Doctoral Qualifying Examination

The exam consists of a written exam covering a number of areas of Mechanical Engineering. A candidate who fails the examination may be permitted to repeat it once in the following year. 


The Doctoral Qualifying Exam is a written test covering several areas of Mechanical Engineering, including both core and applied subject areas.

Core subject areas are Control, Dynamics, Elasticity, Fluids, Heat Transfer, and Thermodynamics. To best prepare for the core subject areas, students should take:

  • Control - EEME E6601 Intro to Controls
  • Dynamics - MECE E6400 Advanced Machine Dynamics
  • Elasticity - MECE E6422 Elasticity I
  • Fluids - MECE E6100 Advanced Mechanics of Fluids
  • Heat Transfer - MECE E6313 Advanced Heat Transfer
  • Thermodynamics - MECE E4302 Advanced Thermodynamics

Applied subject areas are Combustion, Energy, Manufacturing, Micro/Nano Engineering, and Robotics. To best prepare for the applied subject areas, students should take:

  • Combustion - MECH E4320 Intro to Combustion
  • Energy - MECE E4211 Energy Sources & Conversion
  • Manufacturing - MECE E4610 Advanced Manufacturing Processes
  • Micro/Nano Engineering - MECE E4212 MEMS
  • Robotics - MECE E4602 Intro to Robotics

The Exam contains 4 questions from each subject area above.

Students are to answer a total of 12 questions.

At most, 4 of those questions can come from Applied Areas.

Note that the department does not test Mathematics as a separate component of the exam. Instead, knowledge of mathematics is integrated and tested within the engineering subject areas. Since all doctoral students are expected to take courses in APMA, STAT, or MATH, you will be required to apply knowledge from areas such as: Ordinary Differential Equations, Partial Differential Equations, Linear Algebra, Complex Variables, Numerical Analysis, Advanced Calculus, Integral Transforms, Statistics, etc.

Consult with your advisor or other faculty members to determine which courses are available that can help you prepare for the exam.


The exam starts at 8:00AM and finishes at 5:00PM.


The Doctoral Qualifying Examination in Mechanical Engineering is offered annually in May on the day after university commencement.


The Exam must be taken no later than the first time it is offered after you have spent 2 semesters in the graduate program as an MS/PhD or PhD student.


To be eligible to take the examination, you must be:

  • A regular graduate student in the department for at least two semesters, prior to being admitted to the examination.
  • Have a minimum grade point average of 3.2/4.0 in all graduate courses taken beyond the Bachelor's degree.

Exceptions to the above rules are made only under unusual circumstances. Except in cases of medically certified illness or an unforeseeable emergency, the student should petition in writing to the Department Graduate Committee no later than one month prior to the examination.


Anyone intending to take the exam should sign up as announced by the Mechanical Engineering Student Affairs Manager, no later than April 15.


Copies of previous qualifying examinations are available from the Student Affairs Manager, or designee.


The exam starts at 8:00AM and finishes at 5:00PM. Breakfast and coffee will be available before and during the exams, and lunch will also be provided.

Non-programmable calculators will be supplied for your use. They will be given out before the exam begins. Backpacks, cell phones, and other calculators are not permitted into the exam room.


The results of the Exam are taken into consideration to determine a Pass or Fail grade. The decision is made by ALL faculty in the Department. No number grade is announced.

If you fail the examination, the department will indicate whether you will be allowed to take it the next time it is offered. In no case are you allowed to take the examination more than twice.