Graduate Admissions

The Department of Mechanical Engineering at Rice University offers the following graduate degrees:

Every fall, approximately 20 applicants are offered admission to our graduate degree programs. Our faculty seeks only the highest caliber students for the graduate programs. Please be sure that you meet the minimum requirements, preferably higher, stated below before you apply.

Application Deadlines

We begin accepting applications for the fall and spring semesters on September 1.

PhD and MS Program

  • Fall semester application deadline: December 15
  • Late applications will be considered through January 15
  • Spring semester application deadline: October 15*

Professional Masters (MME) Program

  • Fall semester application deadline: February 1
  • Spring semester application deadline: October 15

*Note: We admit very few students for the spring semester.

How to Apply

We encourage you to be well-informed about the requirements below before applying to our graduate degree programs. Once you have reviewed and met all admissions requirements below, you are ready to Begin Your Application to Rice University.

Applications must be submitted online, and are transmitted through a secured server and are kept confidential until you decide to submit your application. There is an application fee of $85 and can be paid by credit card or checking account.

Application FAQ

Visit our Frequently Asked Questions about our graduate admissions for any answers you may need about requirements and more.

Admission Requirements

  • Undergraduate degree earned or will be earned before entering in an engineering related field.
  • Minimum grade point average of 3.0 (B), or the equivalent. 
  • GRE general test scores taken within the last five years. (Note: For the 2023 application cycle the GRE is optional, but recommended.)
  • There are no published required minimum scores.
  • Recommendation from at least three people who know your academic achievements.
  • TOEFL score if your native language is not English. The minimum score is 90 on Internet-based, 250 on computer-based, and 600 on the paper-based test.

IELTS (minimum score of 7) is acceptable in lieu of TOEFL. For information and test registration, visit This TOEFL/IELTS requirement is waived for a student who has received or will receive prior to entering the graduate program a degree from a university where English is the official language of communication.

Application Requirements

A complete application consists of:

  • Online application
  • Selected areas of study
  • Application fee
  • Transcripts
  • GRE scores
  • Three letters of recommendation

Online Application Form

Once you have submitted your online application, application information and supporting documents cannot be edited with the following exceptions — applicants can upload an updated CV and updated transcript documents through their individual status page.

Selected Areas of Study

The program offers the following areas of study and applicants should select up to two areas of their interest and indicate this on the application form:

  • Aerospace Engineering
  • Biomechanics and Biomedical Systems
  • Computational Fluid Dynamics 
  • Computational Mechanics
  • Energy and the Environment
  • Fluid-Structure Interaction
  • Fluids - Thermal Science
  • Mechanical Design
  • Mechanics
  • Robotics
  • System Dynamics and Controls
  • Tribology

Application fee

The application fee ($85.00) can be paid online when you submit your online application form. We cannot accept cash, a check or money order.


One official transcript(s) is required from all undergraduate and graduate schools attended. We do not need secondary school (high school) transcripts. For reviewing purposes, electronic copies of transcript(s) from each college or university you have attended can be uploaded through the online application system to meet the application requirements.

If you are offered admission to Rice, official copies of the transcript(s) will be required and can either be sent directly to the Rice's Department of Mechanical Engineering Department from the institution or sealed by the institution in a signed envelope and delivered by the applicant.

If your transcripts and proof of degree are not in English, you must have an official translation from a translation service. The document should be on their letterhead or with their official seal/stamp.

GRE Scores

Note: For the 2023 application cycle, the GRE is optional but strongly recommended.

The department requires all applicants to provide Graduate Record Examination (GRE) General Test scores. The scores must not be older than five years from the testing date, and an official copy must be sent to Rice University directly from the Educational Testing Service. Personal copies are not accepted. The department must also receive an official report of your scores from the Educational Testing Service (ETS).

  • The institution code for the GRE is 6609 and the department code is 1502 for Mechanical Engineering.

Three Letters of Recommendation

We accept letters of recommendation through your online application. The current email address and titles for all references must be included with your online application.

TOEFL Scores

The department must receive an official report of your scores from ETS. Use the institution code 6609 and department code 68. If you take IELTS in lieu of TOEFL, please write to the graduate administrator so the department can obtain the score directly from the IELTS office.

Financial Aid

If you need financial support from Rice University (fellowships or assistantships) and you are applying to one of our research programs, please answer "yes" to the question “Do you need financial aid from Rice?" found in the online application form. Your application will be considered for any applicable fellowships and assistantships available at Rice University.

Note: Applicants for the non-research Professional Master's Program (MME) will not be considered for financial aid.

The fellowship award consists of monthly stipends provided by the department and a full tuition waiver offered by the Office of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies. Generally, the award is offered to applicants who are seeking full-time admission for the PhD degree as their highest degree. Applicants seeking the MS degree as their highest degree, if offered admission, are usually offered admission only.

Submitting Your Official Transcript


If submitting your official transcript via United States Post Service (USPS), mail it to:

Attn.: Graduate Administrator
Mechanical Engineering – MS 321
Rice University
P.O. Box 1892
Houston, TX 77251-1892

Express Mail, FedEx, DHL, Etc.

If submitting your official transcript via Express mail, FedEx, DHL, etc., send it to our street address:

Attn.: Graduate Administrator
Rice University – MS 321
Department of Mechanical Engineering
6100 Main Street
Houston, TX 77005-1827

Notification of Application Status

The department will send you an email notification of the receipt of your application. You will be notified in the email if your application is missing an item or items. Only complete applications are reviewed and considered. We will contact the top candidates by email to make offers of admission in mid-March to mid-April. A final application status notification will be sent to all applicants who are not accepted by the end of May.

To avoid the delay of your application, please do not contact the department chair or faculty members to inquire about admission requirements or application procedures/status. They will simply forward your message to the graduate administrator.

Contact Us

If you don’t find an answer on this page or in the FAQs, please email the graduate administrator at or call (713) 348-7993.