Doctoral Program

Program Description

Every doctoral candidate in the Department of Mechanical Engineering is expected to attain a level of mastery in an area of mechanical engineering, and must therefore choose a field and take the most advanced courses offered in that field. Candidates are assigned a faculty adviser whose task is to help choose a program of courses, provide general advice on academic matters, and monitor academic performance. Candidates also choose a faculty member in the pertinent area of specialization to serve as their research adviser. This adviser helps select a research problem and supervises the research, writing, and defense of the dissertation.

Program Requirements

  • 30 credits beyond master’s degree (can be from research course credits)
  • GPA of 3.2 or better in graduate courses
  • 4 semesters of graduate seminar MECE E9500
  • Completion of all milestones




Typical Time of Completion

Qualifying Exam

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.

Two semesters after matriculation.  Exam given in May

Master of Science (M.S.)

Doctoral students are expected to either matriculate into the doctoral program with a master’s degree or earn one on course to their doctoral degree.

Two to three semesters after matriculation

Master of Philosophy (M.Phil.)

Doctoral students should apply for the M.Phil. after accumulating six residence units (see registration information below) and 30 credits beyond the M.S., and after completing all other requirements for the doctoral degree except the proposal, defense and deposit.

Four semesters after M.S.

Research Proposal

Doctoral students present a research proposal which identifies a specific problem to investigate to a three-person 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.

No later than six semesters after passing the Qualifying Exam

Defense and Deposit of Dissertation

Doctoral students prepare and defend a dissertation to a five-person faculty committee consisting of at least three members from the Department of Mechanical Engineering and at least one member whose primary appointment is outside the department.

Five to six years, on average

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