Graduation Requirements

The graduation requirements to earn a BS in Mechanical Engineering are:

  • A total of 130 semester credits (does not include credits from the list of non-degree courses maintained by the Dean’s Office)
  • Completion of all courses on the approved checksheet for the year of graduation
  • A minimum overall GPA of 2.0000
  • A minimum in-major GPA of 2.0000 (includes all courses with “ME” prefix in course number)


  • Technical electives should be selected from the list of technical electives approved by the Mechanical Engineering Department.
  • If you take a course that double counts in two different University Curriculum for Liberal Education areas, unfulfilled credits must be replaced by free elective credits to reach 130 credits. Courses satisfying Area 6 may NOT be double counted to fulfill another University Curriculum for Liberal Education area.
  • For a list of courses that satisfy the various University Curriculum for Liberal Education (CLE) areas, please see the CLE guide for the year you entered VT. Courses used to satisfy CLE requirements must be taken in the A/F grade mode.

Applying for a Degree

Students should apply for a degree by the start of their junior year. Applying for a degree is NOT what you did when you selected a department to switch into when you were in General Engineering. Your application for degree lets the University know when you plan to graduate and whether or not you plan to attend the commencement ceremony.

To apply for a degree, please follow the applying for a degree instructions posted on the Registrar’s website. If you are not sure when you will graduate, you should take a guess at your graduation date and modify it later if your plans change. If you would like to be excused from the ceremony, please indicate that you do not plan to attend the ceremony and list the address where you would like to have your diploma mailed.

If you do not apply for a degree by the posted deadlines, you will not be included in the commencement ceremony. (The deadlines are usually early in the semester that you plan to graduate, but if you apply for a degree earlier, this gives us time to fix errors on your degree audit report so you receive your diploma on time.)

Degree Audit Report System

The Degree Audit Reporting System (DARS) is a computer generated report that matches the requirements of a degree program with a student’s course work taken. The audit identifies those graduation requirements that are completed as well as those requirements that still need to be completed. Once a student has applied for a degree (see above), they may generate a DARS report by following the instructions to run a DARS report provided by the Registrar.

You may run a DARS report and notice errors. Listed below are some common errors and what you should if you see this error on your DARS report:

  • Alternate computer programming course not being recognized: We are working with the Registrar’s to have ENGE 2984: Labview, ENGE 2514, ME 2004, CS 1044, and CS 1705 added to the DARS program as acceptable alternatives to ENGE 2314. The courses above will be taken care of as blanket substitutions; there is nothing you need to do.
  • Foreign language entrance requirement not met: – If you took two years of the SAME foreign language in high school AND you are sure that the Registrar’s Office has a copy of your final high school transcripts, an error may have been made and your requirement not checked off. You should contact the Registrar’s Office or your academic advisor for help.
    – If you are a transfer student and took 2 years of the same foreign language in high school, you may need to have your high school transcripts sent directly to Virginia Tech. Transfer schools do not forward your high school transcripts to VT. – If English is your second language, please contact the Foreign Languages Department in 331 Major Williams to see if they can waive the foreign language course requirement.
  • Required course number change & course is not satisfying the requirement: Please contact your academic advisor (Sarah Deisher, last names A-L or Linda Vick, last names M-Z)  (ME students only) to find out whether a substitution can be made.
  • Course is showing up on the DARS report, but is not satisfying the course requirement: This sometimes happens with transfer credits (especially MATH and ENGE courses). Please contact your advisor (ME students only).
  • Technical electives are not showing up as technical electives: The DARS program only lists the first 15 credits of technical electives it finds. If you do not have 15 credits of technical electives and your course is showing up as a free elective instead of a technical elective, please contact your advisor (ME students only).
  • Required course taken P/F during Spring, 2007 not meeting course requirement: Please contact your advisor (ME students only).

If you have errors on your DARS report that are not listed above or if you have any other questions about your DARS report, please contact your advisor.

Fundamentals of Engineering Exam

Engineering students who are within 12 months of graduating are eligible to take the Fundamentals of Engineering (FE) Exam, which is offered twice per year in October and April. Application instructions for VT students and alumni can be found on the College of Engineering website.

Virginia Tech offers a 2 credit, online, pass/fail review course for the FE exam, ESM4404, Fundamentals of Professional Engineering, which is offered during the spring semester only. These credits will NOT count towards your engineering degree, as the course duplicates material you should have learned in other courses.

Passing the FE exam is the first step in becoming a licensed professional engineer. Some employers may require that their engineers become licensed, especially those who work with projects involving public safety. For more information on becoming a professional engineer, please see the NCEES website, which also includes more information about the FE exam.

The FE exam is administered by the Virginia DPOR (Virginia Department of Professional and Occupational Regulation) – please see the DPOR website for additional information about the FE exam. Per the National Society of Professional Engineers (NSPE), most states recognize the Engineer in Training (EIT) certificates from other states (which are awarded once you pass the FE exam and graduate from an accredited engineering curriculum).

If you are not sure if you will need to become licensed for your future career, we encourage you to take the FE exam during your senior year. The exam is based on material from your undergraduate courses and ME students have a very high pass rate (about 90% of our students pass the exam on their first attempt). If you wait until after you graduate to take the FE exam, it is likely that you will need to spend more time studying to prepare for the exam.


If you are planning to graduate and participate in the commencement ceremony, you should do the following:

  • Apply for a degree, preferably by the start of your junior year, but no later than the beginning of the term you plan to graduate.
  • Run a DARS report each semester to be sure that you are on track to graduate. Re-run your DARS report when you get a new class schedule or when you make changes to your current schedule (including changing grading options!). Report any errors to the appropriate contacts (see above).
  • Update your application for degree (see above) if your plans change. Be sure to change the date to the term that you will actually complete your graduation requirements. If you would like to be excused from the ceremony, please indicate that you do not plan to attend the ceremony and list and updated address where you would like to have your diploma mailed.
  • If you are graduating in the spring or summer, check for e-mail from the Dean’s Office (Christi Boone) about commencement. Students graduating in the summer have the option of participating in the commencement ceremony in May before they complete their graduation requirements.   Instructions will be sent out in April about the ceremony.  You will need to purchase a cap and gown at the bookstore.
  • If you are graduating in the fall, you need to buy a cap and gown and show up about 30 minutes before the start of the December commencement ceremony. This ceremony is smaller and less formal and you may not be contacted about the ceremony ahead of time.
  • Information for graduation announcements: Students graduating in Mechanical Engineering have the degree title is “Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering.” Please see the graduation information page for overall GPA requirements to graduate with distinction.

For information about the commencement ceremonies, please see the Commencement Information website. In the Spring, the University holds a ceremony on Friday evening in Lane Stadium for all graduates. Graduating seniors sit in the stands and are not individually recognized at this ceremony. The College of Engineering holds its spring commencement ceremony on Saturday in Cassell Coliseum. During the College ceremony, students are called up to the stage individually to receive their diplomas. Tickets are not required for either ceremony.

The Commencement website lists details and times for the ceremonies. The College ceremony typically alternates between 8:00 AM and 2:00 PM from year to year.



Information on this website is unofficial. University catalogs and other official documents take precedence over the information that is available here. The material presented here is to aid you in planning your academic program to best fit your interests. Ultimately you are responsible for making sure that you fulfill the graduation requirements. We present these aids to help you achieve your goal of a degree in mechanical engineering.