Master of Science in Engineering

Our department offers a master’s degree (also referred to as the MSE) which 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. The expectation is that students will come here and only take courses, rather than do original research. There are a few select opportunities for highly motivated MSE students who wish to try to be involved with research projects, typically for class credit.. Students typically take three academic terms  to complete the master’s degree.). Some students choose to complete the degree in four academic terms (academic terms are only fall and winter terms, not summer). The department does not offer summer courses.

U-M undergraduate 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. This program makes it possible for students to pursue a five-year sequential BSE/MSE. This is only open to those students who are already at the University of Michigan as undergraduates. We accept applications from students at Michigan who are in any undergraduate major, as long as they have taken classes in physics and mathematics, which would adequately prepare them for enrolling in graduate-level engineering coursework.

Degree requirements

To earn the MSE, 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). Comparable graduate seminars from other engineering departments will also suffice, e.g., CLIMATE 501 (SPACE 501) in CLaSP.
  • 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, courses from the English Language Institute (ELI), and classes in engineering education from EER. Non-technical courses not in these areas can be petitioned 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, but there is no requirement to do that. Some elective courses are not offered every year and require the completion of fundamental courses as prerequisites. Ultimately, the amount of fundamental and/or elective courses which students choose to take will be at the discretion of each student, according to their own interests, academic preparation and career goals.

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. They will still need to earn a B or better for the course to count toward this degree requirement.

B or Better Grades

All the required courses (five AEROSP and two approved 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.


Students who wish to complete original research are encouraged to take advantage of directed study opportunities (also referred to as independent study, or AEROSP 590). This is not a requirement for the degree and most MSE students do not choose this path. Students must contact faculty directly about opportunities to complete original research under the advisorship of that faculty member. There is not a specific list of opportunities.

To enroll in AEROSP 590, students should become acquainted with the research being performed in the department and contact faculty members directly via email with whom they find common research interest. Students should note that faculty may not have the availability to oversee a directed study, and they may not be able to respond to the student’s inquiry. Staff are not able to contact faculty on behalf of students.

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 must be aware of PhD application deadlines, to apply by posted deadlines using the same deadline and method as those who are not already at the university or in a master’s degree program. They may pursue the PhD 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.


Feel free to contact our Academic Services Office for an unofficial degree audit to make sure you’re not missing anything!