Mechanical Engineering PhD
The Doctor of Philosophy program at the School of Mines helps mechanical engineering professionals advance to the next academic and professional level.
With a PhD in ME, professionals can work as an educator and/or in advanced research, design, and development. You'll be well prepared for whatever path you choose to take after graduate school. The ME department at the School of Mines is committed to helping students achieve their doctoral degree by fostering a culture of high-quality research work through regular presentations by faculty and research assistantship opportunities.
The ME department has close ties with both the Advanced Materials Processing center (AMP) – which boasts a world-class friction stir welding system – and the Additive Manufacturing Laboratory (AML) – which houses both the Laser Powder Deposition Laboratory and Direct Write Laboratory. The Polymer Technology, Processing, and Composites Laboratory and Computational Mechanics Laboratory (CML) are both new additions to SDSM&T.
The mechanical engineering PhD program is designed to give students an advanced educational experience in mechanical engineering, plus a specialization in one of three areas: thermal science, solid mechanics, or controls and robotics. Students graduating from the RIAS (Robotics and Intelligent Autonomous Systems) master's degree program, who wish to continue on to earn a doctoral degree, can easily do so within the ME PhD program. Robotics faculty on campus (those within and outside the mechanical engineering department) can direct PhD dissertation study in robotics through the mechanical engineering department.
Current RIAS students who wish to continue and obtain the ME PhD can take the required Engineering Analysis I and II courses (ME 673 and ME 773) as part of the RIAS curriculum electives. The student and his/her graduate advisor will select a graduate committee that will guide him/her towards the PhD The RIAS MS can prepare the student for the PhD work in robotics and controls. To learn more about the RIAS program and how you can incorporate classes into your program that will better prepare you for a PhD. in mechanical engineering, click here.
The ME PhD program consists of 80 total credits for a student entering the program with a BS degree. Students entering the program will be required to submit a plan of study, formally known as a program requirements agreement, and choose an advisor by the mid-term of the second semester of coursework.
The curriculum is designed around both options of entering the program with a bachelor of science or master of science degree. For the student designing their program around a BS degree, the coursework includes 6 hours of core credits, 12 hours of minor credit requirements (if applicable), 30 hours of dissertation, and a remaining 32 credit hours of coursework directly determined by the area of emphasis the student chooses to study.
Students completing a doctoral degree are required to enroll for 24 doctoral thesis credits (ME 888) before receiving a degree (students can register for a maximum of 18 in one semester). Doctoral students may not register for thesis credits until the semester after they have passed their preliminary oral examinations.
Each student's advisory committee, on behalf of the ME faculty, will evaluate individual student progress through qualifying and comprehensive exams, seminars, the publishing and presentation record of the student, and the dissertation defense process.
Each student is required to take a qualifying examination, which tests the student's background knowledge and ability to pursue advanced courses and dissertation research.
Each student shall take a comprehensive examination consisting of two parts:
The student's competency in coursework will be evaluated through oral and written examinations. The student will prepare a written research proposal and complete an oral presentation of that proposal in the presence of the Advisory Committee.
For more information on this degree, please see the catalog on the program website.
We are accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC) North Central Association.
International Student Requirements:
• Third party foreign transcript evaluation for all foreign institutions attended, including evidence of your bachelor’s degree if applicable. Effective August 15, 2012, SDSM&T requires a course-by-course evaluation report sent directly to us from the evaluating institution. We will only accept evaluation reports from Educational Credential Evaluators, Inc. (ECE) or World Education Services (WES). If you use ECE, order a catalog match report. If you use WES, order a course by course report.
• Evidence of English proficiency, with the exception of applicants from countries where English is the native language. Applicants who have a prior degree from a university in the U.S. may be considered for exemption. Note that Engineering Management will only consider applications meeting the upper level score criteria.
Facts & Figures
Financial Aid: No
International Financial Aid: No
Classification: Specialized Institution—School of engineering and technology
Locale: Small City
Size & Settings: 3,000-5,999