MSME Degree Policy and Procedures

Plan I (Thesis)


Table of Contents

1.        Requirements and Procedures

2.        Time Limit for Completion of Degree

3.        Summary of Course Requirements

4.        Initial Advisement

5.        Seminar Requirement

6.        Committee-on-Studies

7.        Committee-on-Studies Chair

8.        Other Members of Committee-on-Studies

9.        M.S. Program Planning and Approval

10.   Program of Studies

11.   Thesis Format

12.   Notification of Intent to Graduate

13.   Thesis Presentation and Master's Examination

14.   Distinction on Thesis Defense

15.   Submission of Thesis


Requirements and Procedures

The student should carefully study the sections of the UNM Catalog under "The Graduate Program." It is ultimately the student's responsibility to see that these requirements are satisfied.


Time Limit for Completion of Degree

All work used to meet degree requirements for a master's degree, including transfer credit, must be completed within a seven-year period immediately preceding the granting of the degree. Course work older than seven years cannot be used to meet requirements for the master's degree.


Summary of Course Requirements

The following are the course requirements for the MSME degree, Plan I. Some of these requirements are dictated by the UNM Catalog and additional ones are required by the ME Department.

A minimum of 31 semester hours is required.

Comments on Design Project course (ME 559) - Students who are pursuing the MSME Plan I program are not allowed to register and receive credit for ME 559.

A minimum of 24 hours of 500-level courses, including ME 599 Thesis.

A minimum of 15 hours of coursework in Mechanical Engineering, not including ME 599. Four courses will comprise the Mechanical Engineering Graduate Core.

At least 24 hours must be completed in residence at the University of New Mexico.

A maximum of 12 hours of graduate level courses in non-degree status may be applied to the course requirements.

Six hours of M.S. thesis (ME 599) are required.

Plan I students must complete a minimum of 6 hours of thesis (599) credits, and only 6 credits may be applied to the program of studies. Once initiated, continuous enrollment (Fall and Spring semesters) in thesis (599) is required until the thesis is accepted by the Dean of Graduate Studies. Students who complete degree requirements during a summer session must be enrolled in a minimum of 1 thesis hour. This rule applies whether or not the student is concurrently enrolled for other credit hours.

A maximum of three hours of Problems courses (ME 551 or ME 552, but not ME 559) may be included. (Please see comments below.)

Students who start enrolling in 599 must continue enrolling in 599 every semester (not including summers) until graduation.

Comments on Problems courses (ME 551 or ME 552) - Some faculty members and their students find this "continuous enrollment" (OGS) rule cumbersome. For this reason, the student who is performing the initial thesis research may take these "Problems" courses in lieu of registering for thesis credits. When taken for this purpose, these courses may be repeated as many times as needed, as long as they are taken as CR/NC mode of grading. However, credit hours earned for these courses (and similar research-type courses from other UNM graduate programs) are not counted towards the minimum 31 hours of coursework needed for graduation (see above). Obviously, the student's effort will eventually be reflected in the total thesis hours that he/she takes before graduation. On the other hand, if the student is genuinely working on some topic of mutual interest unrelated to their thesis research with their advisor or another professor, she/he may take the ME 551 or ME 552 courses that will count toward the satisfaction of the MSME degree requirements. An example of scholarly activities that may justify such credits would be the research performed through an independent study work that may provide a Research Assistantship (RA) job for the student, but it does not lend itself as an appropriate thesis topic. The student's report of these activities shall be kept in his/her ME academic folder and scrutinized at the time of submitting the Program of Studies to the OGS for approval. In these reports the student must clearly document why the corresponding activity is separate from his/her thesis research.

0 + 1 hour Seminar.  [ME 591 (fall), ME 592 (spring)].  See Seminar Requirement. 


Initial Advisement

The student must meet with the ME Graduate Program Director before the initial registration, and work out a program of studies for the first semester. Any courses that do not receive prior approval of an academic advisor may be disallowed. During the first semester, the student must obtain the agreement of an ME faculty member to serve as Academic Advisor, and submit an Advisor Assignment Form to the ME Program Advisement Coordinator. This faculty member normally, but not always, becomes the Chair of the Committee-on-Studies (CoS).


Seminar Requirement

M.S. students must have one hour of seminar credit on their program. The student shall register for ME 591/592 for two semesters while attending the seminars. The first semester the student may register for zero credit hours. The second semester the student must register for one credit hour. The grade will be CR/NC, based upon attendance. Presenting a seminar on campus will count for attendance at two seminar sessions.

For attendance requirements, please CLICK HERE.


Committee-on-Studies (CoS)

The Committee-on-Studies shall be composed of at least three members; at least two members shall be full-time, tenure-stream, UNM Mechanical Engineering faculty members. Approval of the Committee must be obtained using the Committee-on-Studies Proposal Form.


Committee-on-Studies Chairperson

The student should select a Committee-on-Studies Chairperson as early as possible, preferably during the first semester in residence. The Committee Chairperson must be a full-time, tenure-stream, UNM Mechanical Engineering faculty member.


Other Members of Committee-on-Studies

The remainder of the Committee should be chosen by consultation between the Chairperson of the Committee-on-Studies and the student. Approval for non-UNM faculty committee members must be obtained from the Department and the Office of Graduate Studies.


M.S. Program Planning and Approval

The Chairperson of the Committee-on-Studies shall have the responsibility to advise the student in planning the student's program. Approval of the MS Program of Studies must also be obtained from the Mechanical Engineering Graduate Director.


Program of Studies

The Program of Studies Form should be submitted (at the latest) the semester or Summer Session before graduation semester. The following OGS deadlines apply: July 1 for a Fall graduation, October 1 for a Spring graduation and March 1 for a Summer graduation. Failure to submit this form on time will delay your graduation. ME Department will require some time to review and approve the form; so, you must submit the form to the ME Program Advisement Coordinator at least two weeks before the above OGS deadlines. Changes in an approved program must be submitted to the Office of Graduate Studies by a memorandum from the student with approval by the ME Graduate Director.


Thesis Format

Information pertinent to preparation of a thesis is available at the Office of Graduate Studies website along with front pages of the thesis (Certificate of Final Form, Title Page, and Abstract Page, etc).


Notification of Intent to Graduate

The student must submit the Notification of Intent to Graduate Form to the ME Program Advisement Coordinator before the deadlines shown on the form. Failure to submit this form on time will delay your graduation. Students must be enrolled in a graduate course in the semester of graduation. If all other course work is completed, one (1) hour of ME 599 may be taken.


Thesis Presentation and Master's Examination

The thesis shall be provided to the Committee-on-Studies at least two weeks before the scheduled thesis defense, which functions as the Master's Examination. The Mechanical Engineering Program Advisement Coordinator must also be notified of the time and location of the examination at least three weeks prior to it. The Master's (Plan I) examination shall usually consist of a presentation of the research work by the student and an oral examination by the Committee-on-Studies. Results of the examination must be reported to the Office of Graduate Studies, on the Report of Examination form provided, by November 15, April 15, or July 15, in order for the student to graduate in the Fall, Spring, or Summer semesters, respectively. A final exam may be passed with distinction according to the ME Department policy (see below).


Distinction on Thesis Defenses

Distinction may be awarded to recognize exemplary performance on an M.S. thesis defense. The student's transcript will include "Passed with Distinction." The examining committee shall consider the written work as well as the oral presentation and oral examination. Outstanding performance on all aspects of the examination is required. A committee decision to propose that a student be passed with distinction must be unanimous, and is subject to approval by the Graduate Director. The committee chair must provide a memo (electronic mail) describing those aspects of the written work as well as the student's oral presentation / examination that merit distinction. Normally, it is expected that the thesis recommended for "Distinction" has generated refereed, archival-quality publication(s). If the thesis requires more than minor editorial corrections, distinction will not be considered. Department standards of excellence suggest that, on average, about one in ten M.S. thesis defenses will merit distinction.


Submission of Thesis

The Thesis (as well as all related documents) shall be submitted for the approval of the Dean of Graduate Studies by November 15, April 15, or July 15, in the respective semesters in which graduation is to occur. Plan I degree candidates should refer to the OGS web pages for comprehensive information regarding document submittal.


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