The Maroun Semaan Faculty of Engineering and Architecture offers a graduate program of study
leading to the PhD degree with specializations in mechanical engineering.
The graduate curriculum offers students opportunities to develop levels of expertise and
knowledge consistent with a career of technical leadership. The doctoral program emphasizes
the acquisition of advanced knowledge and the fostering of individual experience of significant
The educational objectives of the PhD program are to develop:
- expertise in a core area of mechanical engineering,
- the ability to identify pertinent research problems, formulate and execute a research plan, and
generate and analyze original research results,
- the ability to communicate those results through oral presentations and written publications,
- and the practice of independent learning and advancing knowledge.
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 meet the
English Language Proficiency Requirements (ELPR) (See ELPR requirements on page 40).
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 thesis based on independent
research that makes a significant contribution to her/his area of research. The thesis 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 thesis work is required.
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 thesis adviser by the end of the
first semester after admission into 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 thesis. 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.
The PhD program requires a minimum of 18 credit hours of course work beyond the master’s
degree. The program is composed of 3 credit hours of advanced study in mathematics, 9 credit
hours of technical graduate level courses of advanced study in the student’s area of research
(major course area requirements), and 6 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, which is composed of 6 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 3-credit advanced course in mathematics is required from all doctoral candidates. The course
must be approved by the advisor of the candidate. The mathematics course requirement is
satisfied if the student has completed at least 6 credits of advanced courses in math beyond
the bachelor’s degree.
Major Course Area Requirements:
At least 9 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 thesis adviser. This will enable the doctoral
candidate to pursue course work in direct support of her/his research. The course work must
address all recommendations made during the qualification period by the student’s adviser
and thesis committee. The following major course areas are offered:
- Thermal and Fluid Sciences
- Design, Materials, and Manufacturing
Minor Subject Requirements:
The minor is a program of advanced study that will help the student develop knowledge and
some competence in an area related to her/his research area other than the candidate’s major
field of study. Two graduate courses (not less than 6 credits) must be taken in a coherent
field that is different from the major field of study. These 6 course credit hours must be taken
outside of the Mechanical Engineering Department (i.e. in other engineering or basic science
departments).Part 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 AUB. The minor subject must be approved in advance by the student’s
thesis committee and by the MSFEA Graduate Studies Committee. The approval of the department
offering the minor should also be sought.
If the student chooses mathematics as her/his minor, then the course taken to fulfill the
mathematics course requirement will count towards the minor subject requirements.
PhD Qualification Examination
Part I: Comprehensive Exam
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 subdisciplines
that are normally selected from the list of topics below:
- Applied Mechanics
- Materials and Manufacturing Processes
- System Dynamics and Control
- Fluid Mechanics
- Heat and Mass Transfer
Part II: Defense of Thesis Proposal
See Qualifying Exam Part II: Defense of Thesis Proposal under General University Academic
Information page 67 in the document below.