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The Department of Mechanical Engineering offers graduate programs leading to MS and PhD degrees in Mechanical Engineering with areas of concentration in Thermal and Fluid Sciences (heat and mass transfer, thermodynamics, biotechnology, alternative energy conversions, sustainability, boiling and two-phase flow, combustion, multidisciplinary design and analysis optimization, and high-performance computing); Mechanics, Systems, and Controls (robotics, mechanical design, mechatronics, control systems, dynamical systems, space and ocean science & exploration, biomedical engineering, rehabilitation engineering, and renewable energy systems); and Materials and Manufacturing (nanotechnology, composite and smart structures, electrochemistry and corrosion, precision machining, and joining of dissimilar materials). For qualified graduate students, teaching assistantships, research assistantships, and scholarships are available.

Student Learning Outcomes

In general, a student who has successfully completed the graduate degree requirements should be able to:

  • Demonstrate mastery of the methodology and techniques specific to the field of study.
  • Communicate both orally and in writing at a high level of proficiency in the field of study.
  • Conduct research or produce some other form of creative work.
  • Perform in their field of study at a professional level.

Application Requirements to the MS or PhD Program

  1. BS in engineering or equivalent (for MS applicants)
    Completion of the MS requirements in mechanical engineering at UHM or equivalent (for PhD applicants)
  2. TOEFL scores (required for most non-native speakers of English)
  3. GRE general test scores
  4. Three letters of recommendation
  5. A statement of purpose

MS and PhD Program Application Deadlines

Fall Spring
I — January 15
D — March 1
I — August 1
D — September 1
I = international applicants
D = U.S. citizens and U.S. permanent residents

For requests related to the application of MS or PhD program in the ME department, please contact

For more information, please refer to the Mechanical Engineering Graduate Program Handbook.

Apply online or download application materials. Applicants need to meet:

  1. Graduate Division admissions criteria and documentation requirements,
  2. Common graduate program documentation requirements, and
  3. Program specific admissions criteria and documentation requirements
    (see below).

Graduate Courses

To view a listing of courses offered, visit

Master’s Degree

Applicants for admission to the MS program must have completed a BS degree in engineering or its equivalent from a reputable institution.


Students are required to follow the Plan A (thesis) program. However, under special circumstances, a petition to follow Plan B (non-thesis) may be granted by the graduate faculty. A minimum of 30 credit hours is required for graduation, including 1 credit hour for seminar. Plan A students must take 8 credit hours for thesis, 12 credit hours in the ME 600 course series, and 9 credit hours in technical electives. Technical elective courses must be at the 400 level or above, selected from engineering, mathematics, or physical sciences approved by the student’s thesis committee.

For graduation, each candidate must present an acceptable thesis (research report for Plan B) and must pass a final oral examination based on the thesis for Plan A or on the course work and the research report for Plan B.

  • Plan A requires 22 credits of course work, eight credits of thesis research, a written thesis and defense of the thesis.
  • Plan B requires 30 credits of course work. Also required is a final research report and a final oral exam based on the report and course work.

A checklist to assist in planning and tracking of requirements for the Plan A Master’s Degree is available here: MS Plan A Checklist PDF  or  MS Plan A Checklist Excel Worksheet.

Doctoral Degree

Applicants for admission to the PhD program must have completed the requirements for the MS in mechanical engineering at UHM or an equivalent degree from a reputable institution.


Intended candidates for the PhD are required to pass an oral qualifying examination within the prescribed period of time. The purpose of the qualifying examination is to judge students’ ability to pursue research. After passing the qualifying examination, the student will be admitted to the status of “candidate” in the PhD program. At the discretion of the qualifying examination committee, students who fail the qualifying examination will be dropped from the program.

Students must satisfactorily complete a minimum of 50 credit hours in course work beyond the BS level. They are required to select one major and one minor field of study within the following three areas of concentration: materials/manufacturing, mechanics/systems/controls, or thermal/fluid sciences.

Students who enter the program may, with the approval of the graduate chair, be credited with up to 30 credits for equivalent work to be counted toward their PhD-credit-hour requirement. Up to 8 of these 30 credit hours may be assigned for prior MS thesis work. Students who possess a second MS degree may be credited with up to 9 additional credit hours for equivalent work. Up to 6 credit hours may be assigned for course work taken as an unclassified graduate student. All courses shall be selected by students but must be approved in writing by their committees. These courses must form an integrated education plan. A minimum of 2 credit hours in ME 691 or its equivalent must be included in every PhD program.

Students who desire teaching experience may, with the approval of the PhD committee chair, request that the department chair assign them teaching responsibility for a particular undergraduate course. The department chair will determine whether students are qualified to teach the course in question, and, if they are deemed qualified, they may be given the teaching assignment.

Students who teach a course or courses will be assigned a maximum of 3 credit hours toward their PhD course work requirements.

Students are required to select one major and one minor graduate program within the following three areas of concentration: 1) materials/manufacturing, 2) mechanics/systems/controls, or 3) thermal/fluid sciences. All courses shall be selected by students and must be approved in writing by their doctoral committees. A minimum of two credits in ME 691 or its equivalent must be included in every PhD program.

Comprehensive Examination

PhD candidates must pass an oral comprehensive examination to demonstrate their comprehension of the chosen areas of study relevant to their dissertation proposals and basic knowledge of courses taken in their major and minor fields. Students who fail the comprehensive examination may, at the discretion of the graduate faculty concerned, repeat it once after at least six months. Students who fail the examination a second time will be dropped from the program.

Final Examination

Students are required to complete a satisfactory doctoral dissertation and to pass an oral final examination based primarily upon the dissertation. The final examination will be administered by the respective PhD committee. A student passes the final examination upon the favorable recommendation of a majority of the PhD committee.

Direct PhD

The ME Department has instituted a Direct PhD Program that accepts students with BS Degree to directly pursue a PhD Degree in ME. Please refer to the ME Department Graduate Program Handbook.

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