Graduate Program Descriptions
The Department of Mechanical Engineering and Materials
Science offers both Master of Science and PhD programs in mechanical engineering
that provide students with in-depth knowledge about a specific area of
With more than 20 research labs and opportunities to work with
a myriad of industries from biomedical to aerospace, the Department of
Mechanical Engineering and Materials Science at Pitt fosters academic
innovation. Extensive information can be found in the Graduate Handbook ( PDF ).
Within the Master of Science
(MS) program in mechanical engineering, students can pursue the following
tracks: • Professional
Master of Science Track (for practicing engineers)
) • Research
Master of Science Track
• Master of Science
The goal of the Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) in
Mechanical Engineering is to develop the student for the rigorous career demands
of engineering research either in the industrial or academic fields.
The goal of the Mechanical Engineering Doctor of Philosophy program in the Department of Mechanical Engineering and Materials Science is to develop the student for the rigorous career demands of engineering research either in the industrial or academic fields. The student is educated at the pioneering edge of technical, management, systems design, and decision-making concepts. This work requires a strong background in mathematics and one of the specialty areas of mechanical engineering. The PhD student is expected to be a full-time student. It is possible, however, to seek candidacy as a part-time student with the stipulation that the PhD candidate must spend at least one full-time academic year on campus.
A graduate student who has completed eight (8) courses of the master's program with good standing can go directly into the PhD program. An applicant who has received the Master of Science in Mechanical Engineering from a university with an Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET)-accredited mechanical engineering curriculum, or who has substantially equivalent preparation, is eligible to enter the mechanical engineering Doctor of Philosophy program in the Department of Mechanical Engineering and Materials Science.
If deficiencies in engineering preparation are noted, as in the case of science majors from accredited institutions, admission may be granted after the completion of such designated undergraduate courses as may best correct the deficiencies. Only those individuals whose preparation has been judged satisfactory for graduate study in the Department of Mechanical Engineering and Materials Science will be admitted to full graduate status.
To be accepted for the doctoral program, a graduate student must have a superior graduate scholastic record and show promise for independent research. A prospective doctoral student must have a cumulative quality point average of 3.3 or better in graduate course work.
An applicant is officially classified as a PhD student if he or she has been accepted into the PhD program and:
Fulfilling the requirements of the mechanical engineering PhD program in the Department of Mechanical Engineering and Materials Science involves completion of the following:
Immediately after entering the doctoral program, the student must submit a tentative course program for approval by the department. Minimum course requirements (beyond the MS or equivalent degree, or beyond 24 MS level course credits for those students permitted to bypass an MS degree) include:
PhD students are required to give one seminar each year, usually as part of the departmental seminar series. The seminar topic should be chosen in consultation with each student's advisor.
The PhD preliminary examination is a diagnostic examination based on Master of Science-level courses (or equivalent). It is not based on material covered in PhD-level courses. The exam consists of both a closed book written test and an oral test. The student may elect to take the exam in three of the five following areas: Fluid Mechanics, Thermal Systems, Solid Mechanics, Dynamics and Vibrations, Mathematics and Numerical Methods. The student is only required to pass the exam in two areas. The examination includes material at the MS level and must be taken by the student during the first academic year after admission to the PhD program. If the student does not pass two areas of the exam, he or she will be granted one final retake in those areas the next time the exam is offered.
The comprehensive examination will be given after the student has passed the preliminary examination and completed all course requirements for the doctorate with a cumulative QPA of at least 3.30.
After passing the PhD comprehensive examination, the student must apply for admission to candidacy before starting on a dissertation. Once students have registered for dissertation research, they continue to do so until granted the PhD degree. Students must be registered in the term in which the degree is granted. The two-term minimum residency requirement is applied to the dissertation research.
All doctoral students are expected to pursue research by working with individual faculty members in areas that can lead to a potential doctoral dissertation. A PhD candidate must demonstrate the ability to conduct research of an original nature by completing a dissertation and preparing a paper of publishable quality. The dissertation topic is selected by the student, in consultation with a faculty adviser, in some theoretical or applied area of interest. The dissertation proposal must be approved by a faculty committee before the student embarks on dissertation research.
Once students register for dissertation research, they must continue to register for research in successive terms (not including the summer term) until the final oral examination has been passed.
The final oral examination in defense of the doctoral dissertation is conducted by the doctoral committee and determines the acceptability of the dissertation and the ability of the candidate to comprehend and organize the field of research. One copy of the dissertation must be submitted to each member of the doctoral committee at least two weeks before the date set for the final examination. The PhD final oral examination consists of a public seminar followed by an examination by the student's doctoral committee.
Any member of the graduate faculty of the University may attend and participate in the examination. Other qualified individuals may be invited by the committee to participate in the examination. Only members of the doctoral committee may vote on whether the candidate has passed the examination.
The Graduate Certificate Program in Physical Metallurgy: Processing, Properties and Performance of Engineering Metals is designed to meet the nation's workforce development needs for materials engineering professionals with expertise in physical metallurgy. As the newest graduate-level certificate in the Swanson School of Engineering, this 15 credit program will provide an in-depth study of a specialized and critical industry sector.
Scroll down to the Physical Metallurgy Certificate tab to learn more.
more about the Graduate Certificate in Nuclear Engineering offered through
the Swanson School of Engineering *. Notice:
*Applying for the Nuclear Engineering Certificate, student must complete the
regular online application for degree program.
of Mechanical Engineering and Materials Science maintains a commitment to
high-quality graduate education, which is consistent with its strong research
focus. The department offers Master of Science (MS) and Doctor of Philosophy
(PhD) programs in materials science and engineering. At the MS level, research
and professional tracks are available. Graduate courses are typically offered in
the evening, which facilitates part-time study.
The programs are oriented
toward the transition of results from scientific and engineering disciplines to
the solution of materials problems that impede technological progress. They are
designed to educate engineers, providing them with the tools to become
successful in research, development, production, management, and teaching. A
basic introduction to the Materials Science Engineering for Graduate Study can
be found in the Graduate Handbook (PDF
) . Information regarding the Masters Program and Doctorate Program can be
found the in links below.
1) Masters of Science (MS) Program in Materials
Science Engineering (PDF)
2) Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) program in Materials Science Engineering
Graduate Courses in Materials Science
Some of the ongoing research programs are centered in several areas of
advanced ceramics and metallurgy, including the following. • Corrosion
and oxidation • High-temperature materials • Magnetic materials
• Phase transformations in metallic and ceramic systems • Plastic
deformation of metals and alloys • Thermomechanical processing of steels
and other alloys • Thermodynamic properties of materials •
Ceramic processing • High-temperature superconductivity •
Microwave and other ferroelectric properties of ceramics, smart materials, and
more about the Graduate Certificate in Nuclear Engineering offered through
the Swanson School of Engineering*
**Notice: Applying for
the Nuclear Engineering Certificate, student must complete the regular online
application for degree program.
The NE program provides coursework for a graduate-level
nuclear engineering education with study areas in nuclear operations and
safety, nuclear science, and nuclear systems and policy. The focus on nuclear
operations and safety not only fulfills a recognized educational need, but is
also designed to take advantage of unique industrial resources in the
Pittsburgh area. Our nuclear engineering faculty nuclear scientists and
engineers with decades of experience in the commercial nuclear power industry
and naval nuclear programs. The nuclear science area provides courses necessary
to support a graduate-level research program. Finally, the NE program offers
courses in nuclear systems and policy, for example, we have a courses on codes
and standards for the nuclear industry and on nuclear plant management.
Learn more here .
Where the Professional MS Track is best suited to those
currently in industry and looking to increase their knowledge, the Research MS
Track is designed for individuals seeking in-depth research experience in
mechanical engineering. Unlike in the Professional MS Track, a total of 24
course credits and a master's thesis are required for this degree. Upon
entering the program, students plan a program of study with the aid of their
A student must
take the following master's research course:
• ME 2997 : MS Research (3 credits) A student must take at least 6 credits of ME 2999: MS Thesis A
student must take at least one of the following mathematics courses: •
ME 2001 : Differential
Equations (3 credits) • ME 2002 : Linear and Complex Analysis (3
Students must take mechanical engineering courses from
at least two of the following subject course lists:
• ME 2003 : Introduction to Continuum Mechanics
(3 credits) • ME
2004 : Elasticity (3 credits) • ME
2022 : Applied Solid Mechanics (3 credits) • ME 2033 : Fracture Mechanics (3 credits) • ME 2047 : Finite
Element Analysis (3 credits)
• ME 2050 : Thermodynamics (3
credits) • ME 2053
: Heat and Mass Transfer (3 credits) • ME
2074 : Advanced Fluid Mechanics (3 credits) A student may
take up to 9 credits from other engineering, mathematics, or physics
A 30-credit, non-thesis, professional MS degree program is
available for qualified students who are employed in industry. Upon entering
the program, students plan a program of study with the aid of their faculty
A student must take
at least one of the following mathematics courses:
Students must take mechanical engineering courses from
at least two of the following subject course lists.
A student may take up to 9 credits from other
engineering, mathematics, or physics departments.
The Graduate Certificate Program in Physical Metallurgy: Processing, Properties and Performance of Engineering Metals is designed to meet the nation's workforce development needs for materials engineering professionals with expertise in physical metallurgy. As the newest graduate-level certificate in the Swanson School of Engineering, this 15 credit program will provide an in-depth study of a specialized and critical industry sector. The curriculum focuses on the core physical metallurgy principles while simultaneously incorporating modern and emerging topics in the field. With on-campus evening classes offered, the Physical Metallurgy Certificate is excellent for working professionals and graduate students with a BS in Engineering alike. This certificate can be combined with another MS program with advisor approval.
Minimum 3.00 QPA required for completion. A student may repeat any course in which a grade of B- or lower is received with advisor's authorization. No course may be repeated more than twice.
For more information please contact Dr. Thomas Piccone, program director.