The ME Ph.D. program consists of 80 total credits for a student entering the program with a B.S. degree. Students entering the program will be required to submit a plan of study, formally known as a program requirements agreement, and choose an advisor by the mid-term of the second semester of coursework.
The curriculum is designed around both options of entering the program with a Bachelor's of Science or Master's of Science degree. For the student designing their program around a B.S. degree, the coursework includes 6 hours of core credits, 12 hours of minor credit requirements (if applicable), 30 hours of dissertation, and a remaining 32 credit hours of coursework directly determined by the area of emphasis the student chooses to study.
Students completing a doctoral degree are required to enroll for 24 doctoral thesis credits (ME 888) before receiving a degree (students can register for a maximum of 18 in one semester). Doctoral students may not register for thesis credits until the semester after they have passed their preliminary oral examinations.
Each student's Advisory Committee, on behalf of the ME faculty, will evaluate individual student progress through qualifying and comprehensive exams, seminars, the publishing and presentation record of the student, and the dissertation defense process.
Each student is required to take a qualifying examination, which tests the student's background knowledge and ability to pursue advanced courses and dissertation research.
Each student shall take a comprehensive examination consisting of two parts:
1. The student's competency in course work will be evaluated through oral and written examinations.
2. The student will prepare a written research proposal and complete an oral presentation of that proposal in the presence of the Advisory Committee.
The dissertation forms the final test of the student's ability to perform and communicate research. The student will prepare a doctoral dissertation and undergo a final defense of the scientific validity of the work, as well as basic and specialized knowledge in the field of study. Students are encouraged to submit papers to journals and proposals to funding agencies throughout the course of study, to verify the professional quality of their work.