Feb 26, 2024  
2023-2024 Graduate Catalog 
2023-2024 Graduate Catalog

Mechanical Engineering, Ph.D.

College of Engineering  
Department: Mechanical Engineering 

The Department offers graduate majors leading to the M.S.M.E. and Ph.D. in Mechanical Engineering. 

Research opportunities are available in the following areas:  Mechanism Design, Kinematics, System Dynamics and Vibrations, Mechanical Controls, Tribology, Mechanical Design, Robotics, Rehabilitation Engineering, Composite Materials, Solid Mechanics, Fluid Dynamics, Thermal Energy Systems, Microelectronic Device Thermal Management, Clean and Renewable Energy Systems, Micro and Nano scale materials and systems, MEMS, Biosensors, Biofluids, Biomedical Engineering, Engineering Education,   Mechanotransduction and Biomaterials, Autonomy, Control, Information, and Systems.

Department facilities include the following laboratories: Computational Fluid Dynamics, Computational Solid Mechanics, Computer-Aided Design, Dynamic Systems, Hydraulics, Rehabilitation Engineering, Robotics, Biofuel cells and Biomimetics, Nanomaterials and Thin Films, Advanced Materials Processing and Characterization, Biofluids and Biosensors, Microelectronic Thermal Management and Heat Transfer, and Compliant Mechanisms.

The department is ABET accredited.

Major Research Areas
Robotics, Rehabilitation Engineering, Controls, Solid Mechanics, Fluid Dynamics, Micro, and Nanoscale materials and systems Biomedical Engineering, and Engineering Education.

Admission Information

Must meet University Admission and English Proficiency requirements as well as requirements for admission to the major, listed below.

  • M.S. in Mechanical Engineering or a closely related field preferred.
  • Students without a M.S.M.E. or with an M.S. in another field may also be admitted on a case-by-case basis.
  • GRE required, with minimum percentile rank of 60% on the quantitative portion and a minimum average percentile rank of 60% in verbal and quantitative.
  • A minimum grade point average (GPA) of 3.00/4.00 for the last two years of coursework from an ABET accredited engineering major for admission. Graduates of non-ABET accredited majors are evaluated on a case-by-case basis.
  • A minimum of three recommendation letters is required.
  • A one-page Statement of Purpose/Research Interest must also be included in the application package.
  • The following prerequisite courses must be successfully completed before admission to the Ph.D. Program: Calculus I, II, III, Differential Equations, Thermodynamics, Fluid Mechanics, Solid Mechanics, and Machine Design.

Curriculum Requirements

Total Minimum Hours:
72 credit hours (post-bacc)
48 credit hours (post-masters)

  • Core – 6 credit hours
  • Other required courses – 6 credit hours
  • Electives – 24 credit hours
  • Dissertation – 20 credit hours
  • Additional coursework or dissertation – 16 credit hours

Courses completed for a Master’s degree from another institution may count towards a maximum of 24 credit hours of coursework for the Ph.D. degree only if the transcript shows that the degree requirements were similar to USF and the student did not already get credit for the identical courses at USF.

Core Requirements (6 Credit Hours)

Other Required Courses (6 Credit Hours)

Electives (24 Credit Hours Minimum)

Minimum of 24 hours of elective coursework at the 6000 level without counting Independent Study or Graduate Internship or Directed Research or Dissertation Hours Courses.

Qualifying Examination

Successful passage of the Doctoral Qualifying (or Comprehensive) Examination is a requirement for admission to candidacy. The purpose of the exam is to measure the aptitude and capability of the student for productive independent research in mechanical engineering, as well as to demonstrate the student’s in-depth knowledge of their chosen research domain. The exam consists of a written research paper comprising an annotated literature survey in the student’s chosen research area, a discussion and comparison of the prior art in this field, and identification of a promising research area and problem domain(s) of interest to the student and advisor. The research paper is presented in a meeting to a Dissertation Supervisory Committee.


No student will be allowed to take the examination if the cumulative GPA of all courses taken at USF is below 3.00, if they have not chosen a major professor and formed a supervisory committee, or if they hold conditional or provisional admission status in the major. Students will be given a maximum of two attempts to pass the qualifying examination. Failure in the second attempt will result in being dismissed from the doctoral program.

Dissertation (20 Credit Hours Minimum)

Additional Coursework or Dissertation (16 Credit Hours)

Students will select additional coursework or Dissertation hours to complete the remaining 16 credit hours.