VCU Bulletins

Mechanical and Nuclear Engineering, Master of Science (M.S.)

Graduate program director
Karla M. Mossi, Ph.D.
Associate professor
(804) 827-5275

Additional contact
Gary C. Tepper, Ph.D.
Professor and chair, Department of Mechanical and Nuclear Engineering
(804) 827-7030

Program website:

Refer to the program search function of the online VCU Bulletins for a complete listing of all programs, concentrations and related curricular options.

Mechanical and Nuclear Engineering, Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)

Apply online at

Admission requirements

Mechanical and Nuclear Engineering, Master of Science (M.S.)

of entry:

Fall (preferred)


Jun 1 (Feb 15 for financial assistance)

Nov 15

GRE – General

International students require TOEFL

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

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.

General academic regulations for
all graduate students in all graduate programs at VCU

Program mission

The mission of the M.S. in Mechanical and Nuclear Engineering degree 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 – responds 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 – emanates from the requirement that engineers must 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 – stems 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

  1. Apply advanced knowledge of mathematics, science or engineering: Graduates will demonstrate an ability to apply advanced knowledge of mathematics, science or engineering.
  2. Communicate effectively: Graduates will demonstrate an ability to communicate effectively.
  3. Identify, formulate and solve engineering problems: Graduates will demonstrate an ability to identify, formulate and solve engineering problems.

Degree requirements

In addition to the VCU Graduate School graduation requirements, students must meet the following requirements.

The Master of Science in Mechanical and Nuclear Engineering program utilizes the faculty and research facilities of the Department of Mechanical and Nuclear Engineering to expose students to advanced and emerging technologies in mechanical and nuclear engineering. Research thrusts in the department include but are not limited to smart materials, micro/nanotechnology, energy conversion systems, sensors, aerosol science, nuclear engineering, fluid mechanics, medical devices, robotics and biomechanics.

The M.S. degree program offers a thesis or non-thesis option and can be tailored to meet the individual student’s academic goals and research interests. Eighteen to 24 months of study usually are necessary to complete the requirements for the thesis-option. The non-thesis option generally requires 12 months of full-time study or up to four years of part-time study. A time limit of six calendar years, beginning at the time of first registration, is placed on work to be credited toward the master’s degree. Generally, a maximum of six credit hours of approved graduate course work required for a master’s degree may be transferred from another program at VCU or outside institution and applied toward the degree.

The following are the minimum credit hour requirements for the proposed graduate degree program options:

M.S. thesis option – minimum 30 credit hours including nine credit hours in core courses, 15 credit hours in technical electives (engineering, science or related areas) and six credit hours in directed research EGMN 697

M.S. non-thesis option – minimum 30 credit hours including 15 credit hours in concentration course work (EGRM or EGRN) and 15 credit hours in technical electives (engineering, science or approved courses)

The mechanical and nuclear engineering M.S. degree program contains three curricular components:

  1. Core component: This component consists of three required core courses that provide the foundation of the M.S. curriculum. See below for specific course requirements.
  2. Technical elective component: This component allows the student to take courses in either engineering, science or other areas with approval of the student’s adviser and graduate program director.
  3. Directed research component: This component emphasizes research directed toward completion of M.S. degree requirements under the direction of an adviser and thesis committee.

Depending on the option pursued, students will have to take courses from two or all three of the curricular components. Students should select their concentration component courses based upon their concentration areas. Selecting one concentration area over another does not preclude a student from choosing courses from other areas. In fact, students will be encouraged to take courses from both EGRM and EGRN areas. Sample curricula follow.

Curriculum requirements

Courses Credit hours
Thesis option  
Core component 9
Technical electives – engineering, science or related course work 15
Directed research 6
Total graduate credit hours required (minimum) 30
Non-thesis option  
Core component 9
Technical electives – engineering, science or related course work 21
Total graduate credit hours required (minimum) 30

Core requirements

All full-time thesis master’s students must register for and attend EGMN 690 Mechanical and Nuclear Engineering Seminar each semester. Part-time and non-thesis students are not required to register for the seminar, but they are encouraged to attend. All thesis students are required to give a research presentation as part of the seminar series at least once prior to graduation; non-thesis students must give a project presentation prior to graduation, based on an extension of work completed in a project-based course (see degree requirements below), as part of the seminar series. Note that EGMN 690 cannot be used to replace courses or research hours.

Courses Credit hours
Core courses, seminar and directed research  
EGMN 503 Mechanical and Nuclear Engineering Continuum Mechanics 3
EGMN 504 Mechanical and Nuclear Engineering Continuum Analysis 3
EGMN 690 Mechanical and Nuclear Engineering Seminar 1
EGMN 697 Directed Research in Mechanical and Nuclear Engineering 1-15
EGRN 610 Topics in Nuclear Engineering 3
Technical elective courses  
EGMN 603 Mechanical and Nuclear Engineering Dynamic Systems 3
EGMN 604 Mechanical and Nuclear Engineering Materials 3
EGRM 510 Solid Mechanics and Materials Behavior 3
EGRM 515 Vibrations 3
EGRM 525 Feedback Control 3
EGRM 551 Experimental Methods for Engineers 3
EGRM 555 Smart Materials 3
EGRM 561 Advanced Fluid Mechanics 3
EGRM 568 Robot Manipulators 3
EGRM 570 Introduction to Computational Fluid Dynamics 3
EGRM 580 Flow Control 3
EGRM 609 Advanced Characterization of Materials 3
EGRM 630 Advanced Biofluid Mechanics 3
EGRM 661 Computational Fluid Dynamics 3
EGRM 662 Advanced Turbomachinery Systems 3
EGRN 510 Probabilistic Risk Assessment 3
EGRN 530 System Analysis of the Nuclear Fuel Cycle 3
EGRN 620 Reactor Theory 3
EGRN 630 Nuclear Power Plants 3
EGRN 640 Nuclear Safety 3
EGRN 650 Nuclear Radiation and Shielding 3
ENGR 565 Design Optimization 3
ENGR 570 Effective Technical Writing 3
ENGR 591 Special Topics in Engineering 1-4
ENGR 630 Technology, Security and Preparedness 3

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.

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.

Graduation requirements

Other information

Student handbook is available on the School of Engineering website.



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Last update: 12/19/2014

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