Mechanical Engineering, Doctor of Philosophy
The Doctor of Philosophy in Mechanical Engineering provides advanced training in research through advanced topics coursework and research experience, using an integrative and comprehensive disciplinary approach. Students develop expertise in engineering modeling, experimentation and analysis at a level appropriate for positions in industrial research and development, national laboratories, or academia. The knowledge gained during this program, will prepare you to provide solutions to complex engineering problems.
The goal of this research-intensive degree is to educate future leaders in industry and academia in the field of Mechanical Engineering. This doctoral program allows students to work closely with faculty experts in the field studying topics such as adaptive systems and intelligent structures, nano-heat transfer, energy systems, robotics, advanced composite materials, and computational fluid mechanics. Student may also benefit from a broad range of collaborations and partnerships, including but not limited to: Center for Bioengineering Innovation, Center for Materials Interfaces in Research and Applications, Department of Physics and Astronomy, School of Earth Sciences and Environmental Sustainability, and local businesses such as W.L. Gore and Associates, Lowell Observatory, and the Navy Precision Optical Interferometer. In this program, each student chooses their own courses and completes an original research project. Research work makes use of state-of-the-art facilities and culminates in a dissertation and oral defense.
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Career opportunities that might be pursued:
- Research and development careers in industry, e.g., automotive, aerospace, and energy
- Engineering and/or research careers in National Laboratories.
- Academic positions
With further education, one of these paths is possible:
This is a terminal degree.
University Requirements Accordion Closed
To receive a Doctor of Philosophy Degree (Ph.D.) at Northern Arizona University, you must complete a planned group of courses, from one or more disciplines, ranging from at least 60-109 units of graduate-level courses. Most plans require research, a dissertation, and comprehensive exams. All plans have residency requirements regarding time spent on the Flagstaff campus engaged in full-time study.
The full policy can be viewed here.
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In addition to University Requirements:
- Complete individual plan requirements.
|Minimum Units for Completion||60|
|Additional Admission Requirements||Required|
|Dissertation||Dissertation is required.|
|Comprehensive Exam||Comprehensive Exam is required.|
|Oral Defense||Oral Defense is required.|
|Research||Individualized research is required.|
The Ph.D. in Mechanical Engineering trains students to carry out research, to apply high-level content and research methods and tools to find solutions to complex mechanical and interdisciplinary engineering problems. The program will train students to tackle problems in advanced fluid mechanics, continuum mechanics, adaptive structures and intelligent systems, nano-heat transfer and energy systems, as well as in other emerging areas in which our faculty will continue to develop expertise. The program focuses on training students on the application of analytical, computational and experimental tools to solve engineering problems, in one or more of the areas listed above. The scope of the program is to provide students with technical agility in the research areas indicated above, as well as the ability to cross disciplinary boundaries, allowing them to solve increasingly interdisciplinary and complex engineering problems.
Students will also be trained to critically evaluate problems and identify the best tools, methods, approaches to be deployed for identifying optimal solutions for them. Training will occur through a combination of traditional lectures, research, and personalized mentoring by faculty advisors. Opportunities for employment of Mechanical Engineering Ph.D.’s are common in a broad range of industries, including but not limited to aerospace, automotive, manufacturing, biomedical, etc., as well as in national laboratories and academia. ME Ph.D.’s can take on positions in training, marketing, sales, software development, and technical support.
This program is designed for students with strong preparation in the engineering sciences, including a Bachelor’s degree in Mechanical Engineering or in a related field, and research interests aligned with faculty in the program. Moreover, we aim to reach out to diverse students and we want to become the flagship program for recruiting and graduating native students from the broader South West region.
Student Learning Outcomes
- Solve, analyze, evaluate, and interpret results to complex contemporary mechanical engineering problems using advanced mathematics, computational tools, and state-of-the-art methods in mechanical engineering.
- Analyze and critically evaluate information from the scientific literature on mechanical engineering, and synthesizing this information, and identifying and exploring the leading edges of their field in order to expand the understanding and applications within the discipline.
- Design, plan and conduct mechanical engineering research, apply advanced mechanical engineering concepts and tools to research problems, and interpret results of mechanical engineering research.
- Demonstrate the ability to communicate effectively complex mechanical engineering theories and methodologies and the results of a comprehensive research study.
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Additional Admission Requirements
- Admission requirements over and above admission to NAU are required.
- NAU Graduate Online application is required for all programs. Details on admission requirements are included in the online application.
- Undergraduate degree from a regionally accredited institution
- Grade Point Average (GPA) of 3.00 (scale is 4.00 = "A"), or the equivalent.
- Admission to many graduate programs is on a competitive basis, and programs may have higher standards than those established by the Graduate College.
- For details on graduate admission policies, please visit the Graduate Admissions Policy
- International applicants have additional admission requirements. Please see the International Graduate Admissions Policy
Individual program admission requirements include:
- A minimum of a B.S. degree in Mechanical Engineering or a closely related field.
- GRE scores
- Three references (submitted via a web interface)
- A personal statement describing their professional goals and research interests
- A resume or curriculum vitae
Students will be required to identify an advisor within their first semester in the program. This allows students to begin research quickly. Students may elect to have two advisors, should they have interdisciplinary interests or a project that is collaborative.
Take the following 60 units:
Mechanical Engineering (18 units)
- ME 520, ME 523, ME 525, ME 530, ME 535, ME 554, ME 556, ME 560, ME 561, ME 563, ME 573, ME 575, ME 580
- ME 599, topics include Grid Integration of Renewable Energy, Elasticity, Adavnced Engineering Analysis, Continuum Mechanics, Convective Transport, Advanced Thermodynamics, Advanced Dynamics, Viscous Flows, Multivariable Controls, Statistical Thermodynamics and Kinetic Theory
Applied Mathematics (3 units)
Engineering Computations (3 units)
Select additional from:
Electives (15 units)
- In consultation with your faculty advisor, select additional ME, science, business, mathematics or other graduate coursework. These may include up to 6 units of 400-level and up to 6 units of independent study
Up to 30 units of Graduate-level coursework from an MS degree may be applied toward the degree requirements with the approval of the dissertation committee
Mechanical Engineering Seminar (6 unit)
In addition to course requirements, students will have a publication requirement for this degree. In order to complete a Ph.D. in ME at NAU, students must have at least one paper in which they are the lead author accepted for publication in a reviewer-blind peer-reviewed journal with an impact factor of at least 0.5.
In accordance with standards across the U.S. for ME Ph.D. programs, there are three major exams required for this degree:
- Qualifying exam. This exam is to be taken once a student has completed (or is concurrently enrolled in) at least 30 units of coursework, including all of their ME, Mathematics, and Computation courses. The exam will be both written and oral and will test the student understanding of the fundamental principles related to their dissertation research topic.
- Advance to Candidacy exam. This exam must be completed within one semester of a student passing the qualifying exam. This exam has both a written and oral component, and will be administered by a student’s dissertation committee.
- Dissertation Defense. This exam is to be taken once a student has advanced to candidacy and has at least one reviewer-blind, peer-reviewed journal paper accepted for publication.
Be aware that some courses may have prerequisites that you must also take. For prerequisite information click on the course or see your advisor.
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- Statement of purpose - This should be a short letter addressed to the Admissions Committee. It should state your reason for pursuing the intended degree, what relevant experience you already have, and what experience you hope to gain by completing the degree.
- Curriculum Vitae - This is an extended version of your resume. It should provide more information on your studies and experiences, and support your statement of purpose.
- Three letters of recommendation - These should come from individuals who could provide insight on your readiness and ability to successfully complete your graduate studies (e.g. faculty members, technical supervisors, or other individuals from the field in which you wish to pursue the degree). Within the online application you will be required to input the email addresses of your references and the system will automatically send the letter of recommendation request to each of them.
- Advisor- Please note in the application who you would like to be your advisor at NAU. We strongly recommend directly contacting faculty whose research interests you to inquire if they are currently taking students.
- Test scores -
- Official GRE scores are required and the examination must have been completed no earlier than five years prior to the application. Competitive GRE scores are expected. Quantitative scores over 151, Verbal scores over 148, and Written scores over 3.0 are encouraged. Scores should be sent to Northern Arizona University, institution code 4006 without a department code. Please be aware, scores sent to other institution codes or with additional department codes cannot be retrieved and must be re submitted.
- International applicants from non-English speaking countries (or who didn't complete prior degrees with English as language of instruction) must submit TOEFL or IELTS scores. The minimum scores accepted for TOEFL and IELTS are 80 and 6.5, respectively. Applicants with lower scores may be considered for the Program in Intensive English.
- Transcript(s) - Your transcripts must be included in your application. GPA over 3.0 on a 4.0 scale is expected. Official transcripts are not required until admissions. undergraduate degree will not post until after your application is submitted, please send an email at firstname.lastname@example.org to let us know when you will send the official transcript with your degree posted.
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- Graduate Assistantships - Graduate Teaching Assistantships and Graduate Research Assistantships are available on a competitive basis and availability varies based on the needs of the program. Students interested in assistantships should indicate as much in their application. All graduate assistants receive health insurance, tuition remission, and a stipend. Full time graduate assistants, working 20 hours a week, receive 100% tuition remission, while part time graduate assistants, working 10 hours a week, receive 50% tuition remission. Stipend amounts vary by number of hours work and type of assistantship.
- Western Regional Graduate Program (WRGP) - The NAU ME MS is part of the WRGP program, so qualified out-of-state students from the western US may be eligible for in-state tuition.
- Financial Aid - Students may be eligible for additional financial aid and scholarships. See the Graduate College's webpage on financing your education for more information.