Former postdoc Zehra Parlak and Professor Stefan Zauscher

Master of Science (MS)

Ideal Preparation for a Research Career or Doctoral Study

The Duke MEMS Master of Science (MS) in Mechanical Engineering and Materials Science degree provides a solid foundation of rigorous training and research experience to propel your career focused on discovery and engineering of improved materials, processes, phenomena and devices.

Zekun Cao

"Duke really showed me my potential as a researcher, and prepared me for life as a PhD student."

Zekun Cao MS'17
Read Zekun's story »

Cutting-Edge Research Areas

The MS is an engineering degree comprising technical coursework and a thesis or project in a chosen discipline. Our MS students explore cutting-edge research in areas including:

  • Aeroelasticity, Aerodynamics, Vibrations
  • Biomaterials and Medical Device Design
  • Computational Materials and Materials Discovery
  • Robotics and Drones
  • Biomechanics and Human Performance
  • Energy Technology
  • Micro- and Nanoscale Fluidics
  • 3D Printing and Material Design
  • Soft Matter and Nanoscale Materials

How to Apply

At Duke, you become part of a close-knit community of faculty who are tackling the tricky, messy problems that don't fit neatly inside traditional disciplines. Our research, teaching, and hallway discussions focus on pushing the boundaries.

Application deadlines:

How to Apply

Program details

Career Services

The MS program provides outstanding career support to its students. Our career services include:

  • Academic job search strategy sessions
  • Non-academic job search strategy sessions for industry and governmental positions
  • Resume review and critiques
  • Interview skills training for international students

Learn more about where our grads go

Degree Requirements

  • 30 course credits
    • 18 credits (6 courses) following the guide of your study track (see links below) and 
    • 12 credits (2 elective courses and 6 research credits)
  • Master's Thesis or Research Project

Study Track Areas

This department offers two specialization areas which direct the core courses you will take. We emphasize project-based courses, with half of the Duke MEMS graduate curriculum designed to translate state-of-the-art research into experiential learning.

Elective Courses and Research Credits

For a total of 12 credits:

  • Choose any 2 courses to total 6 credits - graduate level or approved higher level undergraduate courses*
  • Sign up for 6 research credits

* Note: Although these can be any Duke courses to render the program flexible, preference should be given to MEMS and engineering courses to develop the necessary disciplinary depth.

MS Thesis/Research Project

Master of Science (MS) students are expected to prepare and defend a research project with a thesis or a non-thesis option.

MS research is guided by our internationally-recognized faculty in aerospace engineering, energy and fluidic technology, materials design and discovery, robotics, dynamics and controls, soft materials and biomaterials – and beyond – with extensive opportunities for collaborative research with faculty and students across Duke University.

Admissions Profile

The Duke Master of Science (MS) program requires a minimum GPA of 3.2 from an undergraduate program. A minimum TOEFL score of 90 on the Internet-based test is also required. Average GRE and grade-point averages of recently admitted Duke MEMS MS applicants were:

  • GRE Quantitative: 166
  • GRE Verbal: 155
  • UGPA: 3.7

Cost of Attendance

See the latest cost of attendance details at The Graduate School at Duke website »

Financial Aid and Fellowships

Because many master's degrees are professional degrees rather than research degrees, most students pay their own tuition costs. Many students use student loans and believe there will be an excellent return on investment.

In certain circumstances, we provide limited financial aid to Master of Science (MS) students.

Detailed Financial Aid Info

Diversity Scholarships

For MS, limited financial aid is available to highly qualified candidates through academic scholarships with an emphasis on increasing diversity within our master's degree programs.

Underrepresented minorities may receive up to 50 percent per year in tuition scholarship through our Diversity Scholarships. Additionally, up to $10,000 per year may be allocated for the student to gain experience in a research setting under the direction of a principal investigator (PI).

Externally Funded Scholarships

For MS students, we also offer support to recipients of select competitive externally funded scholarships, such as:

  • National Science Foundation (NSF) Fellowships
  • Fulbright Scholar Program


Some departments will occasionally provide some reduced-tuition assistance, but most of Pratt’s masters students pay through a combination of loans and their own money.

Also see Duke Graduate School Master Student Financial Aid web page.

Federal Loan Programs

Duke University offers the William D. Ford Federal Direct Loan Programs for graduate students, including Stafford unsubsidized loans, Graduate PLUS, and Carl Perkins loans. Each of these loans has different terms and conditions, but they are generally deferrable until after graduation or until the student is enrolled for less than half-time.

These federal loans are available only to United States citizens. Visit the Duke Financial Aid website for more information and application procedures for student loans.

On-Campus Work

While enrolled in the program, many students work in a variety of places, such as campus libraries and various departments within Duke. Teaching assistantships are available in various departments, and some departments have research assistantships as well.

These positions are paid an hourly rate, and most students work between 10 to 20 hours per week. Positions are generally posted and filled just a week or two before classes begin each semester.