Skip Navigation

Mechanical & Materials Engineering


Ph.D. in Engineering Mechanics

A doctoral student must establish residency by taking at least 27 credit hours of graduate work within a consecutive 18 month period or less, with the provision that 15 of these 27 credits must be taken after receiving the masters degree or its equivalent.  To receive a Ph.D., a student must complete at least 90 credit hours beyond his/her undergraduate degree (this can include work done for the master's degree, transfer credits, and dissertation).  It must be noted that neither the courses taken nor the time spent in study determines the granting of the degree.  It is primarily given for high attainment in Mechanics and for demonstrated independent research in a subdivision of Mechanics.

A student admitted to the Ph.D. program is required to select a dissertation adviser within his/her first semester.  Before the completion of 45 credit hours (including work done for the master's degree, transfer credits, and dissertation), the student, in consultation with his/her dissertation adviser, must select a Supervisory Committee.  The Supervisory Committee will include at least four graduate faculty fellows (one of whom must be from outside the Department of Mechanical & Materials Engineering). Three weeks after the approval of the Supervisory Committee by the Dean of Graduate Studies, the Supervisory Committee must meet and subsequently file a complete program of studies to the Graduate Studies Office (the student is expected to prepare this program of studies in consultation with his/her dissertation adviser and present it to the Supervisory Committee).

Policy for Doctor of Philosophy in Engineering Mechanics

1. The minimum number of graduate credits for the Ph.D. program is 90 credits, which may include up to 55 hours of dissertation (at least 12 hours of dissertation must be included), and may include transfer credit from the M.S. degree. At least 45 of these credits must be completed at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln after appointment of the Supervisory Committee and the filing of the program of studies.
 
2. All doctoral students in Engineering Mechanics are required to take or to show evidence of having taken:
  • Continuum Mechanics (ENGM 910) and the Theory of Elasticity (ENGM 922) with a grade of B or better 
  • One course, at the graduate level, from each of the following categories 
    • Dynamics and Vibration (ENGM 847 will not count) 
    • Instrumentation 
    • Applied Mathematics (MATH 821 will not count) 
    • Numerical Methods 
    • Thermodynamics or Fluid Mechanics 

Engineering Mechanics Seminar (ENGM 996 [formerly listed as ENGM 978]; students must register for seminar every semester)

In addition to these requirements, a student must either show evidence of having passed a course in advanced dynamics and a course in advanced strength of materials, or must also take Advanced Dynamics (847) and Advanced Strength of Materials (848).
 
3. All doctoral students are required to pass a written Ph.D. qualifying examination within three semesters of their entry into the doctoral program (see Section 6.2).
 
4. A Supervisory Committee, upon the recommendation of the Graduate Committee, and before there is less than 45 hours remaining to be taken, will be appointed by the Dean of Graduate Studies. This committee will consist of at least four Graduate Faculty Fellows, one of which must be from outside Engineering Mechanics. The chair of this committee must be a Graduate Faculty Fellow, or in the case of co-chairs, one of the co-chairs must be a Graduate Faculty Fellow.
 
5. The Supervisory Committee will meet within three weeks of its appointment to designate and subsequently file a Program of Study to the Office of Graduate Studies. The program of study must be filed before completion of one-half of the total program of study.
 
6. Doctoral candidates are required to pass a written comprehensive examination after completing a substantial portion of their studies.  This exam is not a repetition of the course examinations, but is an investigation of the student's breadth of understanding in Mechanics.  If a student fails this examination, he/she will be required to take all or part of the examination during the following academic term.  A student who fails to pass a second time will be dropped from the program.  After the student passes the comprehensive examination, the Supervisory Committee will recommend the student for admission to Candidacy for the Ph.D. degree by filing a report in the Office of Graduate Studies.  This report must be filed at least seven months before the final oral examination.  The term of Candidacy is limited to three years.
 
7. The student's dissertation should show technical mastery of Mechanics and must advance or modify former knowledge in Mechanics.  Information on writing the dissertation is available in a detailed guidebook from the Graduate Studies Office.
 
8. A final oral examination will be given by the Supervisory Committee after the candidate's studies have been completed and the dissertation has been given preliminary acceptance by the designated readers.  This examination can be waived only by the unanimous consent of the Supervisory Committee.
 
9. For a student beginning a doctoral program in the University of Nebraska system with a bachelor's degree, the residency requirement for the Ph.D. is 27 hours of graduate work within a consecutive 18-month period or less, with the further provision that 15 of these 27 hours must be taken after receiving the master's degree or its equivalent.  For a student who transfers to the University of Nebraska-Lincoln with a master's degree from another institution, or who takes a break in their graduate work at the university between the time the master's degree is awarded and the time they start work on a doctoral program, the residency requirement for the Ph.D. is 27 hours of graduate work in a consecutive 18-month period or less.

 

Ph.D. Qualifying Examination

All students enrolled in the doctoral program in Engineering Mechanics are required to pass the qualifying examination.  This examination is designed to test a student's knowledge of the fundamental principles and applications of Mechanics, and the analytical tools required to conduct significant research in Mechanics.

The qualifying examination consists of two parts: written and oral.  Only students who fail to pass the written examination are required to take the oral examination.

The Graduate Committee will announce details of the examination, such as subjects, format and dates, at least six months prior to the scheduled week of the written examination.  It will also make available to students the previous year's question papers.

Timetable

The written qualifying exam is offered once a year in the week after the Spring semester finals week. Students entering the Ph.D. program in the Summer or Fall semesters must take the qualifying exam at the end of the following Spring semester. Students entering the Ph.D. program in the Spring semester may take the qualifying exam either at the end of the same semester or at the end of the following Spring semester, but no later than 18 months after entering the Ph.D. program.  Master's students in the department may elect to take the qualifying exam before entering the Ph.D. program, with the option to retake it without any penalty after entering the Ph.D. program.

The oral examination is offered within a month of the announcement of the results of the written examination.

Procedure

Students wishing to take the qualifying examination must inform the Chair of the Graduate Committee of their intentions in writing at least two months prior to the scheduled week of the written examination.

The written examination, to which an examinee may not bring books, notes, or calculators, will have several parts, each corresponding to a subject.  The examinee will have three hours to complete each part.  All examinees will be given a comparable examination in a given year.

Should the need arise, the Chair of the Graduate Committee will appoint a committee of at least four members of the Graduate Faculty to examine a student orally.  At least two of these members must be Fellows.  Notice of the oral examination will be sent to all members of the faculty, any of whom may observe the examination after notifying the Chair of the Graduate Committee in writing.

Subjects and Level of Examination

The subjects of the qualifying examination are Advanced Dynamics, Continuum Mechanics, and Engineering Analysis.  The Graduate Committee will make available to students the previous year's question papers.

The level of these examinations will be at the level of the first graduate course offered in each subject (e.g., Advanced Dynamics, ENGM 847; Continuum Mechanics, ENGM 910; and Analytical Methods in Engineering I, ENGM 801).  Additional details are available and may be requested from the Graduate Committee Chair.

UNL Graduate Studies Bulletin