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The PhD in Mechanical Engineering degree program will prepare students to become productive engineering researchers in industry, academia, government, or other organizations.  Students will be equipped with the skills necessary to define, formulate and solve novel problems in the mechanical engineering field.  The program will emphasize the mechanical engineering sciences with a strong foundation in mathematics.  Graduates will be well prepared for research roles to serve their organizations, their communities, and contribute to the UAB mission of having an economic impact in the region.

Graduates will be equipped with the knowledge and skills to develop quality research proposals and carry out research to develop new and innovative theories, models, products and ideas in mechanical engineering intended to advance the state-of-the-art.  Entry-level roles at academic institutions would include assistant professor or research engineer, and in government and industry research engineer or laboratory associate.  Graduates will also be well prepared to compete for post-doctoral studies at other universities and laboratories across the world.

Students in the Mechanical Engineering PhD program will:

  • Develop the ability to identify, formulate and solve complex Mechanical Engineering problems by applying principles of engineering, science and mathematics.
  • Be able to explain experimental/theoretical approaches and limitations associated with his/her dissertation project.
  • Be able to summarize the relevant literature, identify its limitations, and formulate an original research plan.
  • Be able to communicate and defend his/her research results and conclusions in oral and written form.

Admission Requirements

Admission decisions are made on the basis of prior education, GPA, test scores, personal statement, professional experience, and recommendations.

In addition to the Graduate School admission requirements, admission to the Mechanical Engineering PhD program includes the following:

  • Undergraduate or graduate degree in Mechanical Engineering or related engineering field from an ABET (or equivalent) accredited program. Applicants who do not meet this criterion but who have an outstanding academic record in a related field outside of engineering may be admitted, but will be required to complete a sequence of undergraduate courses (including prerequisites as appropriate) in addition to the normal requirements of the ME PhD degree
  • Minimum GPA of 3.0 on a 4.0 scale for most recent degree
  • GRE is not required
  • Personal statement identifying research interest
  • CV/Résumé
  • 3 academic or professional recommendations
  • International applicants must submit English proficiency scores in accordance with UAB Graduate School requirement. Click here for details
  • Original transcripts sent directly to the UAB Graduate School per their policy for degree-seeking students (detailed instructions are included during the online application process);

Application Deadlines

Entry Term                                        Deadline

Deadline for Entry Term(s)            Fall: August 1; Spring: December 1; Summer: May 1

Deadline for All Application Materials to be in the Graduate School Office Seven days before term begins

Degree Requirements

Graduate Committee

The graduate study committee (dissertation committee) is an important part of the student’s program. The committee will oversee the selection of courses and direction of research. Students must form a graduate committee within the first year of study and must meet with the committee no less than once per academic year. Committees must have at least five members.  A minimum of three committee members must have a primary appointment in the School of Engineering.  It is recommended that at least one committee member have an appointment outside of the engineering field.


The ME PhD promotes a research-based curriculum with a set of core courses required of all students in the program. Additional coursework is directed by the student's graduate study committee based on the student's area of interest.

Students entering the PhD program with a baccalaureate degree must, in keeping with UAB Graduate School policies, complete at least 48 hours of coursework prior to admission to candidacy. Up to 16 of the 48 credits can be non-dissertation research, and up to 10 credits can be a combination of laboratory rotations, seminars, and directed study.

Students entering the PhD program with a Master’s degree in ME or a related field must complete at least 27 credit hours of coursework prior to candidacy. Up to 6 credits of the 27 can be non-dissertation research credits, and up to 6 credits can be as lab rotations, seminars, or directed study credits.

For all students, at least 24 hours of dissertation research are required and must be taken over at least two semesters after admission to candidacy.

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