Academics - Graduate

The Ph.D. program in Mechanical Engineering consists of 33 credits of graduate level course work plus 9 credits of Doctoral Dissertation. The Ph.D. program is designed to allow for considerable flexibility in course selection and specialization of study. Course work must be completed with a cumulative grade point average of 3.0 or higher (see Graduate Catalog for relevant details). In addition, the student must pass the Qualifying Examination, Candidacy Examination and fulfill the teaching requirement prior to completing the dissertation requirements. The Ph.D. should be obtainable in four years of full-time study after entering the program.

Summary of Ph.D. Degree Requirements (View Full Degree Requirements)
I. Course Requirements                                                       

  • At least five courses (15 credits) at the 600 or higher level in Mechanical Engineering (MEEG)
  • Five graduate level courses (15 credits) in engineering, mathmatics, biology or physics of
    which at least three courses (9 credits) must be at the 800 level
  • At least one course (3 credits) in mathematics (other than MEEG690).
  • At least three semesters of MEEG 600 Seminar (0 credits). Special arrangements can be made for part-time students to fulfill this requirement.
  • 9 credits of MEEG 969 Doctoral Dissertation.

An individual course can be used to meet more than one of the requirements provided the total number of credits is at least 33. Requirements A and C may be fully or partially waived for a student who has been awarded a Master’s degree in Mechanical Engineering (up to a maximum of 12 credits).

II. Dissertation Requirements
A dissertation is required which demonstrates the student's ability to conduct independent research. A Dissertation Committee is selected by the advisor and approved by the Department Chairperson. This committee will also serve as the student's Candidacy Examination Committee. The Committee will be chaired by the research advisor. During the course of the research, the student will periodically review progress with the Committee.

III. Qualifying Examination
The purpose of the qualifying examination is to assess the aptitude of a doctoral student in the early stages of the program.

The qualifying exam will consist of three parts

  • Research aptitude exam based on the student’s research interest area 
  • One math exam (based on the content in MEEG 690)
  • One mechanical engineering topic exam (based on undergraduate-level mechanical engineering and the content in one of the core courses, MEEG 610, MEEG 620, MEEG 630, MEEG 640)

IV. Candidacy Examination
The Ph.D. Candidacy Examination must be taken within one and a half years of successful completion of the Qualifying Examination and at least one year prior to the dissertation defense. The student will prepare a comprehensive, written research proposal and defend it orally before the Candidacy Examination Committee. The Candidacy Examination is intended to test the student's ability to synthesize knowledge in the formulation of an independent research proposal.

V. Teaching Requirement
The ability to communicate effectively is an essential skill for all PhD graduates. Therefore, all PhD students are required to fulfill a teaching requirement, which consists of serving as a Teaching Assistant (TA) for one or two semesters, depending on the assignment. Students are expected to continue to be actively involved in their research while serving as a TA.

University Required Assessment of the Learning Outcomes of the Mechanical Engineering PhD Program

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