University of Minnesota
University of Minnesota: Department of Mechanical Engineering

Frequently Asked Questions

1. How do I apply for graduate studies in Mechanical Engineering?
The University of Minnesota only accepts applications online through ApplyYourself. Complete instructions are located here.

2. What can I do to prepare for applying to the University of Minnesota?

We encourage you to begin early in order to prepare all the documents needed to support your application.

1. Register and practice for the Graduate Record Examination (GRE).            
2. Obtain unofficial copies of your academic transcripts.
3. Contact three of your professors regarding letters of recommendation.
4. If required, take either the TOEFL or IELTS. It is the University of Minnesota policy that non-native speakers of English must have an English Language Proficiency (ELP) rating in order to be considered eligible for a teaching assistantship.
5. Write the required application statement(s).

3. How do I determine my ELP if I am a non-native speaker of English?
ELPs are determined by your score on one of the following assessments:

  1. Internet-based TOEFL (speaking subscore)
  2. SETTA (Spoken English Test for Teaching Assistants)
  3. Final exam taken after coursework in the International TA Program

The ME department requires all Graduate Teaching Assistants to have an ELP of 1 or 2
English Language Proficiency ratings
Learn more about SETTA

4. Can I have my application evaluated without paying the fee?
No, the fee must be paid before an application will be processed.

5. What should I write in my personal statement?
The personal statement should describe succinctly your reasons for applying to the proposed program at the University of Minnesota, your preparation for this field of study, academic and research interests, future career plans, and other pertinent aspects of your background and interests. You should include at the bottom of the statement three areas (or less) of interest from the following:

The Personal Statement and all other statements can be completed at ApplyYourself.

6. On the online application it asks for more than one statement do I need to complete all of them?
You only need to complete the personal statement.

7. What are the minimum requirements to be considered for admission to a graduate program in Mechanical Engineering?
We admit students based on the strength of the application pool, which is always highly competitive.

8. What are my chances of being admitted to the Department of Mechanical Engineering?
Due to the large volume of applications and inquiries we receive during each admissions cycle, we cannot evaluate the potential success of each applicant. Admissions decisions can only be made by the admissions committee after an application, including all supporting documents, is complete.

9. Does Mechanical Engineering admit applicants for the spring semester?
We admit graduate students for FALL SEMESTER ONLY. Only under unusual circumstances will students be allowed to begin their studies at another time during the academic year.

10. Does the Department of Mechanical Engineering require that I calculate and list my grade-point average (GPA) on the application?
For applicants who received their undergraduate degree at a U.S. university or college, calculate the GPA using all course work. Applicants who received their undergraduate degree outside the U.S. should not convert their grades to the U.S. scale. We are familiar with grading scales from around the world and will evaluate your transcript based on your country’s grade scale. Please list your GPA on the application reflecting the grade base of your school.

11. How many letters of recommendation are required?
Three letters of recommendation are required for both the Ph.D. and M.S. programs.

12. Do I need to submit a financial certification form with my application?
If you are accepted, we will inform you of the information we need and send you the necessary forms. Do not send financial statements in advance.

13. Can I apply to the Ph.D. program directly?
You may apply directly to the Ph.D. If you plan to pursue a Ph.D., we encourage you to apply directly to the Ph.D. program. In this case you will automatically be eligible for the M.S. degree. Applicants who already hold an M.S. degree from another institution should apply directly to the Ph.D. program.

14. Does the Department require a GRE subject test?
The General GRE Test consisting of the verbal, analytical and quantitative sections is required. No subject test is needed to apply for graduate study in Mechanical Engineering.

15. Do I need to report my official GRE or TOEFL scores?
ETS does not send TOEFL scores to the department. This is why we require you to upload them along with your GRE scores within your application. If you do not have an official copy of your scores take a screen shot of your scores that are available online and simply include them in your Transcript PDF. If you are admitted you will need to supply official scores to the Graduate School Admissions Office, but not to the department.

16. What is the minimum TOEFL score needed in order to be considered for admission?
The minimum TOEFL score required by the University of Minnesota for graduate admission is 79. Applicants with a score below this value will not be admitted. If you wish to be considered for a TA position you must have a minimum score of 23 on the speaking section.

17. What is the minimum IELTS score needed in order to be considered for admission?
The minimum IELTS score required by the University of Minnesota for graduate admission is a 6.5.

18. Will I be notified when my application has been submitted or is complete?
The Graduate School Admissions Office will send you a confirmation email after your online application is submitted. Once the Graduate School Admissions Office forwards your application to our department you will receive an email if any materials are missing. It is the responsibility of the applicant to ensure that the application is submitted and all supporting documents are received by the Department of Mechanical Engineering by the appropriate deadline.

19. When will I be notified whether I have been admitted?
We will start notifying applicants in early February and continue to do so until the admissions committee has made all of their decisions. All applicants are notified by e-mail. If your application is successful, the Department will notify you that you have been recommended for admission.

20. Who do I contact if I would like know the status of my application?
You may contact the department at Please do not contact the Graduate School Admissions Office.

21. How do I accept or decline your offer of admission?
Applicants receiving an offer of admission will also receive from the Graduate School Admissions Office a request to complete an Enrollment Form. Once the Enrollment Form is complete you will be eligible to register for classes. We appreciate notification via email as well.

22. How do I apply for Financial Support?
Anyone who applies by the Dec. 15th deadline is automatically considered for financial assistance. All materials on the application page must be on file by Dec. 15th to be considered.

23. Why does my Application status show as incomplete if I submitted everything to the department?
The online application status is through the Graduate School not the department. You will need to contact the Graduate School Admissions Office regarding the status of your application.

24. Should I contact faculty for research openings before I am admitted?
No, research openings are only offered to students who have been admitted. Please wait until you have been officially accepted and have completed the enrollment form before contacting faculty.