Program Schedule

MS Program Expectations

The departmental requirements for the MS program are online here. MS Students in the Solid Mechanics Research Group are expected to meet the following requirements:

Coursework requirements

As part of their regular coursework, MS students must take

MAE 5100 - Continuum Mechanics or MAE 5201 - Solid Mechanics

MAE 5012 - Engineering Analysis II (the sequel to MAE 5011)

Students are strongly encouraged to take Calculus of Variations, Optimization, and Real Analysis as well.

Research credit requirements

All MS students must register for at least three research credit hours with Dr. Runnels during their first semester of the program. The remaining three research credits may be taken at any time during the program.

Publication requirements

MS students are expected to produce a publishable manuscript containing their research. Note that the manuscript must be prepared before the advisor will look at the thesis. MS students should keep this in mind while planning out their final semester, as a failure to produce the manuscript could results in the defense date getting postponed (which can in turn result in a delayed graduation date).

Programming language

All students are expected to become proficient in either Python or C++ during the course of their MS degree. Other programming languages (such as MATLAB) may be used for minor programming tasks. However all code beyond that for the student's own personal use must be written in either Python or C++.

PhD Program Expectations

The purpose of this page is to embellish and clarify the MAE PhD specifications outlined in the MAE Department PhD guidelines, and to outline additional expectations of group members.


The PhD program allows for generous flexibility and freedom, especially in the last two years. However, students are expected to keep a somewhat regular schedule and to keep their advisor apprised of extended absences.

PhD students are funded through research assistantships funded by external grants, through graduate teaching assistantships, or by external fellowships. PhD students currently on TA appointments are expected to check the list of graduate fellowships for external funding opportunities.

Academic Schedule

The following is an academic schedule that allows for completion in as little as four year. The schedule can be modified to allow for special circumstances, but students should initially plan on taking at least three graduate courses per semester in the first two years.

Year 1 - Fall

  • Engineering Analysis I (3cr)

  • Continuum Mechanics (3cr)

  • Elective in controls and dynamical systems or thermal and fluid sciences (3cr)

  • Mechanical Engineering Seminar (1cr)

  • Total: 10 course credits / 0 research credits

Year 1 - Spring

  • Engineering Analysis II (3cr)

  • Finite Element Analysis (3cr)

  • Elective in controls and dynamical systems or thermal and fluid sciences (3cr)

  • Mechanical Engineering Seminar (1cr)

  • Total: 20 course credits / 0 research credits

Year 2 - Fall

  • Technical Elective (3cr)

  • Technical Elective (3cr)

  • Mechanical Engineering Seminar (1cr)

  • Total: 27 course credits / 0 research credits

Year 2 - Spring

  • Technical Elective (3cr)

  • Research (6 cr)

  • Take Qualifier Examination in February

  • Submit application for course-based MS

  • Total: 30 course credits / 6 research credits

Year 3 - Fall

  • Research (6cr)

  • Total: 30 course credits / 12 research credits

Year 3 - Spring

  • Research (6cr)

  • Total: 30 course credits / 18 research credits

Year 4 - Fall

  • Take Comprehensive Exam in September

  • Research (6cr)

  • Total: 30 course credits / 24 research credits

Year 4 - Spring

  • Research (6cr)

  • Defend Dissertation

  • Total: 30 course credits / 30 research credits