Ph.D. In Mechanical Engineering

Ph.D. students earn at least 60 post-baccalaureate credits, including at least 18 credits of dissertation work. In progressing toward this degree, the student must pass the following examinations:

  1. A written departmental Graduate Study Qualifying Examination administered to all Ph.D. students within the first two semesters of their matriculation to the program.
  2. A comprehensive examination to be taken within two years of the qualifying examination and after completing two-thirds of their total coursework.
  3. A final oral examination and defense of a dissertation based on the student's research.

To satisfy the requirements for the Ph.D. in Mechanical Engineering, the student will take a minimum of 60 credits beyond the bachelor's degree.  For students entering with a Masters degree, up to 24 graded credits may be applied.  Course requirements below.

Course Requirements:
EGEN 505Advanced Engineering Analysis3
EGEN 506Numerical Sol to Engr Problems3
EM 525Continuum Mechanics3
ENGR 650Scientific Communication and Proposal Development2
or ENGR 694 Seminar
Thermo-fluids Mechanics3
Solid Mechanics3
Other Graded Courses18-25
Total Credits60

Qualifying Examination: The exam will be administered on the second Tuesday in February of the Spring semester.  The undergraduate Mechanical Engineering topics will include: Thermodynamics, Heat (energy) transfer, Fluid Mechanics, Structural Mechanics, Materials, Dynamics and Vibrations, and Mathematics.  Students will solve problems in 4 of the 7 topic areas.   The exam will be 5 hours duration in an open book, open notes format. Each problem set will be graded by the faculty member that submitted the set. The results will be analyzed by the Mechanical Engineering graduate studies committee, and each candidate will receive a grade of Pass (P), Fail (F) or Remediate (R). Students will not be given the test back in order to protect the questions from dissemination. In cases where remediation in certain topic areas is required, the Ph.D. adviser will develop a problem-solving-based plan with the Ph.D. candidate to prepare for a retest on the identified topic areas.  The retest must occur prior to the next fall semester and will be overseen by the Ph.D. adviser.

Comprehensive Examination:  A public oral seminar of 40 minutes plus 10 minutes of public questions, on the research to date and proposed research to complete the Ph.D., will be given by the Ph.D. candidate. This will be followed by a closed-session oral examination of 45-90 minutes by the student’s Ph.D. committee.

The purpose of the Ph.D. comprehensive examination is to determine whether the student is ready for independent research in their chosen area of study. The comprehensive examination is administered by the student’s graduate committee and must be completed within two years after passing the qualifying examination. It is also recommended that the student has taken 2/3 of their graded coursework. In addition, students should have completed ENGR 650 prior to taking the exam; the course is designed to assist the student in preparing their proposal.

The Ph.D. comprehensive examination is comprised of:

  • A written proposal for the student’s Ph.D. dissertation, and
  • An oral presentation of the proposal and oral examination.

The candidate will prepare a written proposal associated with the research topic for the Ph.D. dissertation, in a format designated by the Ph.D. advisor (up to 15 pages). The successful proposal will include a significant literature review, preliminary research to date, and the research proposed to complete the Ph.D. The written proposal will be presented to the student’s graduate committee in advance of the oral presentation, by a date agreed to by the student and graduate committee.

The student will then present the dissertation proposal as a public research seminar that has been advertised to the College of Engineering. This will be followed by a closed-session oral examination by the student’s graduate committee on:

  • the candidate’s current and proposed research;
  • the candidate’s graduate level understanding of option specific engineering principles; and
  • additional topics relevant to the proposed research, including fundamentals of other disciplines drawn upon in the research.

The student’s graduate committee will inform the student of the results of the comprehensive examination immediately following the oral examination and committee deliberation, and will document the results on the appropriate form filed with The Graduate School. A student not passing the comprehensive will have one opportunity to retake the comprehensive after a span of six months has passed. Failure to pass the examination on the second attempt is grounds for dismissal from the Ph.D. program.

There may be additional requirements for these exams specified in the option requirements.