Mechanical Engineering Ph.D.

All students must meet the Requirements for the Doctor of Philosophy Degree


The Mechanical Engineering Graduate Program offers a Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) degree in mechanical engineering. Each student must meet the general requirements for admission as outlined under the regulations of the University of Vermont Graduate College. Typically, students entering the program have received a master’s degree in mechanical engineering or a closely-related field. Applicants with other backgrounds will be evaluated individually and may be asked to complete prescribed undergraduate technical course work. Areas of research interest in the program currently include: Aerospace Engineering, Turbulence, Complex and Bio Fluids, Multiscale Mechanics, Robotics, Nanomaterials & Composites, Energy Harvesting, System Control & Diagnostics, Biomechanics & Orthopedics, Biomaterials, and High-performance Computing.

Specific Requirements

Requirements for Admission to Graduate Studies for the Degree of Doctor of Philosophy

An accredited master's degree in mechanical engineering or closely related discipline is required. Completion of the general (aptitude) portion of the Graduate Record Examination is required.

Minimum Degree Requirements for the Degree of Doctor of Philosophy

The degree of Doctor of Philosophy requires of candidates a minimum of 75 credits to be earned in course work and in dissertation research. All Ph.D. candidates must assist in teaching at least 1 full semester and complete a doctoral dissertation consisting of original research and of sufficient quality to merit publication in peer-reviewed conference proceedings and/or archival journals. 

Minimum Coursework Requirements:

Total graduate-level coursework that includes up to 24 transferred M.S. course credits earned at UVM or another institution. Students must complete at least 15 of those credits at UVM after matriculation into the doctoral program.39
ME 7491Doctoral Dissertation Research≥ 21
Graduate-level mechanical engineering coursework at UVM at the 6000- or 7000-level from any areas of specialization. This coursework requirement may include M.S. course credits earned at UVM.6
Additional graduate-level mechanical engineering coursework at UVM at the 5000-, 6000- or 7000- level from the same area of specialization. This coursework requirement may include M.S. course credits earned at UVM.6
Graduate-level Engineering, Mathematics, Statistics, Physical or Life Sciences coursework at UVM at the 5000-, 6000- or 7000- level. 3

Currently, the program offers 5 areas of specialization in:

  • Biomechanics and Biomaterials;
  • Control and Design of Mechanical Systems;
  • Materials Science and Engineering;
  • Thermodynamics, Fluids and Energy; and
  • Computational Mechanics.

Comprehensive Examination

All Ph.D. candidates must pass the comprehensive examination. The comprehensive examination tests the proficiency of the students in 4 topics of the mechanical engineering curriculum or closely related fields. The candidate works with his/her advisor and the graduate program coordinator to form a committee of 4 graduate faculty, 1 of whom should hold an appointment outside of mechanical engineering (1 faculty member may test the student on two distinct topics). The first part of the comprehensive examination consists of a written part spanning no more than 4 hours (1 hour per topic). In the second part of the examination, the committee meets with the student to ask questions regarding the written exam and any follow up topics that may be necessary to establish the proficiency of the candidate in mechanical engineering. A candidate must pass the comprehensive examination in no more than 2 attempts. Comprehensive examinations are typically scheduled at the end of the Fall or Spring semesters. It is strongly advised that the Ph.D. candidate take the comprehensive examination at the completion of his/her second or third semester of studies.

Requirements for Advancement to Candidacy for the Degree of Doctor of Philosophy

Successful completion of the Ph.D. comprehensive examination.