PhD Degree Requirements
PhD Degree Program in Mechanical Engineering
Major Advisor and Advisory Committee
Soon after entering the PhD program the student should arrange for a major advisor to supervise the dissertation research and remaining coursework. Because this involves a personal arrangement between the student and a Mechanical Engineering Department graduate faculty member, the Mechanical Engineering Department cannot guarantee that a student will be able to find a member of its faculty willing to act in this capacity.
Once the student has made arrangements with a major advisor, the two of them select a doctoral advisory committee of four or five additional professors from the graduate faculty. The committee member's area of specialization should be consistent with the student's area of interest. At least one member must be from another department and at least two, in addition to the major advisor, must be from the Mechanical Engineering Department. Selections for major advisor and doctoral advisory committee must be submitted to the MEGSC on the Doctoral Program Advisory Committee Report form. Usually, the major advisor and doctoral advisory committee later serve as the dissertation director and dissertation committee, respectively. The dissertation director and committee are named when the dissertation proposal is submitted. Students not able to reach an agreement with a dissertation director within six months after passing the qualifying are dismissed from the program.
The major advisor and dissertation director must be full time Mechanical Engineering graduate faculty members.
Program of Study
The student's proposed program of study should be prepared in consultation with the prospective major advisor and advisory committee and submitted to the MEGSC for approval during the first semester in the PhD program. The program of study should consist of a coherent plan of courses consistent with the student's educational objectives. It should be remembered that not all courses are offered every semester; a projection of course offerings is included in the Graduate School catalog. Considerable thought should be given to the program of study since demand indicated by students is one factor used in determining course offerings. Revisions of an approved program should be submitted as soon as possible and marked as a revised program.
After the BSME degree or its equivalent, the student's program of study must include 48 hours of graded coursework, of which
- at least 30 hours is at the 5000 level or higher
- no more than 3 hours of MEEG 590V - Research or MEEG 591V - Special Problems. New courses in development taught as MEEG 591V before they are assigned a course number do not apply to this total.
- at least 12 hours of acceptable mathematics
- 30 hours of MEEG 700V - Dissertation. Six hours of MEEG 600V - Master's Thesis may be applied to this requirement.
- No more than 6 hours of 4000 level courses. Does not include 3000 level math courses that meet the math requirement.
All 4000 level and higher ME courses in the Graduate Catalog, except those required in the BSME curriculum, may be used for graduate credit. Certain 3000 level math courses may be used for graduate credit, but these may comprise no more than 20% of the graded coursework in one's program of study. All of the following courses are acceptable for fulfilling mathematics requirements, but at least 6 of the required 12 hours must be taken in the Mathematics Department:
MATH 3423 Advanced Applied Math
MATH 3443 Complex Variable for Application
MATH 4353 Numerical Linear Algebra
MATH 4363 Numerical Analysis
MATH 4503 Differential Geometry and Vector Calculus
MATH 4513 Advanced Calculus I
MATH 4523 Advanced Calculus II
MATH 5303 Ordinary Differential Equations
MATH 5313 Partial Differential Equations
MEEG 4703 Math Methods in Engineering
MEEG 4733 Numerical Methods II
MEEG 5033 Continuum Mechanics
PHYS 5073 Math Methods of Physics I
PHYS 5083 Math Methods of Physics II
STAT 5103 Theory of Statistics
A student who has earned a MS degree may petition the MEGSC to apply up to 30 hours from his MS degree program of study to the coursework requirements. In courses from another institution are included in the proposed program, sufficient information, such as textbook and syllabi used, typical quizzes, typical problems, etc., may be required so that the courses may be evaluated by the MEGSC.
The purpose of the qualifying examination is to determine the ability to understand fundamental mechanical engineering principles and apply them to the solution of problems.
- When do you take the take examination?
- Those who enter the PhD program with a BS degree take the exam at first opportunity after the 1st year anniversary of entering the program. This allows those who fail to complete requirements for an MSME degree.
- Those who enter the PhD program with a MS degree take the exam in the 2nd semester after entering the PhD program.
- Those who fail all or parts of the exam may request to take the failed part(s) a second time.
- Examination Content and Format
- Three written exams, each 2 hr long, in subject areas chosen by student. Each is followed by a ½ hr oral exam.
- The student must choose exams from a list of traditional ME areas and special/emerging/interdisciplinary areas. At least 2 of the 3 areas must be traditional.
- The exams are closed book/note on material through first year graduate level.
- The areas are
- Mechanical Design
- Statics, Dynamics, Vibrations
- Mechanics of Materials
- Fluid Mechanics
- Heat Transfer
- System Dynamics/Control
- Nano/Micro Engineering
- Finite Element Analysis
Sample exams are available to aid in preparation.
The graduate faculty evaluates the student's performance on the qualifying examination and notifies the student in writing, through the MEGSC, of the results. In some cases, the graduate faculty may give a student who has failed the examination on the first attempt one opportunity to retake all or part of the examination at its next offering.
The qualifying examination results, together with the individual's academic record, engineering experience, evidence of ability to conduct independent research, and other material are used by the graduate faculty to determine if an applicant is allowed to continue in the PhD program.
Passing the qualifying examination is an important step in the process of obtaining the PhD degree. However, passing the qualifying examination does not constitute admission to candidacy.
Foreign Language Requirement
The foreign language requirement, if any, is specified by the doctoral advisory committee.
A dissertation proposal is the first step in meeting the dissertation requirement. The proposal begins with a 300 word abstract of the research followed by a more detailed statement of the work to be undertaken, its objectives and expected significance, its relation to previous work and work in progress elsewhere, and a reference list. The general plan of work, including the broad design of experiments to be performed, if any, and the anticipated procedure are outlined.
The proposal is first submitted to the proposed dissertation director and dissertation committee. The student gives a public seminar on the proposed work soon thereafter, and an oral examination on the merits of proposed work and the student's knowledge in the technical area of the proposal is conducted by the dissertation committee. The purpose of the exam is to approve the proposal and to determine if the student has the knowledge to do the proposed research. Final approval of the proposal and results of the oral exam rest with the dissertation committee.
Submission and defense of the dissertation proposal serve as the candidacy examination. After approval of the proposal and passage of the oral exam, the dissertation director submits the Doctoral Dissertation Title, Dissertation Committee, and Candidacy Exam Notification forms to the MEGSC along with a 300 word abstract of the proposal. These forms and the abstract must be submitted no later than one year after passing the qualifying examination and no later than one year prior to the final examination.
Dissertation Submission and Final Examination
It is the responsibility of the dissertation committee to follow the progress of the dissertation research. When it is determined that the necessary research has been completed, the dissertation is written in the proper format with the aid and guidance of the dissertation director. Proper thesis format is described in the Guide for Preparing Theses and Dissertations published by the Graduate School.
The completed dissertation must be a definite scholarly contribution which may be in the form of new knowledge of fundamental importance or of modification, amplification, and interpretation of existing significant knowledge.
The following schedule should be followed:
- After approval by the dissertation director, the dissertation is distributed to the dissertation committee for review. This must be done no later than six weeks before the final examination.
- Upon approval of the dissertation committee, the dissertation director sends a dissertation abstract and a memorandum announcing the time and location of the final examination to the MEGSC and the Graduate School. This must be done no later than two weeks before the final examination.
- The final examination is oral and open to the public. The final examination is primarily a defense of the dissertation, but it may also include other aspects of the candidate's graduate work. After a successful defense, negotiation of final matters, and passage of the final examination, the candidate prepares the final manuscript and submits it to the Graduate School for final approval. The dissertation director files the Record of Progress - Doctoral Program with the MEGSC no later than 7 days before graduation. If the examination is failed, the student must petition the dissertation committee for reexamination. Otherwise, the student is dismissed from the program.
- Two copies of the approved dissertation and three copies of a 350 word abstract approved by the dissertation director must be submitted to the Library no later than 1 week before graduation. The student must also submit two unbound copies to the MEGSC, one for the dissertation director and one for the Mechanical Engineering Library.
Each doctoral candidate must register for a minimum of 18 hours of MEEG 700V, doctoral dissertation. After the student has passed the candidacy examination, he must register (earlier registration permissible) for at least one hour of dissertation a semester for each semester and one hour for the 10 or 12 week summer session until the work is completed. Candidates working on the dissertation during the summer, either in residence or away from the campus, must register for a minimum of one hour. For each semester in which a student fails to register without prior approval of the Dean of the Graduate School, a registration of three hours will be required before the degree is granted.
The residence requirement for PhD students is even more arcane than for MSME students. The student is advised to carefully read the section on residence in the Graduate School catalog.
Completion of Requirements
A timetable of events for the PhD degree is listed below. It is the student's responsibility to see that all actions are completed by the deadline listed.
|Select Prospective major advisor and submit proposed Doctoral Program Advisory Committee Report form to MEGSC.||End of first semester.|
|Submit Schedule of Study- Doctoral Program to MEGSC.||End of first semester.|
|Submit changes in approved Schedule of Study - Doctoral Program to MEGSC.||Whenever changed; final revisions must be approved before beginning of last semester.|
|Submit Request to Take Qualifying Examination to MEGSC.||At least three weeks before the examination.|
||One year after passing qualifying examination and no later than one year before final examination|
|Apply to graduate in Graduate School Office and pay graduation fee.||Beginning of last semester.|
|Submit dissertation to dissertation committee for review after preparation according to the Guide for Preparing Theses and Dissertations.||Six weeks before final examination.|
|Submit dissertation abstract and announcement of the final examination to MEGSC and Graduate School.||Two weeks before final examination.|
|Pass final examination and have dissertation director submit Record of Progress - Doctoral Program to MEGSC.||Seven days before graduation.|
|Deliver forms and required number of dissertation copies and abstracts to Graduate School and MEGSC.||Seven days before graduation.|
All requirements for the PhD must be completed within 7 years.
Requests for deviations from any of the above rules must be submitted in writing to the MEGSC after approval by the major advisor and doctoral advisory committee or the dissertation director and dissertation committee. Any deviation from Graduate School rules must also be submitted to the Graduate Dean.