Apr 17, 2024  
2023-2024 Academic Catalog 
2023-2024 Academic Catalog

Mechanical Engineering, PhD

Contact Information

Dr. Pierre Larochelle
Head, Department of Mechanical Engineering
Civil Mechanical Building Room 129
(605) 394-2401
Email: Pierre.Larochelle@sdsmt.edu

Dr. Albert Romkes
Associate Professor, Department of Mechanical Engineering
Civil Mechanical Building Room 167
(605) 394-2255
Email: Albert.Romkes@sdsmt.edu

Leslee Moore
Program Assistant I
Civil Mechanical Building Room 129
(605) 394-1952
Email: Leslee.Moore@sdsmt.edu

Department Website

Students are responsible for checking with their advisors for any program modifications that may occur after the publication of this catalog.

PhD in Mechanical Engineering

The mission of the mechanical engineering doctoral program is to provide students with advanced learning in the classroom and mentoring to conduct cutting-edge research in the areas of thermo-fluid sciences, mechanical systems, or manufacturing/controls. The primary goal of the program is to develop technical experts that become world-class scholars and leaders in either academia or industry.

Degree requirements

Distribution of credits

Core requirements: 3 credits
Research requirements: 20-36 credits
Elective requirements: 33-49 credits
Total credits: 72

At least 36 of the required 72 credits must be taken at the 600 level or above.

Students may apply 24 coursework credits and 6 research credits from a previous MS degree toward the PhD requirements, subject to approval by the student’s committee.

Core requirements

Research requirements

The completion of a doctoral dissertation, approved by the student’s graduate advisory committee and the Dean of Graduate Education, is required for this degree. All the research credits taken by the PhD student must be ME 898D Dissertation  with the exception of 6 research credits which may be transferred from the MS degree with the approval of the student’s graduate advisory committee. The 6 MS research credits transferred must be ME 798  or equivalent research credits.

  • Credits: 1 to 12 *
  • * A minimum of 20 credits of ME 898 is required for the degree. No more than 36 credits of ME 898 may be counted toward the degree.

Elective requirements

  •  21 credits of ME prefix courses at the 600 or 700 level. 


In addition to the successful completion of the curriculum, the program of study requires passing a qualifying exam, submitting a research topic proposal, passing a comprehensive exam, and successfully defending the dissertation.

Qualifying examination

The qualifying exam tests the student’s background knowledge and ability to pursue advanced courses and dissertation research. All students coming into the PhD program are required to take the qualifying exam within the first 12 months of residency. The qualifying exam shall be a written exam, administered by the department’s graduate committee, once each semester. All students meeting the time standards for the qualifying exam will take the test at the same time.

Comprehensive examination and admission to candidacy

All students coming into the PhD program with an MS degree are required to complete the comprehensive exam within their first academic year (fall, spring, summer semesters). Students coming into the program with a BS degree must complete the comprehensive exam after their coursework is substantially completed.

The comprehensive exam shall include 1) an oral and written coursework exam; and 2) a proposal defense in which students will be required to write and orally defend their research proposal to their selected advisory committee. Review of the examinations will be accomplished as soon as possible by all members of the committee. Upon completion of the comprehensive examination, the major professor and department head will recommend to the dean of graduate education that the student be admitted to PhD candidacy. The comprehensive examination, and subsequent admission to candidacy, must be completed at least 12 months before the dissertation is defended.  

Dissertation defense

A successful dissertation defense and a final oral examination are required for this degree.

Additional requirements

In addition to these degree-specific requirements, the student must also meet the requirements and policies applied to all graduate degrees  by the Council of Graduate Education.

Objectives and Outcomes

Program Educational Objectives:

  1. to formulate solutions to mechanical engineering problems using multi-disciplinary approaches
  2. to be able to grow professionally and personally
  3. to serve their profession and community as valuable contributing leaders

Student Outcomes:

  1. expand the knowledge and understanding of methods and approaches in 1 or more focused areas of Mechanical Engineering
  2. formulate solutions to problems related to thermo-fluid sciences, mechanical systems, or manufacturing/controls
  3. be able to conduct basic or applied research and development in Mechanical Engineering
  4. become an engineer who will serve their profession and community as valuable contributing leaders