Mechanical Engineering

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Doctor of Philosophy Degree Requirements

Students must identify academic supervisors (faculty members from the Graduate Program in Mechanical Engineering) when they enrol in the program. All students are required to plan and conduct their course- and research-related activities under the direct guidance of their supervisors. Many PhD students perform teaching assistantships at our program. Candidates for the PhD degree must fulfil the following requirements:

For PhD students, the expected degree completion time is 12 terms (four years) on a full-time enrolment basis. For those PhD students who complete degree requirements earlier than 12 terms, they must register and pay fees for a minimum of the equivalent of nine (9) terms of full-time study. All requirements for a PhD degree must be fulfilled within 18 terms (6 years) of registration as a full-time or part-time PhD student, in accordance with Faculty of Graduate Studies’ registration policies, including the requirement of continuous registration.
Students are required to complete their coursework requirements according to the table below and in consultation with their supervisor(s) and the graduate program director.

The Graduate Program in Mechanical Engineering uniquely engages graduate students in important complementary education and training in areas such as teaching/mentoring, engineering pedagogy, technology transfer, entrepreneurship and commercialization, legal aspects and governance, communications, as well as ethical, societal and safety obligations. This engagement is enabled by a complementary studies coursework option, as well as an atmosphere that encourages students’ outreach and extracurricular activities. Complementary education and training results in the diversification of knowledge and experience beyond the immediate research field as well as the acquisition of qualities and transferable skills required for employment and professional development.
PhD students are required to conduct research independently through defining, planning and solving of scientific problems to lead and advance knowledge in their field of specialization. Research outcomes should lead to creativity and competence at an international level and have the significance and standard level that can be disseminated in the form of scientific publications.

PhD students commence their research activities upon registration in the program and plan them in consultation with their supervisor at the start of their studies. They must register for the non-credit course Mechanical Engineering 9002 0.0: PhD Dissertation course.

A supervisory committee, recommended by the Graduate Program Director and approved by the Dean, Faculty of Graduate Studies, must be formed immediately after joining. This committee consists of the student’s supervisor and at least two other faculty members from the Faculty of Graduate Studies at York University.
The PhD student’s research progress is examined annually by meeting with their supervisory committee. Students are required to submit a progress report and form to their supervisory committee which documents courses taken, teaching assistant duties, knowledge dissemination through publications and presentations, and the supervisor’s direct feedback on the student’s overall performance. If the annual performance of the student in research is deemed unsatisfactory by the supervisory committee, they may be asked to withdraw from the program immediately, even after successful completion of the PhD comprehensive examination (see below).

If recommended to continue, students are obliged to conduct and conclude their research and to submit a written dissertation to their supervisory committee at the end of their degree period. The dissertation must clearly demonstrate the candidate’s ability to conduct independent research and creative activities, resulting in contributions to the body of knowledge in the area of investigation. The research undertaken and the dissertation must be defended by the student in an oral examination session. The examination committee members are selected and the defence session is conducted based on regulations set by the Faculty of Graduate Studies.
Within the first 12 to 18 months of starting the Mechanical Engineering Graduate Program, each PhD student must pass the GME. Direct entry PhD students must complete their GME within 24 to 30 months of beginning the program. For MASc students who transfer to the PhD or Direct PhD programs, an additional 6 months can be added to the deadlines above, and timing of the GME is calculated from their placement term in the PhD or Direct PhD programs (please refer to the MEGP Transfer Guideline document for more details).

The purpose of the GME is two-fold:
1- To assess the student’s fundamental knowledge in mechanical engineering and/or the subject matter directly related to the dissertation; and
2- To assess the student’s potential to conduct independent research of highest quality by the time of graduation, based on the research done to the date of the GME and the proposed research thereafter.

The student must prepare a short report outlining their research work conducted, proposed research plan, and the timeline for completion of their degree requirements. The student must present this report in front of the doctoral comprehensive examination committee. This is an open presentation followed by a question and answer period from the audience attending the presentation part of the examination. The presentation is followed by a closed-door oral examination by the examination committee members. Typically, the first round of questions assesses the student’s fundamental knowledge in the discipline. The second and subsequent round of questions assesses the student’s understanding of the research topic and their independence in research. The exam may take approximately 3 hours.

Direct PhD Entry Option

Students who are admitted directly into the Direct PhD program in Mechanical Engineering after completion of their undergraduate degree must successfully complete a minimum of 5 for-credit courses, plus some not-for-credit mandatory courses. Please see the table above for more information. In addition to the courses, these students are expected to conduct research under the guidance of a supervisory committee, pass the comprehensive exam (at 24-30 months after joining the program), and defend a dissertation as described above.