Pigman College of Engineering

Mechanical Engineering - Graduate

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The Department of Mechanical Engineering at the University of Kentucky provides an intellectually challenging environment in which to pursue advanced studies and engage in research. The department offers programs of study leading to M.S. and Ph.D. Degrees in Mechanical Engineering. Financial assistance is available to qualified applicants in the form of graduate teaching assistantships, research assistantships and fellowships. Stipends vary depending on the student’s program level and type of support. Graduate students work closely with faculty, often recognized as renowned authorities in their discipline, in conducting research at the forefront of science and technology. Such graduate studies may be focused in any of the following areas:

  • Aerospace Technologies
  • Autonomy, Robotics and Controls
  • Bioengineering and Biomechanics
  • Energy and Power Production
  • Sustainable Manufacturing
  • Vibro-Acoustics






Masters Degree Description

There are two options, A and B, for fulfilling the requirements for the M.S. degree. Students are admitted into Option A by default. Transfers between options must be approved by the DGS.

Option A (Thesis Plan) A minimum of 24 semester hours of course work and a research thesis are required. The thesis must be actively supervised by a full or associate member of the Graduate Faculty. In no case will independent work, taken as ME 699, ME 780-783 or ME 790, be counted as part of the 24 hours of coursework when 2 the course material is related to the student’s thesis. No more than two special courses such as ME 599, ME 699, ME 780-783 or ME 790 or independent courses/projects may be counted towards fulfilling requirements for the Master’s degree. At least half of all graduate course work must be at the 600 level or above. Instructors of independent course projects must provide the DGS with a course syllabus in order to obtain approval for use of the course toward satisfaction of M.S. requirements.

Option B (Non-Thesis Plan) A minimum of 30 semester hours of coursework is required for this program. This option is only allowed on a case-by-case basis with approval of the DGS, and is intended primarily for students with significant industrial experience and a desire to complete degree requirements on a part-time basis. At least half of all graduate course work must be at the 600 level or above. A final oral examination administered by the student’s committee must be passed to complete degree requirements. 

Doctoral Degree Description

The Ph.D. degree is a research degree granted on the basis of broad knowledge of mechanical engineering and specialized study in a specific area of interest. The student must conduct original and significant research and must submit and defend a dissertation based on that research. To obtain a Ph.D. degree from the Department of Mechanical Engineering, a student must Earn 36 graduate credit-hours taken at the University of Kentucky while in graduate standing after receiving a bachelor’s degree. Residency and research courses may not be used to satisfy this requirement. Students who have a M.S. degree from an accredited institution must complete 18 hours of course work. In order to advance to candidacy, doctoral students must pass a qualifying examination consisting of both written and oral components. The written component tests the candidate’s knowledge in three fundamental areas of Mechanical Engineering. The oral component consists of a presentation and defense of the student’s proposed dissertation research; a prospectus prepared by the student must be submitted to the doctoral advisory committee prior to the examination.

Master's (MS) or Doctoral (PhD) - Application Requirements

  1. CV
    • Basic information such as full name, date of birth, address, email address, country of citizenship; universities attended, area of study, overall GPA for each; GRE and TOEFL (International students) scores; special skills such as software and/or programming competency.
  2. Personal Statement
    • ​Should contain at least one page (single-spaced) of typed information about experience, motivation, goals.
  3. Educational background
    • Applicants seeking admission to a graduate program in the Department of Mechanical Engineering (ME) as regular students must have been awarded a baccalaureate degree. Admission to the ME graduate programs normally requires a bachelor’s degree in engineering (not necessarily in mechanical engineering), a minimum grade point average (GPA) of 3.0/4.0 or 70% on all graduate and undergraduate works. An undergraduate degree in mathematics, chemistry or physics combined with a strong interest in engineering topics may be suitable preparation when certain required undergraduate courses are taken. Exceptions to these requirements may be made if other persuasive evidence indicating the student’s potential of success is available.
    • In addition, all international students (except those with a degree from a U.S. institution) must have a minimum score of 550 (paper) / 213 (computer) / 80 (Internet) on the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL).
  4. GRE
    • ​Scores of at least 310 (Verbal + Quantitative and at least 160 on the quantitative section) and 3.5 (Analytical). Please note the GRE will no longer be required starting Fall 2024.
  5. Three letters of recommendation

Applicants must meet the Graduate School admission requirements.

Application Deadlines

Spring: October 1

Fall: March 15

Imagine Your Future

Mechanical Engineers

Mechanical engineers design, develop, build, and test mechanical and thermal sensors and devices.

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics | Click the link for more info.

Median Salary


per year in 2023

Number of Jobs


in 2023

10 Year Job Outlook


new jobs (average)

Work Environment

Mechanical engineers generally work in offices. They may occasionally visit worksites where a problem or piece of equipment needs their personal attention. Mechanical engineers work mostly in engineering services, research and development, and manufacturing.

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics

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