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Dual Masters Program with École Polytechnique

The objective of the Dual Master’s degree program in Aerospace Engineering or Aeronautics and Fluid Mechanics is to foster the development of a long-term cooperation on basic research topics of interest to the Aerospace and Aeronautical Sciences community between California Institute of Technology (Caltech) and École Polytechnique (EP). It is expected that such a cooperative effort will result in graduate research projects under joint supervision between the two partner institutions and associated research institutions such as the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL), the Centre National d'Etudes Spatiales (CNES) or the Office National d’Etudes et de Recherches Aérospatiales (ONERA).  The program is a collaborative effort jointly administered by the Graduate Aerospace Laboratories, California Institute of Technology (GALCIT) and Laboratoire d'Hydrodynamique de l'École Polytechnique (LadHyX).

The Dual Masters program is currently supported by a grant from the Partner University Fund (PUF) administered by the French Embassy, Washington, DC, Caltech and EP.

It is expected that the dual masters program will attract a larger number of students to the graduate programs of both institutions and greatly develop the number of diploma-seeking exchange students between both institutions. A "Master" is understood in the European sense of the word, i.e., it corresponds to a two-year graduate program (year M1, year M2), equivalently a four-semester sequence (S1, S2, S3, S4) of courses and internships. In such a venture, a master student from a given partner institution will follow the syllabus of the other partner during two out of four semesters. Students meeting the requirements of both partners will be awarded a Master of Science degree by the partner institutions. For future reference, it should be noted that in order to get their degrees, EP-students should validate 55 ECTS (European Credits) of science courses and two internships, with thesis and oral defense. According to EP residency requirements, 30 ECTS and one of the internships needs to be completed at EP. Due to Caltech academic organization requirements, a student will have to follow three quarters in a row at Caltech, beginning with the Fall term.

The Dual Master’s program will officially started in academic year 2008-2009. For the first year, 1 student each side participated in the program. For the academic year 2009-2010, 2 students from Caltech and 1 student from EP are currently participating in the program. We expect that the numbers will gradually increase to 2 to 3 students each side.

The students enrolled in the Dual Master’s will complete each year a 3-month research internship in the partner laboratory under joint supervision.

Dual Master’s Program
In the table in Roadmap for Caltech or EP students, scenarios have been proposed for students seeking either a single Master's degree (with an international flavor) from their home institution, or a dual Master's degree, one degree from their home and another from their partner institution.

One should observe that Caltech is on the quarter system while EP is on a semester framework, with a first (respectively third) semester spanning the period of the Fall term at Caltech (September – December), and the second (respectively fourth) spanning the period of Winter and Spring terms (January – March and April – June).



The guiding  principles of the Dual Master's program described below are  first, that participating students will fully satisfy requirements for MS degrees at both Caltech and at EP and  second, that they will spend one full year at each institution.  There will be two points of entry into the program, one for students entering at Caltech and a second for students beginning at EP.  These two tracks will follow somewhat different but fully equivalent programs as described.  It is expected that the intake rate (students entering per year) of each track will be equal.

Applied and Computational Mathematics (e.g., ACM 100, 101 or three approved terms of other post ACM 100 classes), 54 units of Fluid/Solid Mechanics (e.g., Ae 101, 102, 160, 201, 221, 204 or other 200+ classes), 27 units of either Experimental Methods (Ae104) or Aerospace Engineering (Ae105), 27 units of electives that is consistent with the goals of the program and 3 units of Aerospace Engineering Seminar (Ae 150).  If a student wishes not to take at least 27 units of either Fluid or Solid Mechanics courses at Caltech, he/she would be required to demonstrate the fulfillment of breadth requirement at Caltech through equivalent courses taken at EP. It would conclude with a master’s thesis at EP.  All the courses taken at Caltech will be either at the 100 or 200 level classes.  The 27 units of elective may be in the form of directed research (e.g., Ae 100, Ae 200).  The program of the student developed in consultation with his/her EP advisor need to be approved by the Caltech advisor and the Aeronautics option representative.

The corresponding scenario for students originating from Caltech is the following. The students enrolled in Caltech’s MS program will be apprised of the opportunity to pursue a second MS at EP. The student(s) for the Caltech-EP program will be selected by the GALCIT faculty from the pool of students who express interest in this program.  Caltech students will follow their first (master’s) year at Caltech, and their second year in the M2 program at EP. The Caltech students would fulfill the requirements of their MS program and receive their diploma prior to proceeding to EP. The credits earned during this period could be used both for their double master and for their Caltech Ph.D. program. Courses offered to Caltech students during semesters S3 and S4 will be taught in English on the Palaiseau Campus of École Polytechnique or the Paris Campus of Université Pierre et Marie Curie by faculty from both institutions. It is implied that classes taken at one institution cannot duplicate classes already taken at the other institution.

Internships are viewed as an essential component of the Master’s degree program at EP. They will preferably be conducted under joint supervision, in laboratories affiliated with Caltech, EP, JPL, CNES and ONERA.

The M2 year at EP is organized in partnership with Université Pierre et Marie Curie while the M1 year is solely under the responsibility of École Polytechnique. The Master's program of EP in Fluid Mechanics is available online in English here.

Master’s program in Aerospace Engineering at Caltech

Master’s program in Aeronautics at Caltech

Students in the Masters program at Caltech in Aeronautics or Space Engineering interested in the Dual Masters program with École Polytechnique should contact the GALCIT option representative, Dr. .


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