Graduate Program Requirements

Program of Study

The GS6 form (Program of Study) is submitted to the Graduate School by the end of the second semester. The student, advisor, co-advisor (if applicable) and Department Head are required to sign the form. Students should confirm the outside committee member’s willingness to participate prior to submitting the program of study.

Programs need not be regarded as final in every respect. However, any changes made in the course selection will require advisor approval on the GS25 form (application for graduation) that is submitted the semester before the student plans to graduate. Committee member changes may be made on the GS9A form and also must be approved by the advisor and the committee members who are added or removed.

Thesis and dissertation work requires students to become involved in appropriate research activities. Graduate students will typically register for up to three formal courses each term, with four semesters typically required to complete the master’s degree, and a subsequent six to eight semesters typically required to complete the Doctor of Philosophy Degree. Students are required to submit scholarly publications during their research (see “Publication Requirements” section). These articles may be appropriately incorporated as chapters in theses and dissertations.

Courses to be applied towards any mechanical engineering graduate degrees, including transfer credits from other institutions, must have been completed within the ten (10) years immediately preceding the date of completion of the final CSU degree. Transfer requests are submitted to the Graduate School with the GS6 Program of Study during the third semester and must include a course syllabus and a transcript showing that the course(s) was not used for another degree.  The Graduate School will notify the student by email when the GS6 form has been approved, meaning that the recommended committee is satisfactory, the transfer of credits is completed, and the program of study is acceptable.  The maximum number of transfer credits for M.E. and M.S. degrees is 6 and for Ph.D. degrees is 10.

A full-time course load for graduate students is nine (9) credits per semester; however, there are many instances where a full-time course load is not required due to research activities and remaining number of credit hours required in a degree program. In cases where a graduate student is not registering for classes but is continuing research, registration in the program must be kept current by registering for Continuous Registration (CR) through RAMweb.  Students who are registered for CR may not be on contract for a research or teaching assistantship but may work as student hourly employees.

Students are required to register for CR during the semester they plan to graduate.  Students who fail to register for CR will not be allowed to graduate that semester and will be required to apply for readmission ($150.00), register for CR ($150.00), and reapply for graduation.

Publication Requirements

Graduates from the M.S. and Ph.D. programs are required to publish in the archival literature of their research fields. The requirement is as follows:

  • Graduation with the M.S. degree requires 1 publication in submission to a journal or conference by the time of the thesis defense.
  • Graduation with the Ph.D. degree requires 1 accepted journal publication and 1 submitted journal publication (or a 2nd paper) by the time of the dissertation defense.

Exceptions may be made by submitting a written petition to the Associate Department Head for Graduate Studies, e.g. in the case of restricting research contracts or intellectual property concerns, the requirement may be changed to a fully prepared paper for subsequent submission.


  • The publication requirement applies to students with first enrollment in Spring 2011 or later.
  • The publication numbers given above are minimum requirements; having a larger number is encouraged. For students completing an M.S. followed by a Ph.D., the requirements must be separately met for each degree.
  • Journal publications should be in peer reviewed journals.
  • The publication requirement will be checked at the time of submitting the GS25 form (application for graduation) to the graduate director. At that time, the graduate director will provide a form in which the publication information is entered.

Students should be aware of potential copyright issues and should discuss them with their advisor. Additional information on copyright is available at:

Academic Progress Expectations

Per Graduate School policy, students whose cumulative grade point average (GPA) is less than B (3.0), at the end of a semester will be automatically placed on academic probation. New students will not be placed on probation until they have completed 12 credits or two semesters, whichever comes first.  Students are permitted one semester to bring the GPA back up to the required 3.0 to return to good standing.  If this requirement is not met the student will be automatically dismissed from the Graduate School unless the student’s faculty advisor and the department head agree to submit a petition to the Graduate School for a one-semester extension to return to good standing.  If this requirement is not met, the dismissal will go through.

Students will be reviewed annually by their advisor and/or committee to determine if they are making satisfactory progress towards the completion of their degree.  A student’s individual graduate committee or the department graduate committee may recommend immediate dismissal upon finding that the student is making unsatisfactory progress toward the degree and that satisfactory progress cannot reasonably be anticipated. Such a recommendation must be documented in writing with substantive justification for this action in lieu of probation. It must be referred to the department head for approval and to the dean of the Graduate School for final action. The student may appeal such an immediate dismissal through the existing Graduate School grievance procedure.

Credits earned for research (thesis and dissertation credits) and supervised teaching are graded as Satisfactory (S) or Unsatisfactory (U) by the faculty advisor.  The student must maintain “S” grades to remain in good standing.  Independent Study credits may be graded with a letter grade or with an S/U grade. The student must maintain a grade of “S” or “B” or better to remain in good standing.  If the student does not maintain grades of “S” and “B” or better in these credits, the student will be placed on probation.  These grades will also be considered in committee decisions about student progress, probation and/or dismissal.

To be eligible for graduation, a student must maintain at least a B average (3.0 GPA) in formal course work as well as satisfactory grades in research and other non-graded credits courses included in the program of study. Work graded C will be accepted toward degree requirements only if the GPA is still above 3.0.  Repeated courses are added to the transcript, but may not be removed.  Grades of  D, F, and U will not be accepted toward degree requirements. Grades of Incomplete (I) must be replaced with appropriate letter grades within twelve months or the credits will be converted to an F grade.  Students may not graduate with an “I” on the transcript.