The main accomplishment of the Ph.D. student should be an original, high quality research. The program is oriented toward that achievement. The course work and number of credit hours that a student will be required to take depend on the individual qualifications, level of preparation for independent research, and the needs for successful accomplishment of the dissertation.
At least 30 credit hours of coursework beyond the master’s level must be taken by a Ph.D. student. Of these 30 credits, 15 may consist of a combination ME 7100 - Independent Study (up to six credit hours) and ME 7350 - Graduate Research (up to nine credit hours). In addition, 15 credit hours of dissertation research credit must be taken (ME 7300). At least 12 of the 30 non-research credit hours must be taken from the graduate courses of the Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering.
For those students starting their doctoral studies after the completion of their bachelor’s degree, at least 54 credit hours of coursework beyond the bachelor’s level must be taken. Of these 54 credits, 15 may consist of a combination ME 7100 - Independent Study (up to six credit hours) and ME 7350 - Graduate Research (up to nine credit hours). In addition, 15 credit hours of dissertation research credit must be taken (ME 7300). Students who choose to discontinue their doctoral studies after completing 30 graduate credits, may be awarded a master’s degree. The 54 credit hours of courses must be 5000, 6000 and 7000-level graduate courses. At least 40 0f the 54 hours of coursework included for Ph.D. credit must be MAE department courses.
To ensure adequate preparation for the graduate research subject, enrollment in all courses must be approved by the doctoral advisor. A minimum grade point average of 3.25 is required in the doctoral studies. These graduation requirements complement the general university requirements.
Within the first year of graduate level study at WMU, the student should choose a Doctoral Dissertation Committee consisting of four members of the graduate faculty, including the doctoral advisor and at least one member from outside the MAE department. The doctoral student must acquire (through coursework and/or work experience) and demonstrate in a comprehensive examination competency in his/her research area. A comprehensive exam must then be taken to evaluate the depth acquired by the student in his/her research area of interest, and to determine the adequacy of preparation toward dissertation research. This exam is administered by the Dissertation Committee.
For students starting with a master’s degree, this examination should be conducted before completion of 15 credit hours of coursework. For students starting with a bachelor’s degree, this examination should be conducted before completion of 39 credit hours of coursework.
Details of the Ph.D. study process may be obtained from the Department Graduate Advisor or the web page of the Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering located at wmich.edu/mechanical-aerospace/academics/phd.
As part of their 30 credit hours of course work, doctoral students who have had less than 6 months of prior industrial work experience in the US may choose to register in up to 3 credits of ME 6990 in order to pursue practical training off-campus in industrial and/or other settings. To be eligible, students must be registered in the MAE department, must have completed at least 6 credits toward their doctoral degree, and must have approval of their faculty advisor and Graduate Programs Director or Department Chair. Students may choose to register for 1 credit of ME 6990 at a time, up to 3 semesters. These students will be classified as having full-time status for the purpose of loan deferments and insurance eligibility. International students must contact the International Services and Student Affairs Office before requesting department approval in order to enroll in ME 6990.