Graduate Program Overview

The Department offers degree programs leading to:

Master of Science, Mechanical Engineering (3122)
Master of Science, Industrial Engineering (2722)
Doctor of Philosophy, Mechanical Engineering (3122)
Doctor of Philosophy, Industrial Engineering and Operations Research (2822)

The graduate program covers broad areas of mechanical and industrial engineering as well as the related fields. In the primary areas of concentration, which include mechanical analysis and design, fluids engineering, thermal sciences, robotics, manufacturing, and industrial engineering, students may select basic and applied courses dealing with such topics as fluid mechanics, heat and mass transfer, thermodynamics, combustion, stress analysis, noise and vibrations, mechanisms, mechanical design, dynamics and control, computer aided design and manufacturing, materials processing, production engineering, and human factors.

The Graduate Committee, through its chairman, the Director of Graduate Studies (DGS), is responsible for the supervision of the Department’s graduate program. It has the responsibility of evaluating and processing applications for admission to the Graduate College; advising graduate students on programs of study and Department rules and regulations; evaluating newly submitted graduate courses and programs of study; recommending graduate students for financial assistantships, fellowships and other sources of financial aid; supervising graduate examinations; and evaluating academic progress of students. The Committee is composed of the Director of Graduate Studies and faculty members belonging to the Department.

The Graduate Committee reviews each applicant on an individual basis in view of many factors including, but not limited to, grades, grade point average, prior academic experience, references, independent and supervised research, personal statement, and national test scores. All decisions shall reflect these cumulative and multifaceted criteria and no one factor is determinative. Minimal GPA and test scores do not guarantee admission, since applicants are judged on their overall qualifications. Applicants for degree or non-degree admission must submit complete transcripts from all colleges and universities attended. Also, all students requesting financial aid and all applicants to both the M.S. and Ph.D. degree programs should submit three letters of recommendation with their application as well as a personal statement. It is preferable that most of the recommendation letters be from the academic staff of the universities attended by the applicant.

For admission to the M.S. degree program, the applicants must have a mechanical or an industrial engineering baccalaureate from an ABET (American Board of Engineering Technology) accredited college or university, or an equivalent institute in another country, and a grade point average of at least 4.00 (where A = 5.00) for the final 60 semester hours (90 quarter hours) of undergraduate study.

Applicants with outstanding records in fields other than mechanical or industrial engineering will be considered for admission on limited standing, and must remedy deficiencies within one calendar year after the start of their academic program. Deficiency courses will be determined by the Graduate Committee in consultation with their academic advisors. The DGS should be informed after the successful removal of deficiencies; the students are then granted full standing in the graduate program.

Applicants to the Ph.D. degree program are similarly evaluated on the basis of their overall records. A minimum grade point average of 4.50 (where A=5.00) is required for admission to the Ph.D. program.

International applicants are required to take the GRE test. Applicants seeking a teaching or research assistantship are strongly encouraged to take the GRE test.

Applicants whose native language is not English are required to take the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) examination and must have a TOEFL score of 550 or higher for admission.

Students who do not wish to pursue a degree but want to take graduate-level courses, or are returning to school after a prolonged interruption in studies, may be admitted as non-degree students for a maximum of 12 semester hours. In exceptional cases, a non-degree student may be admitted to a degree program by petition. However, no more than two courses in which the grades of A or B are earned, can be transferred to the degree program.

Completed applications must be received by the Office of Admissions and Records by the general cutoff dates shown below. Applications received after cut-off dates may not be processed in time for admission in the indicated semester. For current deadline dates, visit the Graduate College home page at http://www.uic.edu/depts/grad/

Semester Cut-off Date

Fall June 1 (domestic)
March 15 (international)
Spring November 1 (domestic)
July 15 (international)
Summer April 2 (domestic)
January 15 (international)

Upon admission to the graduate program, the student is assigned a temporary faculty advisor by the Director of Graduate Studies. This assignment is made on the basis of the student’s intended field of concentration, or special interest, which is indicated on his/her application. The temporary advisor helps the student during his/her first semester of registration and acquaints him/her with the various rules, regulations, and procedures of the Department.

An M.S. student is required to select permanent degree advisor by the end of the first semester, but no later than after the completion of 16 semester hours of course work. A newly admitted Ph.D. student is required to select permanent degree advisor before the end of the second semester, but no later than after the completion of 20 semester hours of course work. The student must inform the Director of Graduate Studies of his/her advisor selection by completing a form available in the Graduate Office. The failure to do so may result in delay of graduation.

An advisor may indicate at any time that he/she no longer wishes to retain the student under his/her supervision. Should the advisor decide not to retain the student, he/she must so inform the student and the Director of Graduate Studies in writing. Should a student desire to end the association with his/her adviser, he/she must similarly inform the advisor and the Director of Graduate Studies. The student then must find another member of the Departmental faculty willing to serve as his/her advisor.

Mandatory Seminar Course ME 595

Beginning with Fall 2006 semester, all full time graduate students in the MIE Department must attend the seminars offered within the “Departmental Seminar Series” held on selected Tuesdays at 11:00 am. Students must register under ME 595 every Fall and Spring semester that they are registered full-time and will receive S/U grade for the course. To keep track of the students attendance, there will be a sign up sheet at the seminar room which must be signed by students prior to the start of the seminar. Each student will be allowed to miss a maximum of one seminar per semester. Waivers of this requirement for an individual on a semester by semester basis may be petitioned and must be approved by the advisor and Director of Graduate Studies. Acceptable reasons for a waiver may include: 1) Time conflict with course student is taking. The MIE Department will not schedule graduate courses during the seminar time. The student must clearly justify in the petition the necessity of taking courses from other departments during the seminar time. 2) Student is located off-site that semester due to MS-thesis or PhD-dissertation research needs.

Master of Science (M.S.) Program

In addition to the Graduate College minimum requirements, students must meet the following program requirements:

A total of 36 semester hours of graduate level course work (i.e. courses at the 400 and 500 level) is required. At least 20 semester hours must be taken within the Department in regularly scheduled courses and any course outside of the Department must be specifically approved by the advisor (see section 2E. Timetable).

Two degree options are available to students in the Masters Degree Program: the M.S. Thesis Option and the M.S. Course Option.

Thesis Option: In the thesis option, 12 semester hours of regularly scheduled courses, excluding ME/IE 596 and ME/IE 598, must be at the 500 level in the department. A student prepares a thesis and defends it before a defense committee recommended by the Department and appointed by the Dean of the Graduate College.

Course Option: In the course option, 12 semester hours of courses, excluding ME/IE 596, must be at the 500 level. ME/IE 596 may be used to substitute 4 semester hours of the total semester hours required. Petitions from Engineering Outreach students in the off-campus program who cannot meet this requirement will be evaluated on an individual basis. These petitions must list the semesters in which they have been enrolled in the off campus program and clearly show other course selections.

A grade point average of at least 4.0 (with A=5.00) is required in the graduate program. Credit towards a graduate degree is not given for any course in which a grade of less than C has been obtained.

The Graduate College requires that a student complete the M.S. degree within five years of the date of the initial registration in the M.S. program.

If a student working for the M.S. degree chooses the thesis option, he/she enrolls in ME/IE 598 for 12 semester hours. No more than 12 semester credit hours will be allowed in ME/IE 598 for credit toward the master’s thesis.

The committee consists of at least three members, one of whom must be a tenured member of the Graduate Faculty. One member of the Committee may be from outside the Department, or from outside the University. Approval of the thesis by a majority of the Committee is required.

The brochure entitled “Theses Manual” is available at the Graduate College and should be consulted as to correct thesis format and procedures. This format must be strictly followed when preparing a project or a thesis.

The student must select a degree advisor by the end of the first semester of his/her program, but no later than after the completion of 16 semester hours of course work. An advisor selection form is available from the Graduate Office.

In consultation with the advisor, the student proposes a list of courses (using the M.S. Program of Study Form via the Director of Graduate Studies) for approval before the end of the second semester of M.S. candidacy, but no later than after the completion of 20 semester hours of course work.

The student, in consultation with his/her advisor, the nominates the Thesis Defense Committee to the Graduate Committee. The Committee Recommendation form should be completed and sent to the Graduate College no later than three weeks before the proposed examination date. Upon the Graduate committee’s recommendation, the Graduate Dean appoints the nominated Thesis Defense Committee. The student’s degree advisor serves as the Chairman of the Thesis Defense Committee. Two weeks before the thesis defense, the Thesis Defense committee should receive a reasonably finished copy of the student’s M.S. thesis. Failure to meet these deadlines may delay the thesis defense and graduation.

The Graduate College will return an Examination Report and two Thesis Certificate of Approval forms to the Thesis Defense Committee. After the examination, the completed Thesis Certificate of Approval forms will be returned to the student, who will forward them to the Graduate College with the copies of the final thesis.

In the semester during which a student plans to complete the requirements for a degree, they he/she fill out the Graduation Request Form. These forms are evaluated and signed by the Director of Graduate Studies and then forwarded to the Graduate College by Friday of the seventh week of classes. If an approved M.S. Program of Study is not already on file, there can be unavoidable delays in the processing of graduation requests.

The student must submit a final version of the thesis to the Graduate College no later than Friday of the tenth week of classes. A typed copy of the thesis must be filed with both the advisor and the Graduate Committee, in addition to the copies of the M.S. thesis required by the Graduate College.

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) Program

A total of 108 semester hours beyond the Bachelor of Science degree is required. A minimum of 56 semester hours must be in regularly scheduled graduate level courses (not including ME/IE 599) and at least 28 semester hours, excluding ME/IE 596 and ME/IE 599, must be in 500 level courses. A minimum of 8 semester hours in graduate courses offered by the Department of Mathematics and Computer Science is required. The following courses may be counted as part of the Math requirement: ME 494 and ME 594 for the ME majors and IE 471 and IE 472 for the IE majors. A minimum of 44 semester hours of ME/IE 599 thesis research is required for Ph.D. dissertation. There is no foreign language examination requirement for the Ph.D. degree in the Department.

If upon admission the student has a Master of Science degree in his/her area of specialization, then among the above requirements the student is granted 12 semester hours of 500 level course credit included in the 32 semester hours of total credit granted by the Graduate College for a prior master’s degree. Therefore, this means that a student with credit for a prior M.S. degree must complete at least 16 semester hours in 500 level courses and at most 16 semester hours in 400 level courses to satisfy the course requirement for the Ph.D. degree.

Admission to the Ph.D. program is not automatic for those completing the M.S. degree in the Department. A student desiring to continue graduate study in the Department beyond the M.S. level must obtain from the Graduate Coordinator the “Request for Change of Graduate Program” form.

Although each student is initially assigned a temporary academic advisor, the student is responsible for selecting a permanent thesis advisor. The thesis advisor should be selected by the end of the second semester or no later than after the completion of 20 semester hours of course work.

PhD Preliminary Examination Guidelines

The minimum GPA requirement for PhD graduate students is 3.5/4.0 There are no exceptions to this rule.

The GPA’s are calculated using grades from 8 courses for MS to PhD or 14 courses direct PhD students.

MS to PhD students are allowed to retake or substitute up to 3 courses to meet the minimum GPA requirement and direct PhD students are allowed to retake or substitute up to 5 courses to meet the minimum GPA requirement. Note: All courses used to calculate a student’s GPA must satisfy the requirement of the PhD program in which the student is enrolled.

The GPA for transfer students is determined using grades that UIC assigned to their courses when transferred.

Students have up to 12 months to complete their Preliminary Examinations after completion of all course work and if the students have satisfied the minimum GPA requirement.

The Preliminary Examination must be taken no later than 12 months prior to the student’s final defense. The 12 month period starts once a student completes the course work and GPA requirements, NOT when the Director of Graduate Studies receives a request form for the Preliminary Examination.

An oral examination will be included in the Preliminary Examination after the presentation of the preliminary work is completed. In preparation for the oral exam, a written proposal must be submitted to the thesis committee at least two weeks in advance of the Preliminary Examination. Students are also encouraged to submit copies of their published/accepted papers to the committee.

The written proposal should be prepared using the National Science Foundation Proposal Guideline Criteria and must address Intellectual Merit of Research. This document must be 10-15 pages long with single line spacing. An 11pt Times New Roman font should be used with 1” margins. References are not included in this page limit.

It is the responsibility of the student to demonstrate fundamental understanding of the material in their research proposal.

To monitor their student’s progress, each advisor will be provided with the students’ transcripts. The DGS will be provided with a spreadsheet to keep track of the student’s progress and to determine when a student has satisfied the course and GPA requirements.

If a student fails the Preliminary Examination, she/he has up to six months to retake the exam and must wait at least one semester before taking the final defense.

External committee members are encouraged but not required to attend the Preliminary Examination.

The Graduate College requires that a student with prior M.S. degree complete the Ph.D. degree within seven years of the date of the initial registration in the Ph.D. program.

The Thesis Defense Committee consists of five members, at least two of whom must be tenured members of the Graduate Faculty. One member of the Committee must be from outside the Department or from outside the University; a copy of the curriculum vita must be submitted for the non-UIC members. The Committee reports its recommendations in writing through the Director of Graduate Studies to the Dean of the Graduate College. The Committee vote is either pass or fail. A candidate may not be passed if he/she receives more than one vote of fail and the Committee may require that specified conditions be met before the passing recommendation becomes effective. The Graduate Dean, on the recommendation of the Committee, may then permit a second examination.

The brochure entitled “Theses Manual” is available at the Graduate College and should be consulted as to correct thesis format and procedures.

Application for admission to the Ph.D. program in the Department may be submitted through the Office of Admissions and Records at any time. For our M.S. graduates, only a written request to the Graduate Committee in the graduation semester is necessary. Forms are available via the Graduate Coordinator (“Request for Change of Graduate Program”).

The student must select a degree advisor by the end of the second semester following admission to the Ph.D. program, but no later than after the completion of 20 semester hours. This in no way influences a student’s freedom to change advisors at any future date (see section 1.D).

The Ph.D. preliminary examination must be taken within the first year if the student is admitted with the M.S. degree, or within one year after the completion of 36 semester hours of graduate study if the student enters with a B.S. degree. For students who are admitted on limited standing with specified deficiencies to be removed, the above time limits may be extended as deemed appropriate in each case by the Graduate Committee of the Department. Upon successful completion of the preliminary examination, the student is formally admitted to Ph.D. candidacy, and he/she must maintain continuous registration until the thesis is defended (also see section 4.B)

In consultation with the degree advisor, the student proposes a list of a minimum of 64 semester hours of graduate courses and, with the advisor’s signature, submits the Ph.D. Program of Study through the Director of Graduate Studies to the Graduate Committee for approval before the end of the third semester after admission into the Ph.D. program, but no later than after the completion of 24 semester hours of course work.

The student, in consultation with the degree advisor, nominates a Thesis Defense Committee to the Graduate Committee. The Committee Recommendation form should be completed and sent to the Graduate College no later than three weeks before the proposed examination date. Upon the Graduate Committee’s recommendation, the Graduate Dean appoints the nominated Thesis Defense Committee. Two weeks before the thesis defense, the Thesis Defense Committee should receive a reasonably finished copy of the student’s Ph.D. thesis. Failure to meet these deadlines may delay the thesis defense and graduation.

The Graduate College will return an Examination Report and two Thesis Certificate of Approval forms to the Thesis Defense Committee. After the examination, the completed Thesis Certificate of Approval forms will be returned to the student, who will forward them to the Graduate College with the copies of the final thesis.

In the semester during which a student plans to complete the requirements for a degree, he/she must fill out the Graduation Request Form. These forms are evaluated and signed by the Director of Graduate Studies and then forwarded to the Graduate College by Friday of the seventh week of classes. If an approved Ph.D. program of Study is not already on file, there can be unavoidable delays in the processing of graduation request.

The student must submit the corrected final version of thesis to the Graduate College no later than Friday of the tenth week of classes. The student must file one copy of the Ph.D. thesis with both the advisor and the Department graduate office in addition to those normally required by the Graduate College.

Other Graduate Requirements and Information

Students may continue to register as long as they remain in good academic standing and make satisfactory academic progress. The minimal Graduate College academic criterion is that a student must maintain a cumulative grade point average of at least 4.00 on all work taken at UIC as a graduate student. Transfer credit is not computed in the cumulative grade point average.

If during two successive terms in residence the cumulative grade point average is below 4.00 as defined above, the student is placed on probationary status. This warns students that, if their academic record continues to be unsatisfactory, they will not be permitted to register.

After three consecutive terms in residence with a cumulative grade point average below 4.00 as defined above, the student will not be eligible for further registration.

A graduate student in a degree program may be granted a leave of absence up to one calendar year (including summer) upon the recommendation of the graduate program and the approval of the Graduate College. Time spent on an approved leave is not counted toward the degree deadlines. To request a leave of absence, students must complete a Graduate Petition for Leave of Absence form, obtaining all necessary signatures. A petition for leave must be submitted prior to the 10th day of instruction in the term that begins the period of leave. Students who return from leave at the expected time should simply register for the term as usual; no special forms are required. Students who are on leave of absence are not covered by the health and personal accident insurance until they return to campus. Leave will not be granted to Ph.D. candidates who have passed the preliminary exam except for students whose programs require an off-campus activity, or for documented medical or other extraordinary reasons.

Students desiring waiver or variation of Departmental or Graduate College regulations must apply by petition. Graduate Student Petition blanks may be obtained from the Director of Graduate Studies or the Graduate Coordinator. The individual’s request must be clearly and fully stated, the blank completed and signed by the student, then endorsed by the student’s advisor. Completed petitions are submitted to the Graduate Committee for its consideration. Certain petitions (the application for transfer of credit, the application for a leave of absence, and the application for an off-semester vacation) require special blanks and procedures. Whenever further information is needed on any of these matters, the student should consult the Director of Graduate Studies or the Graduate College Catalog.I am text block. Click edit button to change this text. Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Ut elit tellus, luctus nec ullamcorper mattis, pulvinar dapibus leo.

According to the rules of admission on limited standing, a student admitted under this status must satisfy all requirements imposed by the Graduate Committee at the time of admission. Usually, this includes maintaining a grade point average of 4.00/5.00 (B) for the first 16 semester hours of course work assigned. In addition, other individual requirements may be specified by the Department and must also be satisfied by the student before removal from limited standing. If the student has maintained the required minimum grade average and satisfied any other requirements specified at the time of admission, then a letter will be sent to the student from the Director of Graduate Studies informing him that he is now a graduate student on full standing. A copy of this letter is sent to the Graduate College, and records are modified accordingly. If a student believes that he/she has fulfilled all of the limited conditions, but has not received the aforementioned letter, he/she must immediately request a review by the DGS; a student whose limited status is not changed to full status can not graduate.

A student is permitted to repeat a course for credit if it is (1) designated in the Timetable with the phrase “May be repeated for credit” or (2) a course in which a grade of C or lower was received. In the latter case, the course may be repeated only once and may be counted only once toward the degree requirements; the original grade continues to be included in the computation of the grade point average. The approval of both the instructor who will offer the course and the Director of Graduate Studies is required.

Consideration will be given to the transfer of graduate work completed at accredited institutions. The number of credit hours that may be transferred is determined on an individual basis. Only credits in which the student received a grade of A or B may be transferred. No transfer is automatic. No more than two courses taken by non-degree graduate students are transferred (grades must be A or B) if the student is later admitted to the Graduate College or to a degree program. Only graduate work that meets at least the quality and content of courses offered at the University of Illinois at Chicago is considered for transfer. Six quarter hours are considered the equivalent of four semester hours. Consideration is given to the transfer of credit in three categories: (a) graduate work completed elsewhere before admission to UIC and for which a degree was not awarded, (b) graduate work completed elsewhere after admission to UIC and for which a degree was not awarded; a student considering taking graduate work elsewhere during a Leave of Absence should consult the degree advisor and the Director of Graduate Studies about such plans and any courses that may be offered for transfer, (c) graduate work completed in the senior year at UIC that was not applied to the baccalaureate.

Procedure: A petition is required but should not be submitted until the student has completed at least 12 semester hours of graduate work at UIC. The Department then evaluates student’s petition and makes its transfer recommendations to the Graduate College. The recommendation must show the course requested by the student for transfer, the courses recommended or not recommended for transfer by the Department, and the number of semester hours of credit recommended. The petition must be accompanied by a transcript showing grades and certification from the registrar or college dean of the applicable institution to the effect that the courses are of the graduate level and were not used toward the fulfillment of the requirements for a degree.

The petition form “Graduate Petition for Credit Toward an Advanced Degree” is available from the Director of Graduate Studies or the Graduate Coordinator.

The student first discusses the proposed transfer of courses with the degree advisor. If the degree advisor agrees that the courses to be transferred are relevant to student’s major, or constitute satisfactory substitutions for courses which the student would take at UIC to complete the degree, both the advisee and the advisor prepare: (1) the petition, (2) on a separate page, a complete breakdown and explanation of the transfer courses and how they correspond to courses at this University, (3) letter received from registrar or college dean from the institution in question, (4) transcript from the institution showing courses and grades.

M.S. Candidates

No more than 8 semester hours in formal course work may be approved for transfer toward an M.S. degree.

Ph.D. Candidates

Students entering with an accredited M.S. degree automatically receive credit for 32 semester hours toward the 108 semester hours required for the Ph.D. degree. If a student wishes to transfer hours above and beyond these 32 semester hours automatically transferred, he must submit a petition and follow the procedure as outlined above. Again, no more than 8 semester hours in formal course work may be approved for transfer toward the Ph.D. degree.

All courses approved for transfer must be recorded on the list of proposed courses in the M.S. or Ph.D. Program of Study in the indicated space (See section 2.E or 3.D). The transfer of courses from another university must be approved through the Graduate College before submission of a proposed course list. Include a copy of the approved petition and an explanation sheet with the submission of the proposed course list.

Financial Aid

The Department of Mechanical Engineering has at its disposal a number of appointments for teaching assistants and research assistants. Teaching assistants normally aid professors in large courses by handling laboratory and discussion sections, and grading papers. Research assistants are appointed by the individual professors to help them in their scholarly research work. No student may be appointed as a Teaching Assistant for more than a total of 8 semesters, excluding the summer semester.

In addition, each year the Department nominates a few of the advanced and entering students for University Fellowships and tuition-and-fee waivers, both awarded by the Graduate College. Students should check with the Director of Graduate Studies for information and deadline dates for application.

The M.S. program students who are receiving financial aid from the Department must be enrolled in the M.S. thesis option. Also, among M.S. program students, higher priority in the assignment of financial aid will be given to those who have a GPA of above 4.5, as well as those who have a good command of the English language.

Students holding half-time teaching or research assistantships must register for at least 12 hours of credit each semester. Fellows and students with a tuition-and-fee waiver must register for a minimum of 12 credit hours each semester.

The Graduate Committee continuously reviews the record and progress of every graduate student. All appointments are conditional on satisfactory academic and job specific performance.

Fellowships are awarded in recognition of scholarly achievement and promise by the Graduate College, not by the Department. They enable students to pursue graduate studies and research without a service requirement. The stipends vary. These are legally regarded as gifts, not as compensation for services rendered. Unless stated otherwise, all fellows supported by the Graduate College are exempt from tuition and service fees. Holders of fellowships are required to complete at least 12 semester hours each semester.

The Graduate College administers a number of fellowship programs that are funded from various institutional and external sources. Awards available to graduate students through the Graduate College currently include the following:

Abraham Lincoln Graduate Fellowships
Dean’s Scholar Award
Deutscher Akademischer Austausch Dienst
Illinois Consortium for Educational Opportunity Program
Illinois Minority Graduate Incentive Program
Martin Luther King, Jr. Scholarship Program
Minority Academic Partnership Plan
University Fellow

Students recommended for these awards are chosen by the Graduate Committee.

For more information on a particular fellowship, contact the Director of Graduate Studies or the Graduate College.

Assistantships are awarded by the Department and are of two types:
Research Assistantships are awarded by individual professors to students who aid them in their supported research.
Teaching Assistantships are awarded by the Department on the basis of instructional needs, academic performance, experience, and other priorities.

Assistantships may be for any percentage of time; however, only those ranging between 25% and 67% will include a tuition exemption. During the academic year, foreign student assistantships can not exceed 50%. The tuition exemption applies to both Research and Teaching Assistantships. And, although the Assistantship may not continue through the summer, if support has been received for the Spring semester of the preceding academic year, the tuition exemption will continue through the summer.

Waivers are awarded by the Graduate College, not by the Department. As with Fellowships, students recommended for this award are chosen by the Graduate Committee primarily on the basis of student’s academic performance.