Graduate Program FAQs

The following is a list of Frequently Answered Questions (FAQs) for the graduate programs in Mechanical Engineering and Manufacturing Engineering:

Degree Programs

Q: Can I apply for a Ph.D. degree even if I will only have a B.S. degree?
A: Yes. For applicants with strong interest in pursuing a Ph.D., we recommend applying for direct entry to our Post-Bachelor’s Ph.D. program. We do not require an M.S. degree for you to apply to the Ph.D. program.

Q: Is there any advantage to applying to the M.S. program if I am interested in obtaining a Ph.D.?
A: If your interest in pursuing Ph.D. is high, then you should apply directly to the Ph.D. program. If you feel that you are more likely to decide to earn an M.S. only, then you should apply to the M.S. program.

Q: What is the difference between the M.S. and M.Eng. programs?

A: The M.S. program is tailored towards individuals interested in a purely technical program of graduate courses and the option of a master’s thesis. The M.Eng. program is tailored towards individuals interested in combining graduate-level, technical study in engineering with courses in engineering management and technical leadership.  Students in the M.S. program may take a maximum of one course in engineering management and technical leadership, whereas those in the M.Eng. program take 2-3 of these courses. For a quick comparison of the two types of programs, click here. For more in-depth information on the two types programs, please consult the individual pages.

Q: What should I select as my “ultimate degree objective” for Question 1 under the “Additional Info” section (page 4) of the application form? I might be interested in continuing on for a Ph.D. after completing my M.S. at BU.
A: The purpose of this question is to gauge your near- and intermediate-term plans for graduate study at BU. In most cases, applicants should answer this question with the name of the degree program to which they are applying (e.g., Ph.D. applicants should choose “Ph.D.” as the Ultimate Degree Objective). Applicants unsure about pursuing a Ph.D. vs. M.S. might find the following guidelines helpful:

Scenario Ultimate Degree Objective
You are interested in pursuing an M.S. degree at BU and you believe that at some later point in your career you might pursue a Ph.D. M.S.
You want to pursue a Ph.D. at BU but feel that you should do theM.S. degree at BU first. Ph.D.

Q: Can I transfer from the M.Eng. program to the M.S. or Ph.D. program?
A: Transferring from M.Eng. to M.S. is possible, but is not the standard path on account of the differences between the two degree programs. Transferring from M.Eng. to Ph.D. is rare. An M.Eng. student must still complete the full Ph.D. application process to do so. The application will only be considered favorably if a student has earned high grades in courses and has begun a research project with a faculty member. Applications for a transfer to M.S. or Ph.D. from M.Eng. will only be considered for current students.


Q: Where do I apply?

Q: Are there minimums on the GREs or GPA?
A: No. However, we do expect students to have a strong undergraduate record and test scores.

Q: Are there minimums on the TOEFL/IELTS?
A: Yes. The minimum TOEFL/IELTS scores that are required for admission, as well as admission with financial aid, are listed below.

Admission Admission & Aid
TOEFL iBT Total Score 84 100
Required scores by category:
Reading 21
Listening 18
Speaking 23
Writing 22
TOEFL Paper-Based Test 550 600
TOEFL Computer-Based Test 213 250
IELTS 7.0 7.5

Q: What is the timing for applications?
A: The deadlines are listed at Initial decisions are made by March 1, and all decisions are complete by April 15. Students must notify BU of their acceptance decision by April 30.

Q: Must I have a specific undergraduate degree to apply for the Ph.D. program?
A: No. The undergraduate degrees of the graduate students in our department span a wide range of areas of Engineering, and Mathematics and Physics.

Q: What are the acceptance rates for the graduate programs in ME?
A: The acceptance rates for the prior application cycle were as follows:

MEng 45%
MS 15%*
Post-BS PhD 22%
Post-MS PhD 21%
LEAP 70%

* An additional 15% of the MS applicants were admitted to the MEng program.

Q: Can I apply for Spring admission?
A: We accept applications for Spring for the M.S. and M.Eng programs only. Ph.D. applications are only accepted for consideration for Fall admission.

Q: May I waive the application fee?
A: No. The application fee must be received in order for an application to be processed and reviewed.

Funding Opportunities

(currently being updated)

Degree Requirements

Q: Is there a Teaching Assistantship requirement?
A: There is a Teaching Assistantship requirement for the Ph.D. program only. Each Ph.D. student must serve as a Teaching Assistant (TA) for two semesters during his/her program. Students typically do not serve more than two semesters.

Q: What are the degree requirements for the Ph.D., and what courses are required to complete this degree program?
A: Please consult for information on the degree requirements.

Q: What are the degree requirements for an M.S. and what courses are required to complete this degree program?
A: Please consult for information on the degree requirements for the M.S. in Mechanical Engineering, and for the M.S. in Manufacturing Engineering.

Q: What are the degree requirements for the M.Eng. and what courses are required to complete this degree program?
A: Please consult for information on the degree requirements for the M.Eng. in Mechanical Engineering, and for the M.Eng. in Manufacturing Engineering.

Contacting Us

Q: Should I contact a faculty member about their research interests?
A: We recommend that you look over information about the faculty research interests, available on the department website and in their research publications, in advance of contacting individual faculty. This will answer as many of your questions as possible, and will help you gauge your interest in the faculty member’s research. If you have specific questions for a specific faculty member and cannot find the answers on the web, then ask. Please note that most faculty members receive a large volume of inquiries from prospective students, so many faculty cannot answer each one. Please do not get discouraged if you do not get a response, and do not let a lack of response deter you from submitting your application. Many faculty members focus on student recruitment in January-March only.

Q: Can I send a resume to a faculty member or Academic Programs Manager to inquire about my admission possibilities?
A: Because individual faculty and staff do not directly admit students into the graduate programs, they cannot answer this type of inquiry. The best way to express your interest in working with a faculty member on a Ph.D. or M.S. thesis is to submit an application. Make sure that you indicate your interest in that particular faculty member’s research in your application form where asked.

Q: Is there anyone I can contact about additional questions I have?
A: Please contact the Academic Programs Manager, Seth Robertson, in the Department of Mechanical Engineering with any additional questions you may have.


Q: Can I study towards a graduate degree in Mechanical Engineering part time?
A: Yes, we do allow matriculated domestic students to complete our master’s-level programs on a part-time basis; however, international students must be enrolled full-time in all of our graduate programs.
Given that all of our Ph.D. students are fully funded through the department, part-time study is not an option at this time.

Q: Can I study towards a graduate degree in Mechanical Engineering while living outside the greater Boston area?
A: Yes. The Department of Mechanical Engineering offers a distance learning option for the Master of Engineering degree. For more information about this program, please visit the Distance Learning Program website here:

Q: Can I transfer in previous graduate coursework to count towards my degree requirements?
A: Yes, you may petition to transfer up to 8 academic credits of comparable graduate coursework, which will be counted towards your degree requirements.

Q: Can I take graduate-level engineering courses prior to applying to the graduate engineering program?
A: Yes. As a non-degree student, you are able to enroll in graduate-level coursework on a space-available basis. A maximum of three courses taken at Boston University as a non-degree student may be applied to a graduate degree. For more information, please visit the website here: