Western Michigan University's Ph.D. in engineering and applied sciences is offered in two tracks: (1) Engineering and (2) Applied Sciences. In addition to the university minimum Ph.D. requirements for admission as outlined in the graduate catalog, all applicants are expected to meet the following minimum requirements for admission to the Ph.D. in engineering and applied sciences:
- The student must contact a faculty member who agrees to champion the application and who will serve as the chair of the Ph.D. dissertation committee.
- A minimum of a bachelor’s degree (master’s preferred) from an accredited institution:
- In an engineering discipline relevant to the intended field of study as determined by the Ph.D. champion is required for admission to the engineering track, or
- In applied sciences, or a closely related discipline, relevant to the intended field of study as determined by the Ph.D. champion is required for admission to the applied sciences track.
- Two official transcripts from each institution attended since high school.
- An overall minimum grade point average of 3.25.
- The general GRE test scores.
- Statement of purpose describing the applicant's research interests and professional goals and three letters of recommendation.
- The admission process is competitive and is administered by the department of the champion.
A student who has been dismissed from another Ph.D. program in the College of Engineering and Applied Sciences is not immediately admissible in the Ph.D. in engineering and applied sciences program. There will be a waiting period of five years after which the student can apply for this program with a set of improved credentials.
In addition to the minimum university requirements listed in the graduate catalog, the following must be fulfilled for the Ph.D. in engineering and applied sciences program:
- Minimum Credit Hours: The majority of courses taken at Western Michigan University must be from the college.
- Students admitted after bachelor’s degree: A minimum of 60 graduate-level credit hours, excluding the dissertation, beyond the bachelor’s is required, of which 30 hours must be at Western Michigan University in an approved program of study. No more than 15 credit hours can be at the 5000 level and at least 30 credit hours of regularly offered courses, excluding independent study, independent research, seminars, doctoral research, professional field experience and internship courses.
- Students admitted after master’s degree: A minimum of 30 graduate-level credit hours, excluding the dissertation, beyond the master’s is required at Western Michigan University in an approved program of study.
- Program of Study: A program of study in the student’s field of interest must be completed in the first year of enrollment. This program of study is uniquely defined and approved by the Ph.D. committee chair, the student, the department chair of the Ph.D committee chair, the dean of CEAS or the designee, and the dean of the Graduate College. The exact distribution of courses, seminars, and research will depend upon the student’s major and may vary from one student to another. Each student is required to complete a dissertation. Any subsequent changes in the Program of Study must be approved by the student's advisor and a new Program of Study must be submitted to the dean of the Graduate College for approval.
- Doctoral Dissertation: 15 credit hours of Doctoral Dissertation (ENGR 7300 or similar) are required.
- Research Tools: Two appropriate research tools courses are required. Such research tools may include, but are not limited to, statistics, numerical analysis, research methodology and computer programming. These are determined by the Ph.D. committee chair and the student.
- Candidacy and Examination Requirements: Passing the following three examinations in the intended specialty area is required. These exams are designed and administered by the Qualifying Exam Committee.
a. Qualifying Exam: Before admission to candidacy for the doctoral degree, the student must pass a written and oral qualifying examination. The exam must be completed before the completion of 45 credit hours for students admitted after bachelor’s degree, and before the completion of 15 credit hours for students admitted after master’s degree.
This exam covers the student's competence in their field of specialization (i.e., structural engineering, transportation engineering, or construction engineering). The qualifying exam is administered by the student's advisor and the Qualifying Exam Committee. The performance of the student in the qualifying exam is used by the committee to determine competence of the student to continue in the doctoral program. The Qualifying Exam Committee can directly find the student competent to continue in the program or the committee can suggest additional course work and modifications to the original Plan of Work.
b. Comprehensive Exam: Each doctoral candidate must obtain approval from his or her dissertation committee for a dissertation topic and research plan through the comprehensive exam. The exam requires a written proposal and oral presentation, and is typically taken near the end of the course work outlined in the doctoral program of study. The comprehensive exam must be completed within one year after passing the qualifying exam. Upon passing the comprehensive exam, the student is advanced to the Ph.D. candidate status.
c. Dissertation Defense: The defense takes place at the conclusion of the dissertation research with the approval of the committee. Upon a successful defense outcome, as determined by the dissertation, the student earns the Ph.D in engineering and applied sciences degree.
If a student fails any of the above exams, the student can apply to retake the exam in the next semester. A second failure will result in dismissal from the program.
Doctoral dissertation committee
A doctoral dissertation committee shall be appointed for each student during the first year of enrollment. The purpose of the dissertation committee is:
- Develop, with the student, the program of study for the intended specialty field under the Ph.D. in engineering and applied sciences program.
- Design and administer the required Ph.D. examinations.
- Provide the technical guidance to the student during the dissertation portion of the doctoral program.
- The doctoral dissertation committee shall consist of at least three members of the graduate faculty, including the chair of the Ph.D committee. Additional members of the committee must be either members or associate members of the graduate faculty.
View more information on the Ph.D. in engineering in the Graduate Catalog.
To apply you need:
- Application International admissions, Resident (Select Ph.D. in engineering and applied sciences: Engineering Track Option)
- English test scores for international students only