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The doctoral (Ph.D.) degree is the highest degree offered in engineering at UND. Students who are considering teaching at post-secondary institutions or participating in industrial/governmental research should consider the Ph.D. degree. Because the student-advisor role is critical for the timely, successful completion of the doctoral degree, it is strongly recommended that potential Ph.D. applicants contact potential advisors about research and funding opportunities before submitting their application to UND. Faculty research interests can be found here.
The Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) in Mechanical Engineering degree provides a student with specialized training customized to meet his or her specific interests and goals. Faculty advisors work with each student to structure a graduate program consisting of traditional mechanical engineering study, complementary multidisciplinary studies, strong interaction between fellow engineering students, and high quality research. Research topics are determined based upon the mutual interests of the student and research adviser. Students develop a strong research methodology and apply this research method to a specific engineering problem as directed by their adviser and doctoral committee. Attendance by the student is required at a weekly seminar. This seminar is used to enhance development of the research methodology by allowing students to present their research during various stages of development and to interact with peers at various stages of their degree program. The seminar also serves the important role of providing exposure of all students to a diverse range of multidisciplinary work.
The PhD in Mechanical Engineering provides students with a personalized education - fostering innovation and emphasizing technical, leadership, and entrepreneurship skills. It supports UND's efforts to be internationally recognized for excellence in research - fostering discovery, serving societal needs, and stimulating technology transfer. Additionally, the program is intended to engage the community by promoting engineering and innovation, inspiring young minds, helping the regional economy thrive, and by fostering civic responsibility.
Goal 1: Graduates will have a depth of knowledge in mechanical engineering accompanied by a breadth of knowledge in related areas to achieve their specific goals and objectives.
Goal 2: Graduates will be proficient researchers, i.e. they will have the skills required to formulate, assess and document a hypothesis.
Goal 3: Graduates will be well prepared for advanced professional practice, for teaching, and for careers in research and creative activity in mechanical engineering or a related field.
1. A baccalaureate degree in an engineering discipline with a GPA of 3.3 or higher or a Master of Science degree in an engineering discipline with a GPA of 3.0.
2. Satisfy the School of Graduate Studies’ English Language Proficiency requirements as published in the Graduate Catalog.
3. In addition to meeting the general provisions in the UND graduate catalog and the minimum requirements in items 1-2 above, candidates are assessed using a holistic process that considers Student’s Record of Publications, GRE test scores (for students who are applying with a B.S. engineering degree from an non-ABET accredited program), transcripts of previous college work, relevant research and work experience, letters of recommendation, research interests, and English language skills. Students must specify a track on their admission form to facilitate this evaluation.
4. A student holding a non-engineering degree or who does not meet the minimum requirements in items 1-2 above may apply to one of the Master of Science degree programs in the College of Engineering and Mines. Students successfully completing a UND M.S. engineering degree will be considered to satisfy the requirements of items 1-2 above; however, these students shall still be subject to the holistic evaluation process described in item 3 with the exception that new GRE test scores will not be required.
5. Students admitted to an engineering M.S.M.E. program but meeting the minimum requirements in items 1-2 above, may after one calendar year and upon the recommendation of his/her advisory committee, request to by-pass the master’s degree and work directly toward the Ph.D. degree. The recommendation of the advisory committee shall be brought to a vote by the program graduate committee relevant to the degree track requested by the student. A minimum of one week before such a meeting, the program graduate committee shall be notified and provided with the student’s updated file which shall consist of the materials used for application into the M.S.M.E. program, a transcript of all academic work completed at UND, and any additional materials the student wishes to have considered. If the recommendation is approved by the relevant graduate committee, the student will be given the qualifying exam. Passing this exam will advance the student to Approved Status in the Doctoral Program in Mechanical Engineering.
Financial aid in the form of teaching and research assistantships are available on a competitive basis. Students seeking financial aid should complete their applications by February 1 for Fall or Summer admission and September 1 for Spring admission to be given full consideration for financial aid. Assistantships are renewable for up to four years of support if progress toward the degree and instructional/research service are satisfactory, subject to the availability of funding. Students should contact faculty in their area(s) of research interest to inquire about funding availability for upcoming terms.
Students seeking the Doctor of Philosophy degree at the University of North Dakota must satisfy all general requirements set forth by the School of Graduate Studies as well as particular requirements set forth by the Mechanical Engineering Doctoral Program.
The following requirements are in addition to the UND School of Graduate Studies general requirements for the Ph.D.:
1. Completion of 90 semester credits beyond the baccalaureate degree
2. Maintenance of at least a 3.0 GPA for all classes completed as a graduate student.
3. Scholarly Tools: Proficiency in mathematics demonstrated by completing nine approved credits of mathematics intensive coursework (equivalent to UND 400-level or higher courses) with a grade of B or better which must include at least one course in numerical analysis. Scholarly tools courses taken for graduate credit after a student has enrolled in a graduate program at UND may be counted to fulfill requirements listed in Item 5 below.
4. A maximum of 30 credit hours can be transferred from a master’s program.
5. A minimum of 30 credit hours must be doctoral research and dissertation.
6. Exactly 3 credit hours of the ME 562 – Graduate Seminar must be taken.
7. A minimum of 39 credit hours of coursework are required (up to 21 credit hours of coursework may be transferred from a master’s program in fulfilling this requirement subject to the credit transfer limits described in the general section of this graduate catalog). The coursework shall include a minimum of 27 credit hours of Mechanical Engineering (or relevance courses with the consent of the student’s advisor and advisory committee) coursework selected from the approved list of ME Ph.D. courses published in the UND Academic Catalog. Equivalent graduate level coursework may be transferred from a master’s program.
8. Successful completion of 4 written qualifying examinations, taken no later than the end of their second year of residence. One of the exam topics must be applied mathematics. The other examination topics must be selected from the following list:
Thermodynamics Solid Mechanics
Fluid Mechanics Robotics
Heat Transfer Dynamics
Materials Science Controls
Topics for the examinations should be selected in consultation with the student’s advisor.
Qualifying examinations will be offered once per year during the fifth week of the spring semester. Students must notify the ME Graduate Director no later than the end of the second week of the spring semester of 1) their intention to take the exams, 2) their selected exam topics. No student will be required to complete more than two exams per day. Each exam will be two hours in length. No later than the 10 th week of each fall semester, faculty that will be administering spring exams will determine what, if any, reference materials students will be allowed to use during their exam. A list of potential exam administrators will be available from the ME Graduate Director. Students should consult individual faculty as the allowable materials may vary from exam to exam.
Students will be awarded a grade of pass (score of 80% or higher on all exams), conditional pass (80% or higher on three exams), or fail. Students achieving a grade of conditional pass may be required to retake the exam on which they scored <80%, enroll in specific courses, or complete other remedial actions at the discretion of the examining faculty and the student’s PhD committee. Students failing (<80%) two or three exams will be required to retake all four exams. Examination retakes must occur during the next regular qualifying examination period. Students failing all four exams will be removed from the PhD program at the end of the semester in which the exams were taken. Students failing an exam area more than once will be removed from the PhD program at the end of the semester in which the exam was retaken. A direct admit student who fails an exam a second time may request to be reclassified as a Master’s student at the discretion of the student’s advisor and the ME Graduate Director.
9. After successful completion of the qualifying examinations, an annual oral progress report should be presented to the advisory committee. A part of these presentations will include details on the dissertation research progress and plan. ME 562 – Graduate Seminar may serve as the venue for the annual oral progress reporting.
10. PhD students will complete a preliminary examination one year prior to their planned graduation date. The examination will consist of an oral presentation to their thesis committee of their progress to date and expected work to complete their degree. The committee will assess the presentation, progress and plan on a pass/fail basis. The preliminary examination must be passed prior to graduation. A student who fails the process more than once will be removed from the PhD program.
11. A candidate for the degree must complete the original basic research investigation as documented in the research proposal. Each candidate will complete the research investigation to the satisfaction of the research advisor and the advisory committee and will prepare a written dissertation covering the research. The project must represent an original and independent investigation by the student. It is expected that the results of the research will be submitted for publication in refereed research journals. The candidate will submit the dissertation to the examining committee at least four weeks prior to defense date. The examining committee consists the PhD committee and an external examiner from outside the University. The external examiner is selected by the department’s graduate committee from a list of three candidates proposed by the advisor. The external examiner should not have any common publication with the student’s advisor or student and can be from academia or industry with an expertise relevant to the student’s research. The student and advisor should not contact the external examiner directly before or after.
12. The candidate must present and successfully defend the dissertation at the final examination (see School of Graduate Studies requirements). Four results of the examination can be obtained: 1) pass; 2) minor revision 3) major revision and 4) fail. For minor revisions there is no need for another defense session and upon revising the dissertation the examining committee can pass the student. For major revisions the student is asked to fundamentally revise the methodologies and schedule another defense session. If failed, the student will not be able to obtain a PhD degree and may request to be reclassified as a master’s student and complete a Master of Science degree.
13. At least one peer reviewed journal article (as the first author) and one conference paper (as the first author) must be submitted with the consent of the advisor prior to graduation.
The purpose of residence requirements is to provide an opportunity for a sustained and concentrated intellectual effort, to provide for immersion in an academic research environment, and to permit extensive interaction with fellow students and faculty of the Mechanical Engineering Department. Within the first two years of graduate work at UND, at least two consecutive semesters must be completed in residence. During residency, a student must be registered for at least nine credits in a semester, or be a graduate research or teaching assistant taking the appropriate credits to qualify as a full-time student. The remainder of the credits required for a degree can be completed in a manner to accommodate the student’s fiscal, family, job-related, and other constraints with the consent of the student’s adviser. The program of study must be completed within the seven-year period normally allowed for graduate programs.
Under special circumstances, the student in conjunction with his/her advisory committee and the Mechanical Engineering Graduate Committee, can petition the Dean of the School of Graduate Studies for variances in this policy.