Program Overview

The University of New Mexico is pleased to offer a fully online master's program in Space Systems Engineering, leading to an Master of Science in Mechanical Engineering (MSME).  This program is one of the first master's level space systems engineering programs in the country.  The Space Systems Engineering concentration was developed with input from the Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) Space Vehicles Directorate to provide graduates with the advanced skills to further their career in the aerospace industry.  All courses for the Space Systems Engineering Managed Online Program are offered in an 8-week format.  

All applicants are expected to have college-level proficiency in English (reading and writing), programming and mathematics.  Applicants should hold a bachelor's degree in an engineering-related field from an accredited university.  

Possible Careers

Students who successfully complete the curriculum will be prepared for master's level engineering positions at the Department of Defense, NASA, and private sector aerospace companies. Students will be prepared for space systems program career paths such as:

  • spacecraft design
  • navigation and structural analysis
  • mission planning
  • project management
  • spacecraft integration activities

UNM's Space Systems Engineering program was recently recognized as the #1 Most Affordable Online Master's in Mechanical Engineering Degrees for 2020 and among the top Online Master's in Mechanical Engineering Degrees of 2020 by

2020 Most Affordable Degree Seal 2020 Best Value Online Colleges Seal

Learning Goals

Students receiving an M.S. degree in Mechanical Engineering will: 

1) Exhibit knowledge of engineering and science fundamentals appropriate for the Mechanical Engineering discipline and/or specialization. 

2) Be able to communicate effectively. 

3) Demonstrate the ability to critically assess information in the Mechanical Engineering discipline and/or specialization. 

Program Details

Tuition and Fees

Total cost per credit hour is $517.86 and is comprised of: $415.66 base tuition + $102.20 college differential. There is a student technology fee charged each semester. It is $150 in the Fall, $150 in the Spring, and $20 in the Summer. There may be additional costs, depending on the class. Additional costs are often for textbooks, supplemental course materials, and proctoring fees.

About the Program

The Space Systems Engineering Managed Online Program is an exciting new program offered at UNM.  Prospective students need to have an undergraduate degree in Electrical Engineering, Mechanical Engineering, Computer Engineering, Computer Science, or a related field. All applicants are expected to have college-level proficiency in English (reading and writing), programming, and mathematics.

All courses are offered in an 8-week format, with terms starting 5 times per year.  A sequence of courses has been developed to optimize a student’s progression through the curriculum.  Most courses can be taken in any order to complete the degree. 

Seven courses are required for the Space Systems Engineering concentration.  An additional 15 hours of core coursework is required to complete the MSME degree.

Look for the courses in the current schedule of classes with a course comment that reads "Limited to managed online program students only."  For more information, contact the program coordinator.

Space Systems Engineering Concentration Courses (16 credit hours):

Course NumberCourse NameCredit Hours
ME 594Introduction to Space Situational Awareness3
ME 595Orbital Mechanics3
ME 596Spacecraft Attitude Dynamics and Controls3
ME 597Small Spacecraft Design I3
ECE 535Satellite Communications3
ME 591/ME 592/ECE 590*Graduate Seminar in Space Systems0-1

*The Graduate Seminar must be taken twice - once for 0 credit hours and once for 1 credit hour

Additional Courses (18 credit hours):

Course NumberCourse NameCredit Hours
ME 500*Numerical Methods in Mechanical Engineering3
ME 501*Advanced Mechanics of Materials3
ME 530 Quality Matters LogoTheoretical Fluid Mechanics I3
ME 542 Quality Matters LogoDeformation Analysis and Modeling3
ME 559Design Project3
ME 572Aerospace Structures and Materials3

*If you successfully completed ME 400 and ME401, do not enroll in ME 500 and ME 501. Contact your advisor for alternatives.

Quality Matters LogoCourses with this insignia have received the National Quality Matters Certification.

Degree Requirements

The MSME Space Systems Engineering Managed Online Program is offered as a Masters Plan III Option (course work only).

MS in Mechanical Engineering - Space Systems Engineering Concentration

Degree Requirements:

  • A minimum of 34 credit hours (including the graduate seminar)
  • A minimum 24 credit hours of 500-level courses.
  • A minimum of 1 credit hour for the graduate seminar course (students must register for a 0 credit hour graduate seminar during one term).

Admissions Requirements:

  • Graduate Record Examination (GRE) General Test - The GRE scores are required and should be submitted to the University directly by ETS (Institution code: 4845; no department code is needed). During the online application process, please report your scores unofficially for review. The GRE scores are considered for general benchmarking purposes and are examined in the context of all other application requirements; these include the GPA, letters of recommendation, and statement of intent. As such, a minimum required score has not been set.
  • Three Letters of Recommendation - UNM BSMEs with a GPA of 3.5 (or higher) on their last 60 credit hours of coursework have the option of submitting only two (2) letters of recommendation. The letters must be written by professional references such as instructors and supervisors, not friends and relatives. Letters should be submitted directly by your recommenders through the online system. Specific directions are included within the application system.
  • Statement of Intent (or Letter of Intent) - This document must be submitted through the online application system. The presence of overlap of applicant's interests with the expertise of one or more of our faculty members is given a significant weight in terms of application acceptance decision. So, this statement should show clear evidence of such overlap.
  • Updated CV (Resume) - This document must be submitted through the online application system.
  • Official Transcripts - Follow the instructions on the online application system
  • Language Skills for International Students: International students must meet all UNM Graduate Admissions Requirements including tests for English proficiency. For more information regarding international students, please see International Students and Online Education. For international students, the minimum Graduate TOEFL Scores (Paper/Computer) are: 550/213, minimum Graduate IELTS Score: 6.5. Official test results must be sent directly from ETS to the University of New Mexico (code #4845).  Further information and the minimum score requirements can be found at the UNM Global Education Office website.
  • The following deadlines for admission to the program apply. For both domestic and international applicants, admission applications must be complete by April 30 for the Summer semester of the same calendar year, by July 1 for the Fall semester of the same calendar year, and by November 1 for the Spring semester of the following calendar year.

Due to the coronavirus (COVID-19), GRE  and TOEFL testing has been affected in many countries. Please refer to the ETS website for  at home testing options and testing updates.

To apply for the program, in the Program of Interest section within the UNM Graduate Admissions Application, select the following:

College/School: School of Engineering

Department: Mechanical Engineering (Online only)

Program/Major: Mechanical Engineering (Online only)

Degree: MS Mechanical Engineering (Online only)

Interest: Space Systems Engineering

 Accelerated Online Program

At a Glance

Major Requirements: 34 Credit Hours
Cost Per Credit Hour: $517.86
Length of Classes: 8 weeks

College/School: School of Engineering

Tuition: Program Details and Tuition & Fee Information


Website: Mechanical Engineering
Phone: 505.277.1325