When a student becomes a prospective candidate for either the Doctor of Engineering Science (Eng.Sc.D.) or Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) degree, a faculty adviser is assigned whose task is to help choose a program of courses, provide general advice on academic matters, and monitor academic performance.
The doctoral candidate is expected to attain a level of mastery in some area of mechanical engineering, and must therefore choose a field and take the most advanced courses offered in that field. This choice of specialty is normally made by the time the student has completed 30 points of credit beyond the bachelor's degree, at which time a complete course program is prepared and submitted to the departmental doctoral committee for approval. The student must maintain a grade point average of 3.2 or better in graduate courses.
The department requires the prospective candidate to pass a qualifying examination. Given once a year in May, it is usually taken after the student has spent two semesters in the graduate program as a MS/PhD or PhD student. The exam consists of a written exam covering a number of areas of Mechanical Engineering. A candidate who fails the examination may be permitted to repeat it once in the following year. Full details regarding the Mechanical Engineering Qualifying Exam can be found HERE.
After passing the qualifying examination, the student chooses a faculty member in the pertinent area of specialization who then serves as the research adviser. This adviser helps select a research problem and supervises the research, writing, and defense of the dissertation. Once a specific problem has been identified and a tentative plan for the research prepared, the student submits a research proposal and presents it to a faculty committee. The committee considers whether the proposed problem is suitable for doctoral research, whether the plan of attack is well formulated and appropriate to the problem, and whether the student is adequately prepared. It may approve the plan without reservation, or it may recommend modifications or additions. This is the last formal requirement until the dissertation is submitted for approval.
All doctoral students are required to successfully complete four semesters of the mechanical engineering seminar MECE E9500.
Advanced Standing for PhD students
You are granted advanced standing for your Masters degree during the semester in which you enter GSAS. GSAS credits you with two (2) residence units towards the six (6) residence unit requirement for the PhD degree.
GSAS Registration prior to completion of six (6) Residence Units
When you first enter GSAS you should register for one "residence unit" (RU) every fall and spring semester (but not during summer session). A total of six (6) RUs is required for the PhD. However, you will be granted two (2) residence units upon obtaining advanced standing for your Masters degree. Hence, you should register for a residence unit exactly four (4) times, consecutively during your first four (4) semesters in GSAS. Make sure to keep track of exactly how many RUs you have completed (over-payment of RU tuition will not be refunded!). GSAS requires continuous registration every fall and spring semester (but not summers) unless a formal leave of absence is granted.
GSAS Registration after completion of six (6) Residence Units
After you have completed your six (6) residence units in GSAS, including the two (2) for advanced standing, you should stop registering for RUs. By this point you should have also already accumulated 60 credits beyond the undergraduate degree. How you register after that depends on your funding and on your status towards completion of degree requirements. There are two options, "Extended Residence" and "Matriculation and Facilities". GSAS requires continuous registration every fall and spring semester (but not summers) unless a formal leave of absence is granted.
Note: After you have accumulated six (6) RUs and 60 credits, and completed all the other requirements for the PhD except the proposal, defense and deposit, you should apply for your MPhil (Master of Philosophy) en course degree from GSAS.
Extended Residence: If you are appointed as a "student officer", you must register for an "extended residence" (ER) unit every fall and spring semester. Some external fellowships and scholarships may also require ER registration. In addition, regardless of how funded, if you will be taking any classes or may be completing any other degree requirement (with the exceptions of the dissertation distribution, defense or deposit) during the semester, you must register for an ER unit.