Prospective MSE Student FAQ

Penn Engineering Graduate Admissions also provides an FAQ page for interested students. Prospective students can also interact with admissions staff members to receive answers to their questions in our live chats.

Can I have a current graduate student contact me to answer my questions?

Yes. You are welcome to send e-mail to  Be sure to include your name, research area and contact information in the e-mail and we will have a student here at Penn contact you via e-mail.

How do I apply?

All applications must be completed online. The School of Engineering and Applied Science at the University of Pennsylvania no longer sends out paper applications. We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause you. Click here to begin an online application. (Please note that you do not have to fill in the entire application in one sitting. You may come back and modify your application at any point of time before you submit it. When you finish the application please remember to submit your application.)

What materials are needed for my application?

To complete your application, you must:

  1. Complete all relevant sections of the online application.
  2. Fill out a personal statement.
  3. Upload one unofficial transcript for each college or university attended; international students must provide official English translations. Admitted students will need to submit an official transcript prior to matriculation.  The official transcript should be sent to: Graduate Admissions, Research and Academic Services, School of Engineering and Applied Science, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA, 19104-6391.
  4. Send official score reports from the Educational Testing Service (GRE, TOEFL) as applicable.
  5. Submit at least two letters of recommendation, one of which must be from a faculty member familiar with your academic performance. Recommendations must be submitted online.
  6. Include your application fee.

You do not need to send any additional information than what is stated in the application.  You can choose to send additional information if you think that it would strengthen your application.

For additional details, please visit this site: How to Apply

What are the application deadlines for the master's programs?

MEAM master’s programs have one Application Cycle Deadline for Fall: February 1st

Applications that are full and complete will be reviewed only after each cycle has ended.

What financial aid is available to me?

Typically, the department provides no financial aid for master’s students. Learn more.

What test scores do I need to submit, and what are the minimum scores?

The Graduate Record Exam (GRE)

NEW FOR 2021:
Submitting your GRE scores is optional for the MEAM MSE during this application cycle. If you are/were able to take the GRE exam and have valid scores to report, we encourage you to do so. If you are not able to take the GRE exam, we will evaluate your application holistically. Your candidacy will not be negatively impacted if you do not report GRE scores.

The Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL)

Foreign students whose native language is not English are recommended to submit an official TOEFL examination score of 100, 250 or 600 (depending on which test was taken) or better unless they have spent at least three years at an academic institution in an English speaking country. The requirement can be waived if the candidate has completed at least three years of academic work on a full-time basis at an institution in the United States or in another nation in which English is the official language. If you have less than three (3) years, it will not be waived. If you have questions about this, please email

During this admissions season, we will accept scores from at-home administration of the GRE and TOEFL exams.

Test Score Reporting Codes: The GRE & TOEFL reporting code is 2888.

For the most up-to-date information please see the following website: How to Apply

As a holder of an undergraduate degree, can I apply for the Ph.D. program, or do I need to get my master's degree first?

You can apply to our Ph.D. graduate program in your senior year of undergraduate studies. You do not need an MSE degree to apply to our Ph.D. degree program.

Do you accept transfer credits from other universities?

MSE students may obtain credit for up to two courses taken at another institution. These courses are referred to as transfer courses. Transfer courses must be graduate level courses in which at least a B grade has been earned. Transfer credit will only be considered for courses taken prior to matriculation in the graduate program in the Department of Mechanical Engineering and Applied Mechanics. For further information please check guidelines here.

How do I reapply to the MEAM program?

Applicants may reapply to the program in the following year. Reapplying applicants will need to fill out a new application. If you wish to reuse prior application documents (such as transcripts) from your previous application please send e-mail to Abigail Whittington, with your request.

How many letters of recommendation do I need? Can I get a waiver of the faculty recommendation requirement?

All applicants are required to submit at least two letters of recommendation, one of which must be from a faculty member familiar with your academic performance. If your graduation date was over five years prior to this application you may request a waiver of the faculty recommendation.

Is it expected of us to enroll in our specialization when we start our classes?

A concentration area should be chosen before the beginning of the second semester of study.

Can I request a deferral of admission?

If you were admitted to our MSE degree program, you may request a deferral of admission for up to one year. First you would need to submit the Admission Decision form, pay the acceptance fee, and send a brief e-mail to  requesting the deferral of admission. You will be notified in writing if your request is approved.

My school does not use the GPA system. How do I fill out that part of the application?

If your school does not use the GPA system please include your percentage (marks) and the scale in which it is based.

I do not have a B.S. in MEAM; can I apply for the MSE in MEAM?

Motivated students whose bachelor’s degree is not in mechanical engineering must have taken all of the following courses (or equivalent) in order to be eligible to apply:

  • Math 104 Calculus I
  • Math 114 Calculus II
  • Math 240 Calculus III
  • ENM 251 or MATH 241 Calculus IV
  • MEAM 110 (or PHYS 150) Intro to Mechanics

Successful applicants to our program typically also have had undergraduate coursework in all or most of the following areas:

  • Thermodynamics
  • Solid Mechanics
  • Fluid Mechanics
  • Dynamics
  • Heat and Mass Transfer
  • Vibrations

In our graduate curriculum it is assumed that students have had all of the above coursework.  Students who have not completed most of this coursework are unlikely to have the preparation needed to succeed in our program.  Students with undergraduate majors in other Engineering disciplines or in Physics are most likely to be competitive applicants to our program.

Do you have a part-time MSE program?

Yes. Many of our current MSE degree program students are part time. Some courses are offered in the late afternoon or evening to accommodate those who work full-time.

Is a thesis required for the MSE degree?

A thesis is NOT required to complete the MEAM MSE degree. To obtain a MSE degree a student should complete a total of ten course units. If you choose to write a thesis, it may count for up to three course units towards the degree.

Master’s Program:

Staff Contact:

Angela Busichio
Academic Coordinator for Master’s Programs
304 Towne Building
Phone: 215-746-3686