The department offers graduate programs in mechanical engineering leading to the master of science (MS), master of engineering (ME), and doctor of philosophy (PhD) degrees. The one-year MS degree program allows students to specialize in areas of particular interest. It provides excellent training for those aiming toward industrial employment as well as for those continuing toward a PhD. The PhD program provides in-depth research training in a specific area. Graduates with these advanced degrees find employment in industry, government labs, universities and industrial research establishments.
The graduate programs cover a wide spectrum of courses, allowing each student to select the program which meets his or her particular educational needs. A typical student at the MS level choosing the thesis option would take six formal courses and write a thesis on a selected research topic. A master's student selecting the non-thesis option would take 10 courses in engineering subjects and must pass a written examination. Students choose courses in mechanical engineering and from other departments. Most students complete the MS requirements in one to one and one-half years.
Students electing to pursue a PhD select and carry out research projects with input from their advisors. The thesis represents original work which makes a significant contribution to the selected field of knowledge. PhD students also take relevant courses in and outside the department, with full-time students normally completing their degrees in about four years.
The department offers formal graduate programs in each of the research-oriented areas. The graduate student can select courses that emphasize the fundamental principles as well as those that illustrate application to engineering practice. Graduate mechanical systems courses are regularly offered in the areas of mechanics, mechanical systems design, manufacturing, polymer processing, geometric modeling and control systems. Graduate energy systems courses are regularly offered in thermodynamics, fluid dynamics, heat transfer and combustion.