PhD in Mechanical Engineering

PhD in Mechanical Engineering

Expand Your Expertise

Deepen your knowledge and expand your career possibilities with a PhD in Mechanical Engineering.

We offer the PhD in Mechanical Engineering at our Potsdam campus.

Why Get a PhD in Mechanical Engineering From Clarkson?

Through world-relevant curriculum and engagement with leaders in industry, business and education, you'll be prepared to master complex systems, forge connections across people and fields and discover creative solutions to some of today’s most vexing challenges. You'll deepen your knowledge base to accelerate your ideas into great products with lasting impact.

Our department is one of the largest at Clarkson. We have several mechanical and aerospace research facilities and labs, including our small wind Blade Test Facility (one of only three in the nation), a flight simulator and a wind tunnel (where the USA Luge team tested their sled aerodynamics before the last Winter Olympics).

Our nationally recognized faculty bring their own experiences and networks into their teaching and advising. Our deans and faculty consult regularly with advisory councils comprised of industry leaders, alumni employers, research partners, think-tank consortium members and peers in academia.

What You'll Learn

Our PhD program provides you with research-level expertise in a focus area within mechanical engineering and a breadth of knowledge in areas related to your focus area.

In addition to taking a set of courses in your chosen area of interest, you will complete a research dissertation, a significant original contribution to research on a chosen subject. Each doctoral student is supervised by a primary research advisor and an advisory committee.

Example Courses

  • Advanced CAD
  • Advanced Fluid Mechanics
  • Advanced Mechanical Vibration
  • Advanced Mechanics of Composite Materials
  • Advanced Optimal Design
  • Advanced Welding Metallurgy
  • Computational Fluid Dynamics
  • Continuum Mechanics
  • Engineering Analysis
  • Finite Element Methods
  • Principles of Physical Metallurgy
  • Stochastic Processes in Engineering

View the curriculum for the PhD in Mechanical Engineering.

Main Campus Degree Requirements: PhD

MS in engineering or equivalent. Students applying from other disciplines will be handled on a case-by-case basis.

Required Courses

Minimum of 2 ME Graduate Courses:

  • Advanced Thermal Systems (ME517)
  • Advanced Fluid Mechanics (ME527)
  • Stochastic Processes in Engineering (ME529)
  • Computational Fluid Dynamics (ME531)
  • Fluid Mechanics of Aerosol Dis (ME537)
  • Experimental Aerosol Mechanics and Instrumentation (ME538)
  • Advanced Optimal Design (ME543)
  • Advanced CAD (ME544)
  • Continuum Mechanics (ME554)
  • Advanced Mechanical Vibrations (ME555)
  • Advanced Mechanics of Composite Materials (ME557)
  • Applied Dynamical Systems (ME563)
  • Adv. Mod and Sim of Design Systems (ME580)
  • Advanced Welding Metallurgy (ME590)
  • Principles of Physical Metallurgy (ME595)
  • Plasticity (ME633)
  • Advanced Turbulence (ME639)

At least 1 mathematics course:

  • Engineering Analysis (CE556)
  • Engineering Analysis (CH561)
  • Finite Element Methods (ME515)
  • Sets and Topology (MA514)
  • Classical Complex Analysis (MA521)
  • Classical Real Analysis (MA522)
  • Initial and Boundary Value Problems (MA531)
  • Nonlinear Partial Differential Equations (MA550)
  • Numerical Methods (MA577)
  • Numerical Analysis (MA578)
  • Probability (MA581)

No more than 2 courses from:

  • Selected Topics in Materials Engineering (ME591)
  • Selected Topics in Manufacturing (ME594)
  • Selected Topics in Heat Transfer (ME618)
  • Special Topics in Fluid Mechanics (ME628)
  • Selected Topics in Solid Mechanics (ME657)

Course Work Requirements

a) All coursework must be mutually agreed upon by the student and
b) A minimum of 39 credit hours of course work must be completed. Students may transfer in up to 30 credits of research and course work from an MS degree, with a grade of B or better. A graduate transfer credit/waiver request form must be approved by the graduate committee chair and department chair. For instances where no equivalent Clarkson University course exists, but the advisor deems the course worthy of transfer, a Special Graduate Topics course number may be used; e.g., ES 999, CM 999, CH 999, etc.
c) No more than four courses (inclusive of courses transferred for the M.S. degree) may be selected from the following list. Previous Selected Topics courses taken to satisfy the MS degree requirements do not count against this restriction.
ME591 Selected Topics in Materials Engineering
ME594 Selected Topics in Manufacturing
ME618 Selected Topics in Heat Transfer
ME628 Special Topics in Fluid Mechanics
ME657 Selected Topics in Solid Mechanics
d) 6 credits of seminar
e) At least two additional ME courses beyond the M.S. degree course requirements (part of the 39 course credit hours required).

The comprehensive examination (qualifying examination and research proposal defense examination) for admission to candidacy must be taken within two years after admission to the PhD program. A student will be dropped from the program if the exam is failed twice.

A dissertation must be submitted and defended orally before an examining committee. The examining committee will consist of a minimum of five members, four of whom must be Clarkson faculty. At least one of the faculty must be from a department other than the advisor’s department. With the approval of the provost, the fifth member may be any person with appropriate credentials from either inside or outside the University.

The program for research assistants and teaching assistants will include at least one credit hour toward a thesis each semester.

A complete application consists of the following:

  • Online Application Form
  • Resume.
  • Statement of Purpose.
  • 3 Letters of Recommendation.
  • Official Transcripts.
  • GRE Test Scores.
    • Required.
  • For international applicants, an English proficiency test is required.
    • Minimum test score requirements: TOEFL (80) and TOEFL Essentials (8.5), IELTS (6.5), PTE (56) or Duolingo English Test (115).
    • The English language-testing requirement is not waived based on language of instruction, nor do we accept university certificates. English testing is waived if an applicant has a degree from a country where English is the Native Language. Click here to see the list of these countries.


MS in engineering or equivalent. Students applying from other disciplines will be handled on a case-by-case basis.

Career Opportunities

For 2023, the median wage of a mechanical engineer with a PhD in the U.S. was $115,000 a year, according to However, the expected salary of an engineer with a PhD varies considerably according to experience.

Positions for those with a PhD in mechanical engineering include:

  • Industrial production manager
  • Professor
  • Research manager

Recent Employers

Recent employers of Clarkson PhD in Mechanical Engineering graduates include:

  • Cadence Design Systems
  • Exxon
  • Facebook
  • LC Drives
  • Lucid Motors
  • Pratt & Whitney
  • RIT
  • Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology
  • WEG Industries

| STEM OPT Eligible

Contact Us

Department of Graduate Admissions
Phone: 518-631-9831

Interested in learning more about the PhD in Mechanical Engineering? Contact the Office of Graduate Admissions today with your questions.

Find out more about the Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering in the Coulter School of Engineering and Applied Sciences

100% Graduate Placement Rate - Program Specific

Deepen Your Expertise

Increase your earning potential, and qualify for a wide range of academic and industry opportunities with a PhD from Clarkson.