Washington University in St. Louis


Graduate Catalog

The School of Engineering & Applied Science offers programs of instruction and research leading to specified master's degrees and doctoral degrees.

Both full-time and part-time students may pursue most of the graduate programs offered by Engineering. A few graduate programs are designed primarily for full-time students. However, numerous locally employed engineers, scientists and technical managers have earned master's degrees through part-time study, or have completed significant portions of the requirements for their doctoral degrees while they were part-time students. Many evening graduate courses are offered, and many other graduate courses are taught during the late afternoon. Students who are employed full-time and are interested in investigating the possibility of doctoral graduate work should consult directly with the chair or director of the particular department or program in which they are interested.


Washington University in St. Louis (WUSTL) encourages and gives full consideration to all applicants for admission and financial aid, without regard to race, color, age, religion, sex, sexual orientation, national origin, veteran status, or handicap. University policies and programs are nondiscriminatory.

A student must be admitted to a degree program in Engineering to earn a graduate degree and the student must be admitted at least one semester prior to his or her anticipated graduation semester. Applications for admission to graduate standing should be filed with Engineering well in advance of the student's intended date for registering as a graduate-degree candidate. In addition to the application, a student should submit all required supporting documents.

To receive full admission, an applicant who has had no previous graduate work must have:

  1. a bachelor's degree in an accredited curriculum in engineering, science or mathematics
  2. earned at least a B average during the last two years of undergraduate work
  3. the recommendation of the department or program to which the applicant is applying

The department or program recommendation will be based on the applicant's potential for success in the proposed course of study. To reach this judgment, the department or program will consider the applicant's undergraduate record, recommendations from former instructors, and if feasible, a personal interview.

All applicants for admission as full-time master's students are strongly encouraged to submit Graduate Record Examination General (GRE) test scores (verbal, quantitative and written analytical). All applicants to doctoral programs are required to submit these scores.

Students failing to meet all of the criteria for full admission (with the exception of international students not residents of the United States at the time of application) may be recommended by the department or program for provisional admission. Students admitted provisionally must demonstrate their ability to pursue graduate work successfully and obtain recommendation for full admission within two semesters. In order to gain full admission, students admitted provisionally must maintain at least a B average in their course work during their first two semesters.

Students Not Candidate for Degree (SNCD)

Students choosing to take a course without applying to a degree program must be admitted to Engineering as an SNCD. Course prerequisites must be met, and an individual enrolling in a graduate course must typically show proof of a bachelor's degree. A student who registers for courses as an SNCD and later applies for admission to a graduate program in Engineering will be allowed to count a maximum of nine (9) units taken as an SNCD toward a graduate program, regardless of how many courses taken as an SNCD.

International Students

International students who apply for admission to graduate standing, in addition to the above requirements, must present evidence of financial responsibility and ability to communicate effectively in the English language.

To demonstrate financial responsibility, the student must have a bank or similar source send a statement certifying that sufficient funds are available for the first year of study. If the funds being certified are in a sponsor's name, then the sponsor must also provide a letter stating that the sponsor is willing to use these funds to support the first year of study.

To prove the ability to use English satisfactorily, the student must pass the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) given in other countries by the Educational Testing Service or gre.org.


A late charge of $100 will apply for each week after the second week of classes. Dates for late registration are published online by the Office of the University Registrar. Registration is not allowed after the third week of classes.

All graduate students in Engineering must register each fall and spring semester until all degree requirements are complete. Students may register in one of three categories:

  • Active Status: Typically, graduate students must be enrolled each semester in the numbers of units required by their program of study and approved by their advisor and department. A graduate student is normally viewed as having an active full-time status if enrolled in nine (9) or more units. A graduate student is normally viewed as having an active part-time status if enrolled in fewer than nine (9) units. Graduate students are not allowed to self-register until they have communicated or met with their advisor and their advisor authorizes their registration. International master's students on F1 and J1 visas are required to take 9 minimum units per semester (i.e., part-time status is not an option). If necessary, international students may enroll in fewer than 9 units in their final semester. In order to do so they must complete a Reduced Course Load form, which is available from the Office of International Students and Scholars (OISS).

  • Continuing Student Status: The Continuing Student Status course option may be used when graduate students are approved to register for fewer than 9 units (i.e., 0-8 units) but still need to maintain their full-time status. When students are registered for the Masters Continuing Student Status (883) course or the Doctoral Continuing Students Status (884) course they will still be viewed as having a full-time status, even if they are taking fewer than 9 units. Both placeholder courses are 0 unit audit courses with no tuition charges associated with them for engineering students. These course options are contingent upon advisor and departmental approval.
  • Doctoral students can self-register into the 884 course when needed; however, master’s students cannot self-register into the 883 course. Non-international master’s students may register under the 883 status only in their final semester with departmental approval. Continuing Student Status is not available for master's students on F1 and J1 visas.

  • Nonresident or Inactive Status: Graduate students who do not need to maintain full-time status and who do not need to register for any course or research units during a given semester should'with departmental and advisor approval'register under the Nonresident/Inactive Status option. Graduate students on an official leave of absence should also register under this status, but, again, only with advisor and departmental approval. (NOTE: PhD students in this situation must use Leave of Absence forms or other forms provided by the Graduate School of Arts & Sciences.) A doctoral student wishing to register under a Nonresident/Inactive Status should register using the 886 course number. A master’s student should register for the Nonresident/Inactive Status using the 885 course number. The course is a 0 unit audit course with no tuition charges associated with it for engineering students. Students registered this way are not viewed as full-time and will not automatically have university health insurance fees or coverage. This registration does not defer student loans, and it does not serve as a legal status for international students. The Nonresident/Inactive Status will assure that the student’s email address remains active, and by paying a small additional fee to Olin Library the student can maintain library privileges. This option is normally not available to international students (due to F1 and J1 visa requirements), unless they have plans to exit the country and have received approval from the Office for International Students and Scholars. A nonresident/inactive status is generally allowed only for a few semesters, at the department’s discretion. Any students contemplating a nonresident/inactive status must remember to be aware of the residency requirements and the total time limitation required for degree completion.

Graduate Student Reinstatement: Graduate students who do not register in one of the above categories will have to apply for reinstatement if they wish to re-enroll at a future time. For reinstatement information, master’s and DSc students should contact Engineering Student Services at (314) 935-6100, and PhD students should contact the Graduate School of Arts & Sciences at (314) 935- 6880. Students seeking reinstatement may be required to pay a reinstatement fee, take special reinstatement examinations, and repeat previous work if it fails to meet contemporary standards. Candidates for the DSc degree who apply for reinstatement may be required to repeat qualifying examinations.

Course Load

The normal load for full-time graduate students is 9-12 units per semester. The course selection and load must be worked out with and approved by the student's advisor. Graduate students with research and teaching-assistant duties will typically enroll for course loads commensurate with the requirements of these duties. The course load will be determined after consultation with the student's advisor and the person supervising the student's duties as a research or teaching assistant. Students otherwise employed full- or part-time, on- or off-campus, will determine a satisfactory reduced course load with their advisors. International students on student visas are required to maintain full-time enrollment status.


Satisfactory academic progress is a prerequisite for continuation in engineering degree programs. Most financial awards, and all federally funded awards, are contingent upon the maintenance of satisfactory academic progress. The following are minimal standards of satisfactory academic progress for Doctor of Science and Master's students. Degree programs may set stricter standards, but may not relax these listed below. Acceptability of grades below B- for fulfillment of degree requirements is determined by individual departments.

Doctor of Science (DSc) students must maintain a cumulative grade point average of at least 3.00.

  • Academic probation occurs if a semester or cumulative grade-point average drops below 3.00.
  • A DSc student is eligible for academic suspension if any one of the follow occurs:
    • Receives an F grade in a course, or
    • Earns a semester or cumulative grade-point average less than 2.00, or
    • Has been on probation for two semesters and has not attained a 3.00 cumulative grade-point average.

Master's students must maintain a cumulative grade point average of at least 2.70.

  • Academic probation occurs if a semester or cumulative grade-point average drops below 2.70.
  • A master's student is eligible for academic suspension if any one of the follow occurs:
    • Receives an F grade in a course, or
    • Earns a semester or cumulative grade-point average less than 2.00, or
    • Has been on probation for two semesters and has not attained a 2.70 cumulative grade-point average.

Master's and DSc students eligible for academic suspension will have their names sent to their respective departments for their comments and recommendation before they are automatically suspended from a graduate program within the School. Students suspended may petition the Associate Dean in Engineering Student Services for reinstatement. Reinstatement petitions will be referred to the Graduate Board for review.

A grade of "I" in a course other than research must be removed no later than the close of the next semester; if not, the "I" turns into an "F" at the end of the next regular semester after the "I" grade was assigned.

Satisfactory academic progress for engineering students in PhD programs is monitored by the Graduate School as well as the degree program. Please refer to the Graduate School website for specific information related to policies concerning PhD students: graduateschool.wustl.edu.

Transfer Credit

A maximum of six units of graduate credit obtained at institutions other than WUSTL may be applied toward the Master's degree. Approved transfer credit for undergraduate coursework completed at a different institution cannot be posted until a letter is received from that institution's registrar, which states the graduate level coursework was not used to satisfy undergraduate degree requirements.

A maximum of 24 units of graduate credit earned at institutions other than WUSTL may be applied toward the Doctor of Philosophy degree and a maximum of 48 units for the Doctor of Science degree. Transfer credit must be recommended by the advisor, department or program chairman, and be approved by the appropriate registrar. No graduate courses carrying grades lower than "B" can be accepted for transfer toward any graduate degree.

No courses will be accepted toward degree requirements if the course exceeds the 10 year maximum time period unless they have formal approval of the Engineering Graduate Board.

Master's Students

Candidates for the master's degrees should note that in most programs both the thesis option and the course option are available. The course option may be of particular interest to part-time students who, because of their employment, might find it more convenient than the thesis requirement. All candidates for the master's degrees should consult with their advisor to determine the option they will follow.

All requirements for the master's degrees must be completed within six years from the time the student is admitted to graduate standing. A maximum of six units of graduate credit obtained at institutions other than Washington University may be applied toward the master's degree awarded by Engineering. Transfer credit must be recommended and approved by the department chair or program director and advisor, as well as by the Engineering Registrar. No courses carrying grades lower than "B" can be accepted for transfer credit.

For the thesis option, a minimum of 24 units of course work and a minimum of six units of research are required. The student must also write a satisfactory thesis prepared under the supervision of a member of the Engineering faculty. Candidates for master's degrees under the course option must submit a minimum of 30 units of approved graduate course credit. A department may have additional requirements beyond the above stated minimum requirement. Please consult with your advisor as several master's degrees require more than 30 graduate units.

To earn more than one master's degree from Engineering, the student's final program of course work for each such master's degree must include a minimum of 15 units of pre-approved courses not included as part of the final program of course work for any other master's degree awarded by Engineering.

Master's Thesis

A candidate for the degree Master of Science (thesis option) should prepare his or her thesis according to Master's Thesis Format Guidelines.

The candidate's department chair or program director will appoint a thesis committee of three faculty members, with the student's advisor as chair, who will read the thesis and judge its acceptability. At some point, as per published deadlines, the candidate will then deliver a draft copy of the thesis to the Engineering Student Services Office for format approval. Three copies of the final thesis accepted by the committee and approved for format must be delivered to the Engineering Student Services Office no later than the deadline stated in the online academic calendar. In addition, prior to submission of the final hard copies, the student must submit the document electronically as a .PDF file.

Master's Final Examinations

The final examination for the Master of Science for candidates under the thesis option consists of an oral examination conducted by the thesis committee and any additional faculty members that the department or program chairman may wish to designate. At this examination the candidate will present and defend the thesis.

Candidates for the Master of Science under the course option may be required to pass a final examination. The form of this examination is determined by the faculty of the area of specialization, and students should consult their advisors, department chairs, or program directors for details concerning this examination.

Doctoral Students

Candidates for doctoral degrees should consult their advisors to determine if there are any special regulations or requirements in effect in their particular departments or programs.

Engineering based doctoral degrees require a minimum of 72 units. The doctoral program requires 36-48 units of course work and 24-36 units of research. The specific distribution decisions are made by the individual programs and departments.

The doctorate can be awarded only to those students whose knowledge of their field of specialization meets contemporary standards. Hence, course work completed more than seven years prior to the date the degree is awarded generally cannot be accepted as satisfying degree requirements. All requirements for the degree must be completed within seven years from the time the student is admitted to the doctoral program.

The doctoral degree has a residency requirement of one year. To satisfy the requirement, the student must devote full time for two consecutive semesters to academically relevant activities on the WUSTL campus. A limited amount of outside employment may be permitted, but only with the approval of the department or program chairman and/or the Dean. Candidates for the Doctor of Philosophy degree are required to follow the guidelines of the Graduate School of Arts & Sciences (GSAS). Please refer to the GSAS website artsci.wustl.edu/GSAS/ for policies and guidelines for the Doctor of Philosophy degree.

Advisor & Doctoral Committee

Once admitted to graduate standing, each doctoral student will have an advisor appointed by the chair or director of the designated area of specialization. It is the responsibility of the advisor to help the student plan a graduate program.

After the student completes a maximum of 24 units of course work, the chair will appoint a doctoral committee for the student, with the student's advisor normally serving as chair of the committee. The doctoral committee will include at least three members of the Engineering regular faculty. The committee will advise the student on course work and research and must approve the proposed program.

Doctoral Qualifying Examination

To be admitted to a candidacy for the doctoral degree, a student must pass a comprehensive qualifying examination consisting of both written and oral portions. The written portion of the examination is administered by the student's department or program, and students should consult their advisor for information concerning the scope of the examination and the dates on which it is given. Students passing the written portion of the examination are eligible to take the oral portion. The examining panel for the oral portion will consist of the student's doctoral committee, plus additional members recommended by the student's doctoral committee and approved by the department chair or program director. The panel will have a minimum of five to six members, representing two or more departments at WUSTL.

Doctoral Dissertation

The candidate must defend the dissertation during a final oral examination by an examining committee to be nominated by the advisor and approved by the appropriate dean. Doctor of Philosophy candidates will have their committees approved by the Dean of the Graduate School of Arts & Sciences. The committee normally consists of five to six WUSTL faculty representing two or more departments in the engineering school and requires the approval of the department chair or program director.

Doctor of Philosophy candidates should refer to the Doctoral Dissertation Guide for specific information on preparing their dissertation for submission. Other Engineering doctoral students should prepare their dissertation according to the DSc & Master's Thesis Format Guidelines (available in .PDF, Word and LaTeX formats).

Each candidate for the doctoral degree must electronically submit a final approved .pdf version of his/her dissertation. See Thesis & Dissertation Submission Procedures for Engineering Students for electronic submission guidelines. Your dissertation should include an abstract embodying the principal findings of the research and approved by the doctoral committee as ready for publication. Such abstract will be published in Dissertation Abstracts, which announces the availability of the dissertation for distribution.

The University library services will arrange to bind the dissertation. Of the three hardcopies submitted, one courtesy copy will be given to the student; one will be given to the advisor and another to the department.

Financial Aid

Scholarships & Assistantships

Financial aid in the form of scholarships and assistantships is administered by the academic department or program that is the indicated major of the student. Scholarships, wages, and stipends are only available to full-time students who can demonstrate the potential of making significant contributions to the department and its research activities. Continuation of scholarships and assistantships is based on academic performance.

Highly qualified applicants for full-time study will be considered for scholarships and assistantships based upon funds available in each department or program. Scholarships and assistantships are limited to available funds including government and private-sector grants and contracts. Graduate Record Examination (GRE) test scores must be provided by applicants to be considered for scholarships or assistantships. All fall semester doctoral applications will be reviewed for full financial assistantship if they are submitted by the application deadline of January 15th.

Students holding scholarships and assistantships are required to devote full time to their graduate studies. They are not permitted to engage in any other work without special permission of Engineering. Awards may be made for the academic year (typically nine months) or the full calendar year (twelve months), depending on the student's circumstances and the nature and source of the award.


The federal government provides a number of student loan programs with rules and requirements for each program. These are subject to change by the government agency overseeing the program and require that detailed financial information be provided by the student.

Campus Resources

Disability Resources

Students with either a temporary or permanent disability may contact Cornerstone at (314) 935-4062.

Safety & Security

Each year, WUSTL publishes a brochure, Safety & Security, which details what to do and who to contact in an emergency and includes the federally required annual security report. police.wustl.edu

Graduate Student Grievances

There may be occasions when a graduate engineering student has a grievance with a faculty member. Normally, the best way to proceed informally is to follow the steps below:

  1. Individual Instructors
    Make an earnest attempt to resolve the situation with the instructor. It may be best to set up an appointment to meet with the instructor outside of class time.
  2. Department Chair
    If the instructor was unwilling to discuss the situation with you, or the instructor refused to consider your arguments after you met with him/her and you still believe your situation merits consideration from a higher authority, the next step is to meet with the chair of the department that offers the course. Serious complaints alleging breaches of a faculty member's responsibilities should be brought directly to the department chair.
  3. Dean
    If you have met with both the instructor and the department chair, and you feel your situation still needs attention, your next step is to make an appointment to meet with the Dean of the School of Engineering & Applied Science.

Engineering Student Services

  • Lopata Hall, Room 303
    (314) 935-6100
  • Email: ess@seas.wustl.edu
  • Hours
    8:30 a.m. - 5 p.m. (Central time)
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