Mechanical Sciences and Engineering
The Ph.D. program in Mechanical Sciences and Engineering at the University of Michigan-Dearborn educates and trains talented students who will conduct original and innovative research in the engineering field, educate future generations, and play leading roles in developing cutting edge technologies while working in industry, academia, and government. The doctoral program has a strong orientation toward the interfaces between the science of mechanical engineering and other areas. In addition to the core mechanical engineering subfields, such as mechanical and thermo-fluid sciences, the program’s areas of research training include the emerging fields in which mechanical engineering intersects with the materials sciences, bioengineering, automotive engineering, optical engineering, and advanced energy technologies.
The Ph.D. program is highly selective and offers admission to exceptional students who have completed a Bachelor's or Master's degree in engineering, applied math, computer science, or physical science.
All students admitted for full-time study receive a competitive financial aid package in the form of an appointment as a graduate student instructor (GSI) or research assistant (GSRA).
All admissions are for the Fall term only.
The specific learning goals of the program is that the graduates will have:
- A strong foundation in engineering science and deep knowledge of the chosen field
- The ability to conduct high-quality original research in the broad field of Mechanical Sciences and Engineering
- The ability to communicate and disseminate their knowledge to a broader audience
- Preparedness for varied responsibilities and opportunities of careers in industrial research and academia.
Ph.D. in Mechanical Sciences and Engineering
The MSE Ph.D. degree requirements include a minimum of 36 credits of coursework and 24 credit hours of dissertation for Ph.D. students. The implementation of the requirements is, by necessity, different for the three major student profiles:
- Direct Ph.D. students, who are admitted with a Bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering or a closely related field, but without a relevant Master’s degree. Students of this group must complete no fewer than 36 credit hours of coursework, 30 of which allow them to earn an embedded MSE in mechanical engineering degree.
- Students admitted with a relevant Master’s degree (in mechanical engineering or a closely related field) from one of the Rackham school programs. These students must complete no fewer than 6 credit hours of coursework
- Students admitted with a relevant non-Rackham (i.e., from outside the University of Michigan system) Master’s degree. These students must satisfy the requirement of coursework in residence by completing no fewer than 18 credit hours of coursework.
For students entering with insufficient background in mechanical engineering and essential sciences, such as mathematics, physics, and chemistry, remedial coursework is assigned, which does not count toward the degree requirements.
The completed coursework must satisfy the minimum degree requirements specified below. Only letter-graded courses at the 500+ level will be allowed.
Each student is guided by a research advisor and a dissertation committee and must pass the following major milestones:
- Completion of required coursework
- Qualifying examination consisting of two parts:
- Curriculum examination
- Research fundamentals examination
- Dissertation proposal examination and advancement to candidacy
- Preparation of a written dissertation and its oral defense
For students admitted on the basis of a Master's degree, some of the requirements can be satisfied by the coursework completed during the Master's studies. This should be approved by the Ph.D. program committee and does not reduce the required total number of credits within the program.
Directed Study Requirement
Ph.D. Research Seminar
Advanced Mathematics Requirement
The qualifying examination consists of two parts to be taken in sequence:
- Part 1 – Curriculum Examination
- Part 2 – Research Fundamentals Examination
A student must be in good standing (GPA of at least 3.5) and is given two attempts to pass each part. The time limits to complete the examination after enrollment in the program are two years for full-time students and three years for part-time students.
The examination committee consists of 3 faculty members appointed by the program committee, none of whom is the student’s research advisor.
Research Fundamentals Examination
Dissertation Proposal and Advancement to Candidacy
The last step of advancement to candidacy is the dissertation proposal examination, the main objective of which is to ensure sufficient strength and feasibility of the proposed research topic, as well as the suitability of the student’s background and skills regarding the topic. The examination must be completed within a year of passing the qualifying examination.
The examination consists of a written dissertation proposal and its open-to-the-public presentation by the student. The examination is conducted by the dissertation committee. As a rule, the dissertation committee continues overseeing the student’s work to the stage of final dissertation defense.
Dissertation and Defense
Dissertation and Final Defense
Time Limit for Completing the Degree
Full-time students must achieve candidacy within three years of enrolling in the program and complete the degree within five years of achieving candidacy. The total time for completing the degree is limited to seven years after enrolling in the program. Extensions of the time limits in justified cases are handled in accordance to the program guidelines.