The Department of Mechanical Engineering offers programs of study leading to M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in mechanical engineering. Graduate students will have the opportunity to work closely with internationally recognized faculty members on research at the leading edge of technology in fields such as:
- Aerospace technology through the Kentucky Space Grant Consortium and EPSCoR programs. Research awards are competitive and often involve working with NASA on research methods for future NASA missions.
- Next generation manufacturing through the Institute for Sustainable Manufacturing. The ISM seeks to create products, processes and systems designed to significantly enhance manufacturing productivity, efficiency and quality – pioneering new manufacturing standards which respect the planet’s resources.
- Energy and environmental solutions through the Institute of Research for Technological Development (IR4TD). Areas of study include experimental combustion studies, fire research, painting technology research, lean manufacturing systems and scale modeling in engineering.
- The Power and Energy Institute of Kentucky (PEIK) was created to broaden power and energy education programs at the University of Kentucky through development of new courses and undergraduate and graduate certificate programs, as well as offering professional development/continuing education programs to current engineers who require additional education to address current power and energy issues.
Admission to the mechanical engineering graduate programs normally requires a bachelor’s degree in engineering (not necessarily in mechanical engineering), a GPA of at least 3.0/4.0 on all graduate and undergraduate work, Graduate Record Examination scores of at least 310 (Verbal + Quantitative and at least 160 on the quantitative section) and 3.5 (Analytical), and Test of English as a Second Language scores of 550 (paper-based) / 213 (computer-based) / 95 (Internet-based). An undergraduate degree in chemistry or physics combined with a strong interest in engineering topics may be acceptable when certain required undergraduate courses are also taken. Satisfying the above requirements does not guarantee admission to the mechanical engineering graduate program.
The master’s degree requires 24 credit hours of course work and a thesis (Plan A). A non-thesis option (Plan B) consisting of 30 credit hours is available with admission and enrollment limited to those students with acceptable previous research or design experience. Enrollment in the non-thesis option requires approval of the Director of Graduate Studies and must be requested within the student’s first 9 credit hours of graduate course work.
The Ph.D. degree is a research degree granted on the basis of broad knowledge of mechanical engineering and in-depth study in a specific area leading to a dissertation reflecting original work by the doctoral candidate. To obtain a Ph.D. degree in mechanical engineering, in addition to meeting the general Graduate School requirements, a student must:
- Earn 48 graduate credit hours taken at the University of Kentucky while in graduate standing. Alternatively, those holding a non-UK M.S. may satisfy this requirement by earning 24 graduate credit hours at UK.
- Satisfy the mathematics requirement. The mathematics requirement for the Ph.D. degree in mechanical engineering may be satisfied by completing three math-related courses with a grade of B or better in each. A list of acceptable courses is maintained by the Director of Graduate Studies.
- Pass the Ph.D. Preliminary Examination. The Preliminary Examination is a written examination and shall satisfy the written portion of the Qualifying Examination required by the Graduate School. This examination tests the student’s knowledge in the field of mechanical engineering. This is a uniform examination that is required in three subject areas. For the Ph.D. preliminary examination, a doctoral student may select any of the available technical areas as a major field (two of the three subject areas should be from the student’s chosen major field). A list of current technical areas, subject areas, and various courses under each subject area is maintained by the Director of Graduate Studies.
- Pass the Qualifying Examination. This examination evaluates the soundness of the student’s proposed doctoral dissertation research. A prospectus prepared by the student and submitted to the student’s advisory committee is required. Only those who have passed the preliminary examination and have satisfied the doctoral mathematics requirement may sit for this examination.
- Present and satisfactorily defend the dissertation.
For a more detailed description of these requirements, contact the Director of Graduate Studies.
The Department, in collaboration with the College of Engineering’s UK Center for Manufacturing (UKCM), has several research laboratories: Acoustics Lab, Advanced Structures Lab, CAD/CAM/CAE Lab, Combustion and Fire Research Lab, Computational Fluid Dynamics Systems (CFD) Lab, Engineering Metrology Lab, Fluid Mechanics Lab, Machine Vision Lab, Machining Dynamics Systems Lab, Machining Research Lab, Manufacturing Simulation and Tribiology Research Lab, Nonlinear Dynamics Research Lab, Metal Forming Research Lab, Non-traditional Manufacturing Processes Lab, Phase Change and Microgravity Heat Transfer Lab, Radiative Transfer and Optics Lab, Rapid Prototyping Lab, Robotics Lab, Thermal Sensing Lab, and Welding Research Lab.