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Columbia University

Department of Mechanical Engineering

New York, NY


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Columbia University


A Globally Recognized Center for Research and Learning

Columbia University's Department of Mechanical Engineering is part of The Fu Foundation School of Engineering and Applied Science, originally founded in 1864 as the School of Mines at Columbia College. Today, Columbia's engineering school is a world leader in patents and counts among its patent holdings the MPEG-2 technology that underpins high-definition television. Within the mechanical engineering department, the faculty members lead research on robotics, nanotechnology, energy systems, biomechanics, and other interdisciplinary topics.

Despite the school's high profile and full slate of research, the mechanical engineering graduate program stands out for its low faculty member-to-student ratio of 15 to 1, giving students an opportunity to take meaningful roles in the department's research, academic competitions, and classroom life. Overall, the School of Engineering and Applied Science enrolls some 2,800 graduate students, out of an overall Columbia University student body of approximately 29,000 undergraduate, graduate, and medical students.

Traditional Master's and Doctoral Degree Programs

Students who want to earn master's degree in mechanical engineering can choose among the standard track and 3 elective specializations, the focus in Energy Systems, Robotics and Control, and Micro/Nanoscale Engineering specializations, with coursework approved by an adviser and advisory committee. 

The Mechanical Engineering Department offers 2 doctoral degree options for post-graduate students: the Doctor of Engineering Science (Eng.Sc.D.) degree program and the Doctor of Philosophy in Mechanical Engineering (Ph.D.) degree program. Both programs offer opportunities for students to become experts within the discipline of mechanical engineering.

Distance Learning and Professional Degree Options

Students anywhere in the world can pursue master's degrees in mechanical engineering through Columbia's distance-learning program, the Columbia Video Network. Classes in the distance learning graduate program are tailored to the student's interests, on topics such as robotics, fluid dynamics, controls, and other graduate-level topics. Prospective students must apply to Columbia's Graduate Engineering Distance Learning Program.

Express Admission and Simultaneous B.S. and M.S. Choices

The Mechanical Engineering Department's Master of Science (M.S.) degree program Express option allows current Columbia Bachelor of Science degree program and Barnard College students with qualifying GPA to transition into the master's degree program without taking the GRE or TOEFL. This program allows students to do specific long-term course planning, take graduate program courses as seniors, and apply summer research projects credits toward the master's degree program, in consultation with adviser.

Integrated BS/MS Program in Mechanical Engineering

This BS leading to MS program is open to a select group of Columbia Juniors. Upon admission into the program, students will work closely with their faculty advisor to synthesize a 2 year program plan that integrates up to 6pts of 4000 level coursework that simultaneously fulfills half of their BS technical elective requirement. This effectively reduces the MS program requirement to 24pts.

Faculty-Run Laboratories with Global and Local Impact

The mechanical engineering department hosts more than a dozen labs run by faculty members. The Sustainable Engineering Lab, part of Columbia's Earth Institute, collaborates with governments, NGOs, industry, and other universities to run energy, irrigation, and public health projects in countries throughout the developing world.

The Robotics and Rehabilitation Lab works with Columbia's medical campus to develop robotic arm and leg exoskeletons for stroke patients with loss of limb control, robotic carts for mobility-impaired infants and toddlers, and tactile feedback shoes for Parkinsons patients.

Research led by the Musculoskeletal Biomechanics Laboratory, a joint effort of the mechanical and biomedical engineering departments, studies cartilage and cellular mechanics as well as cartilage tissue engineering.

Biomechanics and Soft-Tissue Mechanics Research

Faculty member biomechanics research covers topics such as the electromechanical behavior of cartilage, cervical structure and function changes during pregnancy, the molecular mechanics of stem-cell differentiation, and clinical inquiries into the role of biomechanics in disease.

Control, Design, Robotics, and Manufacturing Research

The mechanical engineering department conducts diverse robotics, control, and design research on topics from assisted movement for mobility-impaired patients to earthquake damage assessment and laser micromachining processes for industrial manufacturing.

Research into Electromechanical Systems and Nanotechnology

Micro-electromechanical Systems (MEMS) and nanotechnology projects led by mechanical engineering faculty members cover topics such as graphene and other two dimensional materials, microcantilever dynamics, carbon nanotube synthesis, and nanoscale bioimaging, among many others

Bioengineering and Biomechanics Research

Columbia's Department of Mechanical Engineering is known for its research into the mechanics of cartilage and joint function. Other lines in inquiry include techniques for the creation of biofunctional nanoarrays with possible regenerative medicine applications, stem-cell differentiation research, and the potential monitoring of glucose via implantable microelectromechanical systems.

Energy, Fluid Mechanics, and Heat Transfer Research

Studies of energy, heat transfer, and fluid mechanics by mechanical engineering faculty members cover topics that impact the environment, such as the removal of carbon dioxide from the air, and tribology topics including performance improvements to power generation equipment.

Access to Interdisciplinary Labs and Research Opportunities

Columbia University's mechanical engineering faculty members and students work within the School of Engineering and Applied Science and with other schools to apply engineering to medicine, nanotechnology, materials research, and global climate study. The department has ongoing collaborations with Columbia University Medical Center as well as with the Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory on the Hudson River, run by Columbia's Earth Institute. Other mechanical engineering interdisciplinary projects involve the Nanoscale Science and Engineering Center and the Materials Research Science and Engineering Center, both run by Columbia's Center for Integrated Science and Engineering.

Extensive Graduate Student Financial Aid

Graduate students in mechanical engineering can apply for School of Engineering and Applied Science Fellowships that provide funding, research and networking opportunities, and academic prestige. These fellowships include Presidential Distinguished Fellowships; Graduate Minorities in Engineering Fellowships for students of African-American, Hispanic-American, and Native-American heritage; and Special Fellowships for engineering graduate students.

Columbia also offers several National Science Foundation-funded Integrative Graduate Education and Research Training Fellowships for multidisciplinary research and study in fields such as: information technology, urban infrastructure, multiscale phenomena in soft materials, and biological systems sensing and imaging.

The Columbia Comprehensive Educational Financing Plan pulls together public and private funding sources, lines of credit, payment plans, and other services in conjunction with carefully vetted financial service providers.

A College Steeped in History and Rich in Resources

Columbia University in the City of New York, founded in 1754, is currently ranked 4th among national universities by "U.S. News and World Report." "The Princeton Review" lists Columbia as a Best Value Private College and rates its library 1st among American universities. The school also stands out for its socioeconomic diversity and its location in Manhattan's Morningside Heights neighborhood. Notable Columbia alumni include President Barack Obama, former secretary of state Madeleine Albright, and evolutionary biologist Stephen Jay Gould, along with more than 40 Nobel Prize recipients.

Degrees & Awards

Degrees Offered

Degree Concentration Sub-concentration
Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)
Doctor of Engineering Science (Eng Sc D)
Master of Science (MS)

Earning Your Degree

Part-time study available? Yes
Evening/weekend programs available? No
Distance learning programs available? Yes
Terminal master's degree available? Yes

Degree Requirements

Degree Requirement
Doctoral Degrees Entrance Exam GRE General Test
Thesis Required
Qualifying exam



Application Fee - Domestic
applications accepted?

Application Deadlines

Type Domestic International Priority date
Fall deadline December 15th December 15th Yes
Spring deadline October 1st October 1st Yes

Entrance Requirements

Exam Details
Master's Degree Exam GRE General Test
Master's Degree Requirements Minimum GPA of 3.3
Doctoral Degree Exam GRE General Test

International Students

Exam Details
TOEFL: Required
IELTS: Required

Tuition & Fees

Calculator icon

Financial Support

Financial award applicants must submit: FAFSA
Application deadlines for financial awards December 15


Focus of faculty research: Biomechanics and soft tissue mechanics; control, design, robotics, and manufacturing; energy, fluid mechanics, and heat transfer; micro-electromechanical systems and nanotechnology; bioengineering and biomechanics
Externally sponsored research expenditures last year: 0

Location & Contact

Address 116th Street and Broadway
New York, NY  10027
United States
Contact Dr. Jeffrey W. Kysar
Phone: 212-854-7432
Fax: 212-854-3304