Ph.D. Requirements-Mechanical Engineering - Carnegie Mellon University

Ph.D. Requirements for Students Entering with a M.S. in Engineering

Research requirements:

  • PhD proposal within 1.5 years of entering the program
  • Annual presentations to PhD committee after the proposal
  • Public PhD defense; announcement must be published two weeks prior to defense date.
  • Dissertation
  • Attend departmental seminar series

PhD Committee:

  • At least 4 members
  • At least 2 CMU ME faculty members
  • At least 1 member outside CMU ME
  • Annual committee meetings after proposal

Qualifying Exams:

  • Must be taken within one-year of entering the program
  • Students who fail the first time must retake the next time it is offered
  • If students fail the exam twice they must leave the program.  The student can receive an MS degree if they have completed all of the requirements for either a project or course work based MS.

Course Requirements:

  • Minimum of 60 units
  • All graduate level (600 or higher)
  • At least 3 ME courses (24-###)
  • At least 1 engineering math course (24-701, 24-703, or equivalent as approved by GEC).  If the student has already passed a comparable graduate engineering math course as part of their MS program at another institution they can petition the GEC for a waiver of the math requirement.
  • Supervised reading, independent study, research, or teaching internship does not count towards course requirements.
  • Regular participation in Graduate Seminar; 24-791 (Fall); 24-792 (Spring)
  • Must maintain a 3.0 grade point average
  • All courses must be approved by advisor

Teaching Intern:

  • All students must serve teaching intern twice, once in his/her second year and once in his/her third year after enrolling as a graduate student.  To fulfill the teaching requirements students must sign up and pass 24-795 Ph.D. Internship in University Teaching twice.  For more information see the department graduate coordinator.


  • 1 year of residency
  • All requirements specified by CIT.

1) Note: CIT Interdisciplinary Courses 39-6XX may be counted as graduate units upon approval of the Graduate Education Committee.

2) Note: Mechanical Engineering courses consist of all 24-XXX courses, including courses in other departments cross-listed as 24-XXX courses, and the course 39-600, Integrated product Development.

3) Note: additional courses approved to fulfill Direct PhD math requirement now include:

              06-713 Mathematical Techniques in Chemical Engineering
              16-811 Mathematical Fundamentals for Robotics
              12-704 Probability and Estimation Methods for Engineering Systems

4) Note: Students enrolled in a dual Ph.D. program between the department of Mechanical Engineering at Carnegie Mellon and another institution will need to apply and get admitted into the Carnegie Mellon program independently.  Once admitted, these students will need to satisfy all of the requirements for the Ph.D. degree in Mechanical Engineering.  The requirements for the Ph.D. degree in Mechanical Engineering at Carnegie Mellon are as stated above with the following modifications. 

- Students in the dual Ph.D. program will have a co-advisor who is a faculty member with an appointment in Mechanical Engineering at Carnegie Mellon and a co-advisor who is a faculty member at the partner institution.  While the former will chair the Ph.D. Committee, the latter will be a member of the Ph.D. Committee at Carnegie Mellon and can play the role of the member outside Carnegie Mellon Mechanical Engineering.  The same person cannot act as both advisors.

- Students entering with a MS degree are required to complete 60 units of course work as specified in the degree program. Students who wish to take courses at the partner institution can do so and then request transfer credit for up to two courses, equivalent to 18-24 units.  Transferred courses cannot count toward another degree received by the student, other than the Ph.D. degree awarded by the partner institution.  All other rules governing course transfers apply ( and  Students transferring two courses or equivalent from the partner institution will not be allowed to transfer any additional units from any other institution.

- Regular participation in Graduate Seminar during the students’ time of residency at Carnegie Mellon.      

- All students must serve as teaching intern twice.  At least one of these teaching internships must be done in the Department of Mechanical Engineering at Carnegie Mellon. Upon approval of the Graduate Education Committee (GEC), the Department will allow the transfer of credit for a teaching internship performed at the partner institution to satisfy the second internship.