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Doctor of Philosophy in Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering

84 credit hours beyond the Bachelor of Science
Qualifying examination
16 credit hours (minimum) of courses beyond the M.S.
One full year (minimum) of thesis research
Comprehensive examination
Dissertation and oral defense

This program provides advanced, research-based education and knowledge through advanced coursework, state-of-the-art and original research, and publication of novel results in preparation for careers in academia and industrial research and development.

The doctoral degree is awarded in recognition of a high level of mastery in one of the several fields of the department including a significant original research contribution. A student working toward the Ph.D. degree has great flexibility in formulating an overall program to meet individual needs under the guidance of an adviser and the department. In order to maintain the standards expected in this degree program, there are requirements that must be satisfied. Primarily, the Ph.D. candidate should meet the requirements for a master's degree or present evidence that he or she has reached an equivalent level of proficiency. Further, the student must be accepted by a thesis adviser and pass a qualifying examination given by the department in order to be admitted to candidacy for the Ph.D. degree.

The examination evaluates the student's background in order to determine the student's potential for achieving a doctorate. The student, in consultation with the adviser, prepares a program of study to meet individual needs and interests, which must then be approved by the adviser, the department's Graduate Studies Committee, the Department Chair, and the Graduate College. The program of study usually consists of at least one full year of advanced coursework beyond the master's degree and a minimum of one full year of thesis research. After the student essentially completes all coursework, he or she must pass the Ph.D. comprehensive examination.

Conducted by the student's Thesis advisory Committee, this examination must be completed at least one year prior to graduation. Concentrated research to satisfy the requirements of a doctoral dissertation is ordinarily conducted after the comprehensive examination has been passed. The dissertation must be approved by the student's Thesis Advisory Committee. Thesis research should be equivalent to at least one full year's work, corresponding to up to 36 thesis credit hours. This work is performed on campus; the department's Graduate Studies Committee and the Dean of the Graduate College must approve off-campus research.

The doctoral dissertation is expected to contain a distinct and substantial original contribution to the student's field of study. After the research has been completed and a preliminary draft of the dissertation is approved, the candidate defends his or her thesis at a final oral examination, which is open to the public.