PhD Requirements

Doctor of Philosophy, Mechanical Engineering

The emphasis in the Mechanical Engineering Ph.D. program is on the ability to correlate knowledge in the pursuit of original research. Applicants to the Ph.D. program must meet Graduate Division requirements for admission.

Degree Requirements

During the first year of study students are encouraged to develop a formal study plan which must be approved by the student's faculty advisor and the department graduate advisor. In this plan, students select a major area of study from among the five fields offered by the department (see Master's Requirements for a listing of these areas).  For the official PhD study plan, please see the UCSB General Catalog (link is external):

Significant flexibility exists in the requirements for each of these stem areas, and students are encouraged to gain expertise in modern cross cutting fields like: manufacturing; reliability engineering; microscale systems; design; aerostructures; composite technology; energy and transportation; environmental sensing; integrated sensors, actuators and control systems; computational simulation and others.

All students in the Ph.D. program are required to pass a departmental oral screening exam. Students must take this examination within 15 months of being admitted to the Ph.D. program or within 6 months of entering with a Master's degree. Normally, a student without a Master's degree will have taken 15 units of approved graduate coursework prior to the screening examination.

In the oral screening examination, students will be tested in their major area, as well as questioned in broader areas of mechanical engineering. After passing the oral screening exam, students select a Ph.D. dissertation committee with the approval of their advisor.

As part of the Ph.D. qualifying examination, each student must present a dissertation proposal to the Ph.D. committee for approval. Upon successful completion of this examination, students advance to candidacy. Candidates must complete their dissertation and pass a thesis defense consisting of presenting a seminar talk and answering questions posed by their dissertation committee. In addition to these requirements, Ph.D. students must complete a minimum of 36 quarter units of coursework: 18 units in key courses in the major field; 9 units in approved mechanical and environmental engineering courses; 9 units in approved science and engineering. Additionally, students must take 3 units of ME 200 (Professional Seminar Series). Normally 27 units of credit is given to students who enter with an approved M.S. degree. The department requires that students maintain a minimum grade point average of 3.5.