Master's Programs Elective Concentrations

The Master of Science program in Mechanical Engineering offers students great flexibility in tailoring their program to their specific interests and goals.

Graduate Student Affairs

For more information, please visit the Graduate Student Affairs website.

Students may either develop their own sequence of courses in an area of specialization (the Standard Track) or select from among the suggested elective concentrations listed below.  The requirements for these elective concentrations are identical to those of the Standard Track, with one exception: students must take at least 15 credits from a list of courses determined by an adviser in consultation with an advisory committee.

The currently available suggested elective concentrations are listed below:

  • Biomechanics
  • Energy Systems
  • Micro/Nanoscale Engineering
  • Robotics and Control

M.S. in Mechanical Engineering with Elective Concentration in Biomechanics

Advisors: Professors Gerard Ateshian, Karen Kasza, and Kristin Myers

Description: The elective concentration in biomechanics is developed in coordination with the Department of Biomedical Engineering.  It provides the M.S. candidate with knowledge of the mechanics of biological tissues. The 4000-level courses offered in this elective concentration provide foundations of fluid and solid mechanics applicable to biomechanics, as well as applications of mechanics to specific cell, tissue and organ systems. The higher-level courses provide deeper foundations on theoretical and computational approaches relevant to biomechanics. This elective concentration is a suitable preparation for careers in the biomedical devices industry or engineering and scientific consulting.

Application and Requirements

Application: To choose this elective concentration, select "Mechanical Engineering Biomechanics Master of Science" in the Program field when filling in the online application for the M.S. program. The name of this program will be listed on graduates' transcripts.

Requirements: While satisfying the requirements for a Master of Science in Mechanical Engineering, take at least five courses from:

  • MECE E4100: Mechanics of fluids
  • BMEN E4301: Structure, mechanics, and adaptation of bone
  • BMEN E4302: Biomechanics of musculoskeletal soft tissues
  • BMEN E4305: Cardiac mechanics
  • BMEN E4310: Solid biomechanics
  • BMEN E4320: Fluid biomechanics
  • BMEN E4340: Biomechanics of cells
  • BMEN E4570: Science and engineering of body fluids
  • BMME E4702: Advanced musculoskeletal biomechanics
  • MEBM E4703: Molecular mechanics in biology
  • MEBM E4710: Morphogenesis: shape and structure in biological materials
  • BMEN E4750: Sound and hearing
  • MECE E6100: Advanced mechanics of fluids
  • BMEN E6301: Modeling of biological tissues with finite elements
  • MEBM E6310-E6311: Mixture theories for biological tissues I and II
  • MECE E6422-E6423: Introduction to the theory of elasticity I and II
  • MECE E8501: Advanced continuum biomechanics

One 3-credit research course can be counted towards the elective concentration if the research is approved by the student’s adviser and is biomechanics related.

M.S. in Mechanical Engineering with Elective Concentration in Energy Systems

Advisors: Professors Michael Burke, Vijay Modi, and Arvind Narayanaswamy

Description: The elective concentration in energy systems provides the M.S. candidate with a global understanding of current energy challenges. Advanced thermofluidic knowledge is provided to design and optimize energy systems, with a strong emphasis on renewable energies. Courses related to energy and environmental policy, two strong areas of Columbia as a global university, can be integrated into the course sequence. This elective concentration is a suitable preparation for careers in energy production and energy consultation.

Application and Requirements

Application: To choose this elective concentration, select "Mechanical Engineering Energy Systems Master of Science" in the Program field when filling in the online application for the M.S. program. The name of this program will be listed on graduates' transcripts.

Requirements: While satisfying the requirements for a Master of Science in Mechanical Engineering, take at least five courses from:

  • MECE E4210: Energy Infrastructure Planning
  • MECE E4211: Energy Sources and Conversion
  • MECE E4302: Advanced Thermodynamics
  • MECE E4304: Turbomachinery
  • MECE E4305: Mechanics and Thermodynamics of Propulsion
  • MECE E4312: Solar Thermal Engineering
  • MECE E4314: Energy Dynamics of Green Buildings
  • MECH E4320: Introduction to Combustion
  • MECE E4330: Thermofluid Systems Design
  • MECE E6100: Advanced Mechanics of Fluids
  • MECE E6104: Case Studies in Computational Fluid Dynamics
  • MECE E6313: Advanced Heat Transfer
  • EAEE E6126: Carbon Sequestration

Furthermore, students must take one course in statistics (STAT or SIEO designations). One 3-credit research course can be counted towards the elective concentration if the research is approved by the student’s adviser and is energy related.

M.S. in Mechanical Engineering with Elective Concentration in Micro/Nanoscale Engineering

Advisors: Professors James C. Hone, Jeffrey W. Kysar, and P. James Schuck

Description: Micro/Nanoscale engineering represents the field of mechanics at the micrometer and nanometer length scales. These small length scales are where physics, chemistry and biology intersect, and thus Micro/Nanoscale engineering provides both unprecedented challenges and opportunities for designing materials, systems and devices with completely new functionalities. As an inherently interdisciplinary field, Micro/Nanoscale engineering lies at the center of fast-growing nanotechnology-enabled sectors, and fits uniquely within a Mechanical Engineering curriculum where it is complemented by topics in materials manufacturing, device design, biosensing and biomechanics, and others. The Micro/Nanoscale engineering elective concentration prepares students for careers in diverse and rapidly expanding areas that span energy harvesting and ultrafast information processing to biometrics and theranostics. The curriculum addresses fundamental issues of mechanics, fluid mechanics, optics, heat transfer, and manufacturing at small size scales, with application spaces that include microelectromechanical systems (MEMS), bio-MEMS, microfluidics, thermal systems, and data storage.

Application and Requirements

Application: To choose this elective concentration, select "Mechanical Engineering Micro/Nanoscale Engineering Master of Science" in the Program field when filling in the online application for the M.S. program. The name of this program will be listed on graduates' transcripts.

Requirements: The requirements for the Micro/Nanoscale engineering track ensures that students obtain an education in Micro/Nanoscale engineering that is both broad and deep. Students will be required to take at least five classes from a selected pool that covers many aspects of Micro/Nanoengineering. Currently, eight classes are compatible with the general requirements for the Master of Science degree in Mechanical Engineering. These include:

  • MECE E4212: Microelectromechanical Systems (MEMS)
  • MECE E4213: BioMEMS
  • MECE E6700: Carbon Nanotubes
  • MECE E4214: MEMS Production and Manufacturing
  • MECE E6710: Nanofabrication Laboratory
  • MECE E6105: Transport Phenomena in the Presence of Interfaces
  • MECE E6720: Nano/Microscale Thermal Transport Processes
  • MECE E6137: Nanoscale Actuation and Sensing.

Students will also be able to satisfy this requirement by taking relevant and approved course from other engineering and mathematical/physical sciences departments. Based on previous enrollment in relevant classes, we expect a cohort of approximately 20 students in the inaugural class for this track, growing to a regular enrollment of approximately 30 students in subsequent years.

M.S. in Mechanical Engineering with Elective Concentration in Robotics and Control

Advisors: Professors Sunil Agrawal, Matei Ciocarlie, Hod Lipson, Richard Longman, and Fred Stolfi

Description: The field of Robotics is seeing unprecedented growth, in areas as diverse as manufacturing, logistics, transportation, healthcare, space exploration and more. This program will prepare students for a career in Robotics and its many applications in society. Students will perform in-depth study of topics such as robotic manipulation, navigation, perception, human interaction, medical robotics, assistance and rehabilitation. This elective concentration is a suitable preparation for joining established companies, information-age dominant players investing heavily in this field, or the new wave of Robotics start-ups aiming to provide disruptive innovations. Many of the acquired skills can be applied in other fields, as diverse as automation, manufacturing, computer graphics or machine vision. This program can also be a foundation for a research career in Robotics and related areas, in both academia and industry.

Application and Requirements

Application: To choose this elective concentration, select "Mechanical Engineering Master of Science" in the Program field when filling in the online application for the M.S. program and check "Robotics and Control" under the Area of Research Interest field of the application. Indicate your preference for the Robotics and Control special track during the orientation period at the beginning of the program. The name of this program will be listed on graduates' transcripts.

Requirements: While satisfying the requirements for a Master of Science in Mechanical Engineering, take at least five courses from:

  • MECE E4058: Mechatronics and Embedded Microcomputer Control
  • EEME E4601: Digital Control Systems
  • MECE E4602: Introduction to Robotics
  • MECE E6400: Advanced Machine Dynamics
  • EEME E6601: Introduction to Control Theory
  • EEME E6602: Modern Control Theory
  • EEME E6610: Optimal Control Theory
  • MECE E6614: Advanced Topics in Robotics and Mechanism Synthesis
  • MECS E6615: Robotic Manipulation
  • MECS E6616: Robot Learning
  • MECS E4606: Digital Manufacturing
  • COMS W4731: Computer Vision
  • COMS W4733: Computational Aspects of Robotics
  • COMS E6733: 3-D Photography
  • ELEN E4810: Digital Signal Processing
  • BMME E4702: Advanced Musculoskeletal Biomechanics