Mechanical Engineering Department Advising FAQ


  Fall 2016 Faculty Advising Hours (Walk-in and By Appointment)



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Graduate Student FAQs:


Can international students study part-time?

No. Per U.S. immigration laws, F-1 and J-1 students are required to be full-time. Graduate ECST students are considered full-time with 8 units of graduate courses. If you enroll in less units than full-time, you will need to request for reduced course load at the International Student Office. Without prior approval, you jeopardize your status.

What if I am finishing a thesis and I don’t have any more classes?

You will still need to request for reduced course load at the international student office. Enroll in UNIV 900, and fill out the form correctly. Please contact the international student office for more information.

What if I need more time studying for my comprehensive exam?

If you have completed all your classes and need more time to study or comp exam, you will need to enroll in at least one unit to maintain continued student status.

What if I need to drop a class?

Prior approval by the international student office is needed. You will have to submit a reduced course load form by the third Friday in the same term as when you drop the class.

I need more time to finish courses/thesis/comp exam/project. What do I need to do?

Make sure that your I-20 is valid at all times. If you need more time pass the expiration date of your I-20, you will need to extend the I-20. Please contact the International Student Office on details of how to extend the I-20. You will also need a letter from your academic advisor that details why you need more time.

Is the WPE required?

Yes, the WPE is required of all graduate student prior to enrolling in the thesis, comprehensive, or project courses. It is advised to pass the WPE in your first quarter at CSULA.

What is the minimum GPA?

For graduate international students, the minimum GPA is 3.0 in order to graduate. This is also the minimum GPA set by the Engineering college.

Is ME 409 required?

ME 409 is required of all graduate mechanical engineering students. There are no substitutes for this course starting Fall 2016.

I have an internship during school. What do I need to do to get work authorization?

You will need to apply to CPT at the international student office, with your job offer letter. Please refer to the International student office for more information. Since this type of training is not integral to your obtaining the Master’s degree in Mechanical Engineering, you will need to enroll in a course that gives you credit for the degree. Meet with your advisor to discuss which courses can be used to obtain the CPT. During the Fall, Winter, and Spring quarter, you will need to receive 2 units for part-time employment. During the summer, you are allowed to work full-time and need to receive 4 units. The academic advisor has to write a detailed letter as to how this internship will benefit the student, and which course the student will take to receive credit.

When do I need to apply for graduation?

Grad check deadlines are posted on Please note that the deadlines for graduate students are different from undergraduate students.

How do I apply for graduation?

You will first need to go to the enrollment office to obtain a graduate application form, and pay for the graduation fees at the cashier’s office. Your academic advisor will need to check if you have finished all your courses, and what other courses are required in the next terms. He or she will sit down with you to fill out a course form with your courses, grades, and status of these courses. Once the advisor deems you are on track for graduation, bring this form to the academic chair for signature on the graduation application form. Then, turn in the form to the department secretary.

How many units do I need for the Master of Science in Mechanical Engineering?

You will need 45 units in the quarter system, and 30 units in the semester system.

One of my classes have prerequisites. I have taken these prerequisites at my country’s university as part of my bachelor’s degree work. How can I obtain permission to add this course?

You will need to bring your previous university’s official transcript to your advisor, who will determine whether the coursework is enough to allow you to enroll in the graduate course.

A class that I need in order to graduate is full. How can I still enroll?

There are no permits available to guarantee you a spot in the class. Your best bet is to keep trying to add the class before the quarter starts by continually looking on GET and see if a spot opens up. Otherwise, attend the first day of class in order to see if the professor is willing to add you to the course. Remember that you need to maintain full-time load as an international student.

I am interested in taking a graduate course in a different engineering department at CSULA. How can I get credit for it towards my degree?

You will need to discuss with your academic advisor first before enrolling in the course. Your advisor will check whether this course can be counted towards your degree in lieu of a mechanical engineering graduate course.