The first step in obtaining a doctorate degree (PhD) in mechanical engineering is to be accepted into a doctoral program at an engineering school. Requirements for admission into a mechanical engineering doctoral program are quite demanding. Typically, candidates that have a master's degree in mechanical engineering, or a closely related engineering field, such as aerospace engineering, are considered for the program. A high grade-point average (GPA) in the master's program, along with letters of recommendation and an interview with the staff of the doctoral program, are typically required for admission.
To fulfill the requirements for admission into the mechanical engineering PhD program, it is generally recommended to start at the undergraduate level. An undergraduate engineering program will introduce the concepts and prepare students for the master's program. A Bachelor of Science (BS) degree in mechanical engineering provides the skills and knowledge students need to pursue a graduate degree in mechanical engineering.
A master's program in mechanical engineering typically accepts students that have a record of innovation and hard work. Generally, a high GPA is not enough to get accepted into a program. Students that participated in design competitions, conducted research in a lab, or worked at an engineering company through an internship will have the engineering skills generally required for a master's program in mechanical engineering. Additionally, the admission staff will evaluate application letters to determine which candidates have a passion for mechanical engineering.
Once accepted into the master's program, it usually is recommended that you to focus on the 30 credit hours required to graduate. The master's degree in mechanical engineering is typically a full-time program that requires two years to complete. Depending on the college, students may have the option to complete a thesis paper. This is generally recommended for students who are looking to get accepted into the mechanical engineering PhD program.
The mechanical engineering PhD typically requires an additional 45 credit hours, including 21 credit hours of approved courses and 24 credit hours for the dissertation. Students generally have five years from the date of admission into the doctoral program to complete the requirements. Usually, a written and oral examination is required by the department before the dissertation can begin. Eventually, a PhD guidance committee will evaluate the progress of the dissertation and determine whether work should continue toward a mechanical engineering PhD. If all goes well, a final presentation will be evaluated by the department staff and the PhD in mechanical engineering will be awarded.