Apr 12, 2024  
2016-2017 Graduate Bulletin 
2016-2017 Graduate Bulletin [ARCHIVED BULLETIN]

Mechanical Engineering, Ph.D.

Return to {$returnto_text} Return to: The College of Engineering and Natural Sciences

Return to the Department of Mechanical Engineering 

The principal objectives of the Ph.D. program are to advance the student’s technical and professional skills, to develop the ability of graduates to conduct research projects and to develop independent research skills, and to direct graduate students towards the advancement of the state-of-the-art in their area of research.


Applicants are selected for admission to the Ph.D. program on a competitive basis. The number of qualified applicants selected each year depends on the number of students already in the program. Qualified applicants must meet the following minimum requirements:

  • An applicant must have a baccalaureate or master’s degree in engineering from an accredited institution.
  • A student without a master’s degree must meet the requirements for admission to the master’s program.
  • Qualification for the Ph.D. program requires at least a 3.5 grade point average in the first 30 credit hours of graduate work and approval of the graduate faculty in the department and the Graduate Dean.
  • All applicants must take the General Tests of the Graduate Record Examination prior to admission. Successful applicants typically have a minimum quantitative score of 155.
  • All applicants from non-English speaking countries who have not received a degree from a U.S. university must demonstrate English proficiency through a minimum TOEFL score of 80 on the internet-based exam, or 550 on the paper-based test. Applicants may substitute a score of 6.0 on the IELTS examination to fulfill the English proficiency requirement.
  • Applicants are selected for admission on March 1 and November 1.

General Requirements

At least one 6000- or 7000-level course in thermal sciences and one in solid mechanics areas are required. All courses taken for graduate credit in this program shall be selected from those listed in this bulletin and the choices are subject to the approval of the advisors.

Curriculum Requirements

Minimum total credit hours of graduate credit above the baccalaureate level 72
Minimum credit hours of research and dissertation (including master’s degree thesis) 24
Minimum credit hours of graduate course work and independent study distributed as follows 42
Minimum credit hours in mechanical engineering 24
Minimum credit hours outside mechanical engineering including 6 credit hours of 6000-level or 7000-level mathematics 12
Maximum credit hours of independent study 6
Maximum credit hours of 6000-level courses 15

Students may be required to complete prerequisite undergraduate courses without graduate credit, resulting in a program of more than 72 credit hours. Not more than 12 hours of transfer credit beyond the master’s degree from an accredited institution may be counted toward the course requirements and must be approved by the mechanical engineering graduate advisor.

Other Requirements

Language and Residence

There is no foreign language requirement for the Ph.D. in mechanical engineering. At least two consecutive semesters in residence at The University of Tulsa as a full-time student are required.

Advisory Committee

Students in the Ph.D. program are advised initially by the mechanical engineering graduate program advisor. The student should select a general research area and a research advisor or co-advisors for the dissertation within two semesters following enrollment in the program. The advisor or co-advisors, after consultation with the student, recommend the other members of the advisory committee to the Graduate Dean. The advisory committee must have at least four graduate faculty members, two of whom must be from outside the discipline of concentration, and one of whom may be a qualified expert in the research area from outside the University.

The student must present a research proposal for approval by the advisory committee before completion of the second year of study. The advisory committee approves the rest of the student’s course work, reviews progress, approves program changes and the dissertation topic, recommends the student for candidacy upon completion of requirements, and administers the final dissertation oral examination.

Qualifying Examinations

A student must take a written qualifying examination during the semester after completing nine hours toward the Ph.D. degree. If the student fails the examination, it can be taken a second time in the following semester. Examinations are given each year during the fall and spring semesters and are administered by the mechanical engineering graduate program advisor. The mechanical engineering graduate faculty determine whether a student passes or fails the qualifying examinations.


A doctoral student is eligible for candidacy after a minimum of 45 hours of course work has been successfully completed, the qualifying examination has been passed, and the research proposal has been approved.


Each candidate must write a dissertation on the results of his/her research. The dissertation must demonstrate the candidate’s abilities to independently investigate the area of interest and must contribute to some field of science or engineering. The dissertation must follow the Graduate School’s recommended procedures for submission to the student’s advisory committee, and before final typing or reproduction must be presented to the full advisory committee for examination and review. The dissertation must be archived by UMI and published in Dissertation Abstracts. The dissertation is graded on a pass-fail basis.

Final Oral Examination

Each candidate must pass a final oral examination before the advisory committee. The examination will consist of a public defense of the dissertation, the general field of the dissertation, and other parts of the program selected by the committee.

The advisory committee recommends the candidate to the Dean of the Graduate School for the Ph.D. degree upon successful completion of the final oral examination and acceptance of the dissertation. Passing grades must be obtained in all the dissertation hours to fulfill degree requirements.

Return to {$returnto_text} Return to: The College of Engineering and Natural Sciences