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Doctor of Philosophy in Mechanical Engineering


The Department of Mechanical Engineering has well-established graduate programs leading to the Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) degree in Mechanical Engineering. The department has been offering PhD program since 1989. The last graduate programs revision was conducted in 2022. The department has the policy of reviewing and updating its programs periodically in order to update the curriculum with the latest developments and trends in graduate teaching and research.

The revised ME graduate programs continue to include a PhD program in ME. The PhD program allows the student to focus on one of the following concentrations: i) Thermal Sciences, ii) Solid Mechanics, iii) Dynamics and Vibration, and iv) Materials and Manufacturing. The courses offered under each concentration have been revised based on the current international trends and several courses have been introduced that address strategic needs of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia including water desalination, renewable energy, clean combustion, carbon capture, and energy efficiency. Catalogue descriptions of all 500 and 600 level graduate courses have been revised and updated to improve the students learning experience in topics coverage and sequence. The objectives of each program have been updated to emphasize: knowledge depth and breadth, use of modern analysis, and engineering tools to address engineering problems, communication, and research skills.

Program Admission Requirements

The PhD program is designed for full/part-time student who is expected to engage in scholarly work on a full-time basis. The program consists of 30 graduate credit-hours of course work (beyond MS degree) in addition to the dissertation and seminar requirements. The maximum load for the PhD student is 12 graduate credit-hours per semester and all the credited courses should be taken from 500 and 600 levels. Thus, the course work will require one and a half years, and the dissertation will require an additional year and a half. The maximum period allowed for obtaining the PhD degree is five years.

  • Students applying to the doctoral program must provide evidence of exceptional scholastic ability, intellectual creativity, and research motivation. The minimum requirements for admission to the Doctoral Program in the College of Graduate and Interdisciplinary Studies as a regular student with full standing in Mechanical Engineering are:
    • A Master’s degree from a university of recognized standing with a cumulative GPA of 3.0 or above (on a 4.0 scale),
    • A Major in Mechanical Engineering or evidence of suitable background for entering the fields of mechanical engineering, such as thermal sciences, engineering mechanics, and materials and manufacturing,
    • Achieving a minimum score of TOEFL (79 IBT) or IELTS (6.5), as required by the College of Graduate and Interdisciplinary Studies,
    • Achieving a minimum score of GRE (quantitative) as required by the ME department, and satisfactorily meeting the university PhD admission requirements.

Full-Time Residency Requirement for Part-Time PhD Students

The PhD programs require that the Part-Time PhD student should reside in one of the Eastern Province cities which are close to the university for at least six academic semesters, according to the following:

  1. Four academic semesters while taking the required course load of the program in the Eastern Province cities within 200 km of Dhahran.
  2. A full-time residency period of at least two consecutive semesters while working on the PhD dissertation. An agreement of this period by the student and his sponsor is required. This period should be taken after: completing all the required coursework, passing the comprehensive exam, and admission to candidacy. This is to enable the student to be free to accomplish the required research for his PhD dissertation.