PhD in Mechanical Engineering


Program Description

The graduate program provides opportunities for professional development in such forms as instructional courses to enhance technical competence in areas of mechanical engineering practice; training through a variety of experiences in design, development, research, experimentation, and/or analysis in joint efforts with faculty and peers; specialized courses of study required for entry into career fields allied to the mechanical engineering discipline; guided individual study under faculty supervision; and supportive coursework for programs leading to careers that require interdisciplinary competence.

A student with aid from a faculty advisor plans a program that will be consistent with his or her technical interests and the available facilities and course offerings. Typically, programs are classified as:

  • Thermal Science
  • Fluid Science
  • Mechanical Design and Manufacturing
  • Solid Mechanics and Structures
  • Controls and Systems

Admission Requirements

Admission Status

  1. Unconditional Admission: To be unconditionally admitted, an applicant must at least meet conditions 1, 2, 3, and 4.
  2. Probationary Admission: Ph.D. applicants who fail to meet the conditions for unconditional admission, but satisfy any three of items 1, 2, 3 and 4, will be considered for probationary admission.
  3. Provisional Admission: Applicants who are unable to supply all of the required documentation prior to the admission deadline, but who otherwise appear to meet the admission criteria, may be granted provisional admission.
  4. Denial: Applicants who fail to meet at least two of the first four admission criteria will normally be denied admission.
  5. Deferral: A deferred decision may be granted when an application file is incomplete or when a denied decision is not appropriate.

Admission Requirements for B.S. to Ph.D. Track

  1. An overall GPA, as calculated by the Graduate School, of 3.3 or higher in undergraduate coursework.
  2. A GRE score of at least 150 (450 in old scaling) (verbal) and 159 (750 in old scaling) (quantitative).
  3. Three satisfactory written recommendation forms from prior professors or supervisors.
  4. A written essay on the student’s goals and reasons for pursuing graduate studies.
  5. For applicants whose native language is not English: All students admitted in the program must meet the minimum university English language requirements as detailed in the general admission requirements section of the catalog. However, meeting the minimum requirement does not guarantee admission. The program will give preference to students with IELTS score of 6.5, or TOEFL-iBT total score of 84.

Additional information about admission requirements.

Degree Requirements

There is no foreign language requirement for the Ph.D. degree.

M.S.-Ph.D. Track Students

To meet the educational goal of a broad-based technical background in mechanical engineering, it is expected that each student will take sufficient graduate coursework to obtain in-depth knowledge in at least two areas of mechanical engineering. Students whose background is in a field other than mechanical engineering must satisfy the Master of Science core requirements. Note that registration in elective courses outside the Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering Department requires prior approval of the mechanical engineering graduate advisor and the student's committee chair. Otherwise, they will not count toward graduation requirements. The doctoral degree program consists of a minimum of 24 credit hours of coursework beyond the master's degree plus 9 hours of dissertation and 2 hours of seminar, and requires the successful completion of the following requirements:

  1. Three core courses (9 credit hours) from at least two different areas, as listed below:
    • Thermal Science: ME 5316 Thermal Conduction, ME 5317 Convection Heat Transfer, ME 5318 Radiative Heat Transfer, ME 5321 Advanced Classical Thermodynamics
    • Fluid Science: ME 5313 Fluid Dynamics, ME 5342 Advanced Gas Dynamics I, ME 5344 Viscous Flows
    • Design, Mechanics and Manufacturing: ME 5310 Finite Element Methods, ME 5337 Introduction to Robotics, ME 5339 Structural Aspects of Design
    • Controls and Systems: ME 5303 Classical Methods of Control Systems Analysis and Synthesis, ME 5305 Dynamic Systems Modeling, ME 5341 Control Systems Components.
  2. One additional course (3 credit hours) at the graduate level in one of the broad areas of mechanical engineering outside the student's major area of specialization. A core course is also acceptable for meeting this requirement.
  3. Three additional courses (9 credit hours) in the student's major area of research
  4. One course (3 credit hours) of engineering analysis (ME 5331, 5332, or other approved mathematics courses).
  5. Two credit hours of seminar
  6. Nine credit hours (ME 6999) for a dissertation.

Final course requirements are determined by the student's supervising committee. In addition, a student must pass three examinations before being awarded the Ph.D. degree: the Diagnostic Exam, the Comprehensive Exam, and the Final Exam (or Dissertation Examination).

A qualifying examination for M.S. to Ph.D. track students will be administered before the start of students' second long semester. The diagnostic examination tests fundamental knowledge in two technical areas of mechanical engineering. The student and the student's research advisor jointly choose the technical areas from the following five: (1) thermal science, (2) fluid science, (3) mechanical design and manufacturing, (4) solid mechanics and structures, and (5) controls and systems. The exam topics for the technical areas are given in the mechanical engineering Ph.D. diagnostic exam handout. The diagnostic examination is normally offered twice a year the week prior to the beginning of the fall and/or spring semesters. A student who is planning to take the diagnostic examination should inform the mechanical engineering graduate advisor in advance and no later than the middle of the long semester prior to the planned time of taking the exam, and consult with the mechanical engineering graduate advisor for the time and place of the diagnostic examination.

A comprehensive examination will be administered to the student after the successful completion of all phases of the diagnostic examination and before the student's research work for the dissertation. The comprehensive examination is used to determine if the student has the necessary background and specialization required for the dissertation research and if the student can organize and conduct the research. An applicant must pass this examination to be admitted to candidacy for the Ph.D. degree.

The student must enroll in at least three hours of dissertation courses (ME 6399-6999) or research courses (ME 6397-6999) every semester in which the student is actively involved in dissertation preparation or research, except that the student must enroll in ME 6999 in the semester of graduation.

The student must submit the Application for Candidacy and Final Program of Work to the Mechanical Engineering Committee on Graduate Studies immediately after completion of the comprehensive examination. Coursework taken for the master's degree at this institution may be used to meet these requirements; however, courses listed for the master's degree or any other degree cannot be listed as the actual course requirement on the Final Program of Work. Transfer work is not accepted in doctoral programs; however, such courses may provide a basis for waiving some course requirements.

The student must file the Request for Dissertation Defense form with the Graduate School at least two weeks prior to the defense. At the same time, the student must also announce the exam to the members of the university community by posting fliers on the departmental bulletin boards and by providing an electronic statement to the mechanical engineering graduate advisor to be posted on the departmental web page indicating details (title, abstract, advisor, time and place) of the exam. Approval of the dissertation by the members of the Dissertation Committee is required.

Please see the section entitled General Graduate School Regulations and Information in the University Catalog for further details.

The grade of R (research in progress) is a permanent grade; completing course requirements in a later semester cannot change it. To receive credit for an R-graded course, the student must continue to enroll in the course until a passing grade is received.

An incomplete grade (the grade of I) cannot be given in a course that is graded R, nor can the grade of R be given in a course that is graded I. To receive credit for a course in which the student earned an I, the student must complete the course requirements. Enrolling again in the course in which an I was earned cannot change a grade of I. At the discretion of the instructor, a final grade can be assigned through a change of grade form.

Three-hour thesis courses and three- and six-hour dissertation courses are graded R/F/W only. The grade of P (required for degree completion for students enrolled in thesis or dissertation programs) can be earned only in six-hour thesis or nine-hour dissertation courses. In the course listings below, R-graded courses are designated either "Graded P/F/R" or "Graded R." Occasionally, the valid grades for a course change. Students should consult the appropriate graduate advisor or instructor for valid grade information for particular courses.

B.S. to Ph.D. Track

In addition to the requirements listed above for the Ph.D. degree, a B.S.-Ph.D. Track student will be required to enroll in at least three hours of research each semester during the student's first two years, receiving a pass/fail grade (no R grade) in these hours. A B.S.-Ph.D. student must have a faculty research (dissertation) advisor prior to the start of the student's second full semester. A B.S. to a Ph.D. student must take the Ph.D. Qualifying Examination before the start of his/her second long semester.

Tuition and Affordability

UTA Tuition and Affordability Information

Priority Application Dates

Fall | March 15
Spring | August 15
Summer | February 15

Applications are accepted after the published priority date for each term, but for guaranteed consideration of admission please submit the application and associated materials by the priority date. However, it is important to apply well in advance of your intended start date to be eligible for program-specific funding opportunities such as assistantships and fellowships. Keep in mind that departmental application processing times vary greatly and some programs require applications up to one year in advance.

Last updated Jan 2020

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