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Mechanical Engineering PhD

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College : Engineering and Computer Science Degree :PHD
Department : Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering Option : Dissertation
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The Mechanical Engineering PhD program prepares students with an in depth study and emphasis on research in Aerospace Systems, Mechanical Systems, or Thermofluids.

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The Mechanical Engineering PhD program requires a minimum of 72 credit hours beyond a bachelor’s degree. This program requires 15 dissertation credit hours minimum and may include up to a total of 12 credit hours combined of directed (XXX 6918) or doctoral research (XXX 7919) and/or of independent study (6908) with an approved Program of Study. At least 45 hours of the program of study must consist of formal coursework, exclusive of independent study. The rest of the hours can be chosen by the student in consultation with the adviser and the dissertation committee and with the approval of the graduate program coordinator. Details about this program are located in the Mechanical Engineering PhD Handbook.

Total Credit Hours Required:
72 Credit Hours Minimum beyond the Bachelor's Degree

Students entering the program with a master’s degree are required to complete 42 credit hours minimum, of which 27 credit hours minimum must be formal course work, exclusive of independent study, and 15 credit hours minimum of dissertation research (XXX 7980).

Students entering the program with a bachelor’s degree are required to complete 72 credit hours minimum, of which 45 credit hours minimum must be formal course work, exclusive of independent study, and 15 credit hours minimum of dissertation research (XXX 7980). The balance formal coursework (12 hours) can be taken as a combination of classes, doctoral research (XXX 7919) and/or independent study (XXX 6908), no more than 12 credit hours combined of directed (XXX 6918) or doctoral research (XXX 7919) and/or independent study (XXX 6908) may be taken toward fulfilling the degree program of study course work requirements. 

The rest of the hours in the PhD program can be chosen by the student in consultation with the adviser and the dissertation committee and with the approval of the Graduate Coordinator. These credit hours may include doctoral directed research hours or doctoral dissertation hours.

Unless a completed (signed) program of study itemizing the study plan is approved prior to the end of the first semester of studies, the Graduate Director of the MMAE department may choose not to accept any part of the coursework (including independent studies and/or directed research) taken by the student on a program of study subsequently submitted by the student.

Admission to doctoral status requires that the student (1) pass a PhD Qualifying Examination, (2) establish a Doctoral Advisory Committee and (3) submit a departmentally approved Program of Study. These steps are normally completed within the first year of study beyond the master’s degree.

Additionally, all students pursuing the doctoral program must enroll in the following course:

  • EML 5090 Mechanical and Aerospace Seminar (0 credit hours)

Students must register for the seminar course a minimum of four times during their graduate career in the doctoral program. Students must completete the EML 5936 seminar course twice prior to taking the candidacy exam and twice after completing the candidacy exam. The students must also complete the course with a satisfactory (S) grade in all attempts. If the student does not complete the course with a satisfactory grade, the student will be asked to repeat the course to meet program requirements.

Elective Courses—57 Credit Hours

  • May include up to a total of 12 credit hours combined of Directed (XXX 6918) or Doctoral Research (XXX 7919) and/or of Independent Study (6908)
  • At least 45 credit hours must be formal coursework, exclusive of independent study, doctoral research and/or directed research.

Dissertation—15 Credit Hours

  • EML 7980 (15 credit hours minimum)


In addition to the Qualifying Examination discussed above, the student must pass a Candidacy Examination and a Dissertation Defense Examination. The Candidacy Examination is taken near the end of the course work and consists of a written and oral presentation of a research proposal. The MMAE department requires that a PhD student submits his/her candidacy exam the academic semester immediately following his/her successfully passing the PhD Qualifying Exam.  The Dissertation Defense Examination is an oral examination taken in defense of the written dissertation.  The College of Engineering and Computer Science requires that all dissertation defense announcements are approved by the student's advisor and posted on the college's website and on the Events Calendar of the College of Graduate Studies website at least two weeks before the defense date. 

More information on these examinations and other requirements of the PhD program are contained in the Mechanical Engineering PhD Handbook.

Dissertation Committee

The doctoral committee must consist of a minimum of five members: three must be graduate faculty members from within the student’s department, and one must be at large from outside the Mechanical, Materials and Aerospace Engineering Department. The committee Chair must be a member of the graduate faculty approved to direct dissertations. Joint faculty members serve as department-faculty committee members as well as chairs of dissertation committees. Adjunct faculty and off-campus experts, if approved graduate faculty scholars, may serve as the outside-the-college person in the committee. Program areas may further specify additional committee membership. The UCF College of Graduate Studies reserves the right to review appointments to advisory committees, place a representative on any advisory committee, or appoint a co-adviser.

All members vote on acceptance or rejection of the dissertation proposal and the final dissertation. The dissertation proposal and final dissertation must be approved by a majority of the advisory committee.

Admission to Candidacy

The following are required to be admitted to candidacy and enroll in dissertation hours (enrollment in dissertation hours begins the semester following the completion of these requirements). Evidence of meeting these requirements must be received by the College of Graduate Studies by the day before the first day of classes for the semester in which a student wishes to enroll in dissertation hours.

  • Completion of all course work, except for dissertation hours.
  • Successful completion of the candidacy examination.
  • Successful defense of the written dissertation proposal.
  • The dissertation advisory committee is formed, consisting of approved Graduate Faculty and Graduate Faculty Scholars.
  • Submission of an approved program of study.

Equipment Fee

Students in the Mechanical Engineering PhD program pay a $90 equipment fee each semester that they are enrolled. Part-time students pay $45 per semester.

MAE Department Graduate Seminar Requirement

The MAE Graduate seminar is a zero (0) credit hour (S/U) course that is offered each fall and spring academic semesters. Prior to graduation, all MAE graduate students who are pursuing a PhD dissertation are required to register, participate, and receive a satisfactory (S) for four (4) semesters of MAE Graduate seminar, with at least two of these taken prior to candidacy.

Independent Learning

The Independent Learning Requirement is met by successful completion of the student's candidacy and dissertation defense examinations.

Application Requirements

For information on general UCF graduate admissions requirements that apply to all prospective students, please visit the Admissions section of the Graduate Catalog. Applicants must apply online. All requested materials must be submitted by the established deadline.

The College of Engineering and Computer Science strongly encourages prospective applicants to request a free pre-screening ( of their qualifications prior to submitting an online application for graduate admission. However, a pre-screening is not required; rather, it is offered as a courtesy to all prospective applicants before they commit to submitting a complete online application and paying an application processing fee.

Admissions decisions are made on the basis of a complete online application only, and not on the basis of any pre-screening. Prospective applicants who are encouraged to apply to their intended graduate program based on the information provided for their pre-screening are not assured of admission or financial assistance when they submit a complete online application. Although it is possible, it is not likely, that prospective applicants who are discouraged from formally applying to a graduate program at the pre-screening stage will be admitted if they elect to submit a complete online application anyway.

In addition to the general UCF graduate application requirements, applicants to this program must provide:

  • One official transcript (in a sealed envelope) from each college/university attended.
  • Official, competitive GRE score taken within the last five years.
  • Bachelor’s or Master's degree in Mechanical or Aerospace Engineering or a closely related discipline.
  • Résumé.
  • Statement about educational, research, and professional career objectives.
  • Three letters of recommendation.

Faculty members may choose to conduct face-to-face or telephone interviews before accepting an applicant into their research program.

Additional courses may be required to correct deficiencies. Students should contact the graduate program director for more information.

Application Deadlines

Mechanical Engineering PhD *Fall Priority Fall Spring Summer
Domestic Applicants Jan 15Jul 15Dec 1


International Applicants Jan 15Jan 15Jul 1


International Transfer Applicants Jan 15Mar 1Sep 1


*Applicants who plan to enroll full time in a degree program and who wish to be considered for university fellowships or assistantships should apply by the Fall Priority date.


Graduate students may receive financial assistance through fellowships, assistantships, tuition support, or loans. For more information, see the College of Graduate Studies Funding website, which describes the types of financial assistance available at UCF and provides general guidance in planning your graduate finances. The Financial Information section of the Graduate Catalog is another key resource.


Fellowships are awarded based on academic merit to highly qualified students. They are paid to students through the Office of Student Financial Assistance, based on instructions provided by the College of Graduate Studies. Fellowships are given to support a student’s graduate study and do not have a work obligation. For more information, see UCF Graduate Fellowships, which includes descriptions of university fellowships and what you should do to be considered for a fellowship.