Doctor of Philosophy in Mechanical Engineering (PhD)

​​The Maroun Semaan Faculty of Engineering and Architecture offers a graduate program of study leading to the PhD degree with specializations in mechanical engineering.

General Information

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 intellectual exploration. 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.

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 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.​

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 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 
  • Mechatronics

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​
P​art 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 
  • Design 
  • Fluid Mechanics 
  • Thermodynamics 
  • 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.