Graduate Advising

 

ATTENTION STUDENTS! Graduate Degree Requirement Updates Starting Fall 2016

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Advising FAQ, click the links to jump to a topic below:
Applications – General
Application Materials
Financial Support
M.S. vs. Ph.D. Degrees
Distance Education
Registration
Courses and Grades
Advisor
Graduating
Other FAQ

Applications – General

How do I apply to the Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering (MAE) department?

What are the basic admission requirements?

  • Due to the large number of applications, pre-screening is not performed. You will have to formally apply before an assessment of your admissibility can be made. There are a few guidelines, however, which are listed below. Please note that there are a wide variety of factors that are considered and there are exceptions to these guidelines, but they must be justified.
    • GPA – a Graduate School minimum Grade Point Average (GPA) of 3.0 (on a 4.0 scale)
    • TOEFL/ IELTS – a required minimum TOEFL Internet-based Test (iTB) score for international students whose native language is not English of 18 on each part and a total score of at least 80. We also accept the IELTS exam (minimum score of 6.5 on each section).
    • GRE  GRE minimum scores are: verbal – 146, quantitative – 155, analytical writing 3.5.

Do I qualify if my undergraduate degree is not in ME or AE?

  • Students with undergraduate BS degrees in other areas of engineering, physics, and math may be admitted to our department. These students are often expected to take one to three remedial courses to make up for any deficiencies depending on his/her area of interest and background. These courses are typically taken in the first two semesters alongside first semester courses or before the student begins taking the graduate courses.

What if I have a technology degree?

  • We require a BS degree in mechanical or aerospace engineering or a closely related field. This is a SACS accreditation requirement. A technology degree does not usually satisfy this requirement. SACS requires an emphasis on engineering that includes a sequence of courses in calculus and a calculus-based physics course followed by some basic engineering science that includes calculus-based statics, dynamics and thermodynamics, and a math course on differential equations.

When are the application deadlines?

  • The MAE department uses the Graduate School’s priority deadlines. The Graduate School’s Priority application deadlines are provided here.

What is the ETS Code for NC State University?

  • The ETS code for NC State University: 5496

May I send hard copy material?

  • The MAE department does not accept hard copy material as part of the application. All material associated with the application process must be uploaded through the application program, ApplyYourself, found here.

Must I specify my technical area of interest in the application?

  • Within one week of submitting your Graduate School application, you will receive an email from our department asking you to select a Specialty/Concentration in our GradWatch Program. Selecting this Specialty/Concentration (also called an Area of Interest) is required of all students and is necessary for us to consider your application complete. You can change your area of interest later in your academic career if you so choose. The four Specialty/Concentration areas are listed below:
    1. Therm & Engy Thermal Sciences and Energy Systems Including: combustion, HVAC, powerplants, renewable energy conversion, and associated fluid mechanics
    2. Struc & Manf Structural Mechanics, Materials & Manufacturing Including: composites, biomaterials, biomechanics, photonic sensors, structural health monitoring, MEMS, and nanotechnology & design
    3. Aero & Prop Aerodynamics, Fluid Mechanics & Propulsion Including: CFD, biofluids, micro/nano fluidics, and fluid-particle dynamics
    4. Dyn & Cntrl Dynamics, Vibrations, Controls & Space Systems Including: acoustics, electromechanical systems, air & space vehicle dynamics, control

Should I visit before I apply (and will that help my chances of being admitted)?

  • Typically no. You may wish to visit the campus and the department to help you decide if you wish to attend, but it does not tend to improve one’s chances of admission.
  • Please also be aware that the Director of Graduate Programs and most faculty members will typically not make meetings with prospective students until after they have applied and been offered admission.

Can I apply for admission starting in the spring instead of the fall?

  • Yes.

I applied for admission to your department last semester and was denied due to my low tests scores. If I presented you an updated higher score, do I have to submit a new application and pay a new application fee again?

  • Yes. Applicants cannot use the same application after they have been denied in the same department. If you have been denied admission into a program, and would still like to pursue that degree later, you can apply again for a future semester. To do this, you need to submit a new application and pay a new application fee.

How much are the tuition and fees?

  • Tuition and fee rates are subject to change. Please see details here.

I have submitted all of my application materials. Why does the application status say “incomplete” and that you have not received all of my materials?

  • There are several possibilities.
    • [1] Allow the college 2-4 weeks to enter all the application material into our system and indicate that it is complete.
    • [2] Your TOEFL scores have not been received by our main admissions office. TOEFL scores are submitted from ITS only once per month, so they may have not yet been submitted to our University. If you have questions concerning the receipt of your TOEFL scores you will need to contact the main graduate school (contact information below). Our Admission Committee can use your unofficial scores for their admission process, however you would still need to make sure ITS sends your official TOEFL scores. Your online application will say incomplete until we receive the official scores.
    • [3] You are requesting a waiver from the TOEFL exam based on your attendance at a U.S. institution. Your application status will remain incomplete until we receive approval to waive the TOEFL exam score from the NCSU Graduate School. The fact that we do not have approval of your wavier will not affect or delay your admission to our program. The only issue you will experience is that your online status will say incomplete until we receive approval for the waiver.
    • [4] We have not received your official transcripts. Our Admission Committee will use your unofficial transcripts during their decision making process. The fact that we do not have your official transcripts will not affect or delay your admission to our program. The only issue you will experience is that your online status will say incomplete until we receive your official transcripts. If your admission is approved you will need to send your official transcripts to the address below:

      The Graduate School
      North Carolina State University
      1020 Main Campus Drive,
      Room 2300A
      Campus Box 7102
      Raleigh, NC 27695-7102

What are the basic admission requirements?

  • Due to the large number of applications, pre-screening is not performed. You will have to formally apply before an assessment of your admissibility can be made. There are a few guidelines, however, which are listed below. Please note that there are a wide variety of factors that are considered and there are exceptions to these guidelines, but they must be justified.
    • GPA – a Graduate School minimum Grade Point Average (GPA) of 3.0 (on a 4.0 scale)
    • TOEFL/ IELTS – a required minimum TOEFL Internet-based Test (iTB) score for international students whose native language is not English of 18 on each part and a total score of at least 80. We also accept the IELTS exam (minimum score of 6.5 on each section).
    • GRE  GRE minimum scores are: verbal – 146, quantitative – 155, analytical writing 3.5.

How many students are currently in the program?

  • The Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering at NC State has an enrollment of about 1000 undergraduates and about 400 graduate students. This does change semester to semester and certain programs and degrees (Mechanical and Master’s) are larger than others (Aerospace and PhD).

My former school will not send me transcripts in sealed envelopes to enclose with the rest of my application materials. What should I do?

  • Most schools will issue documents in sealed envelopes directly to the student. If your school will not, please have your transcript sent directly to our graduate school. The address is:
  • The Graduate School
    North Carolina State University
    1020 Main Campus Drive,
    Room 2300A
    Campus Box 7102
    Raleigh, NC 27695-7102
  • If you have questions about your transcript, please reach out to the Graduate School Admissions Office: graduate-school@ncsu.edu or 919-515-2872

I took one course during the summer from a different university. Do I have to send the transcript for that one class?

  • Yes. All transcripts are required.

My transcripts are from a foreign country and I cannot have the originals sent. What should I do?

  • You may have certified copies of your foreign transcripts sent if you are not able to send original official copies. Please have them certified by your university, education/foreign affairs ministry or, if they are on file at another institution, by a member of that institution’s records staff. We do NOT accept certifications from Notary Publics or credential agencies. If the originals are not in English, a literal English translation must be supplied as well. Please be advised, if admitted, you will be required to submit original copies of your transcripts to The Graduate School before you will be permitted to enroll in classes.

May I send my supplemental materials to NCSU before I submit my online application?

  • No. All supplemental material should be uploaded electronically with your personal statement as part of your application.

My name has changed since taking a required test for admission. What should I do?

  • It is extremely important that the name used on your application exactly matches with the name used on your test score reports. If the name on your application and test score reports are not exactly the same we will not receive your test scores. If your name has changed since taking a required admission test, be sure to indicate your original surname in the space provided on the online application. It is also recommended that you reach out to the Graduate School to make them aware of the name change so that they can properly match your test scores:
    • graduate-school@ncsu.edu
    • The Graduate School
      North Carolina State University
      1020 Main Campus Drive,
      Room 2300A
      Campus Box 7102
      Raleigh, NC 27695-7102

 

Application Materials

Recommendation letters

I have been out of school for several years and there is no one left who can write an academic recommendation for me. May my employer write one?

  • The purpose of submitting letters of recommendation is to give program faculty and the Graduate School an indication of your ability to do scholarly research. It is recommended that current or former professors in your major-field courses be asked by you to submit your recommendations, as they would have the best idea of your research potential. If, however, such persons are no longer available to ask, anyone who you think can best assess your potential for graduate study can be asked to write the letter.

I want to send more than the required number of letters of recommendation because I feel this will enhance my chances of being offered admission. Is this true?

  • It is not how many you send but the information contained in those letters that contributes to your overall admissibility. Send the required number, but choose these recommenders well. Does the faculty in the program to which you are applying know your letter writers? Will they write fair and thoughtful recommendations for you? Can they speak to your academic research and accomplishments and your potential for graduate study?

Transcripts

My former school will not send me transcripts in sealed envelopes to enclose with the rest of my application materials. What should I do?

  • Most schools will issue documents in sealed envelopes directly to the student. If your school will not, please have your transcript sent directly to our graduate school. The address is:
    • The Graduate School
      North Carolina State University
      1020 Main Campus Drive,
      Room 2300A
      Campus Box 7102
      Raleigh, NC 27695-7102
  • If you have questions about your transcripts, please reach out to the Graduate School Admissions Office: graduate-school@ncsu.edu or 919-515-2872

I took one course during the summer from a different university. Do I have to send the transcript for that one class?

  • Yes. All transcripts are required.

My transcripts are from a foreign country and I cannot have the originals sent. What should I do?

  • You may have certified copies of your foreign transcripts sent if you are not able to send original official copies. Please have them certified by your university, education/foreign affairs ministry, or if they are on file at another institution, by a member of that institution’s records staff. We do NOT accept certifications from Notary Publics or credential agencies. If the originals are not in English, a literal English translation must be supplied as well. Please be advised, if admitted, you will be required to submit original copies of your transcripts to the Graduate School before you will be permitted to enroll in classes.

What should I do if my transcripts are in my maiden name or the name on my transcripts is written differently than the name on my submitted application?

  • If your name on your transcript is written differently than the way you entered it into your application, the Graduate Admissions Office may have trouble matching your transcript to your online application. If you believe that your transcript is not attached to your submitted application for this reason, you can email the Graduate Services Assistant, Kelly Petersen, at kjpeter3@ncsu.edu, or you may reach out to the Graduate Admissions office directly at graduate_applications@ncsu.edu to explain the situation. We strongly suggest that you upload an unofficial copy of your transcript to your application prior to submission.

GRE and TOEFL

Do I have to take the GRE?

  • The GRE is a required test for students applying to the following MAE programs:
    • On-Campus Master’s (MS)
    • Doctoral (PhD)
    • Direct to PhD (dPhD)
  • The GRE is NOT a required test for students applying to the following MAE programs:
    • Distance Education Master’s (DE MS or MSZ)
    • Accelerated Bachelor/Master’s (ABM)

Do I have to take the GRE Subject test?

  • Applicants are not required to submit a GRE Advanced subject exam score

Do I have to take the TOEFL exam?

  • The TOEFL is required of students whose native language is NOT English and whose undergraduate degree was not earned in the United States. However, international applicants who have attended an accredited U.S. institution as a full-time student in a degree program for at least one year in the past five years are exempt from the TOEFL requirement.
  • Note: If you feel you meet the qualifications to waive the TOEFL score requirement, please email the MAE Graduate Office to request a TOEFL waiver. We will then make a note on your application that you would like to request a TOEFL waiver. Your application status will remain incomplete until we receive approval to waive the TOEFL exam score from the NCSU Graduate School. The fact that we do not have approval of your wavier will not affect or delay your admission to our program. The only issue you will experience is that your online status will say incomplete until we receive approval for the waiver.

What is the recommended TOEFL score?

  • A successful applicant will normally have a competitive TOEFL score of 18 or higher in each section with a total score of 80 in all four sections. These scores are also a requirement set by the NCSU Graduate School.

If I take the GRE in November, will my scores arrive in time for fellowship/scholarship competition?

  • The only answer we can give is “maybe”. There have been years when the scoring by the Educational Testing Service (ETS) was delayed and the score reports were received too long after the deadline for files to be considered for financial aid. It is best to take the test three to four months before the application deadline.

I am a foreign student. My TOEFL/IELTS score is more than two years old, so the Educational Testing Service will not send official scores to you. Will you accept a photocopy?

  • No. TOEFL and IELTS tests must be taken no more than two years before the desired semester of entry. Photocopies are not acceptable evidence of your TOEFL or IELTS score.

I am in the process of completing my degree from an English speaking institution. Do I need to submit a TOEFL score?

  • International applicants who have successfully completed at least one year of full-time study in a degree program at an accredited four-year US college or university are exempt from submitting a TOEFL score. To request a TOEFL waiver please email the MAE Graduate Office. We will then make a note on your application that you would like to request a TOEFL waiver based on your attendance at a US college or university. Your application status will remain incomplete until we receive approval to waive the TOEFL exam score from the NCSU Graduate School. The fact that we do not have approval of your wavier will not affect or delay your admission to our program. The only issue you will experience is that your online status will say incomplete until we receive approval for the waiver.

What are the basic admission requirements?

  • Due to the large number of applications, pre-screening is not performed. You will have to formally apply before an assessment of your admissibility can be made. There are a few guidelines, however, which are listed below. Please note that there are a wide variety of factors that are considered and there are exceptions to these guidelines, but they must be justified.
    • GPA – a Graduate School minimum Grade Point Average (GPA) of 3.0 (on a 4.0 scale)
    • TOEFL/ IELTS – a required minimum TOEFL Internet-based Test (iTB) score for international students whose native language is not English of 18 on each part and a total score of at least 80. We also accept the IELTS exam (minimum score of 6.5 on each section).
    • GRE  GRE minimum scores are: verbal – 146, quantitative – 155, analytical writing 3.5.

What if my GPA is not on a 4.0 scale?

  • NC State University does not have a converter available to help convert a non-U.S. GPA to the 4.0 scale. As a resource, Texas Southern University hosts a GPA converter; you can find it here. This should only be used as a guide. WES Credential Evaluators provides an online GPA calculator; you can find it here. In general, we will use a basic conversion tool (i.e. GPAs on a 10.0 scale will be divided by 2.5 to convert to a 4.0 scale).

 

Financial Support

General Financial Support

Are there funding possibilities in the department?

  • Yes. We do fund some of our graduate students. Funding generally occurs in the form of a Research Assistantship (RA) or a Teaching Assistantship (TA). Generally, international students must take and pass an NC State University speaking test before they can apply for a TA. RAs are available from individual faculty and vary according to the active grants and contracts that the faculty member has at any particular time. You may go to the Research link at our departmental web site and review our faculty interests. You may then contact those faculty members whose technical interests overlap with your own and inquire directly about possible research opportunities. You should contact faculty only AFTER you receive admission to our program.  Generally, TAs and RAs are generally not granted to non-thesis students. For more details, please go here.

Do I need to fill out an application for departmental/university financial aid?

  • No. There are no separate financial aid forms for departmental support. If financial support is necessary simply indicate this in the appropriate location on the application. Typically, recipients of financial support are determined and notified a few months before the semester starts.

What types of financial support are available through the department/university?

  • Students admitted to the Graduate School may be awarded financial support in the form of an assistantship or fellowship (sometimes referred to as a traineeship). Please see details here.

Could you provide me with additional funding sources outside of the department?

  • Other sources of financial support available to graduate students are fellowships andgGrants, which unlike Research or Teaching Assistantships, are dedicated to the graduate student, and are the responsibility of the student if they wish to apply. Fellowships and Grants provide the student with more opportunities than a traditional assistantship. Many fellowships and grants are intended for students just beginning their graduate studies, so there is much to be gained by applying for these sources of funding early. To see a list of potential fellowships, please see here.
  • The Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is an application to the Department of Education for Federal Student Aid. In order to be eligible for Federal Student Aid, the student must complete a FAFSA, and submit it to the Department of Education, as well as NCSU. For more information on Federal Student Aid, as well as the application, please see here.

Could you provide me with information about the NC Space Grant?

  • The NC Space Grant offers a Graduate Student Fellowship Program which can provide up to $8,000 of additional support to the recipient. This is not to be used as a primary source of funding, but to act as a supplemental to other funding. For more information, please see here.

Could you provide me with information on Financial Aid?

  • The Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is an application to the Department of Education for Federal Student Aid. In order to be eligible for Federal Student Aid, the student must complete a FAFSA, and submit it to the Department of Education, as well as NCSU. For more information on Federal Student Aid, as well as the application, please see here.

Could you elaborate more on Research and Teaching Assistantships?

  • Research and Teaching Assistantships are the two most common ways graduate students receive financial support during their studies. Both our Research Assistantships and Teaching Assistantships are extremely competitive. A Research Assistantship (RA) is given at the discretion of your advisor from their available research funding in order for you to focus on conducting research. A Teaching Assistantship (TA) uses departmental funds and carries with it obligations associated with the teaching mission (such as grading homework, teaching undergraduate labs, etc.). The important thing to remember is that financial support is not guaranteed in either form. The best way to secure funding is to have an advisor and discuss with them the potential of RA funding or getting a recommendation for a TA position. Please remember that you should contact faculty only AFTER you receive admission to our program.

What are TA rules and the appointment hierarchy?

  • [1] Some new students are offered a TA position as a recruiting mechanism. Otherwise students are not considered for TA positions unless they have an advisor.
  • [2] Non-thesis MS students are not supported with TAs unless they possess needed special skills.
  • [3] MS students are not supported on a TA for more than two semesters.
  • [4] TAs are not provided to students who do not qualify for the GSSP (explained in following sections).
  • [5] No GSSP exceptions for MS students.
  • [6] Priority for TA positions is as follows:
    • PhD candidates near completion (in last semester) whose RA funding has recently ended.
    • PhD candidates whose advisor supplies 1⁄4 time RA funding for shared TA/RA position.
    • MS candidates whose advisor supplies 1⁄4 time RA funding for shared TA/RA position.
    • PhD then MS candidates whose advisor guarantees RA funding the next semester.
    • PhD candidates with advisor endorsement.*
    • MS candidates near completion (in last semester) whose RA funding has recently ended*.
    • MS candidates with advisor endorsement.

    Note: Faculty advisors are limited to “x” TA positions for their students where “x” is determined by current policy and funding conditions.
    TA positions are not guaranteed or permanent and should not be considered your sole source of financial assistance for your entire student career.

What are RA/TA expectations?

  • A TA or RA is an appointment with a specific start and end date. If you have a TA or RA you should be on campus and available to work for the department during the full time of your appointment. Any variation from this requires permission from the Graduate Office (for TAs) or your advisor (for RAs).
  • With Research Assistant positions, it is expected that you will focus on conducting research. Be sure both you and your advisor have a clear understanding of what is expected for milestones and final products of your research. Semester milestones may include: problem solving, data collection, a presentation, or conference/ journal papers. It is a good idea to get a clear outline of what is expected of you, in writing if possible (an email perhaps), since research is always changing and your advisor’s expectations may change with them. Agreed upon goals will protect you from having requirements added to your research when you are nearing completion.
  • If you receive a Teaching Assistantship, you will be assigned a course or courses for which you will be expected to provide assistance. Once you have received the list of courses in which you will be responsible, it is necessary for you to contact the course instructor immediately. The course instructor will set the details of your responsibilities. Typical responsibilities of a TA may include: holding office hours, grading assignments, teaching a lab section, or assisting in other course work. Each instructor and course may have different responsibilities associated with them, so it is important to get a clear definition of the instructor expectations. Office hour meetings with undergraduate students are held in room 3257 EB III. If you are a TA and you do not have a work space assigned in your lab, please see the Graduate Office (3113 EB III) about having a desk assigned to you in one of the Teaching Assistant suites.

Research and Teaching Assistantships

Are there funding possibilities in the department?

  • Yes. We do fund some of our graduate students. Funding generally occurs in the form of a Research Assistantship (RA) or a Teaching Assistantship (TA). International students generally must take and pass an NC State University speaking test before they can apply for a TA. RAs are available from individual faculty and vary according to the active grants and contracts that the faculty member has at any particular time. You may go to the Research link on our departmental website and review our faculty interests. You may then contact those faculty whose technical interests overlap with your own and inquire directly about possible research opportunities. You should contact faculty only AFTER you receive admission to our program. Generally, TAs and RAs are generally not granted to non-thesis students. For more details, please go here.

Could you elaborate more on Research and Teaching Assistantships?

  • Research and Teaching Assistantships are the two most common ways graduate students receive financial support during their studies. Both our Research Assistantships and Teaching Assistantships are extremely competitive. A Research Assistantship (RA) is given at the discretion of your advisor from their available research funding in order for you to focus on conducting research. A Teaching Assistantship (TA) uses departmental funds and carries with it obligations associated with the teaching mission (such as grading homework, teaching undergraduate labs, etc.). The important thing to remember is that financial support is not guaranteed in either form. The best way to secure funding is to have an advisor and discuss with them the potential of RA funding or getting a recommendation for a TA position. Please remember that you should contact faculty only AFTER you receive admission to our program.

What are TA rules and the appointment hierarchy?

  • [1] Some new students are offered a TA position as a recruiting mechanism. Otherwise students are not considered for TA positions unless they have an advisor.
  • [2] Non-thesis MS students are not supported with TAs unless they possess needed special skills.
  • [3] MS students are not supported on a TA for more than two semesters.
  • [4] TAs are not provided to students who do not qualify for the GSSP (explained in following sections).
  • [5] No GSSP exceptions for MS students.
  • [6] Priority for TA positions is as follows:
    • PhD candidates near completion (in last semester) whose RA funding has recently ended.
    • PhD candidates whose advisor supplies 1⁄4 time RA funding for shared TA/RA position.
    • MS candidates whose advisor supplies 1⁄4 time RA funding for shared TA/RA position.
    • PhD then MS candidates whose advisor guarantees RA funding the next semester.
    • PhD candidates with advisor endorsement.*
    • MS candidates near completion (in last semester) whose RA funding has recently ended*.
    • MS candidates with advisor endorsement.

    *Note: Faculty advisors are limited to “x” TA positions for their students where “x” is determined by current policy and funding conditions.
    TA positions are not guaranteed or permanent and should not be considered your sole source of financial assistance for your entire student career.

What are RA/TA expectations?

  • A TA or RA is an appointment with a specific start and end date. If you have a TA or RA you should be on campus and available to work for the department during the full time of your appointment. Any variation from this requires permission from the Graduate Office (for TAs) or your advisor (for RAs).
  • With Research Assistant positions, it is expected that you will focus on conducting research. Be sure both you and your advisor have a clear understanding of what is expected for milestones and final products of your research. Semester milestones may include: problem solving, data collection, a presentation, or conference/ journal papers. It is a good idea to get a clear outline of what is expected of you, in writing if possible (an email perhaps), since research is always changing and your advisor’s expectations may change with them. Agreed upon goals will protect you from having requirements added to your research when you are nearing completion.
  • If you receive a Teaching Assistantship, you will be assigned a course or courses for which you will be expected to provide assistance. Once you have received the list of courses in which you will be responsible, it is necessary for you to contact the course instructor immediately. The course instructor will set the details of your responsibilities. Typical responsibilities of a TA may include: holding office hours, grading assignments, teaching a lab section, or assisting in other course work. Each instructor and course may have different responsibilities associated with them, so it is important to get a clear definition of the instructor expectations. Office hour meetings with undergraduate students are held in room 3257 EB III. If you are a TA and you do not have a work space assigned in your lab, please see the Graduate Office (3113 EB III) about having a desk assigned to you in one of the Teaching Assistant suites.

What is the Graduate Student Support Plan (GSSP)?

  • Under the GSSP students supported on a teaching or research assistantship with a stipend of at least $666.67 per month and who meet the minimum registration requirement, receive, at no cost to the student, health insurance and, for a limited number of semesters, tuition. To qualify for GSSP a graduate student must have a research assistantship, teaching assistantship, or primary fellowship that meets the aggregate stipend level of $8,000 annualized and you must register for the minimum required hours during fall and spring semesters. Please view the following websites to see the plan explained in more detail, get answers to frequently asked questions, and view the GSSP Student Handbook.
  • Since Full Time Enrollment is a requirement of GSSP, please also be mindful of the credit hours in your last semester; see, “What are the minimum credits during my last semester?

If I am a RA/TA (with GSSP), do I have health insurance?

  • The GSSP comes with a health insurance plan for the student receiving the assistantship. The student will be automatically enrolled in this insurance plan if he or she satisfies the requirements of the plan. Graduate students supported under GSSP will be automatically waived from enrolling in the UNC system-wide health insurance plan, called the Student Health Insurance Plan (SHIP).

The Graduate Student Support Plan (GSSP)

What is the Graduate Student Support Plan (GSSP)?

  • Under the GSSP, students supported on a teaching or research assistantship with a stipend of at least $666.67 per month and who meet the minimum registration requirement receive, at no cost to the student, health insurance and, for a limited number of semesters, tuition. To qualify for the GSSP a graduate student must have a research assistantship, teaching assistantship, or a primary fellowship that meets the aggregate stipend level of $8,000 annualized and you must register for the minimum required hours during fall and spring semesters. Please view the following websites to see the plan explained in more detail, get answers to frequently asked questions and to view the GSSP Student Handbook:
  • Since Full Time Enrollment is a requirement of GSSP, please also be mindful of the credit hours in your last semester; see “What are the minimum credits during my last semester?

What are the regulations concerning minimum registration?

  • Minimum Registration Requirements are explained here. NOTE: Students who are not registered as a full-time student on Census Day will lose eligibility for any student loans they may have, international students will be out of compliance with their visa requirements, and all students will lose eligibility for the Graduate Student Support Plan (GSSP). Also, since Full Time Enrollment is a requirement of the GSSP, please also be mindful of the credit hours in your last semester, see “What are the minimum credits during my last semester?

If I am a RA/TA (with GSSP), do I have health insurance?

  • The GSSP comes with a health insurance plan for the student receiving the assistantship. The student will be automatically enrolled in this insurance plan if he or she satisfies the requirements of the plan. Graduate students supported under the GSSP will be automatically waived from enrolling in the UNC system-wide health insurance plan, called the Student Health Insurance Plan (SHIP).

What are my options if I am not eligible for GSSP?

  • As of Fall 2010, it is required that all students enrolled in the University of North Carolina system show evidence of an existing “credible coverage” health insurance plan or enroll in the UNC system-wide health insurance plan. Graduate students supported under the GSSP will be automatically waived from enrolling in the UNC system-wide plan, called the Student Health Insurance Plan (SHIP). Find out more about SHIP here. Those with other health insurance plans will need to fill out the waiver form at the start of each semester or they will be enrolled in SHIP automatically. More information about Student Health Services can be found here and specific information about the available health insurance options can be found under the “Insurance & Charges” section.
  • NOTE: If you are an international student you are required to maintain health insurance throughout the duration of the I-20/DS-2019. Please visit the Office of International Services website here for more information.

 


MS. vs. Ph.D. degrees

How many students are currently in the program?

  • The Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering at NC State has an enrollment of about 1000 undergraduates and about 400 graduate students. This does change semester to semester and certain programs and degrees (Mechanical and Master’s) are larger than others (Aerospace and PhD).

May I apply to the PhD Program without having an MS degree?

  • The MAE department has a direct path from BS to PhD. It is a more efficient path than the BS to MS to PhD. The student is classified as a PhD student but completes the non-thesis MS and the PhD requirements under a single PhD advisory committee. The MS degree is awarded when the MS requirements have been satisfied. The requirements for admission to the direct path from BS to PhD are more stringent. The direct path from BS to PhD requires a minimum GPA of 3.5 and associated experiences that suggest ability to conduct high-level research.

I just finished my undergraduate work. Should I apply to a Master’s program first as preparation for my PhD work?

  • The Master’s programs are not intended to serve only as preparation for our PhD programs (or more generally to prepare you to be in research or development). They serve to deepen the skills necessary for professional practice in the various MAE related careers. Because of the different emphases, applying to a Masters program with the intention to later move to a PhD program is normally not a good idea.

If I am not admitted into a MAE PhD program will I be automatically considered for admission in the corresponding Master’s program instead?

  • No. Because of the different educational goals of each program, their admissions processes are separate.

What are the Master’s Degree Thesis and Non-Thesis options?

  • Master’s Degree students must choose to either 1) complete a thesis or 2) complete the non-thesis option. The choice needs to be made as soon as possible.
    • The MS Thesis Option requires 30 credit hours consisting of:
      • 4 MAE courses.
        3 MAE or approved non-departmental courses (most non-departmental courses selected are from Mathematics or another engineering department)
        9 credit hours of MAE 695 (MS Research, equivalent to two 3 credit hour courses).
        Committee: 1 Advisor + 2 MAE faculty.
        The student writes and gives an oral defense of a thesis on a research topic.
    • The MS Non-Thesis Option requires 30 credit hours consisting of:
      • 6 MAE courses.
        3 MAE or approved non-departmental courses (most non-departmental courses selected are from Mathematics or another engineering department)
        3 credit hours of MAE 586 (Project Work): The student prepares an extensive independent report.
        Committee: 1 Advisor (usually MAE 586 faculty).

What is MAE 586 project work (for Non-thesis MS students)?

  • MAE 586 – Project work in Mechanical Engineering is an independent project course with no formal lectures and is generally taken in the 4th or final semester. The first step is to find a faculty member to serve as your independent project advisor; this should be completed the semester before taking the course. This course is not a team project. You will perform some kind of analysis or experiment of mutual interest to you and your advisor. To enroll in this course you should prepare a one-page project proposal that includes a timeline of major tasks. This proposal needs to be approved by your faculty advisor and then sent to Dr. Ro, the Director of Graduate Programs, for final approval. If Dr. Ro approves, the Graduate Office will enroll you in the course.
  • If you are a Distance Education student, you can go ahead and request registration through Engineering Online at the same time that you submit your proposal. Engineering Online will confirm your enrollment after Dr. Ro’s approval.

How do I find a project advisor for the MAE 586 project?

  • MAE 586 – Project work in Mechanical Engineering. You should proceed to prepare a one-page project proposal summary and a timeline with a list of tasks and goals. This will define the project scope. You should look for a faculty member to serve as advisor to your proposed project the semester prior to taking the course. You can look for faculty members by going to our Research link on our departmental website. Through this link you will find faculty members whose interests overlap with your own. Discuss your proposal with the faculty members and ask one of them if they would work with you. If necessary, the Director of the Graduate Program will help you secure an advisor or he will serve in that capacity. We recommend that you first reach out to the Graduate Office and, if needed, we will help connect you to the Director of the Graduate Program, Dr. Paul Ro.
  • Graduate Office Contacts
    • Julia McLean, Graduate Program Coordinator: jamclea3@ncsu.edu
    • Kelly Petersen, Graduate Services Assistant: kjpeter3@ncsu.edu

What are the minimum credit hours required during my last semester before graduating?

  • You must be registered for a minimum of 9 credit hours to be classified as a full-time student. The exceptions are fully explained and summarized here.
    • Non-Thesis Master’s Students: A minimum of three (3) hours is required during the semester in which the student is completing the last course(s) required to complete the degree. Students who have completed all credit hour requirements for their degree may register for three (3) hours of MAE 689 (Non-Thesis Master Continuous Registration – Full Time Registration).
    • Thesis Master’s Students: A minimum of three (3) hours is required during the semester in which the student is completing the last course(s) required to complete the degree. For thesis students, this could include MAE 695. Students who have completed all credit hour requirements (including research credits) for their degree except for completing their research and/or writing and defending the thesis should register for three (3) hours of MAE 699 (Master’s Thesis Preparation) each semester until graduation.
      • In certain cases, international students who are in their absolutely last semester may file a Reduced Course Load form through OIS and register for just a single credit hour.
    • Doctoral Students: A minimum of three (3) hours of MAE 899 (Doctoral Dissertation Preparation) is required for students who have completed all credit hour requirements for their degree (including research credits and the oral preliminary examination) except for completing their research and/or writing and defending the dissertation.
      • In certain cases, international students who are in their absolutely last semester may file a Reduced Course Load form through OIS and register for just a single credit hour.

PhD Preliminary Exams

  • The preliminary exam is a written exam and an oral exam that is administered by your dissertation advisor. Each of your committee members within the MAE department provides you with a written question and a period of time to answer the question in writing. Any committee members who are outside the MAE department have the option of giving you a written exam if they wish to do so. After completing the written exams, you must request permission to take the oral preliminary exam at least 10 working days (2 weeks) before the oral exam date. To request permission to take the exam, fill out the required request form and bring it to the Graduate Office to get it approved by the MAE Director of Graduate Programs and the Graduate School. The Graduate School forms for the request are located here. The preliminary exams must be completed at least 4 months prior to the date of the final oral defense and at least 6 months prior to graduating.
  • Students who schedule their Preliminary Exam to be completed over the summer do not need to be enrolled in summer classes.
  • There is no preliminary exam for the MS degree.

How do I schedule the PhD or MS-Thesis Final Defense?

  • After the Plan of Work has been approved, both the MS Thesis degree and the PhD degree require a final oral defense. The student must apply for permission to undergo the final defense at least 10 working days (2 weeks) before the defense date. These requests must be submitted to the MAE Graduate Office in 3113 Engineering Building III. The request forms are available here. There is no oral defense required for the MS Non-Thesis degree.
  • The PhD final oral exam must occur at least 4 calendar months after passing the preliminary PhD exam and after the dissertation is complete. The PhD final oral exam is open to the public. The PhD candidate must provide a portrait photo, a PhD Announcement form, and an abridged abstract at least 10 working days prior to the proposed exam. Generally, the Graduate Services Assistant will contact you requesting this information.

Accelerated Tracks

What is the Accelerated Bachelor’s to Master’s (ABM) program? Also known as the 5-year BS/MS Degree.

  • The Accelerated BS/MS (for MS thesis or MS non-thesis options) degree program in Mechanical Engineering and in Aerospace Engineering at NCSU is designed to give qualified NCSU undergraduates the opportunity to complete a master’s degree in just one year beyond the bachelor’s degree. In this program, graduate level courses in the ME or AE curriculum may be “double counted” to satisfy both requirements of the BS degree and the MS degree.
  • For more information, please see the ABM program guide found here.

What are the requirements to participate in the Accelerated Bachelor’s to Master’s Program?

  • A 3.7 or above GPA (overall, as well as in all math, science and engineering courses) at the time of admission and at the time of undergraduate graduation are required.
    • Application should be done in the semester when 92 hours of credit will be accumulated.
    • Transfer students must have completed two semesters as a full-time student at NC State.
  • A grade of B or better is required for any courses to be counted toward both degrees.
    • Receiving a B- or lower grade in any “double counted” course makes you ineligible for the Accelerated BS/MS degree program.
  • Students must complete all requirements for the MS degree in no more than 12 months from the completion of the BA degree if the non-thesis option (Option B) is selected and in no more than 18 months if the thesis option is selected.
  • For more information, please see the ABM program guide found here.

May I apply to the PhD Program without having an MS degree?

  • The MAE department has a direct path from BS to PhD. It is a more efficient path than the BS to MS to PhD. The student is classified as a PhD student but completes the non-thesis MS and the PhD requirements under a single PhD advisory committee. The MS degree is awarded when the MS requirements have been satisfied. The requirements for admission to the direct path from BS to PhD are more stringent. The direct path from BS to PhD requires a minimum GPA of 3.5 and associated experiences that suggest ability to conduct high-level research.

 

Distance Education (DE)

May DE Master’s students do either the thesis or non-thesis option?

  • Students in the distance MS program are restricted to the non-thesis MS option. On their Plan of Work (POW) they should click the check box for Option B.

Who can I talk to about my course plans?

  • You should follow the same procedures as an on-campus student but you are restricted to only those courses offered via DE. You should select courses from the list of Graduate Course Suggestions by Topical Areas or by the typical course offerings based on your Aerospace or Mechanical concentration. We frequently add courses to our DE selection so DE students must be aware that any graduate MAE course offered for DE is permissible in their POW if it is consistent with their concentration. Any questions regarding course selection may be addressed to the Director of Graduate Programs, Dr. Paul Ro, at ro@ncsu.edu.

Must a DE student complete an Application to Graduate?

  • Yes. Each student must make sure to Apply to Graduate in MyPack Portal for the term in which he/she plans to graduate. This includes DE students.

May a DE student attend the graduation ceremony?

  • Yes, a DE student may attend graduation on campus. However, they must provide the necessary information and meet all deadlines that apply to an on-campus student.

As a DE student, are there other things I need to be aware of?

  • Yes.
    1. You are restricted to the non-thesis MS option. On your Plan of Work (POW), you should select Option B.
    2. You will follow the same course planning procedures as on-campus students.
    3. You are restricted to DE-only courses.
    4. You must apply to graduate inside the MyPack Portal, just like on-campus students.
    5. You are welcome to attend the on-campus graduation ceremonies.
    6. Email your course-selection questions to the Director of Graduate Programs, Dr. Paul Ro, at ro@ncsu.edu. We frequently add courses to our DE program. All of them are permissible in your Plan of Work.
    7. Make sure you provide all necessary information and meet any deadlines required of you, just like an on-campus student would.

What is the difference between Engineering Online and Distance Education?

  • Distance Education (DE) is a general term that refers to any students at NC State who are in online programs. It can also refer directly to the online courses. DE Programs are available in many areas of study such as communication, psychology, or engineering. Engineering Online (EOL) is a platform for Distance Education students who are enrolled in engineering programs. Engineering Online houses many engineering programs such as Mechanical Engineering, Aerospace Engineering, and Computer Engineering. EOL also has their own certificate programs and professional development courses.
  • As a student in the online MS program in MAE, you will be considered a Distance Education (DE) student and you will use Engineering Online (EOL) as your platform.  

 

Registration

Where do I register for classes?

  • You may enroll in courses online via the MyPack Portal website using your valid Unity ID and password.

Where do I find registration guidance?

  • This link from Registration and Records explains the registration process and provides an Enrollment Wizard for easy enrollment. Please login into the MyPack Portal. Once in the students tab, the enrollment system is accessible. From here you can add and drop courses from your schedule.
  • Courses can be graded in three different forms: graded, credit only, and audit.
    • Graded courses are subject to the traditional grading system of A, B, C, D, F.
    • Credit only courses are subject to a pass/fail grading system of S/U for satisfactory or unsatisfactory.
    • Audited courses are not subject to grades, but you will receive an AU if you fulfill the audit requirements and an NR for Not Recognized if you do not meet the requirements of the audit. Graduate students are allowed to audit one course per semester for no additional tuition cost. Consult with the course instructor to determine what must be done to successfully audit their course. Audit courses will appear as 1 credit but please be aware that this is an AU credit and does not count toward your program requirements.

Can I register late?

  • Information on registration deadlines, including late registration deadlines, is available here. Please enroll (register) for your courses prior to the late registration date to avoid a $100.00 non-refundable late enrollment fee. If you enroll during the late enrollment period, payment of tuition and fees will be requested at the time of enrollment. Enrolling for classes after the last day to enroll is strictly prohibited. In order to enroll after this day, students will need permission from the dean of their college and will be subject to additional late fees.Please note, UGS, PBS, Inter-Institutional, new undergraduate, and new graduate students are excluded from the $100.00 fee.

How many credits must I have to be considered full-time graduate student?

What is Census Day?

  • The tenth day of classes each semester is Census Day. Tuition and fees are based on the official number of hours and courses carried at 11:59 p.m. on this day. It is the last day to register or to add a course and the last day to drop a course or change from credit to audit with a tuition adjustment. Students should not change their schedule during the two-day period that includes Census Day. (11.59 p.m. on Census Day ± 24 hours). If necessary, a schedule change may be made after this period. IMPORTANT: Students who are not registered as full-time students on Census Day lose their eligibility for student loans, international students will be out of compliance with their visa requirements, and all students lose eligibility for the Graduate Student Support Plan (GSSP).

What is “FULLY REGISTERED” on Census Day?

  • The tenth day of classes each semester is Census Day. The tuition and fees charge is based on the official number of hours and courses carried at 11:59 p.m. on this day. It is the last day to register or to add a course and the last day to drop a course or change from credit to audit with a tuition adjustment. Students should not change their schedule during the two day period that includes Census Day (11.59 p.m. on Census Day ± 24 hours). If necessary a schedule change may be made after this period. Full time student status requires at least 9 credit hours.

What are the regulations concerning minimum registration?

  • Minimum Registration Requirements are explained here. NOTE: Students who are not registered as a full time student on Census Day will lose eligibility for student loans they may have, international students will be out of compliance with their visa requirements, and all students will lose eligibility for the Graduate Student Support Plan (GSSP).

Why do I have a student advising hold on my account?

  • Advising holds are released automatically within a few days of your eligibility to register unless 1) there is a special reason for you to meet with someone or 2) you are not eligible to register for some special reason. If after a few days the hold is not released, please contact the MAE Graduate Office:
    • Julia McLean, Graduate Program Coordinator: jamclea3@ncsu.edu
    • Kelly Petersen, Graduate Services Assistant: kjpeter3@ncsu.edu

Is continuous registration required?

  • NC State University requires graduate students to be continuously registered. If there is a break in registration, the student will need to re-apply. A Leave of Absence (LOA), of up to two semesters is possible during your academic career at NC State. For details, please see Continuous Registration and Time Limit in the Graduate Handbook (linked below). Additional information for international students can also be found here.

Am I required to register during the Summer Terms?

  • In most cases, graduate students are not expected to register for summer courses, however there are often courses available.
  • If you are scheduling final defenses/exams over the summer, including the summer-fall intersession, you are required to register for at least one credit in the summer term in which you defend. Generally, defending graduate students will register for 1 credit of MAE 696 or 896 which is a 10 week summer session at a discounted price.
  • Students taking their PhD Preliminary exams over the summer are not required to be registered.

 

Courses & Grades

What is MAE Department Orientation?

  • The Mechanical and Aerospace Department holds a one-hour orientation for new graduate students. Orientation is held at the scheduled time and place during the first meeting of the MAE 801 seminar.

What is MAE 801?

  • MAE 801 is a placeholder for special seminars. All MAE graduate students must register for MAE 801 every semester they are enrolled for 9 credits or more. MAE 801 is a required course that does not contribute toward your degree credit requirements. Attendance is mandatory if you receive an email announcing the seminar. You are excused from this course only if you have a meeting time conflict with a regular letter grade course. The first meeting of MAE 801 serves as a time slot for departmental orientation of new graduate students. Only new graduate students need to attend the first meeting.

How do I find out class availability?

  • Within the department, not every class is offered every semester or even every year. To see a list of suggested courses that have been offered in the past and are typically still offered, please see the list of Graduate Course Suggestions by Topical Area here. This tool can be helpful in scheduling future courses and for creating your Plan of Work (POW). You can also view the NC State Course Catalog here for a list of often-offered MAE courses with descriptions, or the NC State Class Search here for courses offered in a specific semester. If you have questions about future course offerings please consult the MAE Graduate Office (mae_gradoffice@ncsu.edu).

What courses are recommended? What first semester courses are recommended?

How do I file a Plan of Work (POW)?

  • You file a Plan of Work through the computerized Student Information System (SIS). Students’ access to SIS is through the MyPack Portal using your Unity ID and password. The navigation through the system is Student Self Service > Dashboard tab > View Graduate Plan of Work. You may save in-progress work and submit it at a later date. You may make changes at any time up until submission. Detailed instructions for entering the POW are available here.

When do I file a Plan of Work (POW)?

  • New students should connect with a graduate advisor and file a POW by the end of their first semester.
    • For Master’s Degree students:
      In SIS, students have the option to choose between the two templates within their program/plan until they have already started a POW.
      [1] Academic plan 14 MEMS has two templates:
      MS Thesis: Mechanical Engr-MS thesis- requires 3 committee members.
      MS Non-Thesis: Mechanical Engr-MS Non-Thesis – requires only one committee member (Option B).
      [2] Academic plan 14 AEMS has two templates:
      MS Thesis: Aerospace Engr-MS – requires 3 committee members.
      MS Non-Thesis: Aerospace Engr-MS Non-Thesis – requires only one committee member (Option B).
    • NOTE: If you are a Distance Education student, you are restricted to the non-thesis option and should select Option B on your Plan of Work.

Must all courses be on the POW?

  • No. You should not include MAE 801 on you Plan of Work. As a master’s student the only 600 level courses you should include on you POW are 693, 695, or 696. Similarly for a doctoral program one should only include 893, 895, or 896 on the POW.
  • MAE 699 and 899 should not be included on the Plan of Work.

How many credits must I have to be a full-time student?

  • In order to have full-time status, students must be enrolled in 9 to 15 credit hours during the semester (audit credits do not count toward full-time). Graduate students holding assistantships have additional course load requirements. For more information see the Handbook section entitled Minimum Registration and Residence Requirements found here.

Can I take a 400-level course and have it count towards my MS or PhD?

  • As a MS student, you can receive graduate-level credit for one 400-level course outside of the department that has relevance to your program. You may take other 400-level courses but they will not contribute toward your graduate degree course requirements.
  • As a PhD student, no 400-level course credits can contribute toward your doctoral degree course requirements.

How do I add a course that is restricted or needs departmental approval?

  • You may add a course that is restricted or needs departmental approval if you speak with the professor and get permission. You and the professor should fill out a schedule revision form and you should submit it to the Graduate Office for further processing. You may pick up the schedule revision form in the Graduate Office or you may find it here.

What is MAE 586 project work (for Non-thesis MS students)?

  • MAE 586 – Project work in Mechanical Engineering is an independent project course with no formal lectures and is generally taken in the 4th or final semester. The first step is to find a faculty member to serve as your independent project advisor; this should be completed the semester before taking the course. This course is not a team project. You will perform some kind of analysis or experiment of mutual interest to you and your advisor. To enroll in this course you should prepare a one-page project proposal that includes a timeline of major tasks. This proposal needs to be approved by your faculty advisor and then sent to Dr. Ro, the Director of Graduate Programs, for final approval. If Dr. Ro approves, the Graduate Office will enroll you in the course.
  • If you are a Distance Education student, you can go ahead and request registration through Engineering Online at the same time that you submit your proposal. Engineering Online will confirm your enrollment after Dr. Ro’s approval.

How do I find a project and advisor for the MAE 586 project?

  • MAE 586 – Project work in Mechanical Engineering. You should proceed to prepare a one page summary and a timeline with a list of tasks and goals. This will define the project scope. You should look for a faculty member to serve as advisor to your proposed project the semester prior to taking the course. You can look for faculty by going to our Research link on our departmental website. Through this link you will find faculty members whose interests overlap with your own. Discuss your proposal with the faculty members and ask one of them if they would work with you. If necessary the Director of the Graduate Program will help you secure an advisor or he will serve in that capacity. We recommend that you first reach out to the Graduate Office and, if needed, we will help connect you to the Director of the Graduate Program Dr. Paul Ro.
  • DE students can also find a list of possible projects by viewing the MAE 586 course overview on the Engineering Online platform. The 2017-2018 list is found here.
  • Graduate Office Contacts
    • Graduate Program Coordinator: Julia McLean     jamclea3@ncsu.edu
    • Graduate Services Assistant: Kelly Petersen      kjpeter3@ncsu.edu

What are the minimum credit hours required during my last semester before graduating?

  • You must be registered for a minimum of 9 credit hours to be classified as a full-time student. The exceptions are fully explained and summarized here.
    • Non-Thesis Master’s Students: A minimum of three (3) hours is required during the semester in which the student is completing the last course(s) required to complete the degree. Students who have completed all credit hour requirements for their degree may register for three (3) hours of MAE 689 (Non-Thesis Master Continuous Registration – Full Time Registration).
    • Thesis Master’s Students: A minimum of three (3) hours is required during the semester in which the student is completing the last course(s) required to complete the degree. For thesis students, this could include MAE 695. Students who have completed all credit hour requirements (including research credits) for their degree except for completing their research and/or writing and defending the thesis should register for three (3) hours of MAE 699 (Master’s Thesis Preparation) each semester until graduation.
      • In certain cases, international students who are in their absolutely last semester may file a Reduced Course Load form through OIS and register for just a single credit hour.
    • Doctoral Students: A minimum of three (3) hours of MAE 899 (Doctoral Dissertation Preparation) is required for students who have completed all credit hour requirements for their degree (including research credits and the oral preliminary examination) except for completing their research and/or writing and defending the dissertation.
      • In certain cases, international students who are in their absolutely last semester may file a Reduced Course Load form through OIS and register for just a single credit hour.

How do I get the grade distribution reports?

  • Grade distribution reports can be found on WolfTech Gradient here. The grade distribution reports give the semester and year the course was taught, which instructor taught the course and a breakdown of the grades. For privacy reasons, only classes with enrollments greater than 20 students have their grades reported. Therefore, just because a class you are looking for is not in the grade distribution report system does not mean it was not taught during a specific semester.

 

Advisor

How do I get an Advisor?

  • We do not assign advisors to students. The graduate advisor is mutually agreed upon by you and the faculty after you arrive here and usually after you have been here several weeks and have had a chance to talk to those faculty in your technical area. Such discussions should be looked upon by you as akin to a job interview. If a faculty member selects you for a project, you may receive an RA (research assistantship) associated with a particular contract. Some projects are unfunded and do not have an RA associated with them. When you link-up with a faculty member and a research project, that faculty member will serve as your primary advisor with regard to course selection, graduate committee formation, and other degree milestones. In the meantime you should select the first semester courses from the recommended list found on our departmental website here. Until you have secured an advisor, the Graduate Office and Director of the Graduate Program, Dr. Paul Ro, will be happy to answer questions and provide the necessary guidance. If you plan on doing a thesis or dissertation you should connect with a faculty advisor as soon as possible.

What is MAE 586 project work (for Non-thesis MS students)?

  • MAE 586 – Project work in Mechanical Engineering is an independent project course with no formal lectures and is generally taken in the 4th or final semester. The first step is to find a faculty member to serve as your independent project advisor; this should be completed the semester before taking the course. This course is not a team project. You will perform some kind of analysis or experiment of mutual interest to you and your advisor. To enroll in this course you should prepare a one-page project proposal that includes a timeline of major tasks. This proposal needs to be approved by your faculty advisor and then sent to Dr. Ro, the Director of Graduate Programs, for final approval. If Dr. Ro approves, the Graduate Office will enroll you in the course.
  • If you are a Distance Education student, you can go ahead and request registration through Engineering Online at the same time that you submit your proposal. Engineering Online will confirm your enrollment after Dr. Ro’s approval.

How do I find a project and adviser for the MAE 586 project?

  • MAE 586 – Project work in Mechanical Engineering. You should proceed to prepare a one-page project proposal summary and a timeline with a list of tasks and goals. This will define the project scope. You should look for a faculty member to serve as advisor to your proposed project the semester prior to taking the course. You can look for faculty members by going to our Research link on our departmental website. Through this link you will find faculty members whose interests overlap with your own. Discuss your proposal with the faculty members and ask one of them if they would work with you. If necessary, the Director of the Graduate Program will help you secure an advisor or he will serve in that capacity. We recommend that you first reach out to the Graduate Office and, if needed, we will help connect you to the Director of Graduate Programs, Dr. Paul Ro.
  • Graduate Office Contacts
    • Julia McLean, Graduate Program Coordinator: jamclea3@ncsu.edu
    • Kelly Petersen, Graduate Services Assistant: kjpeter3@ncsu.edu

Graduating

What is “APPLY TO GRADUATE”

  • Each student must make sure to Apply to Graduate in MyPack Portal for the term in which he/she plans to graduate. It is advised that students apply to graduate at the same time that they schedule their defense but it can be done at any time in the semester up until 5:00 p.m. on the “Apply to Graduate Deadline Date”. This date is found here. A student must Apply to Graduate in order to participate in commencement, have the degree posted on the transcript, and receive a diploma. The student must file an application to graduate in the computerized Student Information System (SIS). Students access SIS through MyPack Portal using their Unity ID and password. The navigation through the system is: Student Self Service > Degree Progress/Graduation > Apply For Graduation. Detailed instructions are available here (page 13).

Where can I find more details on graduations?

  • Please refer to the Graduate Handbook sections on graduation here and here. Please also see the Student Services Center page on graduation here.

What are the minimum credit hours during my last semester before graduating?

  • You must be registered for a minimum of 9 credit hours to be classified as a full-time student. The exceptions are fully explained and summarized here.
    • Non-Thesis Master’s Students: A minimum of three (3) hours is required during the semester in which the student is completing the last course(s) required to complete the degree. Students who have completed all credit hour requirements for their degree may register for three (3) hours of MAE 689 (Non-Thesis Master Continuous Registration – Full Time Registration).
    • Thesis Master’s Students: A minimum of three (3) hours is required during the semester in which the student is completing the last course(s) required to complete the degree. For thesis students, this could include MAE 695. Students who have completed all credit hour requirements (including research credits) for their degree except for completing their research and/or writing and defending the thesis should register for three (3) hours of MAE 699 (Master’s Thesis Preparation) each semester until graduation.
      • In certain cases, international students who are in their absolutely last semester may file a Reduced Course Load form through OIS and register for just a single credit hour.
    • Doctoral Students: A minimum of three (3) hours of MAE 899 (Doctoral Dissertation Preparation) is required for students who have completed all credit hour requirements for their degree (including research credits and the oral preliminary examination) except for completing their research and/or writing and defending the dissertation.
      • In certain cases, international students who are in their absolutely last semester may file a Reduced Course Load form through OIS and register for just a single credit hour.

PhD Preliminary Exams

  • The preliminary exam is a written exam and an oral exam that is administered by your dissertation advisor. Each of your committee members within the MAE department provides you with a written question and a period of time to answer the question in writing. If you have committee members who are outside the MAE department, they also have the option of giving you a written exam if they wish to do so. After completing the written exams, you must request permission to take the oral preliminary exam at least 10 working days (2 weeks) before the oral exam date. To request permission to take the exam, fill out the required request form and bring it to the Graduate Office to get it approved by the MAE Director of Graduate Programs and the Graduate School. The Graduate School forms for the request are located here. The preliminary exams must be completed at least 4 months prior to the date of the final oral defense and at least 6 months prior to graduating.
  • Students who schedule their preliminary exam to be completed over the summer do not need to be enrolled in summer classes.
  • There is no preliminary exam for the MS degree.

How do I schedule the PhD or MS-Thesis Final Defense?

  • After the Plan of Work has been approved, both the MS Thesis degree and the PhD degree require a final oral defense. The student must apply for permission to undergo the final defense at least 10 working days (2 weeks) before the defense date. These requests must be submitted to the MAE Graduate Office in 3113 Engineering Building III. The request forms are available here. There is no oral defense required for the MS Non-Thesis degree.
  • The PhD final oral exam must occur at least 4 calendar months after passing the preliminary PhD exam and after the dissertation is complete. The PhD final oral exam is open to the public. The PhD candidate must provide a portrait photo, a PhD Announcement form, and an abridged abstract at least 10 working days prior to the proposed exam. Generally, the Graduate Services Assistant will contact you requesting this information.


Other FAQ

ID & email

How do I get my Unity ID, Password & Student ID Number?

  • You should receive your Unity ID and Student ID Number in your final admission letter from the Graduate School. Your Student ID Number is also available in ApplyYourself. To get started with setting up your Unity ID and Password, please visit the My IT site, here, from the Office of information Technology. For more information about your Unity ID please go here, and for help with your Unity ID, Password, or other IT-related problems please visit the OIT’s help page, here. 

How do I check my NCSU email and academic calendar?

  • All students enrolled at NCSU have an affiliated email address which uses their Unity ID and is in the form of UnityID@ncsu.edu. To access your email, go to gmail.ncsu.edu and input your Unity ID and your Unity password into the indicated fields. This email address will be a major source of communication between you and the university; specifically, it is one of the ways instructors send out information about their courses. It is important to check your NCSU email often. Because NCSU email is hosted by Gmail, you have access to a host of Gmail applications and Google applications and services. In order to stay on top of important university dates, we suggest you add the “NC State Academic Calendar” to your NCSU Google calendar following these easy to follow directions. Please also add the MAE GSA calendar. This will keep you up to date on social events planned for the department. Simply type maegsa@gmail.com in the field below Other Calendars.

Handbook

Is there an MAE graduate student handbook to help me start at NCSU?

  • Yes, and please download the Graduate Student Handbook here.

Getting around campus

How do I get around campus?

  • In order to get around campus, the University has its own bus service, the Wolfline, which travels between all of the NCSU campuses. The Wolfline has 13 daytime routes and 2 night routes which it serves during the semester. The Wolfline is free of charge to students and the general public. For more information on the Wolfline routes, effective service dates, and for the online bus tracking tool, please see here.

How do I get a parking permit or take university buses?

  • If you go through the transportation link in the “Student Services” section of MyPack Portal, you can access the transportation office, which handles all parking passes, parking tickets, and has an interactive map of the university buses. Also, please visit the Transportation website here to find additional information about parking permits, buses, alternative transportation, and more.

Travel and Ordering

What should I do if I am planning on travel to attend a conference/workshop?

  • Before you attend a conference/workshop, you will need to:
    1. Estimate your travel costs, including items such as your registration fee for the conference, airfare or ground transportation, and lodging.
    2. Obtain the project account number from your advisor.
    3. Visit Ms. Toni Rand in Room 3111 in EB3 to get help setting up an online travel authorization system for your advisor to approve the travel. If you have already gotten your travel authorization, bring this to Ms. Rand. Ms. Rand will pay for your conference registration fee, and provide telephone numbers of contracted travel agencies for you to book your flights and hotels.

I am working in a lab, and I need to order supplies (the price is either listed on the Market Place or given by the vendors). What should I do?

  • You will need to:
    1. Obtain the project account number (FAS account number) from your advisor.
    2. Fill out a purchase request form.
    3. Obtain signatures from your advisor.
    4. Turn in this form to Ms. Toni Rand in R3111 EB3.
    5. Pick up the form (with approved purchase order number) in R3002 EB3 a few days later.
    6. Fax the form to the company to complete your order.

Machine Shop

How do I use the Machine Shop?

  • Machine shop services require completion of the request form here. This form should be completed and signed by your advisor, then submitted to John Cameron in the shop, room 1228 EB 3. If you are a student please read the Student Machine Shop Handbook found here.

Organizations

Where can I find a list of student organizations involved with the MAE department?

  • For a full list of student organizations in the MAE department or relevant to MAE students, please go here. Please be advised that this list includes organizations that are undergraduate-only, graduate-only, and for both undergraduate and graduate students together.

What does the MAE Graduate Student Association do?

  • The MAE Graduate Student Association (GSA) serves as part of the University Graduation Student Association (UGSA), which acts as an advocacy group for graduate student issues to the University. The MAE GSA advocates for MAE graduate student issues to the University and the MAE department. The MAE GSA welcomes the recommendations of graduate students on issues and events for graduate students. If you want to contact the MAE GSA, email MAEGSA@gmail.com or go here.

What is The American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME)?

  • ASME is one of the most active student organizations within the department, where students, both graduate and undergraduate, can get important connections with industry professionals from some of the largest employers of mechanical engineers. ASME holds weekly meetings. For more information please see here.

What is the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA)?

  • AIAA is a student organization which serves as a linking organization between aerospace engineering students and potential employers. AIAA consists of both graduate and undergraduate students who interact with employers and the national organization. For more information on the NCSU chapter of AIAA, go here.

What is the American Society of Heating, Refrigeration and Air Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE)?

  • The student chapter of ASHRAE hosts monthly meetings with engineering firms. Meetings generally cover what it is like to work as a mechanical engineer, some projects the firm has worked on and any opportunities for students with the firm. The chapter also occasionally hosts tours related to HVAC and energy around campus, like the solar house and Centennial Campus utility plant. Students are encouraged to participate in the national ASHRAE design competition and take co-ops and internships with HVAC firms. For more information on the NCSU chapter of ASHRAE, go here.

Computing

Could you provide me with information on computer labs?

  • All NCSU students can access any Unity (University) and Eos (Engineering) Computer Labs using their Unity ID and password. Inside the Unity and Eos Computer Labs, students can access Microsoft Windows©, Linux, Solaris, and Apple© computers. There are Eos Labs all over the campus, including inside Engineering Buildings I, II, and III, Burlington Hall, Mann Hall, and Daniels Hall, and there are Unity Computer Labs throughout campus. For information on Eos computing labs, please go here. Information on Unity computing labs is here.

How do I print in computer labs?

  • NC State computer labs use WolfPrint printers and printing services. In order to print in either Unity or Eos computer labs, you must have money deposited on your Wolfpack One Card (or AllCampus account). Printing fees are automatically deducted from your account ($0.10 per page for B/W printing, and $0.25 to $0.30 per page for color printing) using the PaperCuts system. For more information please go here to view the WolfPrint site, view the WolfPrint User FAQs, or make a deposit on your One Card.

What are the available computer programs?

  • As an engineering student, you will be given access to a variety of computer programs which will be useful in your studies and for your research. Some of these programs are available through the Unity or Eos computer labs, but some are also available for download through the Eos website or can be accessed through the Virtual Computer Lab (VCL) which allows students to emulate Unity and Eos computer systems. VCL can be found here. Through these systems, you can access such programs as AutoCAD, MATLAB, Maple, and Mathematica.