Requirements for the Ph.D. Degree
The minimum semester hours of course work (one course usually consists of three semester hours) required of Ph.D. students is tabulated as a function of the degree held upon entrance into the program. Students with an M.S. need 18 hours of coursework. Students with a five-year B.S., 30 hours; with a four-year B.S., 36 hours; and with a 4-year B.A., 42 hours. In all cases, a student's course of study is formulated in consultation with the thesis director and must be approved by the department.
Preliminary Candidacy Evaluation (PCE)
All entering graduate students pursuing a thesis degree program will be subject to a preliminary evaluation of their candidacy for the highest degree program they intend to pursue. The evaluation will be conducted by the end of the second semester of enrollment in the mechanical engineering graduate program. Students are responsible for working with their adviser in order to ensure that their PCE is conducted in a timely fashion. The evaluation will be based on a review of the academic performance up to the time of evaluation, including performance in course work and graduate research in the form of course grades, course ranking, GRE scores and other relevant information. The reviewed material will be made available to the students. A panel of MECH faculty members selected by the research adviser and approved by the director of graduate studies will conduct the evaluation. The number of panel members will be four for the Ph.D. degree. The evaluation by the panel will normally result in one of the following four possible outcomes:
Approve preliminary candidacy
Approve preliminary candidacy conditionally, and specify conditions
Extend the period of evaluation, and receive candidacy approval no later than the end of the third semester of enrollment in the graduate program in the MECH graduate program
Oral Qualifying Examination
By the end of the third year of enrollment in the MECH graduate program, the student must pass an oral qualifying examination. The purpose of this examination is to determine whether the student is qualified to conduct independent research at the technical level required for the Ph.D. thesis. The student's grasp of fundamental concepts in his/her field and related fields of interest will be examined. A committee consisting of at least three faculty members of the department and one member of another department will administer the examination. The result of this examination will be the principal factor in the department's decision as to the student's admission to candidacy for the Ph.D. program. Should the student fail in this examination, he/she may be allowed to repeat it once only with the recommendation of the examining committee.
The Department of Mechanical Engineering does not have a foreign language requirement for its graduate degrees. It is recommended that every student is proficient in at least one computer language.
Research and Thesis
Each candidate for the Ph.D. must complete a thesis that constitutes an original contribution to scientific knowledge. The thesis will be digitally preserved in the library. Instructions for preparation of theses can be obtained at the appropriate time through the Office of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies.
Final Thesis Defense
Upon completion of the thesis, each candidate for the Ph.D. degree must pass a final public oral examination. A committee consisting of at least four members will conduct the examination. Three, including the committee chair, must be members of the department. One member must be from another department within the university. The members of the committee will be announced early enough so that the candidate may discuss with them the nature of the thesis research and the contents of the thesis. The thesis must be made available to the members of the examining committee at least three weeks before the examination date. Although the examination will be concerned primarily with the candidate's thesis, the questioning may also cover other areas. The oral defense may be scheduled at any time except during official examination periods. Public announcements of the oral examinations for the doctoral degree must be made at least two weeks in advance.
Students must observe the deadlines set by the Office of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies for submission of the final thesis to receive their degree for either January or May conferral. Otherwise students have six months from the date of defense to submit their final thesis to the Office of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies.
Normally, three or more years of study past the bachelor's degree are required for the Ph.D. degree. The minimum residence requirement for the Ph.D. degree is four semesters (fall/spring) of full-time study at the university.
All Ph.D. students must attend at least 75 percent of the MECH seminars for their first three years in the department and must register for MECH 606 each semester during that time.
All Ph.D. students are required, as part of their research degree program and educational experience, to provide instructional assistance to the department. This instructional assistance, which could be in the form of grading, lecturing, assisting in labs or developing course material, will not exceed ten hours per week for six semesters.