Feb 26, 2024  
2018-2019 Graduate Catalog 
2018-2019 Graduate Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Engineering - Mechanical Engineering Concentration, (PhD)

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PhD Degree Program

Program Admission

The Herff College of Engineering has established uniform admissions criteria for all graduate programs. Exceptions to these requirements may be addressed by the Graduate Admissions and Retention Committee of the department and must be approved by the Dean of Engineering.

Applicants will be considered for admission to the doctoral program based upon their educational background, Graduate Record Examination (GRE) scores, grade point average (GPA), and three letters of recommendation from previous instructors/professors attesting to their academic ability and potential for success in a doctoral program.

In most cases, applicants will be considered for admission after completion of a masters degree. However, in certain cases, highly qualified applicants will be considered for admission to the doctoral program after the attainment of a bachelors degree. It may be suggested that the student complete a masters degree while in pursuit of the doctoral degree.

In addition to the above requirements, all applicants must submit an application for admission to The University of Memphis. Applicants whose native language is other than English must have a competitive score on the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) or The International English Language Testing System (IELTS).

The department of study for an applicant whose highest degree is from an international university may require that their credentials be evaluated. The department of study will accept evaluations done by any credentialing agency listed on the National Association of Credential Evaluation Services web site (http://www.naces.org). A course-by course report is required.

Depending on the applicant’s educational background, the Advisory Committee for the individual graduate student may require additional coursework to prepare the student for doctoral studies. The Advisory Committee is composed of Graduate Faculty from the College. The Department Chair, the Director of Graduate Studies for the College and the Graduate School will review and approve the Committee.

In unusual circumstances where the above admission requirements cannot be met, an applicant may seek exceptions by contacting the Director of Graduate Studies for the college.

Applicants are further advised that the College reserves the right to deny some applications for admission because of limited availability of faculty and/or physical facilities to accommodate the student’s research interests.

English Conditional Admission: International students are required to demonstrate a strong grasp of the English language before admission into graduate programs. Conditional admission may be granted depending on individual academic departmental policy. If English conditional admission is offered, students will need to register for English skills assessment and take instructional sessions (if required as a result of that assessment) through the University’s Intensive English for Internationals (IEI) program (http://www.memphis.edu/iei). Upon successful completion of the requisite sessions, as determined by IEI, the student’s English skills will be considered up to standard and the TOEFL/IELTS requirement may be waived depending on specific academic department policy. The student can then proceed into their graduate academic program. Please note that in order to have a complete application packet, students seeking English conditional admission will need to simultaneously apply for the IEI program through the link above and to the Graduate School (www.memphis.edu/graduateadmissions).

Please note that a student cannot be a graduate assistant (GA) until they have been fully admitted and have begun their graduate academic program. Please review your academic program department’s website and graduate catalog entries to determine if English conditional admission is offered. Questions can be directed to the program’s graduate coordinator. Students will pay IEI fees until they meet the language criterion. If courses are taken outside of IEI, the student will be charged additional tuition at the regular rate.

Retention Requirements

A student will be retained continuously in the program until completion of the degree providing the following conditions are met:

  1. All students will be required to maintain a grade point average (GPA) of at least 3.00. Should the student’s GPA fall below that mark, a period of one semester or one full summer term will be allowed to correct the deficiency. Failure to regain the minimum 3.00 is considered sufficient reason for being dropped from the program. This period may, at the discretion of the student’s advisory committee, be extended one additional semester or full summer term. If the GPA at the end of this extension is still below 3.00, the student will be dismissed from the program.
  2. Accumulation of more than 7 semester hours of cumulative graduate coursework with a grade of “C+” or lower will result in dismissal from the program, i.e., a student who accumulates 6 hours of graduate coursework with a grade of “C+” or lower in a masters program is permitted only one additional hour with a grade of “C+” or lower.
  3. All students are required to complete a comprehensive examination with at least a minimum passing score on the written portion and a satisfactory performance on the oral portion of the exam. A second and final attempt to pass this examination may be granted by the student’s Advisory Committee; failure will result in mandatory dismissal from the program.
  4. All students must demonstrate reportable activity and progress on their research project to their advisory committee each fall and spring semester after dissertation hours are started. This reportable activity should also be submitted in writing to the Department Chair.

Grade point averages above are based on a 4.00 grading system where A = 4.00. Students presenting transcripts using a different system will be held to similar standards.

Graduation Requirements

General Requirements: Each student must earn at least 72 semester hours beyond the bachelors degree or 42 beyond the masters degree (see Table 1A). Students entering with a bachelors degree can apply up to 24 semester hours of dissertation credit toward these requirements. Students entering with a masters degree can apply up to 18 hours of dissertation credit. Early in each student’s program of study, the Director of Graduate Studies, upon recommendation of the Departmental Chair, will approve an Advisory Committee composed of Graduate Faculty in the College. The Advisory Committee will guide the student’s dissertation research and recommend coursework to support that research endeavor.

For students admitted with a bachelors degree, at least 48 of the 72 semester hours required, including dissertation and research credit, must be in the student’s concentration. No more than 12 semester hours of credit for 6000 level courses will count toward the PhD degree. (See Table 1B)

For students admitted with a masters degree, at least 30 of the 42 semester hours required, including dissertation and research credit, must be in the student’s concentration. No more than 6 semester hours of credit for 6000 level courses will count toward the PhD degree.

Table 1A) Doctoral Program Options

Option Total Credit Hours Course Hours (excluding Dissertation) Hours of Dissertation (9000 course)
Post Bachelor’s Degree (BS) 72 48 24
Post Master’s Degree (MS) 42 24 18

Table 1B) Doctoral Program Course Hours

Option Course Hours (excluding dissertation) Maximum hours of dissertation (9000 courses) Maximum hours at 6000 Minimum hours at 7000/8000 Minimum hours at 7000/8000 in concentration
Post Bachelor’s Degree (BS) 48 24 12 36 24
Post Master’s Degree (MS) 24 18 6 18 12

Residency Requirements: A minimum of 18 semester hours must be earned while the student is in continuous residence. This may be done in two regular consecutive semesters. If the student is retained as a graduate assistant, the residency requirement may be met over a single continuous twelve-month period provided the student completes 18 semester hours in two successive regular semesters. A student is not eligible to complete the residency requirement until a minimum of 18 semester hours of graduate study have been successfully completed.

Mathematics Requirements: Based on the qualifying examination required of all The University of Memphis doctoral students, the advisory committee may stipulate that appropriate mathematics courses be made a part of the student’s program.

Examination Requirements: All students must take a qualifying examination in accordance with University policy outlined under Minimum Requirements for Doctoral Degrees in this catalog. This examination, which is intended to determine the student’s mastery of broad fundamental concepts, will be typically given only after the student has completed between 9 to 27 semester hours of graduate study. For students entering the program with a masters degree, the exam will occur early in their PhD program as directed by the student’s Advisor and Advisory Committee. The results will be used to prescribe the remainder of the student’s academic program, and successful completion of the qualifying exam is required for admission to candidacy as a doctoral student.

The examination will generally be given in written form. However, the student’s committee may require an oral session before making a final decision on the student’s qualification to continue his/her studies.

After the final semester of coursework, the student will be required to successfully complete written and oral comprehensive examinations that will ascertain the student’s mastery of the theoretical material that will underlie the dissertation topic. The student’s Advisory Committee will conduct this oral comprehensive exam.

At the completion of the dissertation, the student must defend the work before the advisory committee and other interested members of the university faculty who may care to question the results of the research. NOTE: Students should familiarize themselves with the Thesis/Dissertation Preparation Guide before starting to write.

Course Requirements: Nine semester hours of major mathematics, physical science and engineering principles core courses that integrate their doctoral experience are required of all doctoral students. This core is developed by the student’s graduate Advisory Committee. Each concentration requires a minimum of 48 semester hours of coursework post Bachelor’s Degree (and 24 post Master’s Degree) plus research comprising the dissertation hours in the chosen field of study. Each student’s program of study will be developed with the student’s Advisory Committee. NOTE: Students taking Engineering courses will be charged an additional $35 per credit hour.

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