Policies & Regulations

A key objective of the doctoral program is to promote cutting-edge multidisciplinary research and education in the areas of mechanical engineering and materials science. Students are selected for admission to the program by a competitive process, and they typically start in the fall semester. On arriving at Washington University in St. Louis, the student will be advised by the temporary adviser on all procedural issues. The student will choose a permanent adviser by the end of the first year of residency in the program.

The following is a brief summary of the requirements for doctoral students:

  1. Pass the qualifying exams. Qualifying exams should be taken by the end of the third semester.
  2. Prepare and defend a research proposal. The research proposal should be defended by the end of the fifth semester.
  3. Write and successfully defend the doctoral dissertation.
  4. Complete a minimum of 36 hours of course credit, and a minimum of 24 credits of doctoral research; total of 72 credits to earn the PhD degree.
  5. Satisfy the applicable teaching requirements of the Graduate School.

Degrees Offered

The Department of Mechanical Engineering & Materials Science (MEMS) offers the following doctoral degrees:

  • PhD in Mechanical Engineering
  • PhD in Aerospace Engineering
  • DSc in Mechanical Engineering, Aerospace Engineering, or Materials Science

The Doctor of Science (DSc) has similar requirements to the PhD but without the teaching requirement. For a list of differences, please refer to the DSc and PhD Comparison (PDF).

  • One may also pursue a PhD in Materials Science — through the Institute of Materials Science & Engineering (IMSE) — but work with professors from the Department of Mechanical Engineering & Materials Science. For details on this program, visit the IMSE Graduate Program webpage.

For more information on MEMS PhD degrees, visit the MEMS Graduate Degree Programs webpage.