2008 - 2009 Site Archive



Graduate Bulletin

Engineering, Ph.D.


Admission Requirements and Deadlines
Application Deadline:

Fall: July 1

Spring: November 1

Applications are processed as they are received throughout the year.

APPLY ONLINE to this graduate program.

Letters of Reference:

Number Required: 3

From Whom: Letters of recommendation should be obtained from college/university faculty members familiar with the applicant's academic competence and research background.

Coursework Required for Admission Consideration:

Students not adequately prepared for advanced courses may be required to take a number of prerequisites.  The department offering the courses in the area of specialization will identify these on a case-by-case basis.

Master's Degree in Discipline/Related Discipline:

A master's degree is not required, but it is preferred.

Bachelor's Degree in Discipline/Related Discipline:

A baccalaureate degree is required.  It need not be in Engineering, although a degree in the discipline is preferred.

Statement of Goals:

The Statement of Goals should be approximately 1-2 pages in length and include the applicant's research and future career goals; academic and research achievements; professional experience, if any; and reason for interest in Temple's program. The applicant should also include an outline of a proposed area of research for the dissertation.

Standardized Test Scores:

The GRE is required.

Minimum TOEFL score needed to be accepted: 550 paper-based, 213 computer-based, or 79 internet-based.


Applicants are required to communicate with a research faculty member from the College of Engineering and discuss their plans for research leading to a doctoral dissertation. This may be done in person, by email, or by phone. Approval of the applicant's research plan by a research faculty is required for admission.


A resume is required.

Writing Sample:

Prospective students must submit samples of their journal articles, conference papers, or course project reports supporting their technical writing abilities and research background. A student can also submit a copy of her/his master's thesis.

Program Requirements
General Program Requirements:

Minimum Number of Credits Required Beyond the Bachelor’s:  60, including a minimum of 39 s.h. of coursework and a minimum of 18 s.h. of research.

Minimum Number of Credits Required Beyond the Master's:  30, including 15 s.h. of coursework and 15 s.h. of research.

Students are admitted to a “home” department, which is one of the three departments within the College of Engineering.  The student must complete all core course requirements (or the equivalent) within the home department or another department, as stipulated by the particular program.  In general, students are allowed to take courses from any of the three departments of the college or, with the approval of the Graduate Director and the student's academic advisor, from any department at Temple University.

Required Courses:

ENGR 9991: Directed Research

ENGR 9994: Preliminary Exam Preparation

ENGR 9998: Pre-dissertation Research

ENGR 9999: Dissertation Research (6 s.h.)

Students admitted without a master’s degree may be required to take CE, ECE or ME 9995: Research Project (3 s.h.) or CE, ECE or ME 9996: Thesis (6 s.h.).

Internship: No internship is required.

Language Examination: No language examination is required.

Additional Requirements:

Study Plan:

Students admitted to the program with a master’s degree must initiate and submit a plan of study in the first semester of the Ph.D. program.  Approval is required by the student's academic advisor, the Graduate Director of the department, and the Director of Graduate Studies of the college. 

Peer-Reviewed Publications:

A Ph.D. student will be required to publish at least two technical articles on her/his dissertation research in a refereed journal or present a paper at a refereed conference. Preparation and submission of manuscripts or abstracts constitute an integral part of the student's training.  Peer review provides an independent evaluation of the quality and uniqueness of the student's research.

Qualifying Examination:

Students in the Ph.D. program admitted with a master’s degree are required to take a qualifying examination within 12 months of matriculation; under certain circumstances, this requirement may be waived by the individual department. Students in the Ph.D. program admitted with a bachelor’s degree are required to take a qualifying exam within five semesters. The student is given a topic related to her/his research interests, and the exam requires a literature search, scholarly investigation, and information synthesis. The student submits a written report within four weeks and presents an open seminar on the topic. The student's written, oral, investigative, and information synthesis performance, as well as technical content and insight, are considered by the Doctoral Advisory Committee. The Committee then decides whether or not the student passes.  Students failing the qualifying examination twice are dismissed from the program.

Culminating Events:

Preliminary Examination:

The purpose of the preliminary exam is to ensure that the student has both a broad background in the relevant Engineering field as well as in-depth knowledge of the student's specialty area. It is expected that students are already knowledgeable in the specialty area so that they are ready to start their doctoral research.

If the student has already completed 24 s.h. of graduate coursework prior to her/his admission to the doctoral program, then the student should take the preliminary exam before her/his fourth semester of the doctoral program. Otherwise, the student should take the exam before the sixth semester of the doctoral program. The preliminary exam may be taken either before or after the qualifying exam.  The preliminary exam is administered within a five-day period, and three subject areas are considered: 1) mathematics and quantitative methods relevant to the student’s research area and graduate curriculum; 2) core engineering topics reflecting the subject matter studied in the student’s graduate curriculum; and 3) the student’s area of specialization as determined by the Doctoral Advisory Committee. The exam will be proctored. For all or part of the area-of-specialization test, an oral exam of the student may be conducted by the full Doctoral Advisory Committee.

The Doctoral Advisory Committee is responsible for preparing the preliminary exam. For each of the mathematics and core-engineering subject areas, the Doctoral Advisory Committee must identify at least one individual (who is not the Doctoral Advisor) to write examination questions. For the specialty-area test, at least two individuals should provide questions, with no one individual contributing more than 50 percent of the exam’s content. The Doctoral Advisor may either contribute questions to the specialty-area written test and/or participate in the optional oral examination. Exam preparers who are not College of Engineering faculty must be approved by the College's Associate Dean for Graduate Studies prior to writing and administering the exam.

Each subject-area test must be independently graded by at least two individuals, one of whom helped write the subject-area test. Of these graders, at least one must not be a member of the Doctoral Advisory Committee. The student must pass each individual subject-area test of the preliminary exam. A specific subject-area test of the preliminary exam may be retaken within a year, but no part of the exam may be taken more than two times. The Doctoral Advisory Committee along with the Graduate Program Director review the individual grading of each exam and together determine the student’s score on each part of the exam. The pass/fail criteria for each individual part of the exam is as follows:

    • 70% or greater is an unconditional pass.
    • 60%-69% is a conditional pass on the first try of the exam, and a fail on the second try. The committee may require any of the following: 1) the student completes remedial coursework within a year, if available; and/or 2) the student retakes this portion of the exam within a year.
    • 59% or less is a failing grade.

The cognizant graduate program director is responsible for completing the Preliminary Exam Record form.  The original signed copy of the form is then included in the student’s file, with a copy provided to the student.


Within one year of passing the preliminary exam, the Ph.D. student must select a research topic and submit a written dissertation proposal. If the proposal is not submitted while the student is conducting research, the student may need to register for ENGR 9998 (1-3. s.h.) and will exceed the standard credit requirements. The dissertation proposal demonstrates the student's knowledge of the subject matter and ability to conduct the proposed research. The proposal should consist of the following: the context and background of the proposed research; an exhaustive survey and review of literature related to the problem; any preliminary results related to the proposed research; and a detailed plan for investigating the problem. The dissertation proposal must also be presented at an open seminar. The Doctoral Advisory Committee evaluates the proposal for its originality, technical methodology, and timeline for completion. The student continues the research only after it is approved by the Committee.


The doctoral dissertation is a document describing original research that makes a significant contribution to the existing body of knowledge in the field of Engineering and its applications. It also demonstrates the student's mastery of the primary area of interest and ability to present research findings in writing. A dissertation is a creative contribution by the student that is considered novel and advanced in the field of Engineering.

The Ph.D. student’s main advisor must assemble a Doctoral Advisory Committee no later than the second semester after matriculation (if admitted with a master’s degree), or no later than six semesters after matriculation if admitted with a bachelor’s degree.  The Committee reviews the student's progress until graduation. It will have at least four members, including: 1) the major advisor or co-advisor, who is a graduate faculty member within the department; 2) at least one faculty member within the department of the student's major area of research; 3) a faculty member from another department in Temple University; and 4) a member selected by the Graduate Director with input from the student's academic advisor. Formation of the Committee must be reported to the Director of Graduate Studies and the Dean of the Graduate School. If a student needs to change a member of the Committee, the new member must be approved by the department's graduate committee and registered with the Graduate Director and the Graduate School.

The Dissertation Examining Committee is responsible for evaluating the dissertation and its defense. This committee is comprised of the Doctoral Advisory Committee and at least one external examiner. The chair of the Doctoral Advisory Committee cannot be the chair of the Dissertation Examining Committee. The external examiner may be a faculty member at another university or a recognized specialist involved in research in an engineering corporation or government laboratory. Formation of the Dissertation Examining Committee must be reported to the Dean of the Graduate School no later than the beginning of the semester in which the student will defend the dissertation.  The Committee will evaluate the primary findings of the research and their implications, technical accuracy, and originality. The members will then vote pass/fail on the dissertation and its defense. If the student must make revisions, those changes must be approved by the committee. All revisions must be completed within one month from the date of defense; failure to do so requires a new defense.

The draft of the dissertation must be submitted to the Dissertation Examining Committee and the Director of Graduate Studies at least three weeks before the anticipated date of defense. Each member of the Committee submits a written review report to the Director of Graduate Studies at least one week before the proposed defense date. These reports are also communicated to the student and the student's academic advisor. If the majority of the reports are positive, then the Director of Graduate Studies, in consultation with the student and the Committee members, schedules the formal defense date and time. The Director of Graduate Studies or his appointee serves as the moderator of the dissertation defense meeting. At least 10 days before the defense, a completed "Announcement of Dissertation Defense" form must be submitted to the Graduate School. The department posts flyers announcing the defense.

Program Contact Information:


Department Information:

Office of Graduate Studies

College of Engineering

1947 North 12th Street

Philadelphia, PA 19122



Department Contacts:


Cheryl Sharp



Program Coordinator:


Graduate Chairperson:




About the Program

The College of Engineering offers a college-wide doctoral degree program. It is designed for students who have training in Engineering, Physical Sciences, Biological Sciences, or Mathematics, and who wish to carry out doctoral-level research in Engineering. Faculty members associated with the Ph.D. degree program are drawn from all departments in the college, representing a wide variety of technical backgrounds and interests. Because engineering research is an inherently interdisciplinary activity, graduates of the program have acquired a background in diverse engineering approaches that will promote their careers in research, academia, or industry.

Time Limit for Degree Completion: 7 years

Campus Location:


Full-Time/Part-Time Status:

Students are able to complete the didactic portion of the Ph.D. degree program through classes offered after 4:30 p.m.

Department Information:

Office of Graduate Studies

College of Engineering
1947 North 12th Street
Philadelphia, PA 19122


Interdisciplinary Study:

Engineering research is highly interdisciplinary and draws on collaboration with members of the faculty and students within all three departments of the College of Engineering, in the departments of Mathematics and the Physical Sciences, and within the School of Medicine.


Not applicable.

Study Abroad:



Not applicable.


Not applicable.

Areas of Specialization:

The Ph.D. in Engineering program is inherently interdisciplinary. The student is admitted to the program in one of the three departments and then conducts doctoral research within the home department. The areas of specialization are similar to those at the master's level: 1) Civil and Environmental Engineering, including Civil Engineering Systems and Environmental Engineering; 2) Electrical and Computer Engineering, including Computer Architectures and Microelectronics, Digital Signal Processing and Digital Data Communication, and Intelligent Systems and Control; and 3) Mechanical Engineering, including Bioengineering and Advanced Materials, Fluidics and Energetics, and Dynamic Systems and Design.  Prospective students are strongly encouraged to communicate with members of the faculty about current areas of research.

Job Placement:

The program is primarily intended for individuals who wish to pursue careers in industry, government, and academia in a highly creative environment. The program is dedicated to producing engineers who will contribute to advancements in technology. In the past, most of the graduates of the Ph.D. in Engineering program have been employed in high-tech industries in research and development positions.


Not applicable.

Non-Degree Student Policy:

Students may be permitted to take 9 s.h. of coursework before matriculation.

Financing Opportunities

The principal duties of a Teaching Assistant (TA) include assisting faculty in classroom and laboratory instruction; preparing apparatus or materials for laboratory demonstration; conducting tutorials and discussion sections; and grading homework. TAs are expected to devote 20 hours per week to these or similar teaching-related activities. The number of Teaching Assistantships offered to doctoral students is limited. Research Assistants (RAs) are expected to devote 20 hours per week to research obligations. RAs are assigned to a faculty member or principal investigator who is working on a specific research project. The appropriate subjects for research are determined by consultation between the student and the student's research and academic advisors. Both Teaching and Research Assistantships carry a stipend and tuition support for up to 9 credits per semester.

Updated 3.18.09