PhD in Mechanical Engineering
The Department of Mechanical Science and Engineering offers a world-class program leading to the PhD in Mechanical Engineering. The program offers tremendous flexibility in course selection, with a rigorous qualifying exam based on upper-level undergraduate course work. Most students joining the department enter the PhD program in Stage 1, during which they complete their MS degree in Mechanical Engineering or Theoretical and Applied Mechanics. An outline of the steps toward completion of the Mechanical Engineering PhD is presented below.
Stage 1: MS or its equivalent
Click here for information on getting your MS degree in ME or TAM.*
Stage 2: Qualifying Exam, PhD Coursework, Preliminary Examination
Students are required to take the exam within one calendar year of completion of their MS degree. The Department requires the successful completion of a Qualifying Examination to formally enter the Ph.D. program. The Qualifying Examination should be taken no later one calendar year after completion of the MS degree. You can download sample examinations should you want them. Also, please download the exam scheduling guidelines and both the research examination proposal cover sheet and PhD qualifying examination registration form to schedule your exam.
32 hours of graded coursework to include: 16 hours of 500-level, including 3-4 hours of advanced (500-level) math to be chosen from the approved list. The advanced math requirement may be satisfied by TAM 541,TAM 542, TAM 549, or any 500-level course offered by the Mathematics Department except for the following: MATH 596, MATH 597, MATH 598, and MATH 599.**
MSE 492 Fundamentals of Laboratory Safety is required and students are expected to complete the course within their first academic year. Students who completed an MS at UIUC and took this course as part of the MS do not need to repeat it.
Preliminary and Final Examinations
Scheduled upon completion of coursework requirement or in the semester in which the final coursework is taken. To schedule your exam, download the Guidelines for, and the administration of, the Doctoral Preliminary Examination and the Doctoral Final Examination. Students should submit Form A (for Preliminary Examination) to the MechSE Graduate Office (166 MEB) at least 3 weeks prior to the approximate exam date. Form B, along with an electronic copy of the proposal should be submitted to the MechSE Graduate Office at least one week prior to the exam.
Continuous registration in ME 590 is required until completion of the final exam. Seminar credit cannot be counted toward coursework requirements.
Stage 3: Thesis and Final Examination
Thesis and Final Examination
Doctoral Dissertation Defense
May be taken no sooner than six months after the preliminary examination.
STUDENTS are responsible for preparing the Thesis/Dissertation Approval Form, “TDA” (formerly known as the “Red Boarder” form). They should print three original copies of the form to bring to the exam. The form is found at http://www.grad.illinois.edu/forms/tda . All information required on the form should be entered by the student before printing off the form . The only handwritten item on the form will be the signatures of the Committee Members. To schedule your exam, download the Guidelines for, and the administration of, the Doctoral Preliminary Examination and the Doctoral Final Examination. Students should submit Form C (for Final Examination) to the MechSE Graduate Office (166 MEB) at least 3 weeks prior to the approximate exam date. Students must submit Form D, along with an electronic copy of the abstract at least two weeks prior to the exam. This will allow time for the announcement to be published in MechSE e-week.
Residency requirement: The University of Illinois requires that 64 hours must be from courses meeting on the Urbana-Champaign campus or at other locations approved by the Graduate College for resident credit.
*A student entering with a MS degree is credited with 32 hours of coursework, leaving 64 hours to be completed at Illinois.
**A maximum of 4 hours of ME 597 Independent study may be applied toward the 500-level coursework requirement.
***Coursework applied toward the degree must be approved by the Associate Head for Graduate Programs.
Continuous registration in TAM 500 is required until completion of the final exam. Seminar credit cannot be counted toward coursework requirements. Students are required to attend a minimum of 4 seminars in the semester. A list of seminars being held is e-mailed to students at the beginning of each semester.
If you are enrolled in a course that is in conflict with ME 590/TAM 500 MechSE Seminar, you need to e-mail the Undergraduate office (mechse-ug-adviseillinois [dot] edu
) and provide your name, UIN, and the course that you are enrolled in that is in conflict with the seminar. You will receive an e-mail notification that a registration override has been put on for you. Once that is done, you will go back in to the student self-service system and register for ME 590 or TAM 500. The Graduate Programs Office will receive a copy of the e-mail notifying you that the registration override has been put on. You will be allowed to attend alternative seminars to meet the ME 590/TAM 500 requirement. Alternative seminars include: Other MechSE seminars not included in the MechSE Seminar Series (such as ME 591 MIG, ME 591 BIG, and TAM 539 Fluids Seminar), seminars from any other Engineering Department and Math and Physics. However, if you attend an alternative seminar, you must take an attendance verification form
and have it signed by the seminar host and return it to the Graduate Programs Office. If an attendance verification form is not received, you will not be awarded credit for attending.