Students must pass a qualifying examination to be eligible to apply for Doctoral Candidacy. The qualifying examination is prescribed by the academic areas (with approval of the Graduate Studies Committee). The qualifying examination is best described as a test of graduate understanding of upper division undergraduate and first year graduate courses.
A student who has pursued an M.S. in the department can typically take the qualifying examination immediately upon completion of the M.S., or possibly after having completed all or most of the M.S. course work. For a student entering with a M.S. from another school, it is advisable to take at least one semester of graduate work (to get the emphasis of our faculty) before taking the qualifying examination.
Each of the technical areas in the department administers its own qualifying examination. The structure of the examination will vary depending on the technical area, and the area faculty member who serves as the coordinator should be consulted for details. Contact your faculty advisor or Area Coordinator or the staff in the graduate office to determine the faculty member currently coordinating the qualifying exam. Generally it consists of both written and oral portions, and is typically offered twice each year.
List of area-specific qualifying exams:
- Biomechanical Engineering
- Dynamic Systems and Control
- Manufacturing and Design
- Materials Science and Engineering
- Nuclear and Radiation Engineering
- Thermal/Fluids Systems
In addition to the Ph.D. qualifying exams offered by the various technical areas, the Department of Mechanical Engineering offers an Interdisciplinary Qualifying Exam. This Ph.D. qualifying exam is offered twice per year and is open to any doctoral student seeking a Ph.D. degree under the Mechanical Engineering Graduate Studies Committee (NB: technical area approval is not required for a student to select this Ph.D. qualifying exam option).
Successful completion of the qualifying examination represents the major requirement before being formally admitted to Ph.D. candidacy.