PhD Degrees in Mechanical Engineering
Students in ME 420 Introduction to Polymer Composites Processing work on their final group project
The doctoral program in the Department of Mechanical Engineering prepares students to perform independent research in the areas of faculty expertise within the department. Broad research areas within the Department of Mechanical engineering include: biomechanics, computational engineering, energy, manufacturing, and mechanics and controls (research areas, faculty directory). Ph.D. students are mentored by faculty to become world-class researchers in these areas. Students entering the Ph.D. program develop a plan of study, in consultation with their faculty advisor, in preparation for their research focus and the qualifying exam. Students are required to take a minimum of 42 course credits (usually 14 classes). Course credits obtained during an MS degree can count towards this total but it is not necessary to obtain an MS degree before entering the Ph.D. program. After passing the qualifying examination, students perform research used to develop a proposal for their dissertation. This proposal (50 pages maximum length) is presented and defended as part of the preliminary examination. Students then prepare their dissertation and, upon completion, publicly present the work and defend the work in a closed session with their dissertation committee.
Graduate students in the Department of Mechanical Engineering benefit from research grants from industry and government that support research assistant appointments with faculty in the department. Students may also be supported with teaching assistantships and department and university fellowships during their Ph.D. program. Details on policies, procedures, and degree requirements for graduate degrees in mechanical engineering are provided below, along with information on the application process, and information and resources for current students.
Policies and procedures for on-campus MS and PhD degrees in the Mechanical Engineering Department are described in detail in the ME Academic Policies and Procedures Handbook – MS and PhD (handbook). Current students enrolled in the Mechanical Engineering department need to follow the policies and procedures contained in the current posted version of the handbook. The handbook also contains detailed information on degree requirements for on-campus graduate degrees in Mechanical Engineering. The degree requirements for all students enrolled in ME degree programs are included in the handbook. Additional links related to Mechanical Engineering Department Policies and Procedures and course requirements are provided below.
- All standards of the University of Wisconsin-Madison Graduate School apply (see the General Application Instructions). Department requirements may exceed the Graduate School requirements in certain cases.
- GRE scores are required for admission into the department. Successful applicants usually have GRE scores of Verbal Reasoning ³ 150, Quantitative Reasoning ³ 155, and Analytic Writing ³ 3.5. All students are considered for admission based on their overall application of which the GRE is one component.
- Prospective students must have a Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering. Students with a Bachelor of Science in other engineering or physical and natural science disciplines will be considered for admission on an individual basis. Upon acceptance, students without Mechanical Engineering Bachelor of Science degrees may be required to complete one or more courses in addition to degree requirements to satisfy any deficiencies.
- Students need a minimum grade point average of 3.2 based on the 4.0 point system or equivalent for the last 60 credits taken towards the undergraduate degree. Applicants with GPAs greater than 3.0 but less than 3.2 may be considered for admission. Applicants with an undergraduate grade point average below 3.0 may be considered based on years spent performing related engineering work.
For International Applicants
- International applicants must have a degree comparable to a regionally accredited U.S. bachelor’s degree.
- Every applicant whose native language is not English, or whose undergraduate instruction was not in English, must provide an English proficiency test score. For detailed requirements see the Graduate School Admission Requirements.
- International applicants are required to have adequate financial resources to cover expenses for the duration of their studies at UW–Madison. Do not send any financial statements to the program. The Graduate School will request the documents through your online status check page. For more information see the Graduate School International Applicant Financial Information.
- International applicants are required to identify three Mechanical Engineering faculty members whose research topics are of interest. Please check our website to locate the faculty (only those listed with titles of Assistant Professor, Associate Professor, or Professor, can serve as graduate student advisors). Find three faculty who have research interests that align closely with your own. You will need to list the last names of the faculty you have selected in your supplementary application. Please only list the last names. Do not list faculty that are listed as Professor Emeritus. You are encouraged to check the websites of faculty and contact faculty members directly by email to enquire about funding opportunities. If a faculty member offers to be your advisor, ask them to email their acceptance to (firstname.lastname@example.org).
The Graduate School receives the electronic application with:
- application fee
- online statement of purpose
- online letters of recommendation (3)
- GRE and TOEFL scores (use ETS institution code 1846)
- online supplemental application
- uploaded digital copies of academic transcripts
For more details see the Application Process at a Glance.
ALL application materials, including test scores and letters of recommendation, must be submitted online through the Graduate School’s application portal by the application deadline.
International Applicant Financial Information
For more details see the International Applicant Financial Information. International applicants should NOT send financial documents until requested by the Graduate School. This information will be requested upon positive admission recommendation from the department.
Do Not Mail Any of the Following Items
Mailing these items will result in a delay in the processing of your application.
- paper copies of your statement of purpose
- copies of your statement of purpose
- copies of GRE and TOEFL scores
- copies of passports, certificates, awards, bindings, financial documentation, or photographs other that those documents from your school
There are four mechanisms for Graduate Student funding through the University
- Graduate Assistantships: Project Assistantships, Teaching Assistantships, and Research Assistantships
- Other On and Off Campus Employment
Funding is awarded based on the qualifications of the student, the number of applicants, the amount of available funding and the number of continuing students receiving support. For more information on graduate student funding visit the Graduate School Website.
You can apply for funding for research assistantships by contacting individual faculty members directly. Please check our website to locate the faculty (only those listed with titles of Assistant Professor, Associate Professor, or Professor, can serve as graduate student advisors). Search for faculty who have research interests that align closely with your own by viewing faculty directory entries, visiting the faculty’s website (linked from the directory page), and reviewing publications by the faculty member. Once you have identified faculty with interests close to your own, you are encouraged to contact them by email to inquire regarding available research assistant positions. The admissions office does not know if a particular professor has research assistant positions available.
More information on graduate student funding is available from the Graduate School’s Office of Fellowships and Funding Resources.
Additional Resources for Applicants-
The following links provide additional information on topics of interest to individuals considering applying to graduate programs in the Department of Mechanical Engineering.
To view a list of faculty and research employment opportunities visit the ME Job Board. You will need to log in with your NetID and password. You may need to download files to see all attachments.
Prospective Students/Admissions Questions:
Graduate Program Coordinator
3182 Mechanical Engineering
1513 University Ave
Graduate Committee Chair
Frank E. Pfefferkorn
1031 Mechanical Engineering
1513 University Ave