Program Director: Ali Beskok, Ph.D.
Lyle's Ph.D. program in mechanical engineering is one of the most successful programs in the nation. The majority of our students are supported by their own companies, by faculty research grants, or by the department through teaching assistant fellowships. The latter option is specifically tailored to students interested in obtaining a faculty position after graduation.
1. M.S. degree in mechanical engineering or in a closely related discipline from a U.S. college or university accredited by a regional
accrediting association or completion of an international degree that is equivalent to a U.S. master’s degree from a college or
university of recognized standing.
2. Excellent academic performance in all completed coursework, with a GPA of at least 3.500 on a 4.000 scale.
3. Submission of a complete application, including a statement of purpose, official transcripts for all previous undergraduate and
graduate studies, and payment of appropriate application fee.
4. Official GRE graduate school admission test quantitative score must be equal to or better than the 80th percentile.
5. Three letters of recommendation from individuals who can judge the applicant’s potential success as a doctoral student.
6. All international students whose native language is not English and who have not graduated from an American university must
In addition to meeting the Lyle School of Engineering requirements for the Ph.D. degree, candidates are required to satisfy the following:
1. The successful completion of eight graduate-level courses (24 credit hours) beyond the master's degree.
2. Core course requirement: All incoming Ph.D. students will be required to complete a core course requirement within the first two
terms of admission to the Ph.D. program. Allowable core courses are:
a. Thermo-fluids: ME 7336 and ME 7330.
Mechanics and Manufacturing:
ME 7319 and ME 7340.
c. Dynamics and controls: ME 7320 and ME 7322.
d. Mathematics: Any graduate level mathematics course approved by the supervisory committee.
Students must take both core courses for their major area and select one course from two of the remaining topic areas for a total of
four core courses. Students who have completed all or a portion of the core course requirement at SMU prior to admission to the
Ph.D. program (e.g., as part of an M.S. degree plan) are only required to fulfill the remainder of the core course requirements.
Deviations from the core course requirement due to limitations of course offerings must be approved by the supervisory
committee and the department chair within the first two terms of study toward the Ph.D. degree.
3. Preliminary exam: Students obtaining a cumulative GPA of less than 3.500 in the core courses will be required to take and pass a
written preliminary exam. This written exam will consist of three parts, individualized for each student and covering the two
major courses and the minor course with the lower grade. A student who fails the exam covering the major courses is suspended
from the Ph.D. program. A student who fails the exam covering the minor courses will be allowed to retake the exam for the failed
section(s) only once, within one month of completing the original exam. A student who fails this second examination is suspended
from the Ph.D. program.
4. Qualifying exam (QE): All Ph.D. students will be required to pass a qualifying exam consisting of written and oral components. The
exam must be completed within 18 months of completion of all required coursework for the degree. The format and requirements
of each component are described below.
a. Written component: The ME Department will administer the written component of the QE every Fall and Spring semesters, over a
two-day period toward the middle of the respective semester.The Written QE will include written exams from both the major and
minor areas within a given student's area of specialization.
(i) Dynamics and Controls:
(ii) Mechanics and Manufacturing:
Continuum Mechanics and Elasticity
Advanced Mechanics of Materials
Heat Transfer (including Thermodynamics)
A student who fails the Written QE will be allowed to retake it once, in which case the Graduate Committee will decide whether the
student must retake all or only a portion of the subject area exams.The student must retake this second exam during the
immediate next regular term after the semester during which the failure occurred. A student who fails this second exam is
suspended from the doctoral program.
b. Oral component: Upon passing the Written QE, student will be ready to take the Oral component of the QE.The purpose of the
Oral component of the QE is to assess a student's ability to engage in a discussion about his or her area of research and
preparation to engage in his or her proposed dissertation topic. The Oral QE must be completed within 12 months of successfully
passing the Written QE. If a student fails the Oral Exam, the Supervisory Committee may recommend a re-examination, subject to
approval by the Department Chair and the Associate Dean, only in those cases in which the Supervisory Committee believes the
student has the necessary potential but needs some additional preparation.
c. Field of study: If a student changes his or her area of research significantly, or if significant changes are made to the composition
of the supervisory committee, the student may be required to repeat all or a portion of the qualifying examination at the
discretion of the current supervisory committee.
5. Dissertation: All Ph.D. students will be required to complete and successfully defend a dissertation. The dissertation must be
original and of a scholarly level and must have the potential of being published in a leading technical journal in the field of interest.