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tennessee technological university

Mechanical Engineering

Graduate Studies in Mechanical Engineering at TTU

The Mechanical Engineering M.S. program at Tennessee Tech provides students advanced engineering skills and state-of-the-art knowledge in selected areas for positions in industry or pursuing a PH.D. Students focus their programs on specific interests among several areas:

  • Acoustics and Vibrations
  • Design / Mechanical Systems
  • Energy Harvesting / Smart Materials
  • Energy Storage / Fuel Cells / Battery
  • HVAC
  • Material Characterization and Modeling
  • Robotics / Mechatronics / Controls
  • Thermal Science / Fluid Mechanics

The program is research oriented and requires a thesis. Graduate faculty work with students in advanced and in-depth studies in these topics; provide guidance in fundamental and applied research; help develop powers of analysis, synthesis and critical thinking; and prepare students to follow academic and research careers through doctoral-level studies.

The program consists of 24 semester hours of course work and a minimum of six thesis hours.

Tennessee Tech houses three state-supported Centers of Excellence: Center for Energy Systems Research (CESR), Center for Manufacturing Research (CMR), and the Center for the Management, Utilization and Protection of Water Resources (CWR). The three centers offer excellent research opportunities, the use of state-of-the-art equipment and funding for graduate students in engineering.

Expectations for Professionalism in Mechanical Engineering

Master of Science Admissions Requirements

An applicant for admission to any of the MS programs offered by the departments of the College of Engineering is expected to have earned a BS degree from an approved program, or its equivalent. Admission is decided based on a multi-parameter criterion that can include the following items to be evaluated by the department:

  • undergraduate GPA of at least 3.00 on a 4.0 scale,
  • Satisfactory score on the GRE® General Test (GRE) scores. The Mechanical Engineering department recommends a total score of 295 on the Quantitative and Verbal portions of the exam, with a minimum of 3.0 on the Analytical Writing portion. Students with BS degrees in related fields from TTU are not required to take the GRE.
  • Three (3) letters of recommendation that demonstrate strong evidence for success in the graduate program.
  • Availability of appropriate faculty to serve as research advisor(s).
  • Participation in undergraduate research.
  • Post-BS degree professional experience relevant to planned degree of study.
  • Publications in peer reviewed journals and/or award-winning presentations in technical conferences.
  • International students must score at leasts 550 (213 computer-based or 79 internet-based) on the TOEFL or a minimum base score of 5.5 on the IELTS.

Based on the level of satisfaction of the above criterion, the department will either recommend admission to Full Standing, Provisional Standing, or Special Standing, or deny admission. Standing status may be changed to Full Standing after the student satisfies the requirements specified by the department at the time of admission.

Master of Science Degree Requirements

A master's degree is a certification that the recipient is able to read with understanding and apply with profit the literature of his/her field. The general requirements for an MS degree are the same for all departments: development and completion of a program of study which includes a minimum of 24 semester hours of course credits and at least six (6) semester hours of thesis. All pertinent regulations of the Graduate School apply. Listed below are College of Engineering regulations that are clarifications of, or additions to, those promulgated by the Graduate School. Additional information can be found in the listings of the individual departments.

Doctor of Philosophy Admission Requirements

A graduate program leading to a Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) degree in Engineering is offered by the College of Engineering. When applying for admission, a student must state on the application the specialization area of study for which admission is requested.

The basic admission standards for the Ph.D. program are the same as for the MS programs, except that, additionally, an applicant is expected to have completed an MS degree in an academic area appropriate to the proposed area of study and to have earned an MS GPA of at least 3.0 on a 4.0 scale. Though the general requirement for admission to the Ph.D. program is a master's degree in an appropriate discipline, students with a bachelor's degree may be admitted to the Ph.D. program directly on exceptional basis, provided the applicant has a record of excellent academic performance in an appropriate engineering program undergraduate program. The applicant's test scores, personal recommendations, and relevant work experience must indicate a high potential for success in doctoral studies and research. In addition, factors such as appropriateness of the applicant's research objectives to the research interests of the program faculty, availability of faculty to supervise the applicant's research, and prior research accomplishments of the applicant will also influence the admission decision. Fulfilling the minimum requirement does not guarantee admission; an applicant who does not meet the above minimum, but appears to have reasonable potential for success as a Ph.D. student, may be admitted to provisional standing. His/her status may be changed to full standing after satisfying requirements specified by the Associate Dean of Engineering for Graduate Studies and Research, in consultation with the appropriate departmental chairperson, at the time of admission. If admitted in provisional standing at either the MS or Ph.D. level, the student must remove all deficiencies and apply for reclassification to full standing prior to the completion of 15 graduate hours. Sometimes a master's-level student takes more graduate-level courses than are required for the degree because the student is expecting to continue on to the Ph.D. program and hopes to use the extra courses to satisfy the Ph.D. coursework requirement. When this is the case, the student can request when registering for the course(s) that the course(s) be "banked" for the Ph.D. program. If the student lacks no more than 12 semester hours on the master's degree, he/she may accumulate a maximum of nine (9) semester hours which may be applied toward the Ph.D. When this is the case, the student's advisory committee must initiate approval via memo with consensus of the departmental chairperson, dean of the college, and the Director of Graduate Studies. Banked courses then show up on the student's transcript as courses taken for the Ph.D. rather than being shown as a part of his/her M.S. program. Banking course does not guarantee admission to the Ph.D. program, or, if admitted, that the student's Ph.D. advisory committee will approve the course as part of the student's Ph.D. program of study.

Doctor of Philosophy Degree Requirements


The Ph.D. is a research degree. The general requirements for a Ph.D. degree in Engineering are the same for all departments:

    1. A minimum of 48 credits of course work and doctoral research and dissertation as follows:

    a. A minimum of 18 semester credits of course work beyond the master's degree, including six (6) semester credits of 7000-level course work acceptable to the student's advisory committee. Additional six (6) semester credits of either graduate level course work or research experience as per the policy of the student's major department. No 5000-level courses are to be used to meet the minimum requirements of course work.

    b. The equivalent of 24 semester credits of doctoral research and dissertation built upon the student's course of study and making a significant contribution to the state of knowledge or to the art of the engineering profession, is required; not more than n nine (9) credits may be earned in a particular semester.

2. Residence of four (4) semesters beyond the master's degree, with at least two (2) semesters in continuous residence, is required. All requirements, including the dissertation, must be completed within a period of eight (8) consecutive years.

3. Maintenance of a minimum quality point average of 3.0 and adherence to the general regulations of the Graduate School are expected.

All students in the program must follow a plan of study and research developed in conjunction with an advisory committee, satisfactorily complete a comprehensive examination, achieve candidacy, and satisfactorily defend the dissertation.


A student admitted with a bachelor's degree on exceptional basis, must successfully complete a qualifying examination based mostly on undergraduate materials before the end of the second semester of enrollment. This examination will be aimed at determining the student's mastery of the basic concepts in the discipline and the potential for successfully conducting research at the doctoral level. Based on the student's performance on the qualifying examination, the student may be (i) permitted to continue in the Doctoral Program, or (ii) advised to transfer to a MS degree program in an appropriate discipline in the College, or (iii) recommended for termination from the graduate program of the College.

If permitted to continue in the doctoral program, the student, as described elsewhere in the catalog, will select a research advisor, form an advisory committee, and submit a program of study satisfying the following requirements.

The program of study should have a minimum total of 72 semester credit hours of academic work, consisting of course work and dissertation work, beyond baccalaureate work, subject to the following:

• The program of study should include a minimum of 42 semester credits of appropriate graduate level course work consisting of a minimum of six (6) semester credits at the 7000-level and a maximum of nine (9) semester credits at the 5000-level, acceptable to the student's advisory committee.

• It should also include an additional six (6) semester credits of either graduate level course work or research experience as per the policy of the student's major department.

• A minimum of 24 semester credit hours of doctoral research and dissertation, built upon the student's course of study and making significant contribution to the state of knowledge and the art of the engineering profession, is required; no more than nine (9) credit hours may be earned in a particular semester.

Financial Support

A graduate degree is a valuable investment in your future. Tennessee Tech University, the College of Engineering, and Mechanical Engineering Department try to provide as many opportunities as possible for you to support your studies. Various funding opportunities include:

  • Graduate assistantships
  • Teaching Assistanships
  • Diversity Fellowship
  • Fellowships in Support of STEM Disciplines

For more info go to: Graduate Financial Aid


The faculty members of the Mechanical Engineering Department are a group dedicated to graduate teaching and research. They provide meaningful research opportunities and guidance for graduate students. A complete listing of all faculty members in the Department of Mechanical Engineering can be found at: Mechanical Engineering Faculty and Staff

For further information contact
Dr. Jie Cui
Graduate Program Coordinator
Dr. Mohan Rao
M.E. Department Chair