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 interest.
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.
MASTERS OF SCIENCE
- Professional Masters of Science: See Below
- Research Masters of Science: See Below
DOCTOR OF PHILOSOPHY PROGRAM
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
An applicant is officially classified as a PhD student if he or she has been accepted into the PhD program and:
- Has received an accredited MS or equivalent degree or
- Has completed eight courses at the MS level in good academic standing, and has been granted permission to bypass the additional course work required for the MS degree.
Fulfilling the requirements of the mechanical engineering PhD program in the Department of Mechanical Engineering and Materials Science involves completion of the following:
- Required course work
- Preliminary (qualifying) examination
- Comprehensive exam
- Dissertation proposal conference
- Defending a PhD dissertation
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:
- 18 course credits at an advanced graduate level (approved by the students advisor and the graduate committee)
- 18 dissertation credits, 12 of which must be for ME 3999
- 30 credits for MS degree (or equivalent)
- 6 additional credits approved by advisor and graduate committee
- 72 credits total
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.
Preliminary (Qualifying) Exam
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.
Admission to Candidacy
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.
Dissertation Proposal Conference
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.
Defending a PhD Dissertation
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
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.
NUCLEAR ENGINEERING CERTIFICATE
Learn 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.