What to Expect in MechSE

On behalf of the Department of Mechanical Science and Engineering, welcome to MechSE! This page is designed to explain what you can expect as a prospective student and applicant to the department. MechSE will begin accepting applications around August 15 (for spring entry) and October 1 (for fall entry). Applications deadlines vary by program and term, so please see our Applying to MechSE page, and begin thinking about certain aspects of your application, such as your personal statement, resume, and who you will ask to be your references. Also, you may want to start making plans for standardized tests you may need to take, such as the GRE, TOEFL, and/or IELTS exams.

The majority of applications for fall are submitted in early December, and we highly recommend that you submit your application no later than December 15. The admissions committee in the department will begin looking at applications in mid-late December.

MechSE will send out admission letters in the January-March timeframe. When an offer of admission has been received, admitted students in MS and PhD programs may begin contacting faculty to discuss research opportunities. In the March-September timeframe, MechSE faculty will be hiring for the coming academic year. The faculty have access to all application materials for this purpose. While the hiring process is controlled by faculty members themselves, the Graduate Programs Office assists both admitted students and faculty in this process as well. At any given time, approximately 85% of the MS and PhD students in our department have some type of financial support such as a fellowship, teaching assistantship, or research assistantship. Read more about our financial support opportunities.

In the March-April 15 timeframe, we expect that admitted students will be making their decisions on whether to join our department. If you plan to visit our department, please contact us, and we would be happy to help. It is recommended that prospective students visit campus while classes are in session to increase the likelihood that faculty and students would be available for meetings.

Some admitted students who have already arranged for a research adviser may choose to start their study in the summer. We would be happy to facilitate a change to summer enrollment to accommodate this. Other students may choose to come to campus in late August for the start of the fall semester.

Now that you have an idea of “how it works” in MechSE, we encourage you to view the Applying to MechSE page and Fellowships and Assistantships pages which contain answers to many of our FAQ from applicants. We also have an FAQ page for the other common questions. If you are not able to find the information that you need at these pages, you can contact us at mechse-grad@illinois.edu.