Ph.D. with a Major in Mechanical Engineering


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.

Admission Requirements

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
    comply with the university's English Language Proficiency requirements.

Degree Requirements

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 7330 (Intermediate Heat Transfer) and ME 7336 (Intermediate Fluid Dynamics).
    b. Mechanics and Manufacturing: ME 7319 (Advanced Mechanical Behavior of Materials) and ME 7340 (Introduction
        to Solid Mechanics).
    c. Dynamics and controls: ME 7302 (Linear System Analysis) and ME 7320 (Intermediate Dynamics).
    d. Mathematics: Any 6000-level or above mathematics course may be taken to satisfy one of the two minor core areas.
        A grade of B+ or better is required for the Math course to count toward the minor core area.

    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 3.50 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. The Preliminary Exam will not cover any Mathematics courses since
    a grade of B+ or better is required for a Math course to count as a minor core course.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 course will be allowed to
    retake the exam for the failed section 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 semester.The Written QE will include written exams from each student's declared major
        area of specialization.

        (i) Dynamics and Controls:



        (ii) Mechanics and Manufacturing: 

        Continuum Mechanics and Elasticity   

        Advanced Mechanics of Materials 

        (iii) Thermal-Fluids: 

        Fluid Dynamics 

        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 semester after the semester during which the failure occurred. A student who fails this second
        examination is suspended from the doctoral program. 

    b. Oral component: Upon passing the Written QE, the 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.


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