Ph.D. Exams and Dissertation

The PhD program is designed to be completed in six (6) semesters after the MS or in eight (8) semesters with a direct-to-PhD program.A brief overview is described below, however, detailed information and instructions are included in the MAE PhD Student Guide. Access your MAE PhD Student Guide from the MAE Graduate Advising website today!


Preliminary Exam

No earlier than the end of the second year of graduate study and no later than one semester (four months) before the final oral examination, each doctoral student is required to take a preliminary comprehensive examination consisting of a written examination and an oral examination. This examination is conducted by the student’s advisory committee. The oral examination is designed to test the student’s ability to relate factual knowledge to specific circumstances, to use this knowledge with accuracy and promptness, and to demonstrate a comprehensive understanding of the field of specialization and related areas.

A doctoral student is admitted to candidacy by the Graduate School upon passing the preliminary examinations. The preliminary exam results must be transmitted to the Graduate School at least six (6) months before the anticipated date of graduation. Thus, it is expected that each student will be engaged in active full-time research for at least six months after admission to candidacy.

Ph.D. Dissertation

The dissertation is an original contribution to the literature in the field of mechanical engineering or aerospace engineering. The final oral defense is the examination of the methodology used and the conclusions reached in the research performed by the candidate, as reported in the dissertation.

Note: MAE 899 (Doctoral Dissertation Preparation) does not count towards your degree and should only be taken after all requirements are met so that the requirement of continuous registration is satisfied.