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University of Pittsburgh    
2023-2024 Graduate & Professional Studies Catalog 
    
 
  Jun 12, 2024
 
2023-2024 Graduate & Professional Studies Catalog

Mechanical Engineering, PhD


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The goal of the Doctor of Philosophy program in the Mechanical Engineering and Materials Science (MEMS) Department 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 attend full time. 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.

Plan of Study


A minimum of 72 credits is required for the PhD degree. Of the total 72 credits, a minimum of 36 credits must be completed as coursework at the 2000 or higher levels beyond the Bachelor of Science (BS) degree. Students entering the PhD program with a master’s degree in mechanical engineering or a closely related field are required to complete at least 12 graduate course credits. PhD students must maintain a minimum QPA of 3.3 (B+) in their coursework. Students can transfer up to 30 credits from an M.S. or equivalent degree, subject to approval by the graduate program committee. Students must take and pass the PhD preliminary (qualifying) exam at approximately the end of their first year. Students who fail the qualifying exam in their first attempt will have a second chance in the following semester. Students who fail the exam at both attempts cannot proceed with the PhD program and are terminated.

Each student must also have:

  • At least six (6) credits of ME 3997  (PhD Research);
  • At least 12 credits of ME 3999  (PhD Dissertation);

Please note that registration for ME 3999  is allowed only after the student has passed the Comprehensive Examination and defended the PhD Proposal, which qualifies the student for the status of PhD Candidacy.

The course requirements described in these guidelines are a minimum requirement. The minimum requirement of 72 credits of graduate work must be satisfied by combinations of research, course work and transfer credits for the award of a PhD degree. Students are allowed to take additional courses with the agreement of their advisors. In some cases, these courses may be suggested by the PhD Committee for better preparation for a given research area. Note that completion of the PhD degree and admission PhD candidacy require a QPA of B+ or better (≥3.3). Students are urged to review the Graduate Handbook available on the department webpage for details and additional requirements for coursework.

The most current list of courses in the MEMS Department can be found at the bottom of the Department page .

Total Credits: 72


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