PhD Program

The Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) Program represents the highest level of academic pursuit within the selected field. Engineering students in the PhD program engage in rigorous academic exploration and seek to make transformative contributions to their chosen research discipline. Students embark on an intensive academic journey, striving to ignite innovation and usher in transformative change in their selected research discipline. Doctoral candidates collaborate closely with faculty advisors and committees to cultivate an environment that encourages innovation. They actively participate in scientific dissemination through the authorship of journal and conference publications and by presenting their findings at conferences, workshops, or other public forums. The program culminates in the completion of a Dissertation, a scholarly contribution that contains the key findings of the research program and expands the frontiers of knowledge. Graduates of doctoral programs assume leadership roles within academia, research institutions, and industry, driving innovation, advancement, and transformative change.

Skills Developed 

Research and Critical Thinking

Our PhD programs emphasize extensive research, teaching students how to formulate research questions, design experiments, collect and analyze data, and draw meaningful conclusions. This fosters critical thinking, problem-solving abilities, and the capacity to challenge existing paradigms in the field of engineering.

In-Depth Knowledge, Problem Solving, and Critical Thinking

Students delve deeply into their chosen area of specialization. They acquire an in-depth understanding of the theoretical foundations, advanced techniques, and emerging trends in their specific field. This expertise allows them to contribute significantly to their discipline through innovative research. 

Communication and Presentation

Effective communication is crucial for PhD students. They learn to articulate complex engineering concepts, research findings, and methodologies clearly and concisely, both in written form and orally. Presenting research to a diverse audience helps refine their ability to convey ideas to different stakeholders.

PhD Program Paths

Points of Pride

Students can pursue our PhD programs directly after earning their BS degrees. They can also earn their MS degree while completing this path. Once they successfully complete their candidacy exam, they can apply for their MS by candidacy. 

Average Length to Degree: 5-6 years

Points of Pride

Students who have already earned a MS degree can pursue our PhD program. They can transfer their MS degree to our institution and take less coursework compared to the our BS - PhD students.  

Average Length to Degree: 4 - 4.5 years


Career Development & Opportunities

Embarking on a journey towards a PhD is a path of unparalleled growth and expertise acquisition. In MAE, we believe in empowering our students to not only thrive academically, but also to shape a future brimming with diverse and rewarding possibilities. Our commitment lies not just in the pursuit of knowledge, but in guiding our students to chart personalized career trajectories tailored to Industry, National Labs, and Academia. MAE offers unique professional development and networking opportunities for students to reach their career goals including: 

  • Networking with Faculty, Labs and Centers that have close ties with industry and National Labs;
  • Conference travel grants and research presentation opportunities; 
  • Engaging in community outreach initiatives including events to promote science and technology awareness and inspire the next generation of engineers and researchers;
  • The FAST (Future Academic Scholars Training Program) program is a two semester-long course that covers all the essential materials graduate students need from how to prepare themselves while in grad school and develop appropriate and competitive credentials to apply for faculty positions, interviewing, gaining funding, hiring graduate students themselves, how to manage classroom teaching and what are the best teaching practices, and how to balance work and life.

Career Outcomes

Earning a PhD is a significant achievement associated with prestige and recognition in the academic and professional worlds. This achievement opens doors to leadership positions and opportunities for contribution, while the scholarly value of a PhD extends beyond an individual's lifetime, leaving a lasting legacy as their research and contributions continue to influence the academic community and society. Our PhD graduates possess a diverse range of career opportunities, with paths leading to employment in industry, government agencies, national laboratories, and academia. Below, we provide a list of example career outcomes, showcasing the versatility and success of our alumni in these different sectors. 

Points of Pride

  • Idaho National Laboratory
  • Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory
  • Los Alamos National Laboratory
  • National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA)
  • National Renewable Energy Laboratory
  • Oak Ridge National Laboratory
  • Sandia National Laboratories
  • U.S. Air Force
  • U.S. Navy

Points of Pride

  • Cornell University
  • Massachusetts Institute of Technology
  • Purdue University
  • South China University of Technology
  • The Ohio State University
  • Transportation Research Center
  • University of Michigan
  • University of Pennsylvania
  • University of Texas, Austin

Points of Pride

  • Agility Robotics
  • Apple
  • Caterpillar Inc
  • ExxonMobil Corporation
  • Ford Motor Company
  • GE
  • General Motors
  • Honda
  • Honeywell
  • Intel Corporation
  • Intuitive Surgical
  • Lam Research Corporation
  • Magna International
  • MathWorks
  • Owens Corning
  • Path Robotics
  • Pratt & Whitney
  • TaylorMade Golf
  • Toyota