Lyle School of Engineering - Master of Science Degree
Admission to the Graduate Division of the Lyle School of Engineering is a
prerequisite to post-baccalaureate registration for any graduate course or to any
program of graduate study. A student wishing to study for a Masterís degree may
be admitted on either a regular or a conditional basis.
After submission of a complete application, an applicant is evaluated for regular
admission. Typically, the following requirements must be satisfied for regular
- Completion of a Bachelorís degree from a U.S. college or university accredited
by a regional accrediting association or completion of an international degree
that is equivalent to a U.S. Bachelorís degree from a college or university of
recognized standing. Each program has additional information on appropriate
academic backgrounds required for admission into that program.
- A minimum GPA of 3.0 on a 4.0 scale for all previous undergraduate and graduate studies.
- Submission of a complete application, including a statement of purpose, official
transcripts for all previous undergraduate and graduate studies and payment of
the appropriate application fee.
A score of 650 or higher on the quantitative portion of the GRE graduate school
entry general test for the following programs:
- Civil Engineering.
- Computer Engineering.
- Computer Science.
- Electrical Engineering.
- Environmental Engineering.
- Environmental Science.
- Mechanical Engineering.
Graduates from foreign countries are required to submit three letters of recommendation and a notarized financial certification form. All international students
whose native language is not English and who have not graduated from an American
university must submit a minimum TOEFL English language proficiency score
before being considered for admission, as follows:
- 550 Ė paper-based examination.
- 213 Ė computer-based examination.
- 79 Ė Internet-based examination.
An applicant may be offered admission to the Graduate Division on a conditional
basis to ascertain his or her ability to successfully pursue graduate work. The
necessity for such a conditional admission may arise when a studentís undergraduate program, however high in quality, does not provide a completely adequate base
on which to build the particular graduate program desired by the student. This
may be due to a variety of reasons, of which the following are a few examples:
- The undergraduate program may have been taken so many years ago that it
differs from what is offered today.
- The undergraduate degree may have been completed in a field other than that
in which the Masterís degree is sought.
- Despite strong evidence that the student possesses both the necessary qualities
and the motivation to succeed in graduate study, his or her undergraduate record
may have been undistinguished.
- The student has not been awarded a Bachelorís degree because he or she is cur-
rently enrolled in the final academic term.
A student who is admitted on a conditional basis may be required to take up to
12 term credit hours of coursework beyond the minimum 30 term credit hours
required for the Masterís degree. Although a necessary part of the studentís plan
of study, such extra courses are admission requirements and cannot be counted in
determining progress toward satisfaction of the minimum requirements for the
Masterís degree. Because they provide a connecting path between the studentís
previous work and the graduate coursework, these extra courses are termed articulation courses. When the articulation coursework has been completed with an
average grade of B (3.0 GPA) or better, the studentís admission classification is
changed from conditional to regular.
The minimum credit hour requirement for the Master’s degree in the Lyle School
of Engineering is 30 term credit hours beyond the baccalaureate, of which six term
credit hours may be in a thesis. Additional hours may be required depending on
the student’s background, objectives of the degree program and the demands of
Any student whose articulation into engineering or whose objective will require
more than 12 term credit hours of articulation courses will be denied admission
to the Graduate Division. Such students should enroll in additional undergraduate
courses until these deficiencies are removed. The major department should be
consulted for counseling information.
All Lyle School of Engineering coursework satisfying degree requirements must
be in graduate courses numbered 7000 and above.
All work for the Master’s degree must be completed no later than seven years
Students must complete any required articulation courses with a minimum GPA
Admission to candidacy is automatically achieved when the student has obtained
12 term credit hours with a minimum 3.0 GPA and that student has filed a degree
plan. A student who fails to achieve this standard of performance may be required to
take additional courses to satisfy the requirements of his or her degree plan and to
bring his or her GPA to 3.0 or better or may be asked to discontinue graduate study.
All work attempted for the Master’s degree must be completed with an overall
GPA of 3.0 or better. A grade of D obtained by a student will be figured into his
or her overall GPA, but cannot be applied to his or her degree plan.
The Graduate Division faculty expects its students to fully meet the rigorous
demands of its program. For many students, this will mean a weekly time investment averaging at least four hours for each term credit hour of graduate registration.
This figure derives from experience that shows that each hour of class work gener-
ates three hours of homework. Each student should bear this in mind in working
out a schedule of studies.
Students desiring special counseling concerning an appropriate study load should
consult their faculty adviser or the director of the Graduate Division.
All international students are required to be full-time students, taking nine to
12 term credit hours for each fall and spring term.
Part-time students are allowed to register for a maximum of six term credit
hours. Students are considered part-time if they hold a full-time job. Students who
have a grade of incomplete can register for a maximum of three term credit hours
until the incomplete grade is removed.
Articulation Course Requirements
A recent engineering graduate with an undergraduate GPA of approximately
3.0 or better and pursuing a Master’s program in the Bachelor’s degree field will
have few, if any, problems articulating into the Master’s program.
Engineering graduate students have a wide range of preparatory education,
industrial experience, age and academic objectives. It is often difficult to articulate
these highly variable factors when determining educational programs in engineer-
ing. As a result, a plan of study often includes a series of specific courses that
articulate an individual student’s previous education and experience into an estab-
lished educational program.
Students are required to complete these articulation courses, maintaining a
minimum 3.0 GPA. The student who fails to achieve this record is automatically
dropped from the graduate program, may not enroll in graduate courses and is
denied the right to petition for readmission.
Students who maintain the requisite minimum 3.0 GPA in these courses may
advance into the balance of their plan of study. As nearly as possible, these articulation courses should be completed before the courses in the balance of the plan
of study are attempted.
Major Department Requirement
The program in the major field usually amounts to at least 18 term credit hours
and may vary with the discipline. These include basic curriculum core courses, plus
electives in the particular area of interest to the student. In some disciplines, a thesis
may be required. The courses are drawn from the various offerings of the department
of the Lyle School of Engineering, as well as other departments of SMU outside the
school. Specific requirements in the individual areas of concentration may be obtained
from the appropriate department or the Graduate Division.
The Minor Requirement
Minor work must be in an area other than the major. This is usually associated
with six to 12 term credit hours of courses. In special cases, this requirement may
be modified, but only with the approval of the faculty adviser, the curriculum chair
and the associate dean.
When a thesis is not required by a department, the student seeking a Master’s
degree has the option of writing a thesis or of taking an equivalent number of term
credit hours of additional coursework.
The decision to choose the thesis option should be made by the student in con-
sultation with the adviser. In some cases, a student may require a thesis adviser
other than the faculty adviser. The associate dean, with the advice of the major
department chair, appoints the thesis adviser.
All Master’s degree candidates who present a thesis in partial fulfillment of
their degree requirements must pass a written and/or oral examination, administered
by an examining committee recommended by the major department chair and
appointed by the associate dean. The oral examination involves, largely, a defense
of the thesis, although questions may be asked in areas that relate to the student’s
program of study. At least three faculty members must participate in all examina-
tions, and one must be chosen from outside the major area to examine the student’s
general knowledge of the areas represented by the minor.
The thesis format must follow the University guidelines as indicated in the Guidelines for Preparation of Theses and Dissertations.
After successful completion of the thesis defense, the thesis director must sign the abstract original, and
all the faculty members attending the final examination must sign the half-title
page of the thesis. After the thesis has been checked and approved by the Lyle
School of Engineering examiner, the thesis is uploaded to the SMU/UMI thesis
submission website. One extra copy of the abstract signed by the adviser and one
copy of the original half-title page with signatures must be delivered to the office
of the director of Graduate Student Experience before the final examination period
in a regular term and before examinations in a summer term.
An announcement of all scheduled examinations must be sent to the associate
dean. Using the form provided for the purpose, the examining committee shall
report in writing to the associate dean not later than one week before the time for
conferring the degree whether all work has been completed in a satisfactory manner and whether, on the basis of the final examination, the student is recommended
for the desired degree. In no case may this examination be scheduled earlier than
six months before the degree is to be conferred.
The faculty adviser is appointed by the chair, subject to approval by the associate
dean. It is the adviserís responsibility to review and eventually approve the studentís
specific plan of study, to check on subsequent progress and to supervise the preparation of the thesis if one is required. It is the responsibility of the faculty adviser
to secure approval of the plan of study by the Graduate Division and to arrange
for the appointment of the final examination committee.
Once the plan of study is approved, it becomes the curriculum for the student,
and deviations are permitted only if the student obtains formal approval for the
change from the faculty adviser, department chair and associate dean. All such
approved changes are incorporated into the studentís plan of study and are placed
on file in the office of the associate dean.
A student with a GPA lower than 3.0 will be placed on probation, and his or her
record will be reviewed at the closing of each term. A student on probation for two
terms can be placed on suspension only to be readmitted by special approval from
the faculty adviser, department chair and associate dean. A student who does not
meet his or her suspension conditions in the allotted time stated at the time of
acceptance will be permanently suspended.
Generally, up to six term credit hours of graduate courses may be transferred
from an institution approved by the Graduate Division, provided that such courses
1) were completed in the five years prior to matriculation, 2) carried graduate
credit, 3) were not used to meet the requirements of an undergraduate degree and
4) earned grades of B- or higher.
Grades of courses transferred for credit are neither recorded nor used in comput-
ing GPAs. Acceptance of transfer credit requires approval of the studentís faculty
adviser, department chair and the associate dean.
The request to transfer credit must be made, using the appropriate forms, during
the term of matriculation to the Graduate Division. Usually, this is done at the time
the detailed plan of study is developed in consultation with the faculty adviser.
The plan of study must be filed with the Graduate Division during the term of
matriculation. Transfer of credit for courses that are taken at other institutions after
matriculation into the Graduate Division in the Lyle School of Engineering is not
normally permitted. Any deviations must be approved in writing by the adviser,
department chair and the associate dean prior to such action and will be granted
only under extenuating circumstances, as determined by each department.
Students who are currently enrolled in an SMU Lyle graduate program and who
are seeking a new Masterís degree from SMU Lyle must take a minimum of
18 term credit hours of Lyle graduate coursework for the new SMU Lyle Masterís
degree, and these hours will not be applied toward another SMU graduate degree.
In such cases, the Masterís degree will not be awarded until a minimum of 30 term
credit hours of graduate coursework has been completed at SMU.
Students who hold an SMU graduate degree and who are seeking a new Masterís
degree from SMU Lyle must take a minimum of 18 term credit hours of graduate
coursework for the new Masterís degree, and these hours must not have been applied
toward another SMU graduate degree.
Masterís degree programs in the Lyle School of Engineering also may be pursued
in areas that do not belong strictly to any department, but nevertheless are meaningful in terms of courses offered by the school and faculty expertise. These
programs are individually planned and follow relevant guidelines set forth in the
previous paragraphs. In such cases, any faculty member of the Lyle School of
Engineering may be assigned as the faculty adviser by the associate dean.
The 4+1 program permits the SMU-Lyle engineering student to study toward
B.S. and M.S. degrees simultaneously and with possibly fewer courses than if taken
separately. Up to nine term credit hours of graduate coursework can be applied
toward fulfilling the undergraduate degree requirements. In such cases, students
may fulfill both Bachelorís and Masterís degree requirements in as few as 21 term
credit hours beyond the Bachelorís coursework.
Because the graduate work is spread over two academic years, students have a
greater selection of courses in both their undergraduate and graduate studies and
are able to complete an M.S. thesis, if desired. The student must work closely with
his or her academic adviser to ensure that the requirements of the 4+1 program,
the B.S. degree and the M.S. degree are all met.
For students admitted to the 4+1 program, up to nine term credit hours of gradu-
ate courses (7000 level and above) may be applied toward fulfilling the studentís
undergraduate program requirements. The student must complete a minimum of
21 term credit hours of graduate coursework at SMU beyond the undergraduate
residency requirement to satisfy the graduate residency requirement. Any course-
work that overlaps for credit for both B.S. and M.S. degrees must be declared for
dual credit before the last day to add/drop of the term in which the course is taken
and must be taken at the graduate level.
For admission to the 4+1 program, the student must:
Bachelorís Degree Requirements
- Be enrolled in an undergraduate program in the Lyle School of Engineering.
- Have achieved junior-level status.
- Apply no later than one year prior to the time he or she would graduate with
a B.S. degree.
- Have an overall GPA of 3.0 or higher.
- Have three letters of recommendation, one from the studentís academic adviser
and two from other faculty members in the Lyle School of Engineering.
- Be accepted into the desired M.S. program.
All undergraduate degree requirements must be satisfied, with up to nine term
credit hours of graduate coursework applying toward the satisfaction of those
Masterís Degree Requirements
To receive a Masterís degree under the 4+1 program, the student must:
- Have a cumulative GPA of 3.0 in the M.S. degree coursework (including the
graduate coursework applied toward the satisfaction of those requirements).
- Satisfy all requirements for the Bachelorís and Masterís degrees. The Bachelorís degree requirements must be fulfilled prior to or at the same time as
the Masterís degree requirements.
The graduate co-op program is intended to allow for up to three terms of relevant
professional work experience to enhance the academic experience for graduate
students in the Lyle School of Engineering. The work experience must be related to
the studentís major area of study and is subject to these regulations:
- Students are eligible to apply for graduate co-op only after completion of the
- Students must be in good academic standing to be admitted to the co-op with
a minimum GPA of 3.0.
- Students must secure their own co-op position.
- Co-op positions must be full-time, and subsequent co-op positions must be
with the same employer.
- Students may not quit co-op assignments in midterm to seek a position with
a different employer.
- All paperwork must be completed prior to the deadline:
a. SMU graduate co-op application (requires adviser and department chair
b. Legal agreement between SMU and employer (requires supervisor and
SMU provost approval).
c. Curricular practical training request form for international students.
(CPT form requires adviser and department chair approval.)
d. Offer letter from employer stating beginning and ending dates, salary per
hour and job description on company letterhead and signed by supervisor.
The letter must also indicate that the position is full-time (40 hours per
e. Application deadline: All co-op paperwork for the work term is due by the
deadline set each term by the graduate co-op director, and the deadline
is approximately two weeks before the start of the term.
Note: The process to obtain an I-20 Certificate of Eligibility from English
for Internationals takes five business days after the co-op paperwork
has been completed.
- The duration of the co-op work term must coincide with the SMU academic
- Students must be enrolled in graduate co-op course SS 7099 while on co-op
- Students may take no more than three course hours (one course) during a
co-op work term, and only if the course is needed to graduate on time. The
course may be taken on campus or by distance learning.
- Students must complete a minimum of two, but no more than three, co-op
- Students may complete only spring/summer or summer/fall back-to-back
work terms. (Fall/spring and spring/fall back-to-back work terms are not
- Students must submit a report at the end of each work term, signed by the
studentís supervisor, academic adviser and department chair, no later than
two weeks after the end of the co-op work term.
- Students must read and become familiar with the graduate engineering co-op
Nondegree studies are subject to the following:
- A baccalaureate degree is required for admission.
- Admission to nondegree study requires the consent of the program director
who oversees the course(s) taken by the student.
- Students who apply to the Lyle School of Engineering graduate programs
after the deadline for admission may be offered the nondegree option to begin
- Students applying for nondegree study must submit an application, an appli-
cation fee of $75 and an official transcript from the institution that conferred
the studentís baccalaureate degree.
- Students may not take more than three courses on a nondegree status.
- Students on a nondegree study plan may apply to study toward a graduate
degree. All requirements for admission must be met. After a student is admit-
ted, he or she may petition to transfer the nondegree courses subject to approval
of the adviser, department chair and associate dean.
Tuition for nondegree students is the same as tuition for students who take the
course toward a degree.