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Doctor of Philosophy in Mechanical Engineering

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Ph.D. Degree Requirements

Students must spend a minimum of 3 full academic years or the equivalent beyond the baccalaureate in resident graduate study at KU or some other approved university. A minimum grade-point average of 3.5 on a 4.0 scale in master’s degree work normally is required for admission. The student normally takes a qualifying examination in the first semester of participation in the doctoral program on regular status.

The doctoral qualifying examination covers basic material from major areas in mechanical engineering and advanced materials from the student’s specialty.

On successful completion of the qualifying examination, the student selects a major professor to serve as the chair of the advisory committee and to direct the research. The advisory committee helps the student prepare a Plan of Study, conducts the comprehensive examination, and helps the student plan research.

The comprehensive examination has written and oral components. The written component contains a detailed literature review of existing research in the proposed area as well as a description of the work or research plan to be completed for the dissertation. During the oral examination, the aspirant must defend the proposed work or research plan and demonstrate proficiency in the specialization.

A minimum of 72 hours of graduate credit beyond the bachelor’s degree is required for a Ph.D. For students with a 30-credit-hour master’s degree in mechanical engineering, a minimum of an additional 18 credit hours of graduate course work and a 24-hour dissertation are required. If a master’s degree is not sought, 42 hours of graduate course work beyond the bachelor’s degree and a 30-hour dissertation are required. A minimum of 9 credit hours of the 18 (or 21 of the 42) must be mechanical engineering courses numbered 700 to 990 (excluding ME 702, ME 899, ME 901, and ME 999). A minimum of 9 credit hours of advanced mathematics beyond the bachelor’s degree is required. Following completion of 18 credit hours of course work beyond the master’s degree, the student must pass a comprehensive examination.

The Ph.D. student must meet the Graduate Studies requirement for residency, demonstrate proficiency in at least 1 research skill area and must have training in responsible scholarship. Since the needs of each student differ, the research skills are determined with the advice and approval of the advisory committee. Possible research skills include foreign language and computer science. The responsible scholarship requirement may be met by taking ME 801, in addition to all other course and credit requirements.

Note: Contact your department or program for more information about research skills and responsible scholarship, and the current requirements for doctoral students. Current Lawrence and Edwards Campus policies on Doctoral Research Skills and Responsible Scholarship are listed in the KU Policy Library.

A dissertation is required of each doctoral candidate. The Ph.D. dissertation presents the results of the student’s research investigation. It is expected to make an original contribution to technical knowledge of sufficient quality to merit publication in refereed journals. A final oral examination or a defense of the dissertation is required.

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