Academic Catalog

Ph.D. in Engineering

Doctor of Philosophy in Engineering

The Doctor of Philosophy in Engineering is an interdisciplinary doctoral program offered on a collegiate basis; however, when making application a student must indicate a primary discipline: Chemical Engineering; Civil Engineering; or Mechanical Engineering.

Admission Requirements

Applicants for the Doctor of Philosophy in Engineering must hold a bachelor’s degree from a program that is accredited by the Engineering Accreditation Commission of the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology at the time of graduation, or provide satisfactory evidence of an equivalent academic background to the Dean of the College of Engineering.

Applicants with a master of science degree must provide satisfactory evidence of an equivalent engineering baccalaureate background to the Dean of the College of Engineering.

Applicants must submit official undergraduate transcripts, undergraduate grade point average, three letters of recommendation, statement of purpose, and resume. Personal statements or descriptions of post-baccalaureate experience that provide a rationale for proposed graduate study may also be submitted.

Official results of the analytical writing and quantitative portions of the GRE must be submitted. The GRE minimum requirements for admission into graduate programs in the College of Engineering can be met by one of the four score combinations below:

Analytical Writing Quantitative
3.0 159
3.5 153
4.0 149
4.5 146

The GRE requirement may be waived for students holding degrees from ABET accredited programs (with department approval).

Applicants with a bachelor’s degree must have a cumulative grade-point average of at least 3.0/4.0.

Applicants with a master’s degree must have a cumulative graduate grade point average of at least 3.5/4.0.

Applicants whose native language is not English must have a score of at least 79 on the internet-based TOEFL which includes four sections (reading, listening, speaking, and writing). Applicants to the Department of Biomedical Engineering must have a  score of at least 96 on the internet-based TOEFL.

Applicants not satisfying the requirements for Full Admission may be classified either as a Provisional Admission or as a Deferred Admission.

Applicants with a bachelor’s degree in a discipline other than engineering shall have completed undergraduate coursework in calculus, differential equations, and have one year of classical physics. These students may be required to take additional bridge-up courses depending on their background. Necessary bridge-up coursework will be determined by the admitting department/program graduate committee.

Transfer Credits

A student who has a master’s degree from another university or from one of the departments in the College of Engineering may, upon recommendation of the Interdisciplinary Doctoral Committee, transfer up to 24 credits of course work. The courses comprising the transfer credits must be identified and itemized on the Plan of Study and must be substantiated by an official transcript from the educational institution that offered the courses.

A student who has completed a non-thesis master’s degree, or has graduate credits but has not completed the degree requirements for the master’s degree, can transfer a maximum of 24 credits of course work toward the doctoral course requirements.

No more than six credit hours of research or complete thesis credits can be transferred.

Degree Requirements

The University’s Academic Requirements (see Academic Requirements in this Graduate Bulletin) for the Doctoral Degree and the following College of Engineering’s academic requirements for the Doctoral Degree must be satisfied.

  • An entering doctoral student will have the chair of the Interdisciplinary Doctoral Committee (IDC) in his/her home department/program.
  • Student’s plan of study should include 96 credit hours and be in accordance with the guidelines established by the student’s admitting department/program.
  • A Plan of Study will be established by the IDC satisfying guidelines established by the home department/program.
  • Identify an interdisciplinary field of study, a dissertation director, and an Interdisciplinary Doctoral Committee before completion of 18 credits of coursework.
  • Pass a departmental Qualifying Examination. The purpose of the qualifying examination is to determine admissibility to the doctoral program and any technical weakness.
  • Satisfy the language requirement specified by the Interdisciplinary Doctoral Committee.
  • Pass a Candidacy Examination. The purpose of the candidacy examination is to test the student’s ability to conduct independent research.
  • Present an acceptable Dissertation Proposal that describes the proposed research to the Interdisciplinary Doctoral Committee.
  • Present and successfully (no “fail” votes) defend the dissertation to the Interdisciplinary Doctoral Committee.

A copy of the Ph.D. in Engineering Program Procedures may be obtained online at the College of Engineering website.

Doctoral Student’s Responsibilities

Doctoral students are completely responsible for all aspects of their graduate education. Specifically, these responsibilities include:

  • Understanding, adhering to, and implementing the procedures of the Graduate School, as described in The University of Akron Graduate Bulletin, and the Interdisciplinary Doctoral Procedures of the College of Engineering.
  • Selecting an interdisciplinary program, Dissertation Director, and Interdisciplinary Doctoral Committee.
  • Arranging, through the Dissertation Director, all Interdisciplinary Doctoral Committee meetings.
  • Initiating, through the Dissertation Director, the forms that monitor their progress toward the doctoral degree.
  • Presenting an acceptable Research Proposal to the Interdisciplinary Doctoral Committee and executing the proposed research.
  • Preparing a scientifically acceptable and comprehensive dissertation whose format meets all the accepted standards of the Interdisciplinary Doctoral Committee, the College of Engineering, and the Graduate School.
  • Successful defense of the dissertation. (no "fail" votes)

Interdisciplinary Fields of Study

The proposal to establish a doctoral program in the College of Engineering was approved by the Board of Trustees of The University of Akron and the Ohio Board of Regents in 1967-68. Three undergraduate departments, Chemical and Biomolecular, Civil, and Mechanical are the basic disciplines for the interdisciplinary programs. These interdisciplinary programs are broadly defined as follows:

  • Environmental Engineering includes the study of water and air pollution, environmental health, chemical disposal, waste management, noise control, resource engineering, and appropriate fields of urban planning.
  • Mechanics includes the theoretical and experimental study of the stresses, strains, and endurance of structures, machines and various materials, mechanics of solids, fluids, solid, and composite materials.
  • Systems Engineering include the scientific prediction, control, and evaluation of the performance of integrated operational systems, and interaction effects among the components of engineering systems. It includes system analysis and design, operations research, linear and dynamic programming.
  • Materials Engineering studies the materials from the physical, chemical, and engineering standpoints. Its purpose is to develop a better understanding of the composition, properties, and performance of various materials, and to develop new materials, manufacturing methods, and applications.
  • Transport Processes include the theoretical and experimental study of the transfer of mass, energy, and power, as related to engineering systems and processes.
  • Chemical Reactions and Process Engineering studies chemical reactions, homogeneous chemical reactions, heterogeneous chemical reactions, and catalysis as applied to process engineering.
  • Microscale Physiochemical Engineering studies small particles, surface science, agglomeration, and separation as applied to process engineering.

The interdisciplinary doctoral program has succeeded in providing doctoral students access to the resources of the entire college while providing an economically sound administration for a program that deals with a doctoral population that is much smaller than those for undergraduate or master’s degrees.

Coordinated Joint Programs

Coordinated program for the Doctor of Philosophy in Engineering degree between The University of Akron and Youngstown State University

The University of Akron and Youngstown State University are engaged in a coordinated program with the objective of facilitating graduate study by engineering students residing in proximity to Youngstown State University. This provides the opportunity and convenience of completing some of the requirements for the Doctor of Philosophy in Engineering at The University of Akron through joint counseling and enrollment at Youngstown State University.

Admission Requirements

When an engineering graduate student at Youngstown State University declares an interest in the joint doctoral program, the student shall prepare a letter of intent, with academic credentials, to the dean of engineering at Youngstown State University. The dean of engineering at Youngstown State University shall forward the letter of intent and academic credentials, together with a recommendation, to the dean of engineering at The University of Akron. The dean of engineering at The University of Akron shall have the graduate faculty in the applicant’s discipline evaluate the academic credentials and make a recommendation on the academic acceptability of the applicant. If the recommendation is favorable, the student shall be advised to apply to the Graduate School at The University of Akron for formal admission to the Doctoral Program in the College of Engineering at The University of Akron. The dean of Graduate Studies and Research at Youngstown State University shall be kept informed of the progress of the admission procedure. The applicant from Youngstown State University must satisfy the Admission Requirements for the Doctor of Philosophy in Engineering at The University of Akron.

Degree Requirements

The engineering student from Youngstown State University must satisfy the Degree Requirements for the Doctor of Philosophy in Engineering at The University of Akron subject to the following modifications.

One of the members of the Interdisciplinary Doctoral Committee for the joint doctoral program candidate shall be an engineering faculty member from Youngstown State University and normally would be the student’s dissertation director, although this is not necessary. The faculty member from Youngstown State University shall have adjunct status at The University of Akron and qualify for Category II graduate faculty membership.

One-half of the coursework and one-half of the research credits may be taken at Youngstown State University. The parity of courses is decided by the faculty on the Interdisciplinary Doctoral Committee when the student submits a proposed Plan of Study. At the Advancement to Candidacy, the Committee recommends official transfer of credits from Youngstown State University to The University of Akron.