May 26, 2024  
2021-2022 Graduate Bulletin 
2021-2022 Graduate Bulletin [ARCHIVED BULLETIN]

Mechanical Engineering, Ph.D.

Return to {$returnto_text} Return to: All Programs

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 develop independent research skills, and to direct students towards the advancement of the state-of-the-art in their area of research.

Learning Objectives

The objectives of the Ph.D. degree 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.

Requirements for admission to the Graduate School, including English proficiency, may be found in the Admission section of this Bulletin.

In addition applicants to the doctoral program in mechanical engineering must meet the following minimum requirements:

  • Applicants must have a baccalaureate or master’s degree in engineering from an accredited institution.
  • Applicants 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.
  • Applicants must take the General Tests of the Graduate Record Examination prior to admission. Successful applicants typically have a minimum quantitative score of 155.

Applicants are selected for admission on March 1 and November 1.

Curriculum Requirements

Courses taken for graduate credit in this program shall be selected from those offered by the Graduate School are subject to the approval of the advisors.

At least one 6000- or 7000-level course in thermal sciences and one in solid mechanics areas are required.

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 coursework and independent study 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.

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.

Qualifying Examinations

A student must take a written qualifying examination during the semester after completion of 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 examination.


A doctoral student is eligible for candidacy after a minimum of 45 hours of coursework 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 ProQuest and published in Dissertation Abstracts. The dissertation is graded Satisfactory (S) or Unsatisfactory (U).

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.

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. The committee’s composition must conform to the list below:

  • TU Mechanical Engineering faculty member, Chair or Co-Chair with another member
  • TU Mechanical Engineering faculty member
  • TU Member from outside of the Mechanical Engineering department*
  • TU Mechanical Engineering faculty member or member from other TU department*
  • Optional additional TU faculty members (The advisory committee members from Mechanical Engineering must be at least 50% of the total number.)

*One outside member (but no more than one) 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 coursework, 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.

Return to {$returnto_text} Return to: All Programs