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Aims and Scope

Mechanical Engineering is a multidisciplinary field that includes the traditional areas of solid and fluid mechanics and the transport phenomena associated with processes related to design, fabrication, and analysis of mechanical devices and systems. Today, Mechanical Engineers develop applications in biomedical, space, energy, materials, computational sciences, and many other fields. The Mechanical Engineering (ME) Graduate Group at UC Merced offers a multidisciplinary research and training program for M.S. and Ph.D.-seeking students who want to be at the forefront of new methods of solving mechanical problems at various length and time scales. Research projects are available on topics ranging from fundamental mathematical methods to advanced applications, and coursework will provide a background in the latest techniques in analytical, computational, and experimental methods in Mechanical Engineering.

The graduate emphasis in Mechanical Engineering is dedicated to the education of a new generation of mechanicists and researchers of areas related to mechanical engineering who aim to master the fundamentals of the mechanical sciences -- which include disciplines such as continuum mechanics, fluid mechanics, heat and mass transfer, energy conversion, etc. -- while being exposed to the forefront of research techniques, methodologies and equipment to solve problems that are relevant to modern society (green energy, mechanical modeling and synthesis, robotics and mechatronics, control systems, etc.).

 

Master’s Degree

Students may be admitted to the ME graduate program to work toward an M.S. degree. The recipient of an M.S. degree will possess knowledge of a broad field of learning that extends well beyond that attained at the undergraduate level, but is not necessarily expected to have made a significant original contribution to knowledge in that field.

The ME group has established the following requirements for the M.S. degree.  Each M.S. student must have a faculty advisor responsible for designing and approving a plan of study detailing all classes to be taken. Two different tracks are recognized as described below. Students may switch from one M.S. plan to another with their faculty adviser’s consent.

PLAN I (thesis option)

  • Complete at least two semesters of full-time academic residence at UC Merced.
  • Complete at least 29 semester units in approved graduate course, at least 20 units of which must be earned in 200-series graduate level courses exclusive of credit given for thisis research and preparation. In addition, 8 units of research and 1 unit of ME seminar is required.
  • Must be advanced to candidacy for degree prior to the beginning of the final semester of enrollment. In addition, a student must have maintained a minimum GPA of 3.0 in all courses taken.
  • Register for and obtain a Satisfactory (S) grade in one semester of ME 291: Mechanical Engineering Seminar Series
  • Complete at least 8 units of research.
  • Prepare a written thesis describing relevant research in the field that is read and accepted by a thesis committee.
  • Defend the M.S. thesis via oral presentation attended and approved by the committee.

M.S. Plan I Thesis and Defense: The student will prepare a written thesis under supervision of their faculty advisor until the work is judged ready for review by the faculty committee.  The student must provide a copy of the thesis to each member of the faculty committee and allow each committee member at least two weeks to read and comment on it. If one or more committee members believe that there are significant errors or shortcomings in the thesis or that the scope or nature of the work are not adequate, the student must address these shortcomings before scheduling a defense. Once the committee members are in agreement that the thesis is ready to be defended, the defense may be scheduled by the student in consultation with the committee. Once the date of the thesis defense is determined, this information must be reported to the Graduate Dean, and one copy of the thesis must be filed with the Graduate Division no later than two weeks before the scheduled date of the thesis defense. The thesis defense consists of an open seminar followed by a closed-door examination by the thesis committee. During the examination, the student is expected to explain the significance of the research, justify the methods employed, and defend the conclusions reached.

PLAN II (non-thesis option)

  • Complete at least two semesters of full-time academic residence at UC Merced.
  • Complete at least 28 units of letter-graded core coursework (at least 21 units in Mechanical Engineering graduate courses) and 1 unit of ME seminar are required for a total of 29 units. No research effort is required in this plan.
  • Must be advanced to candidacy for degree prior to the beginning of the final semester of enrollment. In addition, a student must have maintained a minimum GPA of 3.0 in all courses taken.
  • Register for and obtain a Satisfactory (S) grade in one semester of ME 291: Mechanical Engineering Seminar Series
  • Pass an oral comprehensive examination administered by the faculty committee.

M.S. Plan II Comprehensive Examination: The M.S. comprehensive examination is an examination of graduate level Mechanical Engineering curriculum. The content of the exam will be specific to the courses taken by each student. The exam will comprise problems from tests or assignments given to the student while taking ME graduate courses towards the unit requirement. As such, exam problems will be graded by instructors of the graduate courses.A student may take the comprehensive examination once they have advanced to candidacy. However, it is important that the capstone requirement be completed at or near the end of the coursework for the Master’s degree; for most students, the exam is taken at the end of the fourth semester.

For more accurate and exhaustive information, refer to the Mechanical Engineering Policies and Procedures.

 

Doctoral Degree

The Doctor of Philosophy degree is granted to students who demonstrate a thorough knowledge of a broad field of learning and have given evidence of distinguished accomplishment in that field. The degree also signifies that the recipient has critical ability and powers of imaginative synthesis as demonstrated by a doctoral dissertation containing an original contribution to knowledge in his or her chosen field of study.

There are 3 options for students to obtain their Ph.D.; Post M.S., MS and Ph.D, and Direct Ph.D. Each option has different unit requirements. Please note that courses taken toward a graduate degree at another institution cannot be transferred for credit toward a Ph.D. at UCM. However, a course requirement may be waived if a similar course was taken at another institution. The General Petition form should be used for all requests for waivers of course work. 

In accordance with University of California policy, a minimum of four semesters in academic residence is required prior to awarding the Ph.D. Typically, a longer period of study, four to six years, is required for completion of all degree requirements.

Unit Requirements

Post M.S.
  • Students entering the program with an M.S. degree
  • Must complete at least four semesters of full-time academic residence at UC Merced.
  • Must complete at least 12 units of letter-graded graduate courses (ME 200-289) and 2 units of Mechanical Engineering seminar series (ME 291).
M.S. and Ph.D.
  • Students whose degree objective is a Ph.D. but who wish to also receive an M.S. from UC Merced
  • Must complete all requirements for an M.S. degree either Plan I or II in addition to the requirements for the Post M.S. degree described above.
  • The minimum number of units required under this plan is 43.
Direct Ph.D.
  • Students entering the Ph.D. program with a Bachelor’s degree and do not intend to pursue a M.S. en route.
  • Must complete at least six semesters of full-time
  • Must complete at least 32 units of letter-graded graduate courses (ME 200-289) and 2 units of Mechanical Engineering seminar series (ME 291).

    No courses are uniformly required for all ME graduate students. Students should work with their advisors to determine which courses are best suited for their research areas. Course selection should be discussed with advisors each year at the annual review meeting. This may include any letter graded graduate level ME course (200 or higher) as well as graduate level courses in other areas with the consent of the advisor.

    Normally these courses should be taken during the first two years of graduate study. Requirements for formal course work beyond the minimum are flexible and are determined by the individual student’s background and research topic in consultation with the student’s graduate research advisor. Exceptions of these requirements due to transference from another graduate program will be analyzed on an individual basis.

      Special Requirements

      • Teaching Requirement: All students pursuing a Ph.D. degree in ME are required to complete at least one semester as Graduate Student Instructor (also known as Teaching Assistant or TA).
      • Preliminary Examination: All students in the ME Ph.D. program are required to pass a written preliminary examination before beginning to prepare for the research proposal and qualifying examination. (More details about the exams: Preliminary ExaminationQualifying Examination)
      • Technical Seminar: All students in pursuing a Ph.D. degree in ME are required to give at least one open technical seminar or professional conference presentation during their residence.

      For more accurate and exhaustive information, refer to the Mechanical Engineering Policies and Procedures.