General Program Requirements:
Minimum Number of Credits Required Beyond the Bachelor’s: 60, including 45 credits of master's-level and Ph.D.-level didactic coursework1 and 15 credits associated with Ph.D. examinations and dissertation research
Minimum Number of Credits Required Beyond the Master's: 30, including 15 credits of Ph.D.-level didactic coursework2 and 15 credits associated with Ph.D. examinations and dissertation research
The 15 credits associated with Ph.D. examinations and dissertation research are expected to be distributed in the following manner, although the actual distribution of credits can vary across courses depending on the student's particular circumstances:
|MEE 9991||Directed Research||8|
|MEE 9994||Preliminary Examination Preparation||1|
|MEE 9998||Pre-Dissertation Research||3|
|MEE 9999||Dissertation Research||3|
|Total Credit Hours||15|
In the first term, the student and the Mechanical Engineering Graduate Program Director jointly determine the cohort that is appropriate for the student and initiate the “Ph.D. in Engineering Plan of Study.” The Plan of Study form lists all required courses and suggests a Ph.D. program-requirement execution sequence for the student to follow. This form is used to track the student's progress, and is updated and annotated at least once a year as the student completes the various benchmarks in the Ph.D. program.
Note that, in general, students who want to take graduate coursework to satisfy either the Ph.D.-level or master’s-level didactic coursework requirement in schools/colleges other than the College of Engineering need to obtain the appropriate written approvals on their Plan of Study form.
Didactic coursework may include up to, but no more than, 3 credits of ENGR 9182 Independent Study I OR 3 credits of MEE 9991 Directed Research AND 3 credits of ENGR 9282 Independent Study II. Typically, this coursework is selected by the student’s Doctoral Advisory Committee and notated in the student’s Plan of Study form.
Ph.D.-level didactic coursework may include up to, but no more than, 3 credits of ENGR 9282 Independent Study II. Typically, this coursework is selected by the student’s Doctoral Advisory Committee and notated in the student’s Plan of Study form.
Formation of the Doctoral Advisory Committee:
One of the student’s first important tasks is to select a research advisor and form a Doctoral Advisory Committee. The Doctoral Advisory Committee selects the student’s Ph.D.-level coursework and is responsible for guiding the progress of the student’s dissertation research. The time frame for selecting a doctoral advisor depends on the student’s level of preparation upon entering the Ph.D. program:
- Students admitted to the 30-credit cohort are sufficiently experienced to form their Doctoral Advisory Committee before the end of their second regular term of study.
- Students admitted to the 60-credit cohort ordinarily take one or two years of master’s-level coursework before forming their Doctoral Advisory Committee by the end of their fourth regular term in the program.
See Graduate School Policy 02.28.11 for clarification on the composition of the Doctoral Advisory Committee.
Whether the student is a member of the 30-credit cohort or the 60-credit cohort, s/he must complete all didactic coursework in her/his program of study prior to taking the preliminary examination. (See Graduate School Policy 02.27.11.) Students in the 30-credit cohort ordinarily take the exam before the end of their third or fourth regular term. Students in the 60-credit cohort typically take the exam before the end of the eighth regular term.
The preliminary exam tests both the student’s core knowledge in Mechanical Engineering and her/his capacity to synthesize and interpret research communications. The specific form, content, and frequency of the Mechanical Engineering preliminary exam is supervised by the Mechanical Engineering Graduate Program Director. Questions about the exam should be directed to that individual. The student should also coordinate the scheduling of the preliminary exam with the Mechanical Engineering Graduate Program Director. Students have two opportunities to pass the preliminary exam and must register for one credit of MEE 9994 Preliminary Examination Preparation in each term that the exam is attempted. Students are dismissed upon the second failure.
Within one of year of passing the preliminary exam, the student must develop a written research proposal and present it in an open College seminar. The student is responsible for scheduling the proposal and posting an announcement at least 10 business days in advance of this seminar. Ordinarily, the proposal seminar is immediately followed by a meeting of the Doctoral Advisory Committee in which the student is closely questioned about the details and strategy of her/his proposed research.
The proposed dissertation research is considered “approved” when the Graduate School receives the "Dissertation Proposal Transmittal for Elevation to Candidacy" form, found in TUportal under the Tools tab within “University Forms,” signed by all of the Doctoral Advisory Committee members. The student is considered to be a doctoral candidate after her/his dissertation proposal has been accepted by her/his Doctoral Advisory Committee and the signed transmittal form has been received by the Graduate School. (See Graduate School Policy 02.28.12 for further procedural specifics.)
Students carry out research throughout their studies and must register for research credits throughout the Ph.D. program. The type of research credits that a student registers for depends, however, on the student’s progress in the Ph.D. program, specifically:
- In the terms prior to passing the preliminary exam, credit hours associated with the student’s research should be registered under MEE 9991 Directed Research.
- After the preliminary exam is passed, but before elevation to candidacy, credit hours associated with the student’s research should be registered under MEE 9998 Pre-Dissertation Research.
- After elevation to candidacy, the student’s research credits should be registered under MEE 9999 Dissertation Research . Students are required to register for at least two credit hours of MEE 9999 Dissertation Research following their elevation to candidacy. (See Graduate School Policy 02.28.15.)
All doctoral students must publish at least two technical papers in refereed journals or refereed conferences. The papers must be based on the student's dissertation research, and the student must be first author. Paper writing and/or presentation at a conference is considered an integral part of the student's training. Also, peer review, in part, offers an indication of quality and novelty of the student's research.
In the term that the student intends to defend her/his dissertation, the Dissertation Examining Committee must be formed. This committee consists of the original Doctoral Advisory Committee plus one additional “external” member who is not faculty in the College of Engineering. If the external examiner is not a member of Temple University’s Graduate Faculty, s/he must be approved by the Graduate School at least four weeks prior to the dissertation defense.
The Chair of the Dissertation Examining Committee is elected by all members of the committee at least three weeks prior to the defense; this elected Chair cannot be the student’s doctoral advisor. The elected Chair of the Dissertation Examining Committee coordinates the proceedings of the defense and is responsible for the completion of all relevant College and Graduate School forms concerning the defense. The Chair of the Dissertation Examining Committee must be approved by the College’s Associate Dean and is identified for the Graduate School in the student’s official request to the Graduate School for permission to schedule the defense. (See Graduate School Policy 02.28.15.)
The dissertation document should be prepared in a format compliant with University standards. (See Graduate School Policy 02.28.18.) The student should provide her/his committee with a copy of the completed dissertation at least three weeks before the date of the dissertation defense.
The student must post a public announcement of her/his defense at least 10 business days prior to the defense. The announcement must be approved in writing by the Graduate School in advance of the posting. Note that any Graduate Faculty may request a copy of the dissertation in advance of the defense and may participate in the defense. (See Graduate School Policy 02.28.16.)
The dissertation defense may be scheduled on any day in a term when classes are regularly held; it may not be scheduled on study days, during final exams, or over term breaks. Furthermore, if the student is to graduate in the same term that s/he defends the dissertation, the defense should be scheduled no later than 30 days prior to the end of the term to allow for document revisions in keeping with Graduate School deadlines, as specified at http://www.temple.edu/grad/documents/Dissertation-and-Thesis-Handbook.pdf.
The dissertation defense is an open University seminar in which the student presents the concepts and results of her/his research. This presentation is typically followed immediately by a meeting in which the Dissertation Examining Committee closely examines the student and her/his research. External attendees may participate in this closed portion of the defense with the permission of the Dissertation Examining Committee Chair. However, only members of the Dissertation Examining Committee may actually vote on the decision to accept the dissertation as prepared, accept the dissertation with revisions, or not accept the dissertation.