Dec 07, 2022  
2021-2022 Graduate Catalog 
2021-2022 Graduate Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Mechanical Engineering Program Information

Departmental Admissions Requirements

Master’s Degree

An applicant for admission to the MS in Mechanical 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 3.0 on a 4.0 scale,
  • GRE® General Test (GRE) scores with Quantitative greater than or equal to 50%; Verbal greater than or equal to 33%; Analytical Writing greater than or equal to 33%. 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 least 550 (213 computer-based or 79 internet-based) on the TOEFL or a minimum base score of 6.0 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.

The ME Department has a Departmental Admissions Committee who reviews and evaluates each application individually for unique merits and for the applicant’s potential success in the graduate program and makes admission recommendation to the appropriate administrator. Students who do not meet the minimum admission requirements or whose potential for success is not evident from the application may be considered for provisional standing. These students will be reclassified to full standing once they satisfy the conditions specified in the provisional admission statement. Occasionally, highly qualified students not having their BS degree in mechanical engineering may be admitted on a provisional basis with the stipulation of satisfactorily completing a specified set of undergraduate courses before achieving full standing. If admitted in provisional standing at master’s level, the student must remove all deficiencies and apply for reclassification to full standing prior to the completion of 15 graduate hours.

Doctor of Philosophy Degree

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 3.5 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.

Fast Track M.S. Program

The Fast Track program is designed to enable TTU ME undergraduates to accumulate up to six (6) credit hours of graduate coursework while still pursuing their undergraduate degree and to transition to the graduate program smoothly, with accelerated completion. Up to six (6) hours of graduate coursework, exclusive of directed study, taken during the student’s senior year can be used to satisfy both undergraduate and graduate degree requirements (“double counted”). These courses must be taken at Tennessee Tech University and must be approved as appropriate substitutions in the undergraduate curriculum for senior ME electives (AOE courses). There is no obligation to complete the master’s degree if the student’s plans change. Students who plan to work on a master’s thesis are strongly encouraged to meet with faculty during their junior and senior year to get a head start on the research for their master’s degree.

Requirements to Apply

  • Student must be an ME undergraduate student in their junior or senior year.
  • Student must have obtained a grade point average (GPA) of 3.5 or higher for ME courses.
  • Meeting the minimum requirements does not guarantee admission to the BS/MS graduate program. Since this is a new program on a trial basis, a quota of 10 students per year will be imposed. To receive full consideration, all applications to the BS/MS program should be received two weeks before the start of the registration period.

Program Rules and Requirements

To maintain eligibility for the BS/MS program after being accepted, students must:

  • Maintain a 3.5 GPA or higher (ME courses) at the undergraduate level. Students who graduate with their BS degree with less than a 3.5 GPA (ME courses) will not be eligible for the BS/MS program.
  • Students must complete their BS degree, and then matriculate into the MS program. Students cannot graduate with a BS and MS at the same time.
  • Start in the MS program immediately after graduating with their BS degree. The only exception to this is summer semester. Students who graduate in the spring are allowed to take summer semester off and start in the fall semester.
  • The student is required to maintain a 3.5 GPA throughout the MS degree

Degree Options

Master’s Program

There are two options to consider:

  • Thesis option
    • This option requires 30 credit hours, which includes 22-24 credit hours of course work and 6-8 credit hours of thesis research.
    • Funding from the ME Department may be available through the department in the form of Graduate Teaching Assistantships (GTA). Graduate Research Assistantships (GRA) are awarded by individual faculty from their research grants/contracts.
    • The time it takes to complete the M.S. degree depends on the thesis project, the advisor, and the student’s motivation and work ethic.
  • Non-thesis option
    • This option requires 33 credit hours, which includes 30 hours of course work and 3 hours for the independent project course.
    • There is no funding available through the department for this option.
    • With proper planning, well-motivated students can complete the M.S. non-thesis degree in three semesters.

Doctor of Philosophy in Engineering Program

The Ph.D. is a research degree. The minimum requirements for a Ph.D. degree in Engineering are the same for all departments. Each department may include additional stricter degree requirements for students pursuing specialization in that department. 

Students Admitted with a Master’s Degree

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

    A minimum of 18 semester credits of course work beyond the master’s degree, including 6 semester credits of 7000-level course work acceptable to the student’s advisory committee. Additional six semester credits of either graduate level course work or research experience as per the policy of the department. No 5000-level courses are to be used to meet the minimum requirements of course work. The research experience may include any of the following activities.
    • ME 7980 : Directed Study on selected topics
    • ME 7980 : Pre-approved research activity (or experience) at a research institute or laboratory
    • ME 7980 : Conducting a pre-approved industrial project/research 
    • ME 7980 : Research leading to author or co-author a paper for submission to journal or professional conference on subjects not covered in the dissertation
    • ME 7980 : Writing a research proposal for submission to a (federal funding agency or its equivalent)
    • Other research activities approved by the advisory committee.
  2. 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 9 credits may be earned in a particular semester.
  3. Residence of four (4) semesters beyond the master’s degree, with at least two semesters in continuous residence, is required. All requirements, including the dissertation, must be completed within a period of eight consecutive years.
  4. Maintenance of a minimum quality point average of 3.0 and adherence to the general regulations of the Graduate School are expected.
  5. 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.

Students Admitted Directly from the Bachelor’s Degree

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:

  1. The program of study should include a minimum of 42 semester credits of appropriate graduate level course work consisting of a minimum of 6 semester credits at the 7000-level and a maximum of 9 semester credits at the 5000-level, acceptable to the student’s advisory committee.
  2. It should also include an additional 6 semester credits of either graduate level course work or research experience as per the policy of the ME department described above.
  3. 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 credit hours may be earned in a particular semester.
  4. The other requirements, such as residency, grade point average, comprehensive exam, and dissertation are the same as those for students admitted with a master’s degree, as described in the catalog.