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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 (but not limited to) advanced design/product development, micro/nano-electromechanical systems (MEMS/NEMS), computational fluid dynamics (CFD), air quality modeling, renewable and sustainable energy systems, structural dynamics, and others.  The program prepares students for a career in engineering research. 

Applications for admission to the Mechanical Engineering Ph.D. program managed through the University of Louisville Graduate School. Perspective students should apply through the Graduate School's online application site.  Details regarding the application process and the minimum requirements are provided there.  

Upon enrollment, Ph.D. students are advised by the Department's director of graduate studies, Dr. Peter M. Quesada. Students are encouraged to select a dissertation advisor as soon as possible (early in the first semester), in order to make immediate progress on their dissertation research.  Once selected, 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. 
Degree Requirements
The Ph.D. program requires successful completion of two examinations: a candidacy examination (qualifying examination) and an oral examination (dissertation defense). The program 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.


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