Prospective Graduate Students: Degree Programs

The department currently offers a PhD in Aerospace or Mechanical Engineering, as well as a M.S. degree in Mechanical or Aerospace Engineering. MAE is home to approximately 450 graduate students (approximately 2/3 MS and 1/3 PhD students). Additional combined and concurrent programs are available for undergraduates and with other departments within the university.

All students must satisfy all graduate school degree requirements in addition to any MAE requirements for graduation.  Please see the graduate school website for graduation requirements and checklist.  We present here a summary of MAE degree requirements with complete details presented in the MAE Graduate Policy Handbook (link to revised document coming soon). 


Master of Science in Mechanical Engineering or Aerospace Engineering:

Any master's degree candidates holding ABET-accredited baccalaureate degrees in engineering may elect to pursue the Master of Science degree (MS). Master’s degree candidates holding baccalaureate degrees in mathematics or physics will be evaluated for admission on a case-by-case-basis.  All remaining master’s degree candidates should apply only after receiving one of the BS degrees noted above. A total of 30 credit hours is required for the Master’s degree. The Master’s degree with thesis degree option includes a minimum of 24 credits of coursework and a maximum of 6 credits of thesis research.  For a student pursuing a non-thesis degree option, a total of 30 graded credit hours (excluding S/U courses) is required.  For both the thesis and non-thesis degree, up to 6 credits of approved coursework at the 3000 or 4000 level from another department (excluding EGN courses) may be taken and used to satisfy degree requirements as long as they are a part of an approved plan of study.  

A comprehensive final examination is required by the Graduate School for a master’s student in the non-thesis option. The exam may not be scheduled earlier than the term that precedes the semester in which the degree is to be conferred.  Passing the written qualifying PhD exam is an acceptable MS non-thesis examination for those continuing towards for PhD; note however, that the exam must be taken in either the term of graduation or the previous term.


Doctor of Philosophy in Mechanical Engineering or Aerospace Engineering:

The Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) is a research-oriented degree requiring independent mastery of a field of knowledge. As such, the Graduate School and MAE offers considerable flexibility in tailoring individual programs.

All PhD students must take a minimum of 39 graded credit hours (excludes S/U graded courses) beyond their BS degree. Students are expected to complete a Plan of Study, which should list a tentative title for the student’s dissertation.  As the student progresses toward the degree, any significant deviations in their program from the approved Plan of Study should be discussed and approved by the student’s advisor.

Once accepted into the MAE PhD program, the following are required for the successful completion of a PhD degree:

  1. A minimum of 90 semester credits beyond the baccalaureate degree is required for the doctoral degree, including a minimum of 39 graded credit hours (excludes S/U graded courses) beyond the BS degree.  If a minor is selected, a minimum of 12 graduate credits in the minor must be taken. If two minors are selected, each must include at least 8 graduate credits. For a minor to be valid, a minimum of 3.0 GPA in the minor must be earned. Students with a recognized master's degree from another institution must petition the Graduate School for a Transfer of Graduate Credit for all eligible coursework earned with a grade of B or better. 30 graded credits may be used to fulfill the required 90 degree program credits.  This petition is routinely granted.
  2. Students must meet the University’s residency requirement which states that “Beyond the first 30 hours counted toward the doctoral degree, students must complete 30 hours in residence at the University of Florida campus or at approved branch stations of the University of Florida Agricultural Experiment Station.”
  3. Students must be admitted to PhD candidacy.
  4. There is a minimum time lapse of two semesters between being admitted to candidacy and receiving the doctoral degree. The term in which the student is officially admitted to candidacy may be counted as one of the two semesters, provided that the exam is completed satisfactorily before the midpoint of the semester (students should consult the Graduate School calendar critical dates for each term).
  5. A dissertation must be presented which shows independent research to the satisfaction of the Graduate school and the Supervisory Committee.
  6. The final dissertation defense and examination must be passed.
  7. All work must be completed within 5 years of the oral portion (Research Proposal) of the candidacy exam, or the written portion must be retaken.

Dissertation format requirements are essentially the same as those for the Master’s degree thesis. Of course, the level and significance of the work must be much greater. The dissertation must meet all requirements of the Graduate School Editorial Office, and must be submitted to the Editorial Office for review by the published Graduate School dates of the semester of graduation (students should consult the Graduate School calendar critical dates for each term).


Guidelines for Plan of Study

During the first year of graduate study, the normal expectation is that each student would take a minimum of three regular courses in both the Fall and Spring semesters.  Generally, these would include core courses and (if Ph.D. student) those which will prepare the student for the qualifying exam, as well as an appropriate mix of elective courses for the chosen specialization. Except for a minority of students doing interdisciplinary specializations whose Plans of Study will be reviewed by the Graduate Committee, a student will follow the requirements of one of the three MAE graduate study groups:

  • Dynamics, Systems, and Control (DSC)
  • Solid Mechanics, Design, and Manufacturing (SMDM)
  • Thermal Science and Fluid Dynamics (TSFD)

The plan of study (and qualifying exam if a Ph.D. student) will be based upon the chosen group, please see the MAE Graduate Policy Handbook (link to revised document coming soon) for complete details.