Graduate Studies in Structures, Mechanics, and Materials

Admission Requirements | MS & PhD Requirements

The M.S. and Ph.D. programs in Structures, Mechanics, and Materials (SMM) are designed for those students interested in developing specialized knowledge and skills in the mechanics of solids and structures that can be applied to both Civil Infrastructure Systems (CIS) and other fields as well. The SMM research focus and graduate curriculum are geared toward developing appropriate methodologies for effectively tackling complex and broad issues related to Civil Infrastructure Systems (CIS), and also, to educate engineers to implement the developed methodologies in actual practice. Frequently, the technologies developed in our program can be applied not only to CIS issues but also in other fields such as biomechanics/biomedicine, the automotive, earth moving and aerospace industries, new materials development, and microelectronics.

The Ph.D. degree typically takes from three to five academic years to complete, and prepares graduates for a wide range of careers in academic institutions, research organizations, and advanced applications in various industries. At least fifty-four (54) course credit hours are required for the Ph.D. degree, of which up to twenty-four (24) can possibly be transferred in from a preceding M.S. program. Of the fifty-four (54) course credit hours, twenty-one (21) must come from the COURSE POOL A below and the remaining course credit hours must come from COURSE POOL B below. In consultation with the academic advisor, graduate level courses from other departments, such as Mathematics, Computer Science, Physics, and others can be taken.

Ph.D. students are required to pass a written qualifying exam, typically given during the third or fourth semester of Ph.D. study.  The purpose of this qualifier is to insure the student’s mastery of essential graduate level concepts. The requirement is satisfied after the student passes the written exam in three core areas selected in consultation with the academic advisor. The grade on each subject exam must be 70% or above.   Within 24 months after passing the qualifying exam, students must form a Ph.D. dissertation committee consisting of five faculty members.  The dissertation committee conducts the comprehensive examination which consists of an oral presentation by the student of a written dissertation research proposal which contains preliminary results and the plan of study to complete the dissertation. Upon passing the comprehensive examination a student becomes a Ph.D. candidate.  Lastly, students are required to pass the final dissertation defense examination administered by the candidate’s dissertation committee.  The defense consists of an oral presentation by the candidate of their dissertation work and a critical inquiry by the committee into the purpose, methods, originality, and soundness of the candidate’s research.  The inquiry may include intensive examination in areas related to the dissertation research.