Master of Science in Engineering (MSE)

The MSE is a graduate degree program built upon the overarching themes of sustainability and engineering design, with a core of common course work that permits specialization through selection of technical electives and a thesis topic. The program allows students to achieve depth in a single discipline or breadth across multiple disciplines.

The program requires the completion of 30 credit hours of post-baccalaureate work and builds upon the commitment of the faculty in NAU’s College of Engineering, Forestry and Natural Sciences to integrate research and disciplinary practice, while advancing both individual and collaborative research and scholarship.

Admissions and entry 

Financial support 

Degree requirements 



Featured faculty members and their research areas 

Admissions and entry

Applicants must select one primary disciplinary focus in any of Civil Engineering, Electrical Engineering, Environmental Engineering, Mechanical Engineering, or Computer Science. The primary disciplinary focus is normally the department (i) where the student intends to take the majority of his/her coursework and (ii) of his/her academic adviser.


BS degree in engineering, computer science or an equivalent (as defined below) with a 3.0 GPA or above in the last 60 hours for regular admission.  In exceptional circumstances, those with a lower GPA may be accepted under a provisional status.

If the applicant does not have a bachelor’s degree or equivalent in his/her chosen primary disciplinary focus, then he/she will be required to complete a pre-MSE course of study in the primary disciplinary focus to achieve equivalency. Specifically, the prerequisites by disciplinary focus are given through the following links:

Civil Engineering prerequisites 

Computer Science prerequisites 

Electrical Engineering prerequisites 

Environmental Engineering prerequisites 

Mechanical Engineering prerequisites 

Note that if the applicant has a BS degree in a closely related field (for example, Chemical Engineering or Engineering Physics), then courses toward that degree (if completed with a grade of B or better) may serve as prerequisites for the primary disciplinary focus, shortening the pre-MSE course of study.

Entrance examinations

All applicants must submit scores for the GRE general examination. International applicants whose native language is not English must also submit TOEFL scores; click here for more information.

Application deadlines

The application deadlines are:  March 1 for Fall semester admission, and September 15 for Spring semester admission.

Financial support

Teaching and research assistantships are available for qualified students. For other sources of financial support, see the website of the Graduate College at NAU.  Early application to the program will increase your chances for financial support.

We have great news: As of 3/2/11, President Haeger has agreed that NAU will provide full graduate tuition remission for approved graduate assistants for FY 2012! 

Note, however, that GAs who are hired on grants or other local dollars are not eligible for central funding for this, so local dollars will be needed to fund this additional tuition remission.

Degree requirements

General requirements

The MSE requires a minimum of 30 credits as described below.

6 cr. Thesis (CENE 699, CS 699, EE 699, EGR 699 or ME 699)

3 cr. Advanced math or statistics

6 cr. Core courses in sustainable systems and advanced engineering design:  EGR 501 (3 cr.) and EGR 502 (3 cr.)

15 cr. Electives

Program of study

Each student must submit a Program of Study of courses for approval by his/her graduate advisory committee during the first semester.

Except for the core courses, the student will select elective and math/statistics courses in consultation with, and subject to approval by, the student’s graduate advisory committee.  A maximum of two courses, up to 8 credits, may be at the 400-level.  Since the MSE program emphasizes interdisciplinary topics, students may wish to take courses outside of their primary disciplinary focus.  Some of these courses may require completion of prerequisite courses.


Each primary disciplinary focus is comprised of two emphases:

  • Sustainable Systems
  • Advanced Engineering Design

The curriculum is designed to facilitate interdisciplinary study in the context of two of the most important issues of our time—sustainability and innovation. The technical rigor and depth of the program will prepare a graduate for continued research, a doctoral program, or for entry into the engineering profession, similar to a graduate from a traditional Masters of Science in a specific engineering discipline or computer science. The unique aspect of this program is that a graduate will understand the application of their profession in the context of sustainability and/or advanced engineering design. At the heart of the MSE program are faculty and students actively engaged in research and its creative application to relevant problems.

The Sustainable Systems emphasis focuses on topics related to energy, natural and built environments, policy and management, and informatics. Research topics include the management of natural resources and their transformation, transportation, utilization, application, and return to nature.

The Advanced Engineering Design emphasis taps into the creative potential of our students and faculty to devise innovative solutions and improve upon existing solutions.  Innovation (e.g., creating new ideas, designing new products, integrating processes, advancing applications, delivering sophisticated services, and introducing new strategies) is of primary importance in determining America's success through the 21st century. This theme of design and innovation accommodates the many diverse research areas in engineering that are directed towards meeting the demands of rapidly-developing interdisciplinary technologies of the 21stcentury.

The sustainability and advanced engineering design themes, however, naturally intersect—the methods of design and innovation are a necessary element to the successful development or support of sustainable systems. Likewise, the principles of sustainability can foster innovation and economic development.


The courses that can be used to fulfill the degree requirements are shown below.

Core courses

The common core represents a unifying vision of guiding future research and engineering applications by the principles of sustainability and methods of advanced engineering design.  The core consists of two courses – one offered each semester – taught by faculty from across the engineering and professional programs in the college.

EGR 501 Topics in Sustainability (3)

EGR 502 Topics in Advanced Engineering Design (3)


The 3-cr requirement in advanced mathematics/statistics can be met by an appropriate course from the Department of Mathematics and Statistics, or a similar course with approval of the student’s advisory committee.  A partial list of existing courses that are acceptable in meeting the requirement is shown below.

MAT 461 Partial Differential Equations (3)

MAT 516 Linear Algebra (3)

MAT 531 Real Analysis (3)

MAT 535 Complex Analysis (3)

MAT 563 Numerical Analysis (3)

MAT 661 Applied Mathematics (3)

MAT 667 Dynamical Systems (3)

STA 570 Statistical Methods I (3)

STA 571 Statistical Methods II (3)


The 6-cr thesis requirement is met by conducting supervised research and registering for the appropriate course from the list below.  The student should select the course consistent with his/her disciplinary focus.

CENE 699 Thesis (1-9)

CS 699 Thesis (1-9)

EE 699 Thesis (1-9)

EGR 699 Thesis (1-9)

ME 699 Thesis (1-9)


The 15-cr requirement of 400- or 500-level electives can be met from courses found in the Departments of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Computer Science, Electrical Engineering, and Mechanical Engineering.  However, since cross-disciplinary course work is encouraged in this program, courses from other departments will be acceptable with approval of the student’s graduate advisory committee.  Existing courses in engineering and computer science that can be used to satisfy the electives credit requirement are shown below.

Civil and Environmental Engineering electives 

CENE 502 Principles of Environmental Transport Processes (3)

CENE 540 Environmental Protection: Today and Tomorrow (3)

CENE 541 Traffic Studies and Signal Systems (3)

CENE 543 Urban Transportation Planning (3)

CENE 599 Advanced Traffic Signals (3)

CENE 550 Geotechnical Evaluation & Design (3)

CENE 551 Geotechnical Earthquake Engineering (3)

CENE 568 Rivers and Streams (3)   

CENE 599 Classical Open Channel Flow (3)

CENE 599 Water Quality Modeling (3)

CENE 599 Environmental Biotechnology (3)

CENE 599 Masonry Design (3)

CENE 599 Contemporary Developments (1-3)

Computer Science electives 

CS 550 Introduction to Parallel Computing (3)

CS 555 Reactive Systems (3)

CS 560 Computer Networks (3)

CS 565 Distributed Systems (3)

CS 577 Advanced User Interfaces (3)

CS 599 Contemporary Developments (1-3)

Electrical Engineering electives 

EE 531 Wireless Digital Communications I: Introduction (1)

EE 532 Wireless Digital Communications II: Physical Layer Challenges (1)

EE 533 Wireless Digital Communications III: Engineering the Solutions (1)

EE 542 Image Processing (3)

EE 581 Analog Circuits (1)

EE 582 Adv Very Large Scale Integration Design (3)

EE 584 RF IC Fundamentals (1)

EE 585 RF IC Circuits (1) 

EE 586 RF IC Circuits Contd (1)

EE 587 Circuit Simulation Algorithms (3)

EE 599 Nonlinear RF Circuits (3)

EE 599 Probability and Random Processes (3)

EE 599 Contemporary Developments (1-3)

Mechanical Engineering electives 

ME 510 Finite Element Analysis (3)

ME 520 Applied Fluid Dynamics (3)

ME 525 Applied Computational Fluid Dynamics (3)

ME 530 Applied Thermal Analysis (3)

ME 540 Combustion (3)

ME 550 Product Realization (3)

ME 555 Manufacturing Systems Engineering and Management (3)

ME 560 Applied Solid Mechanics (3)

ME 570 Fracture Mechanics (3)

ME 580 Composite Materials (3)

ME 581 Experimental Characterization of Advanced Composites (1)

ME 599 Renewable Energy Systems (3)

ME 599 Aeromechanics of Wind Turbine Systems (3)

ME 599 Contemporary Developments (1-3)

Featured faculty members and their research areas

Dr. Paul Flikkema

Home department: Electrical Engineering
Research areas: networked communication and computation systems, with applications to networked embedded systems, wireless sensor networks, and genomic information networks

Thomas Acker
Dr. Tom Acker
Home department: Mechanical Engineering
Research areas: renewable energy systems and wind power generation


Dr. Bridget Bero
Home department: Civil and Environmental Engineering
Research areas: environmental management, air quality engineering, human health risk assessment, and hazardous waste management

Dr. Dieter Otte
Home department: Computer Science
Research areas: computer networking, distributed computing, mark-up languages and their application, XML technologies, interdisciplinary research with eco-sciences