Master of Science Degree Programs
Learn about how you can earn your M.S. in Engineering or M.S. in Aviation at Saint Louis University.
All M.S. programs at Parks College will satisfy the general requirements and review procedures. The minimum requirements for all degrees are 30 credits of courses, including 0-9 credits for Thesis or Project. Within those minimum requirements, individual faculty mentors may impose additional requirements or specific course requirements. As examples, the Master of Science in Aviation requires a total of 32 credits, and research faculty will want their students to take specific courses that support their Thesis research. The variable credits for Thesis or Project allows flexibility in meeting the needs of students with a variety of backgrounds. The traditional model for a research M.S. includes 6-9 credits of Thesis research. In Engineering and Aviation, students may prefer a lesser focus on research, and that approach is consistent with the movement toward making the Master of Science degree a minimum expectation for entry into most industries.
Areas of Concentration in Engineering
- Aerospace & Mechanical Engineering
- Biomedical Engineering
- Civil Engineering
- Electrical & Computer Engineering
Additional information on the M.S. in Aviation
The M.S. in Aviation provides a competitive and rigorous program that prepares professionals to excel in one of three areas of professional pilot development:
- Aviation Safety
- Flight Operations Management
- Collegiate Flight Programs
The three tracks share a common core and each track provides an internship experience tailored to individual career goals and requirements. With the exception of two courses, all material may be offered via current distance learning technology, allowing tracks 2 and 3 to be completed entirely on-line. Track 1 may be accomplished with an additional 6-week resident term to provide for the associated laboratory experiences.
Each new graduate student writes a Degree Plan that must be approved by the Faculty Mentors and the Graduate Programs Director. That document will be prepared and reviewed in the context of the student’s background and the student’s career goals. In that flexible approach, each student will determine, with Faculty advice and approval, a unique set of courses and a specific plan for the Thesis or Project. This approach can accommodate students who want to continue for a Ph.D. degree, students who want to go into industry with an M.S. degree, and students who want to integrate other areas into their degrees - areas like Business, the basic sciences, or other areas that fit into the student’s individual career plans. The number of transfer credits to the graduate program is limited to 12 credit hours. The transfer credits must be approved by the faculty mentor and the graduate program director to determine the quality and relevance of graduate courses taken elsewhere. Significant changes in the Degree plan will require approval of the student’s Faculty Mentor and the Graduate Programs Director.
Students who are research oriented, and may continue for a Ph.D. degree, will have a research thesis for 6-9 credits. This is the traditional option for Ph.D. students who want academic or other careers where a doctorate is expected. Other students will expect to enter or re-enter industry, and they will likely choose the Project option.
The Project represents successfully planning, conducting, and completing an individual or team task. The nature of the project may be quite varied. It could produce a research result, a product prototype in hardware or software, or a solution to a problem in industry or academia. The Project may also initiate a new line of inquiry or progress toward a new product or process. In any case, it should go beyond simply providing a learning experience; it should represent a contribution by the M.S. student.
Bringing in Industry Experience
Some students who are already employed in industry may wish to complete an M.S. with thirty credits of courses. In their Degree Plan, they would describe their previously completed project work and their rationale for (or need for) courses instead of a formal project. In other cases, the employed engineer may complete a Project (for credit), where the project is supervised by a Parks College faculty member in collaboration with the student’s industrial supervisors. In such cases, the Project option may be more attractive to an employed student. It also has the benefit of stimulating collaboration between Parks Faculty and colleagues in industry. Thus, the M.S. with Project or no Project will be offered to accommodate the needs of this category of prospective students. While the “standard” may be an M.S. with Thesis, the other options will be available.
Within the 30-credit requirement, a student may choose a maximum of 9 credits at the 400-level. These courses must not be prerequisites for other 400-level courses. The courses would normally provide additional depth of knowledge in the student’s main area of interest, and would be especially useful for students who make slight changes in their career directions. In any case, the 400-level courses must fit into a coherent Degree Plan as approved by the students Faculty Mentor, and the Graduate Programs Director.
Some M.S. students may enter with graduate course credits from other universities, and some Parks students may take graduate courses at neighboring universities. As a general rule, M.S. students may transfer no more than 12 credits from another university. In any case, an incoming M.S. student will include any transfer credits in the Degree Plan, and that document with transfer credits must be approved by the Graduate Programs Director and the student’s faculty advisor.
Students who complete a Thesis or Project will report on their work, and defend that work, in a forum that includes both a public presentation and a private discussion with the appropriate faculty. For example, a student who completes the Thesis will present the research results in a seminar-type format, and then defend the research results before the student’s Guidance Committee. The latter defense will focus on the Thesis, but will likely include related science and engineering. In all cases, the Graduate Programs Director will monitor the students’ progress to assure timely completion and to maintain college-wide requirements and standards.
M.S. students are encouraged to publish their thesis research in journals and scientific conferences. The M.S. Project may be the basis of a conference abstract or presentation by the student or faculty advisor. Neither is a degree requirement for all students, but individual research areas may expect that every student will prepare a manuscript for a publication or conference poster presentation.