Requirements of the Mechanical Engineering Department
Each graduate student is assigned an academic advisor in his or her area of interest before registration. The academic advisor will guide the student in course selection, research, and other areas of academic importance. Students receiving financial aid must select a thesis research advisor before the start of their second semester.
An average GPA of 3.0 or higher in all coursework, exclusive of MEC 599 (M.S. Thesis Research), MEC 698 (Practicum in Teaching II), and MEC 699 (Ph.D. Dissertation Research), is a minimum requirement for satisfactory status in the graduate program. In the doctoral program, a 3.5 grade point average is expected.
Requirements for the M.S. Degree in Mechanical Engineering
A minimum of 30 credits is required for the M.S. degree.
A. Course Requirements
1. M.S. with thesis: 21 approved graduate course credits and an accepted thesis, which is registered as 9 credits of MEC 599 and MEC 696 (Special Problems in Mechanical Engineering) combined.
2. M.S. without thesis: 30 approved graduate credits. No credit for MEC 599 is approved for fulfilling this requirement. No more than 6 credits of MEC 696 may be applied toward the course requirements.
3. All full-time graduate students are required to register for MEC 691 (Mechanical Engineering Seminar) each semester and obtain a satisfactory grade.
4. A minimum of 18 graduate credits, of which 15 credits are in courses other than MEC 599 and MEC 696, must be taken in the Department of Mechanical Engineering. All courses taken outside the department for application to the graduate degree requirements are subject to approval of the student’s advisor and the graduate program director.
B. Transfer Credits
A maximum of 12 graduate credits may be transferred from other programs toward the M.S. degree. These may include up to 6 credits from other institutions. The maximum also includes any credits received from taking Mechanical Engineering courses while having non-degree status at Stony Brook as an SPD or GSP student. Credits used to obtain any prior degrees are not eligible for transfer. All requests for transfer of credits require the approval of the graduate program director.
C. Thesis Requirements
A student choosing the thesis option must select a research advisor. Upon completion, the thesis must be defended in an oral examination before a faculty committee of at least three members of which at least two must be Mechanical Engineering faculty. A student choosing the thesis option may not switch to the non-thesis option without permission of the graduate program committee. A student who has ever been appointed as a teaching, graduate, or research assistant must choose the thesis option unless otherwise approved by the graduate program committee.
Requirements for the Ph.D. Degree in Mechanical Engineering
A. Course Requirements
1. 18 approved graduate course credits beyond the M.S. degree requirement. A minimum of 9 credits, excluding MEC 599, MEC 696 and MEC 699, must be taken in the department.
2. MEC 507. The graduate program director may waive this requirement if the student has taken sufficient applied mathematics courses elsewhere.
3. All full-time graduate students are required to register for MEC 691 each semester and obtain a satisfactory grade.
4. All courses taken outside the department for application to the graduate degree requirements are subject to approval of the student’s advisor and the graduate program director. The advisor may impose additional course requirements.
B. Transfer Credits
A maximum of 6 graduate credits from other programs, including those of other institutions, may be transferred toward the Ph.D. degree. Credits used to obtain any prior degrees are not eligible for transfer. Requests for transfer of credits must be approved by the graduate program director.
C. Written Qualifying Examination
The written qualifying examination is offered once every year, usually in January. Students who enter the graduate program with an M.S. degree from another institution are encouraged to take the examination the first time it is offered after they begin academic residency. Students who enter the graduate program without an M.S. degree are encouraged to take the examination the first time it is offered following three academic semesters in residence. Both categories of students who fail to take this opportunity must take the examination the next time it is offered during their residency. Part-time students should follow a rule based on graduate course credit hours (determined by the equivalence of 9 credits with one semester in residence). Each student can take the written qualifying examination two times before being dismissed from the Ph.D. program.
The written qualifying examination consists of two parts. Part I covers applied mathematics. Part II corresponds to the student’s core area of concentration, selected from one of the following:
1. Design and Manufacturing
2. Solid Mechanics
3. Thermal Sciences and Fluid Mechanics
More precise information on the exam, including a list of suggested courses for each subject in the exam, is available in the departmental office, as are samples of previous examination questions.
Each student taking the examination is required to submit a written statement to the graduate program director with a declaration of both areas chosen at least one month before the announced exam date.
D. Minor Area of Concentration
In addition to the major area of concentration, each student must select a minor area from the following list: Thermodynamics and Heat Transfer, Fluid Mechanics, Solid Mechanics, Design and Manufacturing, Electrical Engineering, Material Science and Engineering, Computer Science, Applied Mathematics, and Biomedical Engineering. A petition to select a minor area that is not contained in this list must be approved by the Graduate Program Director.
A student will be required to take a coherent sequence of three graduate level courses in the minor area and obtain a grade of B or better in each of the courses. However, students must submit a list of five courses from the proposed minor field no later than the time he or she applies to take the qualifying exam. The courses in the minor field must be approved by the Graduate Program Director, with the recommendation of the student’s advisor. Upon submission of the list of five courses, students must provide an explanation for the list, how the courses are related, and the rationale for the courses. Note that students are not required to have taken the courses in the minor field before taking the qualifying exam. However, the minor requirement must be satisfied before the student can be admitted to candidacy.
E. Advancement to Candidacy
A student will be advanced to candidacy for the Ph.D. degree when all formal coursework has been completed and all the requirements listed in items A through E have been satisfied. These requirements must be completed within one calendar year after passing the written qualifying examination. Advancement to candidacy must be one year before the beginning of the semester in which a student plans to defend his/her dissertation.
Ph.D. students are required to take 3 credits of MEC 698 Practicum in Teaching II or obtain approval of equivalent teaching experience from the Graduate Program Director as part of the degree requirement. MEC 698 is taken under a faculty advisor who is responsible for proving feedback and making a formal evaluation of the student's work. The form of this practicum may include making class presentations, teaching in recitation classes, and preparation and supervision of laboratory classes. All Teaching Assistants are required to take MEC 697 Practicum in Teaching I, which does not meet this requirement.
The student chooses a dissertation topic in consultation with his/her doctoral dissertation advisor as soon as possible after passing the written qualifying examination. Dissertation research is an apprenticeship for the candidate, who, under the supervision of the dissertation advisor, independently carries out original work of significance. Within one year after passing the written qualifying examination, a dissertation examining committee is established. The committee must include at least three members from the Department of Mechanical Engineering, including the dissertation advisor, and at least one member from another program or from outside the University. The committee must be approved by the graduate program director upon recommendation by the dissertation advisor. The official recommendation for the appointment of the dissertation examining committee is made to the Dean of the Graduate School.
The dissertation examining committee provides a means of exposing the candidate’s ideas to a variety of views, and helps to guide and oversee the candidate’s research progress, which is reviewed by the committee each year. The chairperson of the committee must submit a written report to the graduate program director on the student’s progress after each review.
Dissertation Proposal: In addition, the student is required to submit a written dissertation proposal and present it in an oral examination conducted by the dissertation examining committee. The written dissertation proposal must be distributed to the committee members at least two weeks before the oral examination. The oral examination probes the doctoral student’s ability and examines the progress, direction and methodology of the dissertation research. The student will be examined on the dissertation topic and its objective, the problem formulation, research approach, and knowledge in related areas. The majority of the dissertation examining committee must approve the student’s performance.
Dissertation Defense: At the completion of the dissertation, approval of the dissertation involves a formal oral defense. The formal defense is open to all interested members of the University community. A candidate must fill out the Doctoral Degree Defense Form (available on the Graduate School Web page) with dissertation abstract as well as other relevant details, and submit the Form to the graduate program director at least three weeks in advance of the proposed event. The Form is forwarded by the graduate program director to the dean of the Graduate School, which will be responsible for advertising the defense to the University community. Copies of the dissertation are to be distributed to the committee members at least two weeks before the dissertation defense; one copy is to be kept in the departmental office for examination by the faculty. The final approval of the dissertation must be by a majority vote of the dissertation examining committee.