Master of Science Degree Programs

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.

The Program

All M.S. programs at Parks College will satisfy the general requirements and review procedures. The minimum requirements for all degrees are 30 credits beyond a Bachelor’s degree. 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 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 consists of 32 credit hours of graduate-level work and all courses are offered online only. 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:

  1. Aviation Safety
  2. Flight Operations Management
  3. Collegiate Flight Programs

The three tracks share a common core and each track provides an internship experience tailored to individual career goals and requirements.

Apply to Parks CollegeProgram of Study

Each new graduate student writes a Program of Study 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 to fulfill the 30 credit hours requirement 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 Program of Study 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 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 30 credits of courses. In their Program of Study, 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 (3 credit hours), 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 Program of Study as approved by the students Faculty Mentor, and the Graduate Programs Director.

Progress Review

Admitted graduate students are expected to meet with their Faculty Advisors at least once each semester. Students must have their Faculty Advisor’s permission to enroll in new academic work in anticipation of a new academic term. This progress review must be completed in consultation with the Faculty Advisor and submitted to the respective department chair and the Graduate Programs Office. 

Transfer credits

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.

Thesis details

A thesis proposal is prepared by the student before the end of the first year of graduate level activities. The title and outline for this proposal are approved by the Guidance Committee and reported on the Thesis Proposal form. After completing the thesis proposal, the student meets with the Guidance Committee at least once every semester. 

Before graduation, the student must complete an oral thesis defense 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.

Based on the defense, the Guidance Committe will either approve the thesis, conditionally approve, with specific instructions on revisions, or not approve. The Guidance Committee notifies the department chair and Director of Graduate Programs on their decision. 

Publish research

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.