Frequently Asked Questions
What are the ME-EM MS and PhD entrance requirements?
The ME-EM Department does not admit applicants based on any one number. We require the GRE Quantitative, GRE Verbal, and GRE Analytical Writing scores from international applicants and domestic applicants who did not receive a degree from Michigan Technological University. We also require the TOEFL or IELTS standardized exam scores from international applicants. We define international as being a country where English is not the native language. If educational instruction is in English, but the native language is not English, we still require the TOEFL or IELTS. We do not require the TOEFL or IELTS of graduates of universities in the US and we do not require the GRE from graduates of Michigan Technological University.
The ME-EM graduate program continues to be highly ranked among all PhD granting mechanical engineering programs in the US. It is a demanding degree program and we admit those applicants who we feel, based on the application, will be successful. We expect to see the GRE Quantitative score at or above the 80th percentile. Remember, the percentile scores are based on all takers of the GRE not just potential mechanical engineering graduate students. At the 80th percentile we try to correlate this score with performance in mathematics and mathematics-based classes in the undergraduate transcript to determine whether the applicant is weak in mathematics. This may be a reason for not admitting an applicant.
The following scores are averages for our admitted graduate students for Fall 2013. They should be used only for comparison.
GRE Quantitative New/Old
163 / 775 (approximately the 88th percentile)
GRE Verbal New/Old
153 / 500 (approximately the 62nd percentile)
GRE Analytical Writing
3.8 (approximately the 28th percentile)
Composite 100, Reading 26, Listening 25, Speaking 23, Writing 26
What are the degree requirements for the PhD?
The PhD degree is a research intensive degree requiring a total commitment on the part of the student. The degree program teaches the student how to perform independent research by doing it and upon completion of the PhD the student will have contributed to the body of knowledge in the technical field. Performing independent research includes keeping apprised of the latest research through journals, developing ideas for new research and contributing to funding proposals, investigating new ideas (often times without success), often working as part of a research team of students and faculty, helping to review journal submissions with the Advisor, and sometimes mentoring MS students on the research team. It is also expected that a PhD student will regularly publish archival research results in peer reviewed journals further demonstrating their contributions to the field.
Because the PhD is a research intensive degree requiring close collaboration and mentoring with a faculty advisor, a student who is applying to the program should have already identified potential advisors from among the ME-EM faculty. An applicant who has been admitted to the program should contact those faculty and begin to identify the faculty advisor prior to coming to Michigan Tech. It is not advisable to come into a PhD program without an advisor already identified and willing to work closely with the student. Establishing this relationship with the advisor is the first step in pursuing research funding support.
The PhD requires a minimum of 60 semester credits past the undergraduate degree or a minimum of 30 semester credits past the MS. These minima are a combination of course credits and research credits. It is expected that the undergraduate and/or MS degrees are in mechanical engineering or a related engineering or scientific field that has prepared the student for PhD-level work. An MBA, for example, would not prepare a student for PhD work in mechanical engineering. It is expected that the PhD student has knowledge in the field of mechanical engineering, or closely related technical field, at least at the MS level. This equivalency will be evaluated by the Director of Graduate Studies. The time to complete the degree is dependent on many factors. The PhD degree does not have any particular required courses (except 2 credits of MEEM6000 Graduate Seminar), and up to 10 course credits may be transferred into the program from other institutions. Depending on the research area and level of specific preparation, a PhD student will take courses required by the Advisor. A PhD student often graduates with more than the 60 or 30 semester credits required.
If the student is transferring to Michigan Tech from an MS program at another university, up to 1/3 of the letter-graded, non-research credits may be transferred into the ME-EM program with prior approval of the ME-EM Director of Graduate Studies and the Dean of the Graduate School. More information can be found on a number of web pages at http://www.mtu.edu/gradschool/.
There are two milestones during the PhD program. The first is the PhD Comprehensive Written Exam, which is offered twice per year. This written exam is intended to assess the student’s knowledge relevant to the research field. Detailed information can be found at http://www.mtu.edu/mechanical/graduate/advising/phd-requirements/. The second milestone is the PhD Comprehensive Oral Exam. This exam consists of the student preparing, presenting, and defending the PhD Research Proposal to their PhD Advisory Committee. More detailed information can be found at the previous link.
The student is awarded the PhD after successfully preparing and submitting, presenting, and publicly defending the written dissertation.
Can I enter the PhD program directly from the undergraduate program?
Yes, highly capable students can pursue the PhD degree directly from a successful undergraduate degree in mechanical engineering or closely related technical field. When such applications are received, we expect the undergraduate transcript to be excellent. The same requirements for the degree apply. Students in this situation often earn the MS “along the way” if they fulfill all of the requirements of one of the MS options. MS Plan B is a report option and ME-EM recognizes the preparation and public defense of the PhD Research Proposal as being equivalent to the MS Plan B report. Information on the MS Plan B Report Option can be found at http://www.mtu.edu/mechanical/graduate/advising/ms-requirements/.
What are the requirements and options for an MS?
The MSME or MSEM at Michigan Tech requires a minimum of 30 semester credits past the undergraduate degree in mechanical engineering or closely related field. If the student’s undergraduate degree is not in mechanical engineering, the student may be required to pass preparatory courses to be ready for graduate level work in mechanical engineering or engineering mechanics. The number and choice of these classes depends on each individual’s background. If the student is transferring to Michigan Tech from an MS program at another university, up to 1/3 of the letter-graded, non-research credits may be transferred into the ME-EM program with prior approval of the ME-EM Director of Graduate Studies and the Dean of the Graduate School. More information can be found on a number of web pages at http://www.mtu.edu/gradschool/.
There are two recommended options for the MS. Plan A is a coursework, research and thesis option and Plan D (Signature) is a coursework option. Both options result in the same MSME or MSEM degree. The Plan D option can be completed in 3 semesters of 10 credits each, or one calendar year. The Plan A typically takes 1.5 to 2 years of full time effort to complete, depending on the research progress and requires a faculty advisor to work with the student on the research. Specific requirements for each option can be found at http://www.mtu.edu/mechanical/graduate/advising/ms-requirements/.
What is the Signature MS degree?
The Signature MS degree (also noted as Plan D) is a coursework MS degree. The degree awarded is the MSME or MSEM and is identical to other MS degree options. The Signature option does not require the writing of the MS Thesis. Because the coursework MS can be completed in 3 semesters, it is the option completed by most of our MS students. This option also provides considerable flexibility to engage in an industrial co-op experience after the second full time semester.
After arriving at Michigan Tech, a student may choose to change the MS option. Many students switch between Plan A and Plan D early in their degree depending on many factors. Remember, a Plan A MS student must seek and obtain approval by a faculty member to serve as the Advisor.
What is the Accelerated MS?
The Accelerated MS program allows a graduate of the BSME in ME-EM to double-count up to 6 course credits from the BS degree toward the MS degree regardless of which MS option is being pursued. These 6 credits must satisfy the requirements of both the BSME and MSME and are typically technical elective credits. To enter the Accelerated MS an applicant must be accepted into the program prior to the BSME being awarded (the program is not retroactive) and the cumulative GPA at the time the applicant enters the MS program must be 3.25 or higher.
May I earn graduate degrees online?
Yes, ME-EM participates in Michigan Tech’s online learning program by offering both the MS and PhD degrees via online technologies only to students living and working within the US. Students who wish to pursue a graduate degree via online must apply under the same guidelines as other graduate students. However, we do not require the GRE for applicants who are working full time or who are seeking a graduate degree for a job or career change. However, all other elements of the application are required, including all prior transcripts. Because of costs involved, we recommend this degree option only for those students who will be sponsored. To support online course delivery technology, there is an additional per-credit Technology Fee associated with online courses. There will also be additional research credit fees to provide funds for faculty advisor travel, etc. More information may be found at http://www.mtu.edu/ets/techonline/getting-started/ .
Most online MS students who are working full time will pursue the Plan D coursework option by taking one course per semester. This is advised given other work and personal responsibilities. A degree pursued via online is subject to all the requirements of the on-campus MS Plan D (except for MEEM 6000 Graduate Seminar). This includes three credits of mathematics at the 4000-level or 5000-level. Courses are streamed over the Internet so a student can view them based on their schedule. Course exams must be proctored either within the corporate setting or many local libraries offer this service, sometimes at a small fee. It is the student’s responsibility to identify a proctor or location prior to enrolling in the course. This information must be forwarded to the Director of Graduate Studies and the course instructor prior to the beginning of the course or the student might be dropped from the course.
Those MS students wishing to pursue the thesis option must identify an ME-EM Advisor prior to beginning the program. The MS research requires considerable additional time of the Advisor and most likely travel to the student’s site where the research will be conducted. These costs are borne by a formal research agreement between the corporate sponsor and Michigan Tech or by additional research credit fees to pay for faculty travel, etc.. Other issues such as intellectual property rights are best negotiated prior to the start of the program. The thesis option requires 3 credits of mathematics subject to the conditions stated above. The thesis option also requires 2 credits of MEEM6000 Graduate Seminar, which is waived for online students. The 2 credits must be replaced with 2 credits of coursework (not research).
The PhD pursued via online technologies is a research intensive degree subject to the same rigor and requirements as on-campus PhD degrees. Because of the duration and extent of Advisor mentoring and participation, PhD degrees need to be sponsored by an employer under a formal funded research agreement that supports the Advisor’s time and travel, for example. These funds may also be provided by additional research credit fees. The online PhD degree does not have any required courses, however up to 10 letter-graded course credits may be transferred into the program from other institutions. See, What are the degree requirements for the PhD? above for details.
May I earn more than one MS degree?
Yes, if you are pursuing a MS or PhD degree in one department you may pursue a second MS in another department and may count up to 9 credits toward both degrees. Details may be found at http://www.mtu.edu/gradschool/administration/academics/policies-procedures/additional-masters/ .
Graduate Application, Review, and Acceptance
How do I apply to the ME-EM graduate program?
Graduate students at Michigan Tech are admitted to and by the Graduate School of Michigan Technological University upon the recommendation by the ME-EM Department. You apply online and at no cost at http://www.mtu.edu/gradschool/admissions/apply/forms/ and there is additional information located at http://www.mtu.edu/gradschool/. After all the required materials for the application are received in the Graduate School, the application packet is forwarded to ME-EM for review. The applications are generally reviewed in the order they are received in ME-EM but at times this process may be delayed if further communications with the applicant is desired or required. We receive many-hundreds of applications each year, particularly November-March for admittance for the following Fall term so at times the review process can be delayed.
When is the deadline for submitting an application?
We review applications throughout the year. We accept students to begin their degree each semester Fall, Spring, Summer. There are recommended deadlines by the Graduate School based on experience with I-20s and visas. It is best not to delay applying but the deadlines are mostly related to immigration procedures. We expect applications to be received at least one semester prior to starting the degree. For Fall semester, this means the application should be received during the prior Spring semester, for example January – April.
Can any of the application materials be sent electronically?
At present all application materials must be sent to the Graduate School in hardcopy including transcripts and letters of recommendation.
Can you accept me into the graduate program based on my CV?
No, while sending the CV to a potential faculty Advisor is often beneficial, the application must conform to the requirements found at http://www.mtu.edu/gradschool/admissions/international/ .
In the application, what is the Statement of Purpose?
The Statement of Purpose (SOP) is extremely useful for determining in which technical area you intend to focus your graduate studies. We do not have quotas in any technical area, but instead the SOP helps us identify how we might better serve our admitted students. The SOP should not duplicate information found in the CV and should not be a life history but instead should reinforce those skills and experiences that would make a faculty member want to be your Advisor. Try to be as specific as you can but certainly do not try to define a graduate project. Often a SOP states that an applicant wants to work in many areas of mechanical engineering. Faculty who review applications looking for qualified research assistantships will want to see that an applicant has focus in the faculty member’s technical area. When we receive outstanding applications, particularly at the PhD level, a summary of an applicant’s qualifications is sent to the ME-EM faculty noting the technical area of interest. This information is obtained from the SOP.
I received acceptance letters from both the ME-EM Department and the Graduate School, why?
You are accepted to both the Graduate School and the ME-EM Department. This is the reason for the two letters or emails.
If I am accepted, do I get financial support?
Acceptance to the Graduate School and ME-EM does not come with support. As the default you should plan on financially supporting your graduate education yourself. There is sometimes a misconception that universities pay students to earn graduate degrees. This is typically not the case. Michigan Tech is supported by Michigan taxpayers, Michigan Tech student tuition and fees, external research funding secured by faculty and staff, and by private donations so support is sometimes provided in the form of an Assistantship in return for work performed. An Assistantship is graduate student employment which is awarded to the most qualified student to do the work, whether it is teaching or research. Acceptance into the graduate program is based on your academic qualifications alone.
What are the types of financial support?
While acceptance is independent of financial support, there are four ways a student can pay for their graduate education. The first is by self support, paying “out of pocket”. Many MS students support their education, which is what makes the one-year coursework Signature MS an attractive option.
The second method is by being hired as a Graduate Teaching Assistant-GTA (see below). The third is by being hired as a Graduate Research Assistant-GRA (see below), and the fourth is through an external fellowship (see below). GTAs and GRAs are student employees of Michigan Tech. These positions are based on needs and available resources, the same as any employment. Employees of a company are not hired based on a CV alone, so neither are GTAs or GRAs. If you are thinking about a GTA or GRA, it is important to ask yourself, “what qualifications do I have to teach or perform graduate research? Am I knowledgeable of the US university teaching methods and am I significantly more technically competent than those I will teach? How am I qualified to contribute to research?"
What is a Graduate Teaching Assistantship (GTA) and how might I be hired?
A GTA is a job with demanding responsibilities. In ME-EM, course lectures are taught by faculty or, on occasion, a PhD Teaching Fellow. ME-EM is committed to maintain the highest level of mechanical engineering education. Many courses have a laboratory with multiple lab sections. These sections are most often taught and supervised by a GTA. Funding for GTAs is provided by the university to support the university’s educational mission. Because there are a set number of laboratory sections, and therefore a fixed amount of funds, the number of GTAs is limited. In addition, there are fewer courses taught during the Summer term that require a GTA so rarely are GTAs funded during the summer. A student must pass the University SPEAK test and complete the course ED5100 prior to working as a GTA. A GTA should expect to devote approximately 20 hours per week toward the GTA duties and must remain in good academic standing. GTAs must maintain full time status and are subject to student teaching evaluations the same as teaching faculty. Low evaluations may be cause for termination of a GTA position. In return you are paid a stipend (salary) and most of your tuition and fees. There are times when a student is employed as a ½-time GTA. In this situation, the student can choose to have ½ stipend and ½ tuition and most fees paid, or the student may choose to have no stipend but full tuition and most fees paid.
What is a Graduate Research Assistantship (GRA) and how might I be hired?
A Graduate Research Assistantship (GRA) is provided by an individual faculty member in return for work on externally funded research grants, contracts, and projects. It is payment in return for work to fulfill the obligations of the grant or contract to the research sponsor. Faculty members invest considerable effort to compete for research funding from federal, corporate, and private sources. When they obtain that funding they are obligated to conduct the research outlined in the proposal. To fulfill these obligations, faculty will hire the most qualified graduate student(s). Sometimes this is based on the application and considerable follow-up communications and phone calls to the applicant. Sometimes this is based on personal observations of highly motivated and successful students in a faculty member’s class after you arrive. Sometimes this is based on a student’s initiative to learn the technical area beyond that in the classroom. Similar to a company, a faculty member will award a position to a highly qualified and highly motivated graduate student. The applicant’s Statement of Purpose helps faculty search for potential GRAs in their research area.
The amount of time and work required of a GRA is based on the required research. This is an aspect somewhat unique to graduate education, particularly at the PhD level. There is no schedule whereby research breakthroughs are made. They are achieved through long hours of effort, motivation, insight, and inquiry. A GRA is most often more than a 40-hour per week job. In return you are paid a stipend (salary) and most of your tuition and fees are also paid by the research grant or contract. GRA support can be for less than full time.
What other financial support opportunities are there other than a GRA or GTA?
There are a number of US federal fellowship opportunities that may be restricted to US citizens or Residents. These include the National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowships, the Department of Defense SMART Scholarships, etc. A web search will show many of these opportunities that are available to graduate students in both MS and PhD programs. These fellowships are highly competitive and the applications should be prepared in close collaboration with your degree Advisor and the Michigan Tech Graduate School.
Before You Arrive
How do I access MTU email and web pages?
When you are admitted, you will receive an email username and an M-number. These are necessary and are referred to as your ISO Username and Password. The M-number is your temporary password and must be changed at your first login. It is important that you read and follow the guidelines and restrictions for account access and use at http://www.mtu.edu/dean/conduct/policy/computer/ .
How do I get the I-20 and how long does it take?
The Graduate School issues the I-20. Often the I-20 is sent with your acceptance letter. However, if you are not supported as a GTA or GRA and you haven’t provided ‘official proof of funds’ then the I-20 is delayed until receipt of that proof. When the necessary documents are received, the I-20 can be issued quickly (in a couple of days). The I-20 is normally sent through the US Postal Service which takes 2 or 3 weeks for international destinations (or longer in some cases).
Where do I live?
There are several housing options available both on and off campus. Students live in Michigan Tech dormitories, however graduate students may prefer to live in Daniell Heights. Information can be found at http://www.mtu.edu/housing/ and http://www.mtu.edu/housing/apartments/welcome/ . Students may also live off-campus in a private rental apartment or house. Although Michigan Tech does not sanction these accommodations, many students live off campus. A resource for this information can be found at www.barkboard.mtu.edu which requires username and password access. There is also housing information located at http://www.aux.mtu.edu/usghousing/index.php?p=search .
Houghton is a small town and if you live near the university you are within walking distance of food stores, a pharmacy, and downtown Houghton. There are several major department stores that are not within easy walking distance however the City of Houghton has an inexpensive bus service with regular routes and hours and serves the Michigan Tech campus and community. More information can be found at http://www.cityofhoughton.com/info-transit.php .
Can I register for classes before I arrive?
Before you arrive, it is recommended that you register for courses that you are sure you want to take. At a minimum, all new graduate students should register for MEEM6000 – Graduate Seminar before you arrive. It is a one credit course. More importantly, registering for this course classifies you as a registered graduate student which gives you an additional week after you arrive to drop and add classes without incurring a late fee. Unless you are a registered graduate student prior to orientation week, you may be assessed a late fee after you arrive and register.
Once you arrive on campus you can meet with the Director of Graduate Studies or your Advisor for assistance with course selection and adding and dropping courses.
Course offerings are available at https://www.banweb.mtu.edu/pls/owa/bzskfcls.p_sel_crse_search and also show the number of students enrolled in each section. A section that is over-enrolled is not available for early registration. Note that only 4000, 5000, and 6000-level courses are counted toward a graduate degree, subject to the requirements of that degree detailed in “Entrance Requirements, Degree Options, and General Degree Information” above. To the left of each course number is a CRN (Course Registration Number) which is unique for each course and section and is used for registration. The CRN also links to the course description for details.
When should I plan on arriving at Michigan Tech?
New graduate students are REQUIRED to participate in formal orientation sessions with the dates set each year depending on when classes start, but these are always the week prior to the start of classes. During orientation there are required sessions and documents that must be completed or a student can be dropped from the degree program. These sessions include, but are not limited to: safety; computer use policies; responsible conduct of research; academic integrity and misconduct, as well as others. Several of these sessions are required by the US government for Michigan Tech to be able to receive federal research funds. Therefore, orientation is required of ALL new graduate students, there are no exceptions. If you do not complete orientation sessions, you will not be permitted to register the following semester. More information can be found at http://www.mtu.edu/gradschool/admissions/orientation/. In addition to university orientation sessions, the ME-EM department also holds two required orientation sessions typically on Monday and Tuesday of orientation week. You will receive the schedule when you check-in at the ME-EM office.
What happens if my arrival is delayed?
On rare occasion a student may be delayed arriving at Michigan Tech for several reasons, including travel delays or visa delays. Students should plan on arriving sufficiently early so that any normally expected travel delays of a day or two will still result in arrival with time for settling into your living space and attending orientation. There have been instances when a student has been delayed longer. The first week of class of each semester is termed the “add-drop week”. Although classes are in session and students are responsible for class attendance and assignments, students can alter their course enrollment by dropping enrolled courses and/or adding courses in which they were not enrolled. This means a delayed student can still enroll in courses during the first week of classes http://www.mtu.edu/registrar/students/registration/ . If you will be significantly delayed to the point that it is not possible to be successful in your courses, it may be necessary to delay your arrival. Michigan Tech will work with you to help secure a revised I-20 if required. If you are delayed, you are still responsible for completing the requirements of orientation. Failure to do so will result in you not being permitted to register the following semester. If you are excessively delayed (one week during the Fall and Spring semesters) it is in your best interest to defer the start to the next semester. Depending on the circumstances, ME-EM and the Graduate School may enforce this in your academic best interest.
What are the transportation options for travel to Michigan Tech?
Michigan Tech, Houghton, and the surrounding areas are served by the Houghton County Memorial Airport, often referred to as “Hancock” by airlines. The airport designator is CMX and is currently served by Sky West Airlines, an affiliate of United Airlines via Chicago O’Hare (ORD). It is important to not confuse Houghton, MI with Houghton Lake, MI which is located in lower-Michigan quite a distance away. Simply remember CMX is the correct airport code. We are served by two jet flights per day. For more information about travel to Houghton, see http://www.mtu.edu/international/newly-admitted/travel/ . Please note the bottom of this web page that Michigan Tech will greet you and transport you from the airport with proper, prior notification.
Bus Lines - Indian Trails website 800-292-3831
After You Arrive
How can I get from the airport to campus?
See http://www.mtu.edu/international/newly-admitted/travel/ . Please note at the bottom of this web page that Michigan Tech will greet you at the airport and transport you from the airport to Houghton with proper and prior notification.
Is there new student orientation?
See “When should I plan on arriving at Michigan Tech?” above.
In addition to moving into my residence, what are the first things I need to do after arrival?
Visit the ME-EM Graduate Administrative Assistant, JoAnne Stimac, in MEEM815 to let us know of your arrival. Register for courses. Attend all applicable orientation sessions. Open a checking account at a local bank. Explore the campus and community. Begin networking with other students. Note, during orientation week faculty are also extremely busy preparing for the semester so keep appointments to a minimum and only those that are required to begin classes and/or research.
Can I get advice in selecting courses?
Unless you have identified and arranged for an Advisor prior to your arrival (normal for new graduate students on a GRA) the Director of Graduate Studies (DGS) will serve as your temporary advisor. Or if you are pursuing the coursework Signature MS then the DGS serves as your permanent Advisor. As your temporary Advisor, the DGS will meet with each new graduate student to more fully explain the degree requirements and suggest courses based on the student’s stated area(s) of interest. It is important for the student to have a proposed course schedule for the first semester to keep meeting time to a minimum since many new students are served.
The DGS requests that each student create a proposed plan of study for the first semester on campus that comprises a minimum of 9 semester credits (the minimum required to be full time for all international students or supported students). The study plan can be created after looking at the course offerings for the first semester at https://www.banweb.mtu.edu/pls/owa/bzskfcls.p_sel_crse_search . If you are certain of courses that you want to pursue, you may register before you arrive. If you do register before you arrive, be sure to bring that information with you when you meet the DGS. More detailed registration information can be found at http://www.mtu.edu/registrar/students/registration/ .
If I am employed, how do I obtain a Social Security Number and how long does it take before I receive a paycheck?
Before applying for a Social Security Number (SSN), an international student must wait 10 business days after first visiting Michigan Tech’s International Programs and Services (IPS) and IPS reports the students' arrival. The IPS policy is to report the student’s arrival on the last day a student may add a course, which is the end of the first week of classes for that semester.
To obtain a SSN, the following steps must be taken.
1. Bring your passport and I-20 to Jo Anne Stimac in MEEM815. The ME-EM Department will create a letter confirming employment.
2. Take the employment letter to International Programs and Services.
3. After 10 business days visit IPS to pick up their offer of support employment letter.
4. Take the IPS letter and the original ME-EM offer letter, your passport, and the I-20, to the Social Security Administration office located off-campus at 902 Razorback Drive in Houghton.
5. The Social Security Administration office will give you a letter stating that you have applied for a SSN. Bring that letter to Jo Anne Stimac in ME-EM.
6. Your card may take two or more weeks after visiting the Social Security Administration office to arrive at your Houghton address. Once your card arrives bring it to Jo Anne as soon as possible and she will send a copy to MTU Payroll Services.
Due to this involved process, a supported student should have adequate funds to live at least 5 – 6 weeks. Your financial support may take that long before it is released. The I-9 (Work Authorization) is required to be completed before you are paid. The supported student will receive all the support promised but not until a copy of the social security card is in Payroll Services.
How can I pay my tuition bill from off site?
Instructions and options on how to pay are at the International Programs and Services website at http://www.mtu.edu/international/newly-admitted/ .
What is it like to be a ME-EM graduate student and what are recommendations for success?
The ME-EM graduate program is highly regarded and highly ranked by our peers, our graduates, and our employment recruiters. Your degree program will be highly demanding of your time and focus. As a graduate student you will be required to work harder than you did as an undergraduate student. You will take fewer credits per semester than you did as an undergraduate student but you will be expected to do much more work outside of class. We expect graduate students to be self-motivated and to learn how to work more independently yet sometimes be a member of a team.
We regard academic integrity among the highest ideals of scholars. In assignments it is imperative that you understand and follow instructions about when it is permissible to conduct assignments as part of a group. It is safe to assume that each assignment must be worked individually unless the instructor clearly states otherwise. If in doubt, ask. Academic misconduct can result in dismissal from the university.
We are a large and dynamic department with more than 1100 undergraduate students and 300 graduate students. You will have the opportunity to work with many diverse students from whom you can learn many things. Take advantage of these opportunities.
There is no formula for success except perhaps the thought that the only place where “success” precedes “work” is in the English dictionary. Remain focused on your goal because you may be faced with many distractions. However, you must occasionally take time to engage in enjoyable activities outside your degree program. Michigan Tech and the Houghton community offer many such opportunities throughout the year.
Will I be assigned a graduate advisor?
Unless you have arranged for an Advisor prior to arriving at Michigan Tech, the Director of Graduate Studies will serve as your temporary advisor to help with course selection, etc. If you are a coursework Signature MS student, the Director of Graduate Studies will serve as your permanent advisor. These are the only circumstances where you are assigned an Advisor.
MS Thesis Option and PhD students are responsible for seeking an Advisor. This is normally accomplished prior to coming to Michigan Tech or occasionally during the first semester. The faculty Advisor must consent to this relationship so it requires good communication and the ability to help the Advisor with their research. The Advisor and student will work together closely during the degree program so it is essential that the student chooses wisely. The Advisor is someone who is an expert in the student’s area of interest, who is a member of the Graduate Faculty, who has the time and other resources to serve as the Advisor, and who will be an advocate for the student’s graduate success.
What are the credit enrollment requirements?
International students and all students on university support must be enrolled full time. This is a minimum of 9 semester credits each of the Fall and Spring terms. One credit during the Summer term is considered full time enrollment. However, if you are receiving assistantship support, you must enroll for at least 1 credit. It is possible to take fewer than 9 credits during your final semester if all other requirements for the degree have been met. You must be enrolled during the final semester of the degree.
Can I participate in a co-op or internship during my degree?
We regard internships and co-ops as two distinct activities that have differing requirements. An internship is when a student temporarily breaks ties with Michigan Tech and works at a company. The student has no direct ties to Michigan Tech and is not enrolled as a student during that time. This is likely not possible for international students unless they return to their home country. What is much more common is called a co-op (co-operative work experience) where the student enrolls for one UN5000 credit each semester during the work experience. This one credit maintains full time enrollment status. An international student must have completed a minimum of two full time semesters of study before being eligible for a co-op. All co-op and other corporate-student work relationships are handled through Michigan Tech Career Services. More information can be found at http://www.mtu.edu/career/ . Any questions or advice regarding international student status and requirements can be found at http://www.mtu.edu/international/ . Engaging in a co-op the final semester to extend CPT is unacceptable and may not be approved. Co-op is regarded as an academic experience that can be brought back to campus and not an OPT-type work experience.
Can I begin working toward a graduate degree while still an undergraduate at MTU?
Yes, under Michigan Tech’s Senior Rule you may begin taking courses toward your graduate degree during your senior year of undergraduate study at Michigan Tech . The courses taken and applied toward the graduate degree must conform to the course requirements for the graduate degree and no course may, at present, be counted toward more than one degree. Additional information can be found at http://www.mtu.edu/registrar/students/registration/policies/senior-rule/ .
How many students are enrolled at MTU and in ME-EM?
The total student enrollment of Michigan Technological University is about 7,000 with detailed metrics found at http://www.mtu.edu/stratplan/dashboard/ . The ME-EM Department has more than 1,100 undergraduate and 300 graduate students enrolled. These include on-campus, online, and co-op students. ME-EM is the largest department at Michigan Tech with faculty and staff totaling more than 65. With this size, one in five students at Michigan Tech is in ME-EM.
What is it like to live in Houghton?
Houghton is the home of Michigan Technological University. Houghton is a small town with a population of less than 10,000 residents. It is closely linked to Hancock, Michigan and surrounding small communities in what is referred to as “the Copper Country”. The history of the region is based on the mining of copper and other minerals during the 1800’s and 1900’s. Mining is no longer a part of the local economy but our mining heritage is pervasive. Houghton is in the US Eastern Time zone.
Being a small town, the university is a 10-15 minute walk from most businesses and many rental properties in or near the downtown area. Other businesses within Houghton are located farther away and there is public bus service. More information is located at http://www.cityofhoughton.com/ and http://www.mtu.edu/community/ and http://www.mtu.edu/campus/ .
Houghton is located in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan on the south shore of Lake Superior which is 10% of the Earth’s fresh water and the world's largest freshwater lake based on surface area. Our weather is largely regulated by the presence of Lake Superior. Our summers are pleasant and generally dry with the highest average-high temperature of 78°F (26°C) with plenty of clear skies. When residents of other nearby regions are sweltering in the summer heat and humidity, the Copper Country is typically pleasant. We will normally get perhaps one week of 90F (32°C) heat during the summer but a short 15 minutes away is the shore of Lake Superior. Outdoor opportunities abound including camping, hiking, cycling, fishing, boating, etc. Being far north and in the Eastern Time zone, daylight typically extends far into the late evening during summer.
Winters are snowy! Cold dry air from Canada sweeps across the Lake picking up moisture and then depositing it over the Upper Peninsula. Our regional annual snowfall is typically 200 to 260 inches (5 to 6.6 meters) but that does not stop anything. Residents and communities are well prepared to handle this winter gift. Winter outdoor opportunities include downhill and cross country skiing, snowboarding, snowshoeing, snowmobiling, etc. Winter skies are typically cloudy but it is not as cold as nearby areas away from the Lake. Our winters are moderate with a typical high temperature in the low 20’s°F (-6°C) when other areas are 0F to -30°F (-18°C to -34°C). The very dry winter air also adds to the “warmer” feel since the air has a low specific heat (hey, we’re MEs here!).
What other online information is available?
The Michigan Tech Graduate School maintains many information web pages including:
1. We have six seminars available online that come with handouts, helpful links, and streaming video. See: http://www.mtu.edu/gradschool/administration/academics/resources/ for the following seminars:
- An Introduction to Copyright
- An Introduction to EndNote
- An Office Full of Tips
- Submitting your Thesis or Dissertation to the Graduate School
- An Introduction to Adobe Acrobat
- An Introduction to External Funding
2. The Graduate School blog answers some of the most common 'how to' questions that students ask us. These blog posts are fully illustrated with screen shots. Send me ideas for future posts, as we are working hard to develop content in this area:
3. Our FAQ section also answers some of the most common questions students have regarding admissions, theses and dissertations, or copyright in a thesis or dissertation:
4. The 'Resources for Students (Current)' page gathers a number of pages from our site in one place for students to reference:
The Michigan Tech Office of International Programs and Services maintains information web pages at http://www.mtu.edu/international/newly-admitted/ .