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PhD. Program Requirements

 

Admission Requirements

Candidates for the doctoral degree program are expected to have an outstanding academic record demonstrated by a minimum undergraduate cumulative grade average of 80.0 according to AUB standards (3.0 GPA in a 4.0 grade system), and have completed a master's degree in mechanical engineering or a related discipline with a cumulative grade average of 85.0 according to AUB standards (3.33 GPA in a 4.0 grade system).

The application to the doctoral program follows the deadlines set by the Admissions Office. All applicants are required to take the General Exam section of the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) and submit their scores. Students other than AUB graduates and graduates of recognized colleges or universities in North America, Great Britain, Australia, and New Zealand are required to take the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) and receive a minimum score of 600 if taken manually, or 250 if taken via computer. Admission to the PhD Program is upon the recommendations of the department and the FEA Graduate Studies Committee, and requires the approval of the AUB Board of Graduate Studies.
 
Applications received by the University Office of Admissions are first reviewed by the Mechanical Engineering Graduate Committee [MEGC]. This committee consists of the chairperson of the department, the department representative on FEA Graduate Studies Committee and two other mechanical engineering full-time faculty members. Recommendations for admission into the program are then transmitted to the FEA Graduate Studies Committee [GSC]. The FEA GSC consists of faculty members from the engineering and architecture departments, and is chaired by the Dean of the FEA, or his representative. The recommendations of the FEA GSC are then transmitted to the University Board of Graduate Studies [BGS].
 
This board is a University Senate committee chaired by the provost, and consists of faculty members from the various university Faculties. The Board of Graduate Studies makes the final decision on admission of PhD students.

PhD Program Description
 
The PhD program in mechanical engineering requires a minimum of 18 credit hours of course work beyond the master's degree. The student must pass a two-part PhD Qualification Examination. In addition, the student must submit an original dissertation based on independent research that makes a significant contribution to his/her area of research. The dissertation is the principal component of the doctoral program, and the part that will serve as the major indicator of a candidate's abilities. A minimum of 30 credits registered as dissertation work is required.
 
Advisers
 
After admission into the department, a general adviser will be assigned to the PhD student to guide her/him with the initial selection of courses and to introduce the student to the various research areas in the department. The student must select a dissertation adviser by the end of the first semester after admission to the program. The student must seek the faculty members that are in the student's area of interest, and discuss with them possible research topics for the PhD dissertation. Once an adviser is identified, the student will develop a Proposed Program of Study that lists the courses the student intends to take and the proposed dates for the written and oral Doctoral Qualifying Examinations. The Proposed Program of Study must then be submitted to the ME Graduate Committee for approval.

Course Requirements
 
The PhD program requires a minimum of 18 credit hours of course work beyond the master's degree. The program is composed of three credit hours of advanced study in mathematics, nine credit hours of technical graduate level courses of advanced study in the student's area of research (major course area requirements), and six credit hours of courses in a minor specialization area of study, selected by the student, in a field different from the major field of study. The minor specialization, six credit hours of courses, must be taken outside of the Mechanical Engineering Department. The minor requirement could be satisfied through courses previously taken in the student's master's degree program. This however, will not reduce the required minimum of 18 credit hours of course work needed beyond the master's degree.
 
Mathematics Course Requirements
 
A three credit advanced course in mathematics is required from all doctoral candidates. The course must be approved by the adviser of the candidate. The mathematics course requirement is satisfied if the student has completed at least six credits of advanced courses in math beyond the bachelor's degree.

Major Course Area Requirements:
 
At least nine credit hours of core courses of advanced study in mechanical engineering are needed to satisfy this requirement. The courses should be in the major research area of the student and must be approved by the student's graduate dissertation adviser. This will enable the doctoral candidate to pursue course work in direct support of his/her research. The course work must address all recommendations, made during the qualification period, by the student's adviser and dissertation committee.

The following major course areas are offered:

  • Thermal and Fluid Sciences
  • Mechatronics
  • Design, Materials, and Manufacturing

Minor Subject Requirements
 
The minor is a program of advanced study that will help the student to develop knowledge and some competence in an area other than the candidate's major field of study that is related to his/her research area. Two graduate courses (not less than six credits) must be taken in a coherent field that is different from the major field of study. These six credit hours of courses must be taken outside of the Mechanical Engineering Department (i.e. in other engineering or basic science departments); some of this requirement could be satisfied through coursework done during the student's master's degree program. This, however, will not reduce the required minimum of 18 credit hours of course work needed beyond the master's degree. All courses taken in this minor area must be at the graduate level and must be taken while the student is registered in a graduate program at the AUB. The minor subject must be approved in advance by the student's dissertation committee, and by the FEA Graduate Studies Committee. The approval of the department offering the minor should also be sought.
 
If the student chooses mathematics as his minor then the course taken to fulfill the mathematics course requirement will count towards the minor subject requirements.

PhD Qualification Examination
 
The qualification examination for admission to PhD candidacy has two parts. Part 1: the written qualification examination must be completed before the end of the second semester of enrollment in the doctoral program. Part 2: the oral qualification examination must be completed within one year following the completion of Part 1.
 
The purpose of the qualifying examination is to determine whether the applicant possesses the attributes of a doctoral candidate: mastery of the core mechanical engineering disciplines, ingenuity and skill in solving unfamiliar problems.
 
The oral and written qualifying examinations will be held at end of the fall and the spring semester every year.

The mechanical engineering faculty will review each student's performance in the qualifying examination and decide whether s/he passes or fails. Students who fail sections of Part 1 may be permitted to take that section of the examination again, in which case they must do so the next time it is offered. In no case will a student be allowed to repeat any section of this examination more than once.

Part 1: Written Qualification Examination
 
Students must demonstrate that they have mastered the concepts of advanced calculus, solution of differential equations, and computational methods.
The student must take four sections of the written qualification examination in four sub-disciplines that are normally selected from the list of topics below:

  • Applied Mechanics
  • Materials and Manufacturing Processes
  • System Dynamics and Control
  • Design
  • Fluid Mechanics
  • Thermodynamics
  • Heat and Mass Transfer

Part 2: Oral Qualification Examination
 
Students must give a presentation on their proposed dissertation research area to a committee comprised of the dissertation adviser(s), the dissertation committee members, and other interested faculty. The proposed oral examination will include questioning by the committee to assess whether the candidate has sufficient background to perform research in their chosen area. The oral examination may include a component in the student's major core area of studies. The criterion for passing requires that the research topic is of PhD standard, original, clear in its contribution to existing knowledge, and that the proposed methodology is appropriate. A student who fails the oral qualification examination should repeat it within four months after addressing the comments of the dissertation committee compiled by the dissertation committee chair in the examination report.
 
 Dissertation Requirements
 
Following successful completion of the first part of the qualifying examination, all PhD candidates must submit a dissertation proposal summarizing their dissertation problem and the planned approach. The purpose of the proposal is to inform the department and faculty, in a concise statement, of the candidate's research program and those involved in it. It should explain what the student intends to do and how s/he intends to go about it. The dissertation proposal must provide sufficient literature citations to indicate an awareness of previous work, and enough detail to show how the work is expected to advance knowledge in the field.
 
Doctoral Dissertation Committee
 
The dissertation committee should be composed of at least five members, one of whom should be from outside the department/program and one from outside the university. The adviser and at least three of the committee members must be of professorial rank. All members of the committee must hold a doctoral degree in a relevant field. The chair of the committee must be a full professor who is not the PhD thesis adviser (Requirement of the Lebanese Ministry of Higher Education).
 
Members of the doctoral dissertation committee are recommended by the student's adviser and approved by the department, and the Faculty Graduate Studies Committee, and the Board of Graduate Studies.
 
The doctoral dissertation committee approves the thesis topic, research plan, conducts the thesis proposal defense (Part II of the Qualifying Exam) and conducts the thesis defense. The thesis proposal and the selection of the thesis committee should be approved at least two semesters before the student defends his/her thesis. The PhD thesis topic, examining committee, and admission to candidacy require Board of Graduate Studies approval.

External Examiner
 
An external examiner of high standing from abroad will be nominated by the chair of the department in consultation with the dissertation adviser, to review the dissertation before the defense. Comments by the external examiner will be shared with the student. The student will then be given an opportunity to revise the dissertation and incorporate revisions in the work in a timely manner. The external examiner may choose to attend the dissertation defense and participate in the deliberations.

All PhD candidates must defend their dissertation in an oral examination, open to the community, in which a candidate is examined by his/her committee.
 
Course Plan for PhD Students All courses that are offered for credit in the master's program will also be offered as graduate courses for those in the PhD program.

Math Requirement Courses
 
At least one math course offered outside the ME department and approved by the graduate student's adviser. Acceptable courses include:
 
MATH 307    Topics in Analysis
CMPS 354    The Finite Element Method
CMPS 350    Discrete Models for Differential Equations
CMPS 373    Parallel Computing
 
Note that in the Faculty of Arts and Sciences, 300 level courses are graduate courses.


Major Area Courses
 
Thermal and Fluid Sciences:

MECH 663, MECH 665, MECH 701, MECH 702, MECH 703, MECH 705, MECH 707, MECH 751,
MECH 760, MECH 761, MECH 762, MECH 764, MECH 765, MECH 766, MECH 767, MECH 768,
MECH 769, MECH 771, MECH 772, MECH 773, MECH 778, MECH 898.
 
Mechatronics:

MECH 628, MECH 641, MECH 642, MECH 643, MECH 644, MECH 729, MECH 740, MECH 746,
MECH 747, and MECH 898, EECE 632S, EECE 636S, EECE 691C, EECE 692C, EECE 694C.
 
Design, Materials, and Manufacturing:

MECH 624, MECH 625, MECH 626, MECH 627, MECH 628, MECH 630, MECH 631, MECH 633,
MECH 634, MECH 641, MECH 642, MECH 720, MECH 721, MECH 736, MECH 740, and MECH 898,
EECE 601S, EECE 602S, EECE 605S, EECE 632S.
 
Seminar Course

Seminar Course: MECH 797 (no credit). The student must register for the course once a year. This is a pass fail course.

PhD Dissertation
 
MECH 899 PhD Dissertation: The dissertation is based on independent original research. A student is required to register for a minimum of 30 credits of dissertation work. A student may register for a maximum of twelve credits in any given semester. The student must submit a dissertation based on results of original, independent research. The PhD dissertation is expected to make a significant contribution in mechanical engineering. Upon completion of the dissertation and after its approval by the student's dissertation adviser, a final oral examination will constitute the dissertation defense.
 
 Residence Requirements

The student must register for at least four semesters beyond the completion of the master's degree. Requirements for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy must be completed within a period of five years after starting graduate work beyond the master's degree. An extension will require the approval of the AUB Board of Graduate Studies.

Graduation Requirements
 
A student can graduate at the end of any academic semester in which s/he has satisfied the following requirements:

  • Met the residence requirements and all pertinent AUB regulations
  • Has at least one paper, based on his/her PhD dissertation, accepted in a peer reviewed technical journal, in addition to one   refereed  conference paper
  • Passed all the required courses and completed the research credit requirements
  • Attained a minimum cumulative course average of 85 beyond the master's degree and not be on probation
  • Passed the Doctoral Qualifying Examinations
  • Successfully defended a dissertation of original scholarly work
  • Deemed worthy by the Faculty
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