Students who have already earned a Master of Science degree from the UW will follow the these procedures.
Curriculum requirements Course work Seminar requirement Adviser and research Transition into Ph.D. program Qualifying Exam Supervisory Committee General Exam Dissertation research Reading Committee Scheduling the Final Exam Dissertation Defense and final submission to the Graduate School
90 total credits (42 credits earned in the MS degree will be applied to this 90 credit total). The course credits earned in the MSME and MSE programs is sufficient to satisfy the Ph.D. course work requirement. No seminar credits can be counted towards the 90 total credit requirement.
Note that the Graduate School imposes additional requirements (e.g., no credits older than 10 years can be applied to a Ph.D. degree, etc,). It is the responsibility of the student to be aware of all Doctoral Degree policies.
Ph.D. students are required to take ME 564 and ME 565 (Mechanical Engineering Analysis) plus three courses chosen from core curriculum. Students must maintain a cumulative GPA of at least 3.5 in core curriculum.
Full-time Ph.D. students must register for a seminar course (1 credit minimum) every quarter throughout the entire Ph.D. program. The default seminar course in the ME Department is ME 520. The quarterly registered seminar course may be offered by other UW engineering or applied math programs. The seminar requirement is waived for EDGE students and part-time students (students registered with 1 to 9 credits).
Adviser and research
New Ph.D. students must identify an initial adviser during their first quarter in the program. They must conduct initial research under the direction of the adviser during the period leading up to the Qualifying Exam. This requirement applies even if the student holds a teaching assistantship (TA).
Transition into Ph.D. program
UW students who are interested in becoming Ph.D. students upon completion of their M.S. degree must submit the following documents to the Graduate Adviser during their last quarter as an M.S. student:
- Ph.D. Application
- Letter of support from UW faculty advisor
- New "Statement of Purpose" written by student
Please note that students must enroll in PhD program the quarter immediately after earning MS Degree.
See the ME Qualifying Exam Procedures.
A graduate student is not officially considered a doctoral student until a Supervisory Committee has been appointed by the Dean of the Graduate School in MyGrad program. The Supervisory Committee should be established as soon as possible after successfully passing the Qualifying Exam, but in no case less than four months prior to scheduling the General Examination. This committee replaces the initial advisor. For details see Graduate School Memo #13.
The Supervisory Committee consists of a minimum of four members, three of whom must be from the graduate faculty, including the Chair and the Graduate School Representative (GSR). The Department further requires that at least two must be core Mechanical Engineering faculty. Core faculty comprise Mechanical Engineering Faculty in all ranks with tenure or tenure-track appointments, and research, emeritus, and joint appointments. Faculty with adjunct and affiliate ranks are not included.
The student and adviser nominate the GSR to the committee, who will represent the Graduate School at all examinations and committee meetings. See Graduate School Memo #13.
The GSR must be from outside the student's department and must hold no joint appointments in the student's program or with the Supervisory Committee Chair. It is very important that the student contact the GSR as soon as possible after the appointment to acquaint him or her with the work in progress. Please see more details regarding GSR Eligibility here.
To request the formation of this committee, students must compose an email to the ME Graduate Adviser (firstname.lastname@example.org) and identify:
- The quarter/year they plan to take the General Exam
- The Supervisory Committee Chair (or Co-Chairs)
- The GSR and the remaining committee members, including the department or company each member represents and their email addresses
Prior to sending this e-mail, the student must have contacted each of the proposed members and secured their consent to serve on the Committee.
The ME Graduate Adviser submits the proposed Committee to the Graduate School. Once the Graduate School has accepted the appointment, an email formalizing the Committee is sent to the student and all members. The Registrar's Office is also notified and the student's graduate status is changed to doctoral pre-candidate.
Within six to eighteen months after passing the Qualifying Exam, Ph.D. students should take the General Exam, which centers on the student's dissertation proposal and his or her qualifications to successfully perform the research. Note that the Department views the failure of full-time students to take the General Exam within four years of entering the program as an indication of inadequate progress towards the degree.
Graduate School & ME departmental requirements
The following minimum requirements must be met before the General Exam can be scheduled:
- The student must have completed at least 18 credits of numerically graded course work at the 500 level and above. The Graduate School accepts numerical grades in approved 400 level courses as part of the major, and in all 500-level courses. A minimum cumulative GPA of 3.00 is required for a graduate degree at the University. For more details see Doctoral Degree policies.
- The Supervisory Committee should have been in existence for at least four months prior to the exam date.
- Short written proposal 4 weeks before the General Exam defense. A 5-page proposal is recommended, but the exact format is up to the committee and advisor.
- All UW English requirements must be satisfied. See Memo #8.
- The ME Supervisory Committee will determine if study of another language is necessary for the student. The Committee may defer to the minimum language requirement of the department, which is two years of a foreign language in either high school or college or demonstration of capability in a language other than the native language of the student.
Scheduling the General Exam
Prior to scheduling the General Exam, the student should notify all members of the Supervisory Committee including the GSR, of the exam date and time. In addition, the student must book a room for the Exam. Exams in the ME Building can be scheduled by using the ME Room Reservation Form.
At least three weeks in advance of the exam date the student must formally schedule the General Exam through My Grad.
The student must then compose an e-mail to the ME Graduate Adviser (email@example.com) notifying the department of the exact dissertation proposal title. This is necessary so an announcement can be sent to the ME students and faculty.
The student's transcript is then evaluated to ensure that all minimum Graduate School requirements, with the exception of the dissertation credits and the Final Exam, have been satisfied. If there is a problem or question with an evaluation, the student will be notified. Occasionally a contingency will be noted on the warrant in which case candidacy will not be conferred until it has been met.
Full or part-time registration is required the quarter the General Exam is taken and Candidacy is awarded.
Taking the General Exam
The oral exam is administered by the Supervisory Committee and usually centers on the student's oral presentation and defense of his or her dissertation thesis proposal.
The warrant is signed by the Supervisory Committee after the successful completion of the exam. Upon completion of the Exam, students need to return the signed warrant to the ME Graduate Advising Office no later than the last day of that quarter (defined as the last day of exams). If the warrant is not received by this deadline, candidacy will be awarded the following quarter, and registration for that quarter will be required.
Candidacy will be conferred on the last day of a quarter and certificates are issued by the Graduation Academic Records office approximately 4 months after this date. In addition, the candidacy will be posted to the student's transcripts. For more information see Doctoral Degree policies.
Registration for a minimum of 27 credits of dissertation research is required over a period of at least three quarters—and at least two quarters after the General Exam. The student should meet frequently with the Supervisory Committee Chair, and keep all members of the committee informed of ongoing progress.
The Reading Committee consists of at least three members drawn from the Supervisory Committee. It must include at least two core faculty. Core faculty comprise Mechanical Engineering faculty in all ranks with tenure or tenure-track appointments, and research, emeritus, and joint appointments. Faculty with adjunct and affiliate ranks are not included. For more details see Graduate School Memo #13.
When the Supervisory Committee Chair determines that the dissertation reflects the mastery of research techniques, he or she will recommend the appointment of a Reading Committee through an email to the ME Graduate Adviser (firstname.lastname@example.org) identifying:
- The quarter/year the student plans to take the exam
- The Reading Committee Chair (or Co-Chairs)
- The GSR and the remaining committee members, including the department or company each member represents and their email addresses
Note that this email must come from the adviser, not the student, and it should indicate that all proposed members have agreed to serve. When the committee has been approved, a message will be sent to the student and all members of the Reading Committee.
Scheduling the Final Exam
After the Reading Committee is satisfied with the dissertation, the student must schedule the Final Exam through MyGrad.
It is imperative that students familiarize themselves with the Graduate School requirements for formatting and submitting the dissertation. To this end, students should review the Graduate School thesis/dissertation requirements carefully.
Prior to scheduling the Final Exam, the student should notify all members of the Supervisory Committee, including the GSR, of the exam date and time. In addition, the student must book a room for the Exam. See the instructions on how to reserve building spaces and IT equipment.
The student must then compose an e-mail to the ME Graduate Adviser (email@example.com) notifying the department of the exact dissertation title. This is necessary so an announcement can be sent to the ME students and faculty.
During this period, the Graduate School will evaluate your transcript.
Before going to your Final Exam
- Carefully read and understand the Graduate School's instructions on Preparing to Graduate.
- Print the Doctoral Dissertation Reading Committee Approval Form.
- Pick up your ME Warrant from the ME office.
The day of your Final Exam
- Take the Doctoral Dissertation Reading Committee Approval Form to the Final Exam.
- Take the ME Warrant to the Final Exam.
- Obtain signatures on the Doctoral Dissertation Reading Committee Approval Form and the ME Warrant.
Dissertation Defense and final submission to the Graduate School
The Final Exam is a defense of the dissertation, and has two parts: a public presentation, and a closed portion which is open only to faculty members. The Supervisory Committee determines if the student passes the Exam.
Upon completion of the Exam and no later than the last day of the quarter, the student must:
- Return the signed ME Warrant to the ME Office.
- Upload the PDF signed Doctoral Dissertation Reading Committee Approval Form to the Graduate School through the Administrative Documents section of the ETD Administrator website.
- Upload the final version of the dissertation to the Graduate School through ETD Administrator website.
- Once dissertation submission is completed, notify the Graduate Academic Counselor at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Return all departmental keys and equipment.
- Remove all personal belongings from offices and desks in the ME Building.
Graduate Registration Waiver Fee
If a student is unable to submit the dissertation by the end of the quarter, they have the option of paying a Graduate Registration Waiver Fee. In order to request a Graduate Registration Waiver, the student will pay a $250 fee instead of registering the following quarter. This option is available to qualifying students for a 2 week period directly following the quarter in which all Graduate School and graduate program degree requirements are met. Qualifying students who pay this fee will graduate in the quarter following the fee payment period.
This option may have an effect on the grace period for student loans becoming due; students should check with their lenders for registration requirements before utilizing this option in lieu of registration.
Important details to remember
- Failure to submit any of the above documents or electronic copies of the dissertation by the published deadlines will result in graduation being delayed.
- The degree is conferred the quarter in which the student's dissertation is accepted by the Graduate School.
- Holds may be placed on degrees until keys and equipment are returned.