Ph.D. Mechanical Engineering

Mix interdisciplinary research, human ingenuity, abundant resources and a location in a state known as an incubator of global, entrepreneurial R&D, and you have Idea Leadership. At UD, discovery, invention and innovation matter. The close coordination of our high-impact academic research in our core areas has broad influence on our global society. Delaware is a small state, but we think BIG!

The broadest of the engineering disciplines, mechanical engineering offers a wide range of research and career opportunities for those committed to advancing innovations to enhance quality of life. The University of Delaware’s Ph.D. program in mechanical engineering is regarded for our solid technical curriculum, our internationally recognized faculty and world-class high-impact research in nearly every aspect of modern mechanical engineering. Reflecting the interdisciplinary nature of our research, many of our faculty members hold joint or affiliated appointments in other departments. An annual budget of more than $9 million allows us to constantly strive to expand knowledge of the world around us.

The Department of Mechanical Engineering houses the Center for Biomechanical Engineering Research (CBER), and the Center for Fuel Cell Research (CFCR). Other affiliated research centers and institutes include the Center for Composites Materials (CCM), Delaware Rehabilitation Institute (DRI), University of Delaware Energy Institute (UDEI).


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.

  • Learn more about our core research areas
  • Visit the faculty research matrix to identify key faculty and their research that fits your interests and visit their research group websites to learn more
  • View the course requirements
  • Learn about admission requirements and apply online
  • Exceptionally qualified US citizens who apply to the Ph.D.program are automatically considered for one of our prestigious Helwig Fellowships which includes tuition and a $35,000 annual stipend. Application deadline for consideration for a Helwig Fellowship is February 15th.
Tradition of Excellence

UD has a tradition of excellence, from our roots extending back to a small private academy started in 1743, to the research-intensive technologically advanced institution of today. The Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching classifies UD as a research university with very high research activity — a designation accorded fewer than 3 percent of U.S. colleges and universities.

Many of our Ph.D. graduates are now world-recognized leaders in academia, government and industry. Global, green and engaged. Our job is not finished until our ideas, our expertise and our people make a real and significant difference in the world. Our multidisciplinary research focuses on the most compelling scientific and technical challenges of our age. Reflecting the interdisciplinary nature of our research, many of our faculty members hold joint or affiliated appointments in other departments.

Requirements for Admission

The following minimum criteria apply:

  • A baccalaureate degree in mechanical engineering or in a closely allied field of science or mathematics.
  • An undergraduate grade point average in engineering, science and mathematics courses of at least 3.0 on a 4.0 scale.
  • The Graduate Record Examination (GRE) combined Quantitative and Verbal score of 308 (1200).
  • International applicants: The TOEFL with a minimum of 100 on the IBT and a speaking score of 20. IELTS with a minimum score of 6.5 with no individual sub-score below 6.0 on the IELTS alternative.
  • Three letters of recommendation from former teachers or supervisors.
  • Resume
  • Statement of Purpose
  • Complete the graduate supplemental document

All items should be uploaded into your graduate application. Admission is selective and competitive based on the number of well qualified applicants and the research opportunities available with the faculty. Meeting the stated minimum academic requirements does not guarantee admission. The acceptance of applicants who have already received a Master’s degree in engineering will be based on the above minimum criteria and the results of their graduate work.

Financial Aid

Awards of financial assistantships, which includes graduate tuition and a competitive stipend, are made to applicants of the PhD program on the basis of merit. For information on current tuition and fees please visit Student Financial Services.

Application Deadlines

PhD Fall admission:
January 15: Priority consideration for admission and to be considered for departmental funding.
March 1: Final deadline to apply.

Degree Requirements

I. Course Requirements

a. At least five courses (15 credits) at the 600 or higher level in Mechanical Engineering (MEEG)

b. Five graduate level courses (15 credits) in engineering, mathematics, or science of
which at least three courses (9 credits) must be at the 800 level

c. At least one course (3 credits) in mathematics (other than MEEG690).

d. At least three semesters of MEEG 600 Seminar (0 credits). Special arrangements can be made for part-time students to fulfill this requirement.

e. 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.

Research at UD’s Mechanical Engineering

Biomechanical Engineering

Be a leader in solving biomechanical problems. The human body is a mechanical system that contains fluid flow, structural mechanics and evolving components—all central concepts in mechanical engineering.

Clean Energy

Develop new, clean and sustainable energy sources through novel energy conversion techniques, alternative energy storage methods and fuel-efficient vehicles, among other traditional methods of energy conversion.

Clean Environment

Reduce pollution through understanding transport and transformation of pollutants using mechanical engineering fundamentals such as fluid mechanics.

Composite Materials

Understand how materials respond, then use this information to optimally design everything from airplanes to artificial joint replacements using composite and advanced materials, nanotechnology and creative ingenuity.


The emergence of nanotechnology, which deals with the manipulation of materials at the atomic and molecular scales, has enabled the development of new materials and devices that exhibit novel properties.

Robotics & Control

Construct sophisticated robotic devices that, via advanced control systems, help humans in a multitude of situations, such as manufacturing plants, rescue squads, military operations and rehabilitation devices.

Recruitment Contacts

Graduate Recruitment
Phone: 302-831-6570

Graduate & Professional Education
234 Hullihen Hall
Newark, DE 19716
Phone: (302) 831-2129

Academics Graduate Programs Ph.D. Mechanical Engineering