Mechanical Engineering (Ph.D.)


The Mechanical Engineering graduate program is student-centered, providing high-quality instruction in both theory and the latest engineering developments. Graduate faculty members hold doctorates in engineering, and most bring significant industrial experience to the classroom. For the working person, our graduate classes are held in the late afternoon and evening. Many of our full-time graduate students obtain paid internships in local industry for one or two terms during their course of study.

The Department of Mechanical Engineering specializes in the following four focal areas:

  • Manufacturing Systems
  • Mechatronics Systems
  • Thermal/Fluid Systems and Alternative Energy Conversion
  • Vehicle Systems

Students may select several courses from one focal area or may choose a variety of courses across multiple focal areas.

Two graduate degrees are offered:

  • Master of Mechanical Engineering (for information on the Master degree, click here)
  • Doctor of Philosophy with a major in Mechanical Engineering

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    Program Learning Outcomes

    Doctor of Philosophy with a major in Mechanical Engineering graduates will have:
    1) an ability to apply knowledge of advanced mathematics, science, and engineering principles 
    2) an ability to design and conduct experiments, as well as to analyze and interpret data 
    3) an ability to independently identify, research, formulate, and solve mechanical engineering problems 
    4) an ability to use the techniques, skills, and modern engineering tools necessary for engineering practice 
    5) an ability to communicate effectively 
    6) an ability to model, analyze, design, and realize physical systems, components or processes 
    7) an ability to synthesize and critically analyze existing knowledge 
    8) a mastery of their specific field of study and make a contribution to the discipline

    Admission Requirements

    Students may apply to the Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) with a major in Mechanical Engineering program upon completion of either a baccalaureate or a master’s degree in mechanical engineering or a closely related field. Typical minimum requirements include an undergraduate GPA of 3.0 and a graduate GPA of 3.5 (if relevant). Students who have taken relevant graduate level courses elsewhere (possibly as part of earning a master’s degree) may transfer up to 30 credit hours from their master’s program. Although the Graduate Record Exam (GRE) is not required, a strong score on the GRE will strengthen the application. In addition, the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL), if applicable, while not required as part of the application, is encouraged because its results can be useful in facilitating the admission process. Students who obtained their degree(s) outside the U.S. must also submit official ECE or WES evaluation reports for each institution attended.


    Doctor of Philosophy with a major in Mechanical Engineering Degree Requirements (81 credit hours)

    The requirements for the Doctor of Philosophy degree with a major in Mechanical Engineering are divided into three parts: Coursework, Dissertation, and Examination.  All doctoral programs of study must be approved by the faculty advisor/committee and the department chairperson.

    Coursework consists of 51 post-baccalaureate course credits at the graduate level. Up to 30 graduate credit hours can be transferred but at least 21 additional graduate credits must be earned at Detroit Mercy. Coursework is divided into:

    • Doctoral Core courses (12 credits)
    • Discipline Specific courses (9 credits)
    • Electives/Focus Area (30 credits)

    Four Doctoral Core courses (or equivalent) are required: ENGR 5020 Design of Experiments, ENGR 5300 Advanced Engineering Mathematics, ENGR 5560 Research Methods in Engineering, and MENG 5945 Systems Engineering.

    Discipline Specific courses (at least nine credits) are the Mechanical Engineering courses (MENG) that pertain most closely to the student’s dissertation topic. The Discipline Specific courses selected must be agreed upon by the student’s advisor and the Department.

    Electives/Focus Area courses are selected (with written approval of the student's advisor) from MENG, ENGR, ELEE, CIVE, AEV, MTH, ENT, and CSSE courses.  Courses from additional departments may be permissible with written approval of the advisor, however, co-op related credits may not be used toward the requirements.

    Dissertation credits consist of research credits accrued under the guidance of a doctoral dissertation committee headed by a faculty member who acts as the supervisor. Although doctoral research is independent, novel and advances the state-of-the-art, the committee members can provide guidance, advice and technical expertise. A minimum of 30 dissertation credits is required for the Doctor of Philosophy degree. Students may not register for dissertation credits until they pass the Qualifying Exams. 

    Examinations comprise three stages: Qualifying, Dissertation Topic and Final.

    The Qualifying Examination consists of two parts: Mathematics and Discipline Specific (in this case, mechanical engineering topics relevant to the individual examinee). The Mathematics Qualifying Examination should normally be taken in the first year of the program and must be taken when the student has completed the Doctoral Core courses. The Discipline-Specific Qualifying Exam is administered by the Mechanical Engineering Department.  This exam is comprised of two subject matter areas.  These subject matters are selected by the student in cooperation with her/her doctoral advisor. Students passing the Qualifying Examination are allowed to advance in the Doctoral program. Students can repeat each qualifying exam once. Students failing the second time are dismissed from the doctoral program. 

    The Dissertation Topic Examination consists of the formal presentation of the dissertation topic to the supervisory committee. The committee provides feedback to the student regarding scope, depth, and relevancy of the topic. With approval of the committee, the student can proceed with the research and subsequent accrual of dissertation credits.

    The Final Examination consists of the formal and public presentation of the dissertation results. The written dissertation must also be approved and accepted by the supervisory committee and the dean of the College. The Final Examination, in concert with submission of the approved version of the written dissertation, constitutes the last step in completion of the Doctor of Philosophy degree.

    Information about the Mathematics Qualifying Exam can be found here.

    Master's and Doctoral Thesis guidelines can be found on the Engineering & Science website.

Program Contact Information

Program Chairperson: Nassif Rayess, Ph.D.
Office: Engineering 214
Telephone: 313-993-1402
Department website