Master's Degree Requirements

Basic Program of Study

The basic program of study, common to both plans, contains a minimum of 30 semester hours of graduate-level course work that must include (a) 12 hours of graduate courses in an engineering major including supporting engineering courses, (b) first minor of 6 hours of courses in an approved engineering area of specialization, and (c) second minor of 6 hours of courses in Mathematics or Graduate Engineering Analysis. Up to 12 hours of 500 level courses may be taken in fulfillment of these requirements.

Plan One - Students selecting the master's program Plan One must

  1. successfully complete an approved basic program of study;
  2. complete an acceptable thesis (see Catalog statement of CE 699) for which an additional 9 hours of credit can be obtained; and
  3. pass a thesis-related final examination.

Plan Two - Students planning to complete the master's degree under Plan Two must

  1. successfully complete an approved basic program of study;
  2. successfully complete an approved extended program of study consisting of a minimum of 9 semester hours of graduate course work, submit an acceptable independent research paper (CE 697); and,
  3. pass a final research paper presentation.

General Requirements

Plan One

Degree requirements under this plan include completion of at least 30 semester hours of graduate course work and the writing of an acceptable thesis for which an additional 6 hours of credit may be obtained by registering for CE 699.

The thesis should show evidence of the student's capability for research and independent thought as well as an ability to interpret materials used and to write in clear, acceptable English. The subject must be in the major field and must be approved by the student's Advisory Committee. All theses must be accessible to the general public.

A completed copy of the thesis must be submitted to the major department at least two months before the date on which the candidate expects to receive the degree. At least one month before graduation, three copies of the thesis approved by the thesis committee and the graduate dean, along with a receipt for the binding fee, must be deposited in the Office of Admissions and Records. These must comply with the regulations set forth in the Guide for Preparation of Thesis and Dissertations at UAH, which is available at the Office of the School of Graduate Studies.

In exceptional cases, the thesis may be written in absentia. To obtain permission for such action, the student, before leaving the University, must select a thesis subject and submit to the Department Chair a satisfactory outline of the thesis and satisfactory evidence that adequate facilities are available where the work is to be done.

Plan Two

Degree requirements for the MSE degree under this plan include the completion of a minimum of 30 semester hours of graduate course work. A thesis is not required, but an independent research paper must be completed. This work may receive 3 credit hours toward the MSE degree by registering for CE 697 through the academic advisor. The student must present the research paper to his or her advisor for approval. A typed copy of the research paper must be submitted to the department at least two months before the date on which the candidate expects to receive the degree.

Transfer Credit

With permission of the Department through the Graduate Committee and the Department Chair, a student may transfer a maximum of 12 semester hours of acceptable graduate credit earned in a approved institution and may count it toward a Master's degree. A maximum of 12 credit hours from courses taken as a non degree student at UAH may be applied to an M.S.E. degree program within the Department. Such credit may not be more than six years old at the time of the student's graduation and is transferable only if the student was in good graduate standing. Students who have graduate credit from another campus of the University of Alabama must complete a minimum of 12 semester hours of acceptable graduate credit at UAH to receive an M.S.E. degree from UAH.

Course Requirements

  1. Engineering courses numbered 500-599 may be taken for graduate credit with prior approval of such courses on the student's plan of study. Graduate students may be required to do extra work of an appropriate nature in 500-level courses that are cross-listed with 400-level courses. The number of 500-level course credit hours shall not exceed 12.
  2. See academic advisor for additional requirements.

Grade Requirements

  1. Average grade on the courses numbered 600 and above cannot be less than B.
  2. A minimum grade of B must be attained in each engineering course designated by a number less than 600 in the plan of study; otherwise a substitution of another approved course is necessary.

Application for Degree

Each candidate for an advanced degree must apply for the degree through the Registrar's Office at least three months before it is to be conferred.


A student admitted to a Master's Degree Program is a candidate for the Master's degree if the student has met all admissions requirements, is not on probation, has an approved Program of Study on file in the Office of Admissions and Records, and has an average of B or better on all graduate work attempted at UAH.

Time Limit

All requirements for the Master's degree should be completed in not more than six years. Credit for individual graduate courses completed at UAH more than six years but less than ten before the completion of all requirements for the degree may be validated by special examination. Such an examination, given by the department in which the course is offered, can be taken only once and will be the equivalent of a final examination.

Advisory Committee

Plan One students must select an Advisory Committee. The Advisory Committee consists of at least three members, all of whom must have membership on the Graduate Faculty. This committee is selected by the advisor in consultation with the student and is subject to approval by the Department Chair and the Graduate Dean. Approval of the thesis by a majority of the committee is required. The committee must receive a copy of the thesis two weeks prior to the defense date.

Final Examination

For Plan One students, the final examination is an oral presentation of the thesis in the form of a seminar before the student's advisory committee and is open to members, the University community and the general public. The student may be asked questions regarding coursework completed toward the MSE degree. For Plan Two students, the final examination consists of the independent research paper and presentation. The student's advisor shall evaluate the independent research paper and the presentation.

Forms to be Filed

A student working toward a Master's Degree under Plan I (thesis) or Plan II (non-thesis) is required to fill out the following forms in sequence. Required approvals are as shown on the forms, and number of copies is as needed or specified by the department.

Program of Study. It must be filed as early as possible and before the completion of 12 semester hours. If the program is developed by a supervisory committee, the student may be invited to the committee meeting.

Petition for a change in Form 3. A valid reason should be given for any change.

Application for Advanced Degree. This form is to be filed at least three months before the final examination.

Notification of Final/Qualifying Examination. Notification of the examination date must be given at least two weeks in advance. The Final Examination must be taken at least one month before graduation, and not earlier than the semester in which the student completes all required coursework.