General Degree Requirements
PhD students must complete at least three years or equivalent of graduate study after the baccalaureate degree or two years or equivalent after the Master’s degree. At least two regular semesters beyond (not including summer) the Master’s degree must be completed in full residence at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville.
Course Requirements – Doctor of Philosophy
- Three Core courses from the Discipline defined as the student’s field of study (as detailed for each Discipline)
- One Core course from an MAE Discipline outside the student’s field of study
- Either one Core course from the third MAE Discipline or a graduate course in either another SEAS department or a Math or Science graduate course outside the SEAS
- One Engineering Analysis class
- Any six graduate classes
- No more than 9 credits from 5000 level classes
- No more than 6 credits from 5000 level MAE classes
The time limit for completion of the PhD is 7 years. The time to degree can be extended beyond its ordinary term for SEAS graduate students for: (1) maternity or family parenting, (2) serious personal or family illness upon notification to and approval of the department and the Associate Dean for Graduate Studies. The “clock-stopping” will be for a period of up to one year. Utilization of this policy should be invoked as soon as the need for additional time becomes known.
Direct Pursuit of PhD
If a PhD candidate wishes to directly pursue a PhD without a Masters degree, they may do so by completing a request for admission to the PhD program (form G-123).
Selection of Advisor and Advisory Committee
PhD students must select an advisor and, in consultation with their advisor, an advisory committee during their first semester of doctoral study. The advisor is normally a faculty member in the student’s primary area of interest. The Advisory Committee recommends a program of formal courses, advises the student on areas in which he or she must take PhD examinations, discusses research objectives and plans with the student, and approves the student’s dissertation proposal. The chair of the Advisory Committee must be a MAE faculty (but may not be the advisor). The PhD Advisory Committee must include a minimum of 3 SEAS faculty, one additional UVa faculty member from outside the student’s home department, and a minimum of 4 total members. Note, all faculty with a primary appointment in Biomedical Engineering are considered SEAS faculty for this purpose. The purpose of the member from outside of the student’s home department is to ensure consistency across the University, to help ensure fairness to the student and to prevent conflict inside the department. The outside member must be UVa faculty. The Advisory Committee should be appointed early in the student’s PhD program and actively participate in advising and directing the student.
Form G-104 should be used for the selection of an advisor and form G-103 should be used for the selection of the Ph.D. Advisory Committee. A current C.V. or biography must be submitted along with the G103 form for members who are not UVa faculty. The C.V. or biography should include the highest degree attained, the year and institution, and any relevant experience or research which would provide expertise needed for sitting on the committee. Should the student’s interests change, the advisory committee can be restructured as appropriate.
PhD Plan of Study
All PhD students are required to complete and submit an approved course plan of study (form G-102) by the end of their first semester of doctoral study. The student must meet with his/her advisory committee to determine a plan of study. Before this meeting the student should meet with his/her advisor and prepare a preliminary academic outline consisting of previous degrees, proposed PhD field of study, list of completed graduate courses, a copy of a transcript of graduate and undergraduate courses, and a list of proposed courses for the PhD degree. The plan of study must include at least 24 hours of MAE 9999 dissertation research, and the student must satisfy the department course requirements, as previously outlined, but these are the minimum course hour requirements. The student’s advisory
committee may require additional courses. While most PhD students will complete a Master’s Degree before entering the PhD program, students may be admitted directly to the PhD program 20 from a Baccalaureate program with the approval of the Graduate Studies Committee.
Transfer of Credit
PhD students do not typically transfer credits but “credit” is given for courses taken previously (credit towards both the plan of study and the qualifying exam exemption requirements as described in the next section). All PhD students must satisfy the course curriculum requirements, but this may be done through coursework taken at other universities toward an MS or from other PhD work. Students should discuss their prior coursework with their advisor and advisory committee as the plan of study is developed and then petition the Graduate Studies Committee to allow prior course work to fulfill the appropriate curriculum requirements. The following should be included in the request to the Graduate Studies Committee: an endorsement from their faculty advisor, a course description of the course taken elsewhere along with the syllabus (including the text book used), and a complete plan of study showing how the course fits into the overall course plan.
PhD Qualifying Exam
Purpose: The purpose of the comprehensive examinations shall be to evaluate the ability of the student to think and to critically evaluate research in his/her field.
- The exam will be administered once a year, typically in September or October.
- The scheduling of any required reexaminations will be done by the examination committee but must occur by the end of that same semester.
- The exam must be taken no later than the first offering occurring one year after the student begins the PhD program. An Examination Committee appointed by the Graduate Studies Committee (and excluding the student’s research advisor) will conduct the exam.
- The Examination Committee will consist of four or five members. The committee will contain at least one expert in the student’s field of research interest. The Graduate Studies Committee must approve experts from outside the University.
- The oral exam will consist of a formal seminar during which the student will discuss an existing paper in the literature, chosen in the student’s area of research by the Examination Committee. The seminar will be followed by a period of formal questioning conducted by the Examination Committee.
Two written exams must be taken, unless exempted via the paragraphs in the section on Written Examinations below. One must come from the following list of three exams:
- Dynamical Systems and Control
- Solid Mechanics
The second exam must come from the following list:
- one of the other three exams listed above
- APMA (applied mathematics)
- an exam in an outside area
Requests to take an exam in an outside area should be approved by the Graduate Studies Committee well in advance of the examination. Exams in outside areas will be written and graded by faculty in those areas.
Written examinations will be taken in two areas, one of which must be Dynamical Systems & Control, Solid Mechanics, or Thermofluids; however, the student may be considered exempt from either or both of these examinations if the prescribed courses and minimum levels of performance listed below are satisfied.
- Dynamical Systems & Control
A grade of A- or better in one course from each of two chosen categories:
[Category – Courses]
Dynamics MAE 6210 – Analytical Dynamics
MAE 6250 – Multibody Mechanical Systems
Systems MAE 6520 – Linear State Space Systems
MAE 6230 – Vibrations
Control MAE 6510 – Linear Automatic Control Systems
MAE 7550 – Multivariable Control22
- Solid Mechanics
A grade of A- or better in two of the following five courses:
MAE 6020 – Continuum Mechanics with Applications
MAE 6070 – Theory of Elasticity
MAE 6080 – Constitutive Modeling of Biosystems
AM 7080 – Inelastic Solid Mechanics
AM 7140 – Nonlinear Elasticity Theory
A grade of A- or better in two of the three following courses:
MAE 6100 – Thermomechanics
MAE 6310 – Fluid Mechanics I
MAE 6110 – Heat and Mass Transport Phenomena
- Applied Mathematics
A grade of A- or better in the following two courses:
APMA 6410 – Engineering Mathematics I
APMA 6420 – Engineering Mathematics II
- Written Examinations in Outside Areas: An outside area examination, including a list of courses and levels of minimum performance for exemption from that examination, must be approved by the Graduate Studies Committee. It is recommended that this be done at least 6 months in advance of the examination.
Petitions for substitution of the above courses by courses taken outside the university will be considered by the Graduate Studies Committee (see Transfer of Credit section for the PhD program above). The chairman for each written examination area will provide the student with the format of the written exam at the student’s request.
- To determine the area for the research paper, the student should provide the Graduate Studies Committee with a written statement of his/her research area, including keywords, when requested a few months in advance of the scheduled exam. The advisor may make suggestions for research papers to be considered for presentation at this time.
- The Graduate Studies Committee will appoint the Examination Committee and the Committee Chair (who should have significant expertise in the area of research).
- The Examination Committee will select the paper for oral presentation by the student. The chosen paper should be often cited or referenced. The student’s faculty advisor will be consulted for the suitability of the selected paper. The student will be informed of the paper selected for presentation at least 3 weeks before the scheduled oral presentation.
Format of oral presentation:
- The oral presentation shall be a formal, public presentation of the selected research paper. The presentation will be approximately one hour in length and will be addressed primarily to the Examination Committee, some of whom will not be experts in the field.
- The presentation shall include the following:
- Discussion of the work done in the field prior to the publication (i.e., put the paper into historical perspective).
- Presentation of the paper in a standard format (i.e., introduction, approach, results, conclusions, etc).
- Critique of the paper. This should include a discussion of any errors, incorrect or unjustified assumptions, alternative approaches, etc.
- Discussion of the impact/significance of the paper to the field.
- Review of the progress in the field since the publication of this paper.
Evaluation of oral presentation:
1. The public presentation will be followed by a closed question/answer session conducted by the Examination Committee. The faculty advisor may be present at the closed session, but may not participate in the questioning or answering.
2. Performance on the oral exam will be evaluated primarily on the technical content of the presentation and how well each of the points, 2a-2e above, were addressed; however, the quality of the presentation will also be considered in the overall evaluation.The examining committee should be appointed and approved on Form G105 at least one week in advance of the exam, and the report on the examination (form G107) should be filed within one week after the conclusion of the exam, along with the assessment form.
After the student has been admitted to PhD study, the student should work with his/her advisor and define a dissertation topic. A dissertation proposal based on this topic must be submitted to the proposal examining committee. The proposal examining committee, which must include at least four members of the Advisory Committee, is appointed via form G-105. The student should prepare an acceptable dissertation proposal completed under the guidance of the student’s advisor. This proposal should be presented before any extensive research is undertaken, in order to receive early faculty approval of the suitability of the proposed research. It is recommended that the written proposal document, typically around 20 single-spaced pages, including figures, be prepared according to the following guidelines:
The document should succinctly describe:
- the problem
- relationship to other work in the field
- the research plan including specific research activities;
- expected contributions and the anticipated means of dissemination (publication plans)
* A comprehensive literature review may be included as an appendix.
An example of an organization that may be appropriate is:
- What is the problem?
- Why is it important?
- What is novel about the proposed research?
- What is the research agenda? The proposed approach?
- What are the contingency plans?
- What is the anticipated schedule? (Which journals? When?)
The student should prepare a public oral presentation of the proposal. It is recommended that the proposal be made within two semesters after successfully completing the Ph.D. qualifying examination. The student should provide the proposal examining committee (which is identical to the Advisory Committee, and is appointed via form G-105) with the written proposal document at least two weeks prior to the oral presentation. A copy of the student’s plan of study (complete with grades), CV, and any publications should also be given to the committee at this time.
The oral presentation should be limited to 30 minutes and will be followed by questions from the audience and the proposal examining committee. Successful completion of the dissertation proposal examination will result in admission to candidacy for the degree (using form G-108). The student must complete at least one full semester as a candidate before the degree is awarded. In the event that a suitable proposal is not presented, but the faculty believes the student has sufficient research potential, another research presentation should be scheduled within 6 months.
PhD Final Examination Committee
The Final Dissertation Examining Committee must include a minimum of 3 SEAS faculty, a minimum of 4 UVa faculty, and a minimum of 5 total members. (All faculty with a primary appointment in Biomedical Engineering are considered SEAS faculty for this purpose.) One of the UVa faculty members must be from outside the student’s home department. The chair of the Final Examination Committee must be a MAE faculty (but may not be the advisor). The committee is typically composed of the PhD advisory committee along with one additional member. Request for Appointment of Examining Committee must be submitted to the Office of the Dean at least 2 weeks prior to the examination date.
Before beginning to write a dissertation, the student should obtain and read form G-122, entitled “Instructions for Thesis Preparation”, which outlines the approved school format and requirements. Prior to completion of the final dissertation, a typed copy should be submitted to the SEAS Graduate Office (complete except for minor typographical errors) to be checked for format and returned to the candidate.
The completed dissertation must be delivered to each member of the examining committee at least 14 days prior to the defense. At this time, the student should also provide a copy of a plan of study, CV, and copies of all publications to his/her committee. The student is responsible for reserving a suitable conference room and should send the abstract to the graduate coordinator at least 7 days prior to the defense for public announcement.
After your dissertation defense, your committee must complete a Dissertation Final Exam (oral defense) Report (form G-111) and a Dissertation Assessment form. These forms should be accompanied by a completed MAE Course Requirements – Doctor of Philosophy form. These forms are due at least 1 week before graduation date. After successfully completing any changes that need to be made to the dissertation, take three copies of the final revision of the dissertation on acceptable permalife paper, signed by author and committee members, in manila envelopes with the necessary information (see thesis check list) clearly visible on the envelope to Sara Thacker, Graduate Office, Thornton Hall. This must be done at least 10 days before graduation date. She will prepare your paperwork and, once all paperwork is complete, you will go to Printing Services in Alderman Library and drop your thesis off to be bound. At this time you must pay to have these three official university copies bound. You will get a receipt, and that receipt must be given to Sara Thacker by the 10th day of the month of your graduation.
Application for Graduation
All students are required to complete and submit an application for degree (form G-113) by the following deadlines:
- October 1 for January graduation
- February 1 for May graduation
- June 1 for August graduation
It is important to double-check all deadlines and dates the semester you intend to graduate.
All MS and PhD students are expected to complete publishable quality original research. Regular publication and presentation of scholarly work is an expected part of any graduate level research program.
PhD Forms and Announcement Requirements
The following is a list of requirements and forms that must be submitted to the graduate office according to SEAS deadlines. All forms are available on the departmental website.
First Semester (Revise as necessary)
- Appointment of Advisor G-104
- Appointment of Doctoral Advisory Committee G-103
- Doctoral Degree Plan of Study G-102
- Comprehensive Exam (one year after being admitted to PhD program)
- Appointment of Examining Committee G-105
- Report of Comprehensive Exam G-107
Dissertation Proposal (minimum of one semester before graduation)
- Appointment of Examining Committee G-105
- Announcement of Proposal to Faculty
- Report on Dissertation Outline/Admission to Candidacy G-108
- + Assessment Form
- MAE Course Requirements – Doctor of Philosophy
- Degree Application G-113
- Appointment of Examining Committee G-105
- Announcement of Defense to Faculty
- Dissertation Final Exam (Oral Defense) Report G-111
- + Assessment Form
- Dissertation Submission and Binding Receipt
Please note: all forms should be submitted to the MAE Graduate Office.
INSTRUCTIONS FOR THESIS (AND DISSERTATION) PREPARATION
These instructions apply to candidates for both the Master’s and Doctoral degrees. The term thesis as used here refers to both the Master’s thesis and the Doctoral dissertation. The term advisor refers to both the Master’s faculty advisor and the Doctoral advisory committee.
I. Writing and Submission:
Three major steps should be observed in reporting the research completed for a graduate degree:
- submission of the research proposal and thesis outline (for Ph.D. students only)
- defense of the thesis, and
- copies of the final thesis submitted for binding.
1. A typed copy of the detailed proposal and outline must be submitted to the Office of the Dean by the specified date. An individual copy of the proposal must also be given to each advisory committee member. Note that this requirement is for Ph.D. students ONLY.
2. Prior to your final defense, bring a copy of your thesis/dissertation to A-108, Thornton Hall (Graduate Records) for a format check.
3. Three copies of the final revision of thesis, signed by the author and the thesis advisor or advisory committee chairman, in manila envelopes, must be submitted to the Graduate Records Office, A-108, Thornton Hall by the specified date. This date will be different for each graduating session.
The specifications stated therein are acceptable to the School of Engineering and Applied Science unless stated otherwise below. Samples of engineering theses are available in the University of Virginia Libraries or departmental offices. In addition to these general requirements, there are certain special requirements of the School of Engineering and Applied Science.
1. A standard type with 10 or 12 characters per inch must be used throughout the thesis. If there are any questions, a sample of type may be submitted to the Graduate Records Office for approval before typing of the thesis is started. All theses must be typed, double space, on a good grade of white bond paper, 8 1/2″ x 11″ sheets. Copies that are not clear and readable will be rejected. It is preferable that all photos are original prints unless reproductions with a resolution equal to the original print can be supplied.
2. All copies must be on thesis quality paper. A listing of acceptable papers can be obtained from the Graduate Office, A-108, Thornton Hall.
3. A margin of 1 1/2″ inches must be maintained on the left side. A margin of 1″ inch must be maintained on the top, right side, and bottom of each page. The text and footnotes should be kept within these margins. The page numbers are to be placed in the top right hand corner of the page.
4. The thesis should start with a title page, immediately followed by an approval page. Samples of both special pages are attached.
5. A complete list of Symbols should be given following the list of figures. These symbols should be listed in alphabetical order, and if both Arabic and Greek letters are used, all the Arabic Symbols should be listed first and these followed by the Greek (and others in order, if used).
6. References should be numbered consecutively throughout the text of the thesis. These numbers will refer to a numbered bibliography, which should immediately follow the thesis text. Reference by name of author and date of publication is also acceptable. However, footnotes (as distinguished from references) should be placed at the bottom of the page of which they occur.
7. Figures should be inserted in the text of the thesis so each figure follows its text reference as closely as possible. They should not be collected in a separate section at the end of the thesis. Figures and graphs should be centered within the margins specified above. In any authorized deviation the binding margin must be wide enough to permit binding without obscuring any part of the figures, graph or text.
8. Both Master’s and Doctoral students must prepare a thesis abstract of not more than 600 words and submit this abstract with their thesis. The abstract should follow the signature page.
9. Doctoral students must also fill out a Survey of Earned Doctorate Form and a Microfilm Agreement. These forms may be obtained from the Graduate Records Office.
III. Deposit of Official Copies:
Three bound copies of the final thesis are necessary: one for preservation in the archives of the University of Virginia, one for the MAE department, and one for the technical reference use in the Library of the School of Engineering and Applied Science. Current information on procedures and costs for binding and microfilming may be obtained from the Graduate
A fourth copy of the final thesis, either bound or unbound, may be required by the thesis advisor for personal use. If the author wishes one or more bound copies for personal use, these arrangements can be made with Printing Services in Alderman Library. Titles of all accepted theses will be listed in the appropriate volume of the University’s Publications and Research record. Thesis material that is published as a report or in scientific journals should have proper credit given to the University of Virginia.
IV. Joint Efforts:
When thesis research involves the joint efforts of two or more persons, it becomes the responsibility of the degree candidate to show responsible charge of the work covered by the thesis. For such material to be acceptable, the candidate must have performed work demonstrating ability to carry out an investigation, and the analysis of the results must be done by the candidate. For such joint work the tentative thesis should include an inserted sheet (not a part of the final thesis and hence not carrying a page number) clearly explaining to what extent others participated in the work and how the candidate’s experimental work and analysis meet the requirements for an acceptable demonstration of ability.
THESIS / DISSERTATION APPROVAL CHECK-LIST
- The Engineering School requires three (3) copies of dissertations and theses. An original is not required.
- IT IS EXTREMELY IMPORTANT THAT ALL COPIES BE ON ACCEPTABLE BOND PAPER. (Any bond paper that is 25% cotton is acceptable).
- Each copy must be submitted in a labeled manila envelope with the following information on the front of each:
a. Your name
b. Shortened theses/dissertation title of no more than 36 characters including spaces. This shortened title appears on the spine of the binding.
c. Degree date i.e., January 2000, May 2000, August 2000
d. Your degree and school
- A microfilm agreement must accompany your dissertation when it is taken to Alderman Library. Please be sure to sign this form where it asks for “Author’s Signature”. An extra copy of the title page and abstract must accompany the microfilm agreement. The microfilm agreement is obtained from the Graduate Office.
- A survey of earned doctorate form is required and placement form is required of all persons receiving their Ph.D. degree. These forms are obtained from the Graduate Office.
- Copyright is optional; if desired, a copyright sheet must be included in each copy of the dissertation, with the following information: (Must use c symbol ©, NOT @).
© Copyright by Your Name
All rights reserved
Date (Month and Year of Graduation)
- Your abstract must be 600 words or less. This is approximately equivalent to 2 ½ pages, double-spaced.
- MARGINS: The left hand margin must be 1-½ inches – all others 1 inch. This is proper for both the theses and dissertations.
- PAGE NUMBERS: The correct pagination is to place page numbers in the upper right corner, within the one inch margin.
- SUGGESTED PAGE ORDER:
|Title Page||Title Page|
|Copyright Page (if applicable)||Signature Page|
|Body of text||Body of Text|