  • Minimum of five aerospace engineering (AEROSP) graduate courses at the 500-level or higher with a B or better final grade. This includes graduate-level courses at the 500-level or higher which are cross-listed with AEROSP courses. This does not include directed study courses (AEROSP 590) and seminars (AEROSP 585).

Aerospace Engineering Graduate Course Requirement

It is generally recommended that MSE students take a combination of fundamental and elective courses that match their interests. Some elective courses are not offered every year and require the completion of fundamental courses as prerequisites.

Students are also welcome to take graduate-level courses in statistics, mathematics and other engineering departments, in addition to the five required AEROSP courses, to earn credit toward the MSE degree. Please note: EECS 565 counts as an aerospace engineering graduate course, equivalent to AEROSP 580. 

Mathematics Requirement

Minimum of two approved mathematics courses with a B or better grade. If a current student wishes to receive credit toward this requirement with a course that is not on the approved mathematics courses list, they may petition the graduate chair to potentially receive approval.

B or Better Grades

All the required courses (the five AEROSP and two mathematics courses) must be completed with a grade of B or better. This means that a B- in a course will not fulfill the requirement. Rackham also requires that students earn a cumulative GPA of 3.0 (B) or higher to graduate.

U-M MSE students applying to the PhD will need a GPA of 3.5 or higher (as per the Preliminary Examination requirement) to be considered.


Students are encouraged to take advantage of directed study and become involved in research as part of their MSE experience.

The MSE program does not include an option for a thesis per se; however, through AEROSP 590 , students can perform research work in close supervision with a faculty member to investigate a problem of common interest, resulting in a paper of publishable quality if they so choose.

To enroll in AEROSP 590, students should become acquainted with the research being performed in the department and then contact faculty members directly with whom they find common research interest.

Master’s students interested in pursuing a PhD

The master’s degree is a terminal coursework-based degree. Students interested in pursuing a PhD after the master’s degree must complete a full application to the PhD program. They may do so at any time during or after their master’s degree. Most students successful in making this transition are students who engage with faculty during their time as master’s students, typically through directed-study projects.

If a student receives the support of a faculty member, ultimately in the form of a letter to the graduate office with an advising and funding commitment, that student will generally be admitted directly into the PhD program after passing the preliminary examinations.

The student must meet with Ruthie Freeman, Student Services Manager, to review the admissions policy and determine eligibility. On the other hand, if a student applies for the PhD without secured faculty support, that student will be considered together with other PhD applicants in that admissions cycle.


Feel free to contact our graduate office for an unofficial degree audit to make sure you’re not missing anything!