Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) Program
The Department of Mechanical Engineering offers a program of study leading to the degree of Doctor of Philosophy in Mechanical Engineering. This program provides an opportunity for students to complete advanced coursework and conduct independent research in a number of focus areas, including advanced design/product development, biomechanics, micro-electromechanical systems (MEMS), nano-electromechanical systems (NEMS), computational fluid dynamics (CFD), air quality modeling, renewable and sustainable energy systems, structural dynamics, and others. The program prepares students for an engineering research career.
The Ph.D. program has five primary learning outcomes. Specifically, graduates are required to demonstrate:
A depth of knowledge and understanding of advanced topics in one or more areas related to mechanical engineering.
An ability to verbally present complex technical material in an effective manner.
The ability to effectively communicate in writing through scholarly technical reports and publications.
The ability to apply modern software tools to technical problems.
The ability to conduct a major research project on current issues.
Unconditional admission into the Doctor of Philosophy program requires an earned mechanical engineering master's degree and the following credentials:
Minimum undergraduate GPA of 3.0/4.0; minimum graduate GPA of 3.25/4.0.
Three letters of recommendation from individuals
qualified to assess the candidate's potential for graduate study, with at least two of these addressing the applicant's ability to perform independent research.
A composite score (verbal and quantitative) on the Graduate Records Examination (GRE) of no less than 1100. International students must show proficiency in English by scoring 550 or higher on the TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language) examination, or by completing the University's Advanced Level of the Intensive English as a Second Language Program.
Qualified applicants may be admitted directly to the doctoral program after receiving a baccalaureate degree. These students will be required to complete an additional 30 hours of coursework at the 500 and 600 level under an individual plan developed in conjunction with the Chair of the Department's Graduate Studies Committee. Students with a baccalaureate degree in another branch of engineering, or in chemistry, mathematics, physics, or the life sciences may be required to take up to 24 hours of undergraduate mechanical engineering courses, and to demonstrate preparation comparable to that provided by an ABET accredited mechanical engineering program.
Application to the Mechanical Engineering Ph.D. program is administered through the University of Louisville Graduate School. Potential students should apply through the Graduate School's online application site. In addition to the application form, applicants must arrange for submission of official transcripts, recommendation letters (the application site includes an online recommendation form that may be substituted for a regular letter), and official notification of GRE scores.
Upon enrollment and until selecting a dissertation advisor, Ph.D. students are advised by the Department's graduate studies coordinator, Dr. Peter M. Quesada. Students are encouraged to select a dissertation advisor before completing more than 18 semester hours of graduate coursework. The dissertation advisor supplants Dr. Quesada as academic advisor. During the semester following the selection of the thesis advisor, the student and advisor should select the remaining two members of the dissertation committee from among the graduate faculty, one of whom must be from outside the Mechanical Engineering Department.
The Ph.D. program requires successful completion of two examinations: a candidacy examination administered after the bulk of the academic cousework is finished, and an oral examination administered during the dissertation defense. The program also includes a coursework component of 30 semester hours beyond a master's degree in mechanical engineering, or 60 hours beyond a baccalaureate degree in mechanical engineering. 18 hours of dissertation research are required, yielding a total requirement of 48 hours distributed as shown:
Research seminar (0 hours)
Advanced mathematics (6 hours)
Mechanical engineering specialization core (9 hours)
Technical electives (15 hours)
Dissertation research (18 hours)
Here the specialization core involves Mechanical Engineering Department courses certified by the dissertation advisor as being pertinent to the student's research specialization area. Mechanical engineering courses must comprise at least half of the coursework (a minimum of 15 hours), and a minimum of 15 of the 30 coursework hours must be at the 600-level.
Updated October 2009