Welcome toTheoretical & Applied Mechanics

Theoretical and Applied Mechanics (TAM) at Northwestern Engineering is an interdisciplinary, interdepartmental degree-granting graduate program. The TAM program at Northwestern has a distinguished history and enjoys an excellent national and international reputation. 

Graduate programs are flexible and adaptable to the specific needs and abilities of the students. Students have the ability to take courses from every school at Northwestern and can take courses offered in all of the departments within the McCormick School of Engineering. TAM faculty members are affiliated with the following departments:

  • Civil and Environmental Engineering
  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Materials Science and Engineering
  • Engineering Sciences and Applied Mathematics
  • Biomedical Engineering

Learn more about the curriculum
Meet the faculty
Learn how to apply

Quick Facts

Degree Names

Master of Science in Theoretical and Applied Mechanics
PhD in Theoretical and Applied Mechanics


MS: 1 year
PhD: 4 years if the student has a master's degree

Start Date

September 21

Course Structure

4 core courses per quarter

Program Features

  • Flexible and adaptable curriculum
  • Ability to take classes within all the McCormick departments and Northwestern schools
  • Monthly seminar series
  • Faculty-led research work
  • Faculty from a wide range of engineering departments and industries


Evanston campus

Application opens

September 1

Application deadline

December 31

Student Profile

Each year, Northwestern welcomes a diverse group of talented students into our program, which fosters a creative and highly interdisciplinary research environment. Typically, our students have a bachelor’s or Master of Science degree in engineering, mathematics, physics, or an applied science, and varied work experience. Some enter directly after completing their undergraduate or master’s degree, while others bring work experience in related fields. The highly interdisciplinary nature of the program allows our students to acquire significant breadth and depth in topics not necessarily related to previous education acquired by the candidate.

Why Northwestern University?

The TAM program at Northwestern University ranks among the top programs in engineering mechanics. Its reputation arises from the pursuit of innovative and high impact research with attention to addressing societal challenges. The TAM program takes a broad and comprehensive approach to education and research, allowing students to partake in various courses and research topics of interest to ensure an interdisciplinary academic experience that’s grounded in the reality and demands of a global research trend. The program features the following:

  • Study all fields of mechanics from classical fields such as fluid and solid mechanics to more novel trends in science such as mechanics in biology, multifunctional materials, computational mechanics, and nanomechanics.
  • Full-time, small cohort that guarantees a meaningful and in-depth mentorship experience between students and faculty.
  • Customized curriculum combining both traditional and novel trends in a diversity of topics across engineering and science fields.
  • Excellent faculty reputation that includes four National Academy of Engineering members, two National Academy of Sciences members, four European Academy of Sciences and Arts members, a Presidential Medalist, and several ASME Timoshenko medalists. Tenured faculty from the McCormick School of Engineering, the Feinberg School of Medicine and the Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences, are members of TAM.

Career Opportunities

Graduates from the Theoretical and Applied Mechanics Program are well prepared for immediate employment in a variety of professional environments. Shortly after completing the program, the majority of our students (65%) receive academic offers (post-doc or assistant professor) while others receive offers from prestigious industrial partners, including Chrysler-Daimler, Dow Corning, Dassault Systèmes, or National Labs.

Program participants have full access to Northwestern University’s extensive career placement resources. Additionally, our graduates are mentored directly by faculty as they seek employment near completion of their graduate studies at Northwestern.