Related program information
Plan of study
Master’s and graduate certificate students must submit a department-approved plan of study by the end of their first semester of graduate coursework. Upon admission, doctoral students must develop a plan of study in consultation with the department chair. As soon as the student forms an advisory committee, the committee reviews and updates the plan of study then forwards it to the dean’s office. The original plan of study must be submitted to the dean’s office, and when approved, it will be forwarded to Graduate Study and LIfelong Learning.
Note: Credit granted for successful completion of a course toward an undergraduate degree program may not be repeated for a graduate degree. If a substitution is approved, the minimum number of program-approved graduate credits will be required. A Petition of Exception - OU Course Waiver/ Substitution requesting the substitution must be approved.
After admission to the Ph.D. program, a student should consult with the Program Coordinator for any advice until formulation of an Advisory Committee.
As soon as possible after admission, but prior to earning 16 credits of coursework, students must form an advisory committee, which will direct and guide the progress of their program. Such a committee is composed of four faculty members, specified as follows:
- Two mechanical engineering faculty members nominated by the student (one designated as chair)
- One who is either a mechanical engineering faculty member or is an expert from outside Oakland University (who must have a Ph.D or equivalent degree in Mechanical Engineering)
- One is an OU faculty member outside of the Mechanical Engineering Department.
Upon recommendation of the advisory committee, following successful completion of the Ph.D. comprehensive examination, one member from within or outside the university community may be added to the committee for the dissertation proposal and review.
The entire committee must have the approval of the Dean of the School of Engineering and Computer Science and Graduate Study and Lifelong Learning.
Doctoral students in Mechanical Engineering are required to take a comprehensive examination preferably within the first two years of their doctoral studies but no later than four years after their admission to the Ph.D. program. The exact timing will be determined by their Ph.D. advisor. The students must schedule the exam at least two weeks in advance using the “Ph.D. Pass Form” that is available on the SECS website.
The comprehensive examination is designed to assess the student’s analytical reasoning, theoretical understanding, and preparedness to do independent research. The comprehensive examination is composed of a written component and an oral component. The written component includes three parts. Two are discipline-specific selected by the student’s advisory committee based on the individual student’s coursework and research. The third examination area is in mathematics covering the topics in APM 5441 and APM 5442.
The students are encouraged to take the comprehensive examinations during the SECS centralized exam schedule which will be given twice per year, usually on the first, second and third Friday of October in fall semester, and the first, second and third Friday after the spring break in winter semester. The student must complete all three written examinations within three weeks. Upon passing the written exams, the student should complete the oral examination within two weeks after the last written examination. The oral portion of the exam will be given by the student’s advisory committee plus any other faculty who have written a portion of the exams.
The student must obtain passing grades on both the written and oral portions to pass the comprehensive exam. To pass the written exam, the student must obtain an average grade of 70% among the three written exams and must have no more than one individual exam grade below 70% but not lower than 60%. A student who fails to pass the comprehensive examination may repeat it once during the next available exam date. If a student scores above 80% in any of the three subject exams, the committee may decide not to retest the student on that subject area. Students who pass the comprehensive exam but exhibit weakness in a specific area may be required by their advisory committee to complete additional coursework to address the deficiency. All comprehensive exams must be monitored in person by a doctoral advisory committee member or a representative of the committee and exams are to be taken on campus.
As soon as a candidate and the advisory committee chair agree on a specific research topic, the candidate must write a dissertation proposal. This document contains a formulation of the problem, the background work leading to the formulation and a plan for the subsequent research. Candidates must orally present the proposal to their advisory committees and any other interested faculty, at which time the committee may question the preparedness of the student to carry out the research.
Students who have advisory committee approval of their dissertation proposals and are conducting research should register for ME 8999 . At least 24 research credits are required of all doctoral candidates. However, merely amassing credits does not indicate satisfactory progress toward or completion of the dissertation. These judgments are made by the advisory committee. The dissertation is judged completed upon successful completion of the final examination and acceptance of the dissertation by Graduate Study and Lifelong Learning.
Each candidate will submit a dissertation to the advisory committee. The dissertation must be the candidate’s own work and must constitute a contribution to knowledge in his/her field of endeavor. The completed dissertation must conform to university standards (see Thesis and Dissertation ).
Writing a doctoral dissertation requires a full commitment to research. Such research cannot be effectively pursued in an environment which places research in a secondary role. Doctoral students are required to be full-time students for at least one year of their active dissertation research. The doctoral student should arrange such a period of residency by 1) registering for at least 8 credits of doctoral dissertation research for two consecutive semesters and 2) making a commitment, in a statement addressed to his/her advisory committee, to a program of full-time (at least 20 hours per week) research.
The above represents the normal residency requirement. However, if the present occupation of the candidate (e.g., industrial research or teaching) is conducive to the intended research, there is an alternative method to fulfill the residency requirement. To arrange for the alternative residency, the candidate must apply in writing to his/her advisory committee at the time of the dissertation proposal review. The committee must be furnished with a written statement by the candidate’s employer confirming that the dissertation research constitutes a major portion of the job assignment. If the advisory committee grants permission to pursue this option, the student must enroll in doctoral dissertation research (8 credits maximum) for at least two consecutive semesters.
Each Ph.D. candidate must satisfactorily defend the dissertation in a final oral examination administered by the advisory committee. The examination is taken after the advisory committee certifies that the dissertation is ready for final review. At the committee’s option, one re-examination may be permitted if a candidate fails to pass the final examination. The completed dissertation must conform to university standards (see Master’s thesis/ doctoral dissertation in the Policies and Procedures section of this catalog).
The continuous enrollment policy for doctoral students requires continuous registration of graduate students for at least 1 credit each semester in the academic year to maintain an active graduate student status. This includes semesters in which the comprehensive, preliminary or qualifying examination is taken, defense, and each subsequent term (fall and winter) until the degree requirements are met and the dissertation is submitted to Graduate Study and Lifelong Learning.
Some agency and graduate assistantship eligibility may have course-load requirements that exceed the minimum registration requirements of the Continuous Enrollment Policy (e.g., Veterans Affairs, Immigration and Naturalization for international students, and federal financial aid programs). Therefore, it is the student’s responsibility to register for the appropriate number of credits that are required for funding eligibility and/or compliance as outlined by specific agency regulations under which they are governed.
The maximum time limit for completing a Ph.D. degree is no more than ten years from the time of the first course enrollment in the doctoral program.
The Time Limit for Completing a Ph.D. Degree policy requires a student to achieve candidacy within six years from the first course enrollment in the doctoral program. After being advanced to candidacy, a student is expected to complete the remaining degree requirements within four years (including the dissertation defense).
If a student is deemed inactive, he or she may be dropped out of the program despite the petition for extension.