Note: Admission to this program is temporarily suspended.

Program goals

The goal of the M.S. in Engineering degree program is to provide graduate students with learning opportunities for acquiring a broad foundation of engineering knowledge including business and manufacturing aspects; an in-depth research experience at the frontiers of engineering; and skills for lifelong learning and professional development. Graduates of this program will pursue careers in business/industry and government, or will pursue doctoral degrees.

  1. Advanced technical skills: To produce graduates who possess the necessary advanced analytical and technical skills in engineering and sciences in order to respond directly to the higher goals of fulfilling the needs of industry for effective, productive engineers and of providing economic development for the region, state and nation 
  2. Communication: To produce graduates who possess a facility with both written and oral communications so that engineers will be able to interact and share ideas with others in the work environment, and at a higher level, be capable of creative self-expression and leadership
  3. Advanced problem-solving: To produce graduates who demonstrate creativity and innovation in solving technological problems stemming from the realization that new knowledge and new solutions to existing problems are necessary to meet the needs of our changing society and to advance the quality of human life

Student learning outcomes

Graduates of the M.S. in Engineering degree program will be able to demonstrate:

  1. The ability to apply advanced knowledge of mathematics, science or engineering
  2. The ability to communicate effectively
  3. The ability to identify, formulate and solve engineering problems

VCU Graduate Bulletin, VCU Graduate School and general academic policies and regulations for all graduate students in all graduate programs

The VCU Graduate Bulletin website documents the official admission and academic rules and regulations that govern graduate education for all graduate programs at the university. These policies are established by the graduate faculty of the university through their elected representatives to the University Graduate Council.

It is the responsibility of all graduate students, both on- and off-campus, to be familiar with the VCU Graduate Bulletin as well as the Graduate School website and academic regulations in individual school and department publications and on program websites. However, in all cases, the official policies and procedures of the University Graduate Council, as published on the VCU Graduate Bulletin and Graduate School websites, take precedence over individual program policies and guidelines.

Visit the Graduate study section for additional information on academic regulations for graduate students.

Degree candidacy requirements

A graduate student admitted to a program or concentration requiring a final research project, work of art, thesis or dissertation, must qualify for continuing master’s or doctoral status according to the degree candidacy requirements of the student’s graduate program. Admission to degree candidacy, if applicable, is a formal statement by the graduate student’s faculty regarding the student’s academic achievements and the student’s readiness to proceed to the final research phase of the degree program.

Graduate students and program directors should refer to the following degree candidacy policy as published in the VCU Graduate Bulletin for complete information and instructions.

Visit the Graduate study section for additional information on degree candidacy requirements.

Graduation requirements

As graduate students approach the end of their academic programs and the final semester of matriculation, they must make formal application to graduate. No degrees will be conferred until the application to graduate has been finalized.

Graduate students and program directors should refer to the following graduation requirements as published in the Graduate Bulletin for a complete list of instructions and a graduation checklist.

Visit the Graduate study section for additional information on graduation requirements.

Other information

Student handbook is available on the School of Engineering website.

Note: Admission to this program is temporarily suspended.

Admission requirements

Degree: Semester(s) of entry: Deadline dates: Test requirements:
M.S. Fall Jun 1 (Feb 15 for financial assistance) GRE-General
Spring Nov 15 TOEFL required for international students

Note: Students may begin a course of study in either the fall or spring semesters for the engineering programs, although a start in the fall semester is preferred.


In addition to the general admission requirements of the VCU Graduate School and the School of Engineering, applicants to the master’s degree in engineering must have a B.S. degree in engineering or a closely related discipline.

Note: Admission to this program is temporarily suspended.

Degree requirements

Thesis option

In addition to the VCU Graduate School graduation requirements, students seeking the M.S. degree are required to take a minimum of 30 credit hours of approved graduate courses (including research). Each student must complete 12 credit hours of concentration-specific course work, 12 credit hours in electives and six credit hours in thesis research. The student’s adviser must review and approve all course work and thesis research credit hours. The total of all credit hours must be at least 30. No elective courses may be used for both M.S. and Ph.D. degrees. At least half of the credit hours required in the student’s program must be those designated as exclusively for graduate students, that is, those at the 600 level or above.

Each student must conduct an original investigation under the supervision of the permanent adviser and prepare a thesis reporting the results of this research and analyzing its significance in relation to existing scientific knowledge. This study is reported in a thesis prepared in acceptable form and style. Upon approval of the thesis by the adviser, the student submits a copy to each member of the advisory committee. The student’s advisory committee members examine the thesis and decide upon its acceptability. Each committee member reports to the student’s adviser when the thesis is acceptable for defense. The thesis is approved for defense only if accepted unanimously. Upon approval of the thesis, the student appears for a final oral examination administered by the student’s advisory committee. This examination of an M.S. candidate includes the subject matter of course work as well as the thesis.

There are three components of each M.S. in Engineering thesis curriculum:

  1. Concentration-specific component: This component allows the student to pursue a series of courses that focus on a specific field of engineering and serve as the student’s primary engineering discipline. Students seeking to take course work and conduct their research in the engineering concentration must contact the graduate program coordinator or department chair of engineering for detailed information about that option.
  2. Electives component: This component allows the student to take courses in either engineering or science with approval of the student’s adviser. The option can be tailored to meet the individual student’s academic goals and research interests.
  3. Directed research component: This component emphasizes research directed toward completion of degree requirements under the direction of an adviser and advisory committee.

Non-thesis option

Students seeking the non-thesis M.S. degree are required to take a minimum of 30 credit hours of approved graduate courses. Each student must complete 15 credit hours in concentration course work and 15 credit hours in option electives course work.

Each non-thesis student must have a plan of study by the end of the first semester or prior to completing nine credit hours. This plan of study (and all revisions) must be approved by the student’s adviser and the assistant dean for graduate affairs of the School of Engineering. The student’s adviser must review/approve all course work in advance of enrollment. At least half the credit hours required in the student’s program must be designated as 600 level or above.

There are two components of each M.S. in Engineering non-thesis curriculum:

Concentration-specific component: This component allows the student to pursue a series of courses that focus on a specific field of engineering and serve as the student’s primary engineering discipline.

Electives component: This component allows the student to take courses in either engineering or science with approval of the student’s adviser.

The concentration can be tailored to meet the individual student’s academic goals and research interests. Students seeking to take course work and conduct their research in the engineering concentration should contact the appropriate graduate program coordinator or department chair of engineering for detailed information about that option.

Curriculum requirements

Thesis option

Concentration-specific component: ENGR course work12
Electives: engineering or science course work12
ENGR 697Directed Research6
Total Hours30

Total graduate credit hours required (minimum) 30

Non-thesis option

Concentration-specific component: ENGR course work15
Electives: engineering or science course work15
Total Hours30

Total graduate credit hours required (minimum) 30

Graduate program director
Leena Joseph
Director of graduate studies, School of Engineering
josephl@vcu.edu
(804) 828-1087

Additional contact
Barbara D. Boyan, Ph.D.
Professor and dean, School of Engineering
bdboyan@vcu.edu
(804) 828-3925

Program website: egr.vcu.edu/future-students/graduate-programs