PhD in Engineering - Concentration in Mechanical & Aerospace Engineering

The Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering supports a PhD program in Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering. The Doctor of Philosophy is a degree that is conferred on a student who has demonstrated proficiency in some broad area of learning, and who has proven that he or she has the capability to evaluate work in the field critically. In addition, the student must have demonstrated the ability to work independently and make original contributions to the field. The degree is conferred after the student has satisfied both a course work and dissertation requirement under the supervision of a committee.

Space shuttle

For additional information, please contact the MAE Department.

Admission Requirements

Regular admission to the Ph.D. program with an MAE focus normally requires a Master of Science (M.S.) in Mechanical Engineering, Aerospace Engineering, or other closely related field with a 3.3 grade-point-average (GPA) on all previous college work. Exceptional students with a Bachelor of Science (B.S.) will also be considered for normal admission. Students not admitted on a regular basis may be admitted provisionally depending on their overall application file and their GRE score. A provisional admission is subject to approval of the MAE Graduate Affairs Committee. Remedial courses are usually required of such students. The Graduate Records Examination (GRE) is required of any student who falls below the minimum GPA requirement, is not a graduate of an ABET-accredited undergraduate program in mechanical or aerospace engineering, or is a graduate of a foreign university. Foreign university graduates applying from outside the USA are required to pass the TOEFL examination with a minimum score of 550 or the IELTS with a minimum score of 6. In certain circumstances, the TOEFL may be waived.

How to Apply

For application information: How To Apply

Procedures & Requirements for Graduation

The course requirements are outlined below

Duration of Program

The completion of the Ph.D. degree must be accomplished in seven years. An extension to this time limit will be considered if requested.

Qualifying Exam

The qualifying exam is designed to ensure that students achieve a high level of expertise in the subject matter of their major area, preparing them for success in the PhD program and in their broader career endeavors. The exam will cover one of three topical areas chosen from:

  • Fluids and Thermal Systems
  • Solid Mechanics, Structures and Materials
  • Dynamics and Controls

by the student in consultation with his or her advisor. The exam consists of two parts; a written test followed by an oral test. The oral test will usually be given one week after the written test. The exam will emphasize mathematical concepts pertinent to the topical area. The qualifying exam will be taken at the first opportunity after the completion of one academic semester following admission into the program. For more information reference the Qualifying Exam

Dissertation Committee

  • Once the qualifying exam has been successfully completed, the dissertation committee will be formed.
  • The student will select a dissertation advisor from the MAE faculty.
  • The dissertation advisor will assume the role of the academic advisor and the advisor for dissertation research.
  • The dissertation committee will consist of 5 members. Three of the members must be from the MAE department with at least one member of the committee being from outside the MAE department.
  • A maximum of two members from outside the college of EAS may serve on the committee; they must be members of the graduate faculty.
  • The committee chair must be a member of the MAE graduate faculty.
  • The committee should reflect the focus area of the dissertation work and be able to support and evaluate the student’s work.
  • A student may change advisors by petitioning the graduate affairs committee.

Dissertation

The dissertation is a written, polished document reporting the results of the student’s investigation into an original area of research. At least 30 semester hours of dissertation credit are required. All Ph.D. dissertations must be written according to a departmentally approved format and enclosed in the department report cover. Each will be assigned a department report number.

Final Oral Defense of the Dissertation

The final oral defense of the dissertation occurs at the completion of the dissertation after the first and second readers have approved its contents. It is open to anyone who wishes to attend. A successful candidate must receive the affirmative vote of a majority of the members of the Dissertation Committee. The examination may be attempted at most twice.

Program Information

The PhD degree is awarded to students who have satisfied the requirements of the program, who have submitted an acceptable dissertation, and who have passed all prescribed examinations. Students entering with a master's degree must:

  • Complete 24 semester hours of course work (at least 15 semester hours must be MAE courses and at most 9 may be independent study courses).
  • All course work must be numbered 5000 and above.
  • A minimum of 30 semester hours of dissertation research is required.
  • A maximum of 9 credits hours may be transferred to the Ph.D. program. This limit includes course taken at UCCS as a non-degree student and a minimum grade of B- must be attained.
  • For students admitted provisionally, provisional requirements must be completed prior to beginning graduate course work.
  • An overall graduate GPA of at least 3.0 is required in order to graduate.
  • A minimum grade of B- is required in each course.
  • The student must pass the Qualifying Examination, the Comprehensive Examination, and final Defense of the Dissertation.