May 21, 2018  
2015-2016 Graduate Course Catalog 
2015-2016 Graduate Course Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, PhD

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H. Ezzat Khalifa, 263 Link Hall, 315-443-2341; fax: 315-443-9099,


Jeongmin Ahn; Benjamin Akih-Kumgeh; Michelle Blum, Edward A. Bogucz Jr., Frederick Carranti, Thong Dang, John F. Dannenhoffer III, Barry D. Davidson, Mark N. Glauser, Melissa Green, H. Ezzat Khalifa, Benjamin Akih-Kumgeh, Alan J. Levy, Jacques Lewalle, Shalabh Maroo, Young Bai Moon, Vadrevu R. Murthy, Utpal Roy, Eric F. Spina, Jianshun S. Zhang

The Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering offers graduate programs leading to the following degrees:

  • Master of Science (M.S.) in Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering
  • Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) in Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering

It also participates in a college-wide master program leading to the degree:

  • Master of Science (M.S.) in Engineering Management

Admission Requirements

Admission to the Ph.D. program will be considered if three conditions are met. First, a sufficient level of academic and professional achievement must be documented by transcripts of the student’s prior academic performance (a GPA of 3.33/4.0 or better is expected), GRE Quantitative score of 700+ (155+ on the new scale) and an acceptable GRE verbal score, and letters of recommendation and other supporting information. Second, the focusing of the student’s efforts in one area of specialization should be clear from the student’s transcript and statement of purpose. Third, a faculty adviser must be willing to supervise research in the student’s area of specialization. Prior completion of a M.S. degree and/or an M.S. thesis may be required by individual faculty advisers.

Application Procedure

Online application is the preferred method of applying to graduate programs at Syracuse University.Applications submitted online can be processed faster and more efficiently than those filed on paper. Access the online application.

You will receive an e-mail or postcard from Syracuse University when your application has been received and processed. Find out more information on the application process.


A program of study is individually designed by each student in consultation with his or her adviser. A student entering the Ph.D. program with a master’s degree or an equivalent degree (approved by the Graduate Affairs Committee) is expected to complete 18 credits of 600 or above level of course work and a Ph.D. dissertation (of 0-credits). Students wishing to proceed directly to the Ph.D. degree from a bachelor’s degree must complete a program of 48-credit course work (with no more than 9 credits of courses at 500-level) [1] and a Ph.D. dissertation (of 0-credits). A GPA of 3.33 or better is expected for a Ph.D. student. Full-time Ph.D. students must also attend the MAE graduate seminars every semester (MAE 995 : 0 credits; graded A/B/C/F, based on attendance) [2]. Graduate courses can be found in the Course Catalog, using the search engine.

Ph.D. Qualifying Examination

The MAE Department requires that each Ph.D. student pass a qualifying examination. The qualifying examination will have both written and oral components. The objective of the qualifying examination is to test the student’s knowledge of fundamentals and preparedness to conduct dissertation research. As a pre-requisite to the qualifying examination, a Ph.D. student must complete a minimum of 39 credits after B.S. or 9 credits after M.S. and must have a cumulative 3.33 GPA or better at the time of taking the qualifying exam. Full-time students who enter the MAE graduate program with a B.S. degree must take the written component of the qualifying examination at or before the completion of the sixth semester of their graduate study. Full-time students who transfer into the Ph.D. program with an M.S. degree (or an equivalent degree) must take the written component of the qualifying examination at or before the completion of three semesters of first registration in the program. Part-time students should take the qualifying examination after they have taken 39 credits after B.S. or 9 credits after M.S. and within 1 year of completion of these credits. The oral component of the qualifying examination must be taken no later than one year after passing the written examination.

The written component of the qualifying examination will test the student’s competency at the level of SU’s 600 level courses in mathematics (e.g., MAE 675 ), plus any two of the following topics: Fluid Dynamics (e.g., MAE 643 ), Solid Mechanics (e.g., MAE 635 ), Heat Transfer (e.g., MAE 655  or MAE 657 ), Thermodynamics (e.g., MAE 651 ), Design, Manufacturing, Dynamics and Control, and Special Topics in a selected area. If a student selects Special Topics, s/he must inform the MAE Graduate Affairs Committee in writing of the special area in which s/he wants to be examined.

In consultation with the student and his/her adviser, the Graduate Affairs Committee will form a committee of oral examination consisting of 3 to 5 members with a minimum of 2 to 3 members from the MAE Department, including the adviser. The student must provide a proposal for dissertation research to the members of the oral examination committee at least two weeks before the scheduled date of examination. The examination will typically take 2 hours to complete, in which the student will first make a 35-minute presentation of the research proposal followed by questions from each individual members of the committee. Based on the quality of dissertation proposal, presentation, and answers to the questions, the committee will deliberate and inform the student of the outcome of the examination, and report the outcome to the MAE Graduate Affairs Committee in writing.

In consultation with the adviser, a Ph.D. student must formally apply to take the qualifying examination by petitioning the chair of the Graduate Affairs Committee on or before October 15 in the fall semester or March 15 in the spring semester in order to take the examination during the following academic semester. The written part of the Ph.D. qualifying examination will be given twice a year; one at the end of the fall semester and the other at the end of the spring semester. In the application letter, the student should specify his/her field of study/interest and include a copy of his/her transcript showing the current GPA. The Graduate Affairs Committee determines whether the student has passed the qualifying examination. In the event of failure, the Graduate Affairs Committee may permit the candidate to retake the written and oral examinations only once more. No one will be permitted to go beyond the above mentioned time limits as stipulated in the first paragraph under Qualifying Examination. Failure to pass the examination in a timely fashion will result in dismissal from the Ph.D. program.

Residency Requirement

The residence requirement is set by Academic Rules and Regulations of the Graduate School.


Each student is required to prepare a dissertation of high quality in terms of substance, originality and relevance, on a topic chosen in consultation with the dissertation adviser. The dissertation defense shall be conducted according to the rules of the Graduate School. In preparing the dissertation, the student should comply with accepted standards of style and format. The examination committee may refuse to hold the examination until such standards are met.

Evaluation Of Ph.D. Student's Progress

In the spring semester, the status of every Ph.D. student will be reviewed by the MAE faculty. The review will include a brief summary by the adviser of the progress made by the student and any current or potential problems. If the progress is unsatisfactory, the student will be given six months to address issues of concern. If the situation has not improved, the student will not be allowed to continue in the program and will be so informed in writing.


[1] Of the 48-credit course work, 30 credits should be equivalent to our M.S. degree requirements.
[2] Part-time M.S. students may petition the Graduate Affairs Committee for partial exemption from seminar attendance.

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