Doctoral Program

Doctoral Program in Mechanical Engineering

The UMass Lowell Department of Mechanical Engineering offers a Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.), Option in Mechanical Engineering.

Ph.D. Option in Mechanical Engineering

The intent of the Doctor of Philosophy program is to prepare engineers for leadership positions in industry, academia and government. The program includes advanced graduate course work in engineering and allied subjects and research, culminating in a doctoral dissertation. 

Admission Requirements

Applicants must have a minimum of a B.S. in Mechanical Engineering, or a closely related field with a minimum grade point average of 3.0 and a min GPA of 3.25 in science and engineering courses. Applicants with a M.S. in Mechanical Engineering, or a closely related field, must have a minimum graduate GPA of 3.25.

Transfer Credits

  1. A student with a master's degree in Engineering or a closely related field may apply to have coursework for the master's degree up to a total of 24 credits.
  2. A student with graduate-level work completed at an accredited US or Canadian university may apply for transfer of up to 24 semester credits in acceptable graduate engineering courses (with grade of B or better) towards the doctoral program, upon approval by the Department Graduate Coordinator.

Note: Students may be required to make up prerequisites which they lack in comparison to the equivalent Engineering curriculum at the University of Massachusetts Lowell.

Degree Requirements

A total of 63 credit hours of graduate level courses are required for the Ph.D. degree. The Ph.D. degree must involve a traditional research-based dissertation, plus:

  • A minimum of 30 approved credit hours of graduate-level engineering courses, including associated science and math courses.
  • A minimum of 21 credit hours of doctoral dissertation.
  • The balance of the remaining 12 credits can be a mix of graduate-level engineering including associated science and math course and dissertation credits at the discretion of the department, faculty advisor and dissertation committee.
  • At least two semesters of the 0 credit research seminar MECH.5010

In addition to these 63 semester hours of approved graduate courses and thesis:

  • The student must have a minimum grade point average of 3.25 in order to graduate.
  • The student is required to take and pass the doctoral qualifying examination.

Concerning graduate-level STEM courses, the Ph.D. candidate must take the following:

  • One Course in advanced mathematics:
    • MECH.5200 Numerical Methods for Partial Differential Equations
    • ENGY.5390 (CHEN.5390) Mathematical Methods for Engineers
    • MATH.5300 Applied Math I
    • MATH.5450 Partial Differential Equations
    • Or another advanced mathematics approved by the doctoral dissertation advisor
  • At least twelve (12) credit hours (four courses), to be selected by the Ph.D. candidate in consultation with their dissertation advisor and approved in writing by both during the first semester of graduate study. The coursework contract will be sent to the graduate coordinator and the Registrar's office.

Combined Qualifying Examination and Dissertation Proposal

The Doctoral Qualifying Exam will consist of a written dissertation proposal (a document of typically 20 to 50 pages without appendices) and associated oral presentation by the examinee to an audience of peers and a committee of faculty members (minimum of three) where one of whom must be the examinee's dissertation advisor. The committee may have in addition one or more members from outside UML.

At least one week prior to the date of the presentation of the dissertation proposal, an announcement document must be submitted to the department graduate coordinator and to the Associate Dean of Graduate Studies in the College of Engineering by the Associate Dean of Graduate Studies.

The dissertation proposal is open to the public. The proposal will outline the motivation for the research, give a summary of the related past work in the area and present the scope of the proposed dissertation research. The presentation should be approximately 30 minutes. The proposal should clearly articulate the proposed contribution of the student to the knowledge base and how it differs from the past work. The examinee will be expected to answer questions from the audience to demonstrate his/her understanding of the proposed research, as well as his/her proficiency in the general research field related to the dissertation proposal.

Doctoral Core Requirement

Students must satisfy the following doctoral core requirement:

  • One Course in solid mechanics
  • One Course in Thermal fluids (approved by grad coordinator)
  • Two Courses in advanced mathematics (approved by grad coordinator)
  • Four courses from the following five areas of concentration:

1. Mechanics & Materials Concentration:

2. Thermofluids Concentration:

3. Energy Concentration:

4. Vibrations/Dynamics/Controls Concentration:

5. Manufacturing Concentration:

Management Courses for the Doctor of Engineering Degree

D.Eng. students are required to take 9 credits of graduate management courses from the following list:

  • MECH.5760 Engineering Project Management (3 credits)
  • PLAS.5070 Plastics Industry Organization (3 credits)
  • PLAS.5140 Statistics for Six Sigma (3 credits)
  • PLAS.5150 Lean Plastics Manufacturing (3 credits)
  • PLAS.5370 Business Law for Engineers (3 credits)
  • PLAS.5400 Commercial Development of Polymeric Systems (3 credits)
  • PLAS.5900 Survey of Intellectual Property (3 credits)
  • ACCT.5010 Financial Accounting (2 credits)
  • FINA.5010 Business Finance (2 credits)
  • MKTG.5010 Marketing Fundamentals (2 credits)
  • POMS.5010 Operations Fundamentals (2 credits)
  • MGMT.5010 Organizational Behavior (2 credits)
  • MGMT.5110 Global Enterprise & Competition (2 credits)
  • MGMT.6150 New Venture Creation (3 credits)

Qualifying Examination

Students must take the doctoral qualifying examination at the end of their first year of study. This examination tests basic competency at the undergraduate level. The student is permitted two attempts at passing the qualifying examination. Students who fail the qualifying examination the first time must retake the exam at its next scheduled offering. Students failing the doctoral exam twice will automatically be dismissed from the doctoral program. Those who do not take the examination at the prescribed time may lose all their financial support, if any, and may be dismissed from the doctoral program.

Candidacy Examination and Dissertation Proposal

The research work for the dissertation shall be conducted under the supervision of a departmental faculty advisor and a committee of two other UML faculty. Students are required to submit and defend a dissertation proposal before a Department Doctoral Committee. Students may register for no more than six credit hours of research in preparing a formal dissertation proposal. This proposal, and the student’s ability to perform the research, must be orally defended before the student’s doctoral committee and other interested parties. This constitutes the candidacy examination.

Upon passing this examination, and completing all course requirements, the student becomes a candidate for the doctoral degree and may register for additional research credit with the advisor’s approval.