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Doctor of Philosophy in Mechanical Engineering

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The goal of the PhD program is to create a culture of scholarship
and high impact research that produces articulate researchers
who are called upon first to hold leadership in society and academia.

Welcome to Michigan ME! Here in Mechanical Engineering, you will find a PhD program that strikes a unique balance of trend-setting research, challenging coursework and real-world impact. Surpassing the vast majority of ME programs nationwide, our current ranking of number 2 by is a testament to our leadership in both academia and research. This ranking is based on a comprehensive study by the National Research Council which evaluated programs using categories such as student success, diversity, and the productivity of our faculty.

With over 60 tenured and tenure track faculty members, the ME department extends the research frontier in many areas. Faculty not only explore traditional fields, but also delve into emerging research areas such as biomechanics and bio-systems, micro and nano-technology, mechatronics, energy systems, and computational mechanics, just to name a few. Additional information can be found on our research areas page. Research extends beyond the lab into the classroom as professors continually integrate novel methods into courses. As a result, students obtain knowledge and methodologies pertinent to current research standards and practices. 

Doctoral students in our program embark on an accelerated path toward research. In the first year, students enroll in a specialized course designed to sharpen and hone their research skills.  These skills are further developed as students engage in research projects with faculty, which typically begin in your first term in the program. 

While there is a core curriculum required for the Qualifying Examination process, the curriculum is flexible and you are able to choose courses that are tailored to your specific research interests and goals, while still meeting the requirements for your degree.  Because our coursework requirements are blended into the Qualifying Examination process, students may concentrate more ardently on their research endeavors.  As a result, students develop a competitive advantage because they have additional time to focus on research projects early in their career. The University is also home to numerous top-ranked schools and colleges which allow you to explore the true interdisciplinary nature of mechanical engineering without having to leave campus.  Students can pursue a PhD in ME, while simultaneously working toward a doctoral or professional degree in another area. In recent years students have pursued dual degrees in Kinesiology, Natural Resources and the Environment, and medicine.

The success of our students is paramount to the goals of the department and, as such, we strive to provide our students with opportunities for growth and expansion in their careers.  Students in the program do not simply gain access to world-renowned research and prestigious faculty, but they also benefit from programs designed to foster professional development and showcase student work.   ME works in conjunction with The Rackham Graduate School and The College of Engineering to provide cultivating experiences for our students.  Rackham takes an active approach in providing graduate students with opportunities for development and support through one-on-one meetings, seminars, and workshops on topics such as mentorship, parenting in academia, proposal writing, and much more. In a similar vein, activities hosted by The College of Engineering include mentorship programs, social events, and occasions for research exposure.   Here at Michigan ME, you will find a supportive yet academically rigorous environment, where graduate students successfully transition from PhD students into leaders.

Over the years, more than 16,000 students have chosen Mechanical Engineering at the University of Michigan because of its consistent record of pushing the field's frontier and, the department's exceptional rapport with students.  PhD students selecting our program also benefit from a fully-funded financial package contingent only on satisfactory progress. This means that as long as you are active and making appropriate progress toward your degree, you will receive a competitive stipend, health benefits and a tuition waiver. Further information on the financial package can be found in the graduate handbook on the financial support page. 

Please feel free to look through our graduate handbook for more detailed information on the program and the services available to support your experience. You will find a stimulating and welcoming community here at Michigan.  Admissions are competitive and we encourage you to apply as we are always searching for outstanding new graduate talent.   Additional information about admissions can be found on the graduate admissions page.