FAQs

How long will it take to finish?

It's up to the individual student! Typical completion times, including coursework and thesis or project (where applicable), are as follows:

  • MSc (thesis) students: 2.5 years
  • PhD students: 3.5 years
  • MEng (course based): 2 years

The maximum duration of an MSc program is 4 years and for PhD and MEng is 6 years.


Do I really have to take the ENGG 600 ethics course?

  • Yes, you must complete ENGG 600.

Can I receive conditional admission and then take my English language proficiency test?

  • No, the Department of Mechanical Engineering requires proof of English proficiency before an applicant may be considered for graduate studies admission.

Do I require a GRE score?

  • No, we do not require a GRE score.

Can I apply to both the MEng and the MSc?

Yes. Begin by searching for a supervisor for your research. If you find a supervisor, apply directly to the thesis based, MSc program. If you can not find a supervisor then apply to the course-based programs. 


What kind of job will I get?

Please read the Labour Market Report for information on demand for engineers with graduate degrees.


Why should I go to grad school?

  • You will gain advanced training and knowledge and work with advanced technologies
  • A postgraduate degree will set you apart from your peers
  • Enhanced career options (technical and/or managerial)
  • Enhanced earnings potential: approximately 20% higher ultimate earning potential compared to a BSc (source: NSERC/Statscan)
  • Graduate school is a highly rewarding and FUN experience
  • You will meet interesting people (including many students and professors from other countries)

What will I do in grad school?

  • You complete course work in the first eight months of your program
  • You take fewer, more focused courses than in your undergraduate degree
  • Thesis students focus on a research project after completing their coursework
  • The thesis and the capstone projects provide concentrated, in-depth study in a particular technical area
  • As part of the thesis or capstone project will perform a literature review to gain state of the art knowledge
  • You will learn experimental techniques, and analysis methodologies
  • Grad school projects are driven by self-motivated study and work
  • Students often work in groups, with the actual project completed individually
  • You will learn how to write publications and posters about your work and to make oral presentations

What are the expectations?

Here is a brief and incomplete list of reasonable expectations: 

  • Students must meet or exceed the minimum cumulative GPA requirement for the program and must successfully complete thesis and coursework in a timely manner (typically > 3.0 GPA at Master level and >3.3 in PhD)
  • Students must work well with supervisor and other students
  • Students must meet the expectations of the Faculty of Graduate Studies & Research
  • Students must pay all fees
  • Students must act with academic integrity, and must comply with University regulations and procedures and with the Code of Student Behaviour

What courses do I need to take?

Required courses are different for each program. Please see the Mechanical Engineering Program Manual for details.


What is the difference between 500, 600, and 700 Graduate courses?

  • 500 level courses: graduate courses that senior undergraduates take on a regular basis. PhD students in MEC E may not apply credits from 500 level courses toward their degree. MEC E MSc students may take only a limited number of 500 level MEC E courses.
  • 600 level courses: graduate courses taken on a regular basis by graduate students.
  • 700-level courses: newer courses that have not yet been formally included in the calendar. Students may take only a limited number of 700 level courses for credit toward their graduate degree.

May I take courses from another institution(s) and apply the credit(s) toward my degree from the U of A?

Course credits earned at select western Canadian universities may be eligible for transfer towards a degree from the U of A through the Western Canadian Deans’ Agreement. For universities not covered by this agreement, consent for transferring credits depends on what university the student attended, as well as the course(s) taken. The department would make any recommendations for transfer credit to the FGSR. Typically, credits from a maximum of two courses may be transferred. Courses that have been applied to an awarded degree cannot be counted. Students should contact the graduate program coordinator to determine if this would be appropriate in their case. See information about transfer credit on the FGSR website.


What happens if I fail a course?

A grade of C or lower is considered a fail in graduate courses. Unless there are compelling circumstances, academic probation will be imposed, with terms that must be met in order to complete the degree. Specific conditions are decided on a case-by-case basis, and the student will have to repeat the course or take a substitute course. All courses taken for credit count toward the student's cumulative GPA (even any failed courses).


What happens if I want to change my topic, program, or supervisor?

Although students work with a supervisory committee to oversee their thesis work, only one professor typically has the primary responsibility of supervising the student and providing funding support. Changing supervisors is possible, but not recommended. Options include adding a co-supervisor or modifying the project terms.

A student should discuss the options with the Graduate Chair.


If I withdraw from the program, can I reapply later?

Students are welcome to re-apply, but are not guaranteed re-acceptance. A re-admission is subject to additional fees.


How do I find out more?