Mechanical Engineering (Ph.D.)

Mechanical Engineering (Ph.D.)

landing page

Why pursue a Ph.D. in mechanical engineering at UNH?

Our mechanical engineering Ph.D. program will prepare you for a career in academia, government or the private sector as you develop specialized skills in one of six areas of concentration: fluid dynamics and thermal science, solid mechanics, materials science, design and manufacturing, dynamic systems and control, or ocean engineering.You’ll pursue a deep understanding of your field while also exploring areas outside of your chosen concentration through coursework and a weekly mechanical engineering graduate seminar.

Program highlights

At UNH, you’ll have the opportunity to choose a path that best reflects your career goals. You’ll enroll in courses that provide cutting-edge tools and enable you to apply your technical knowledge to a diverse set of societal challenges. And you’ll do this alongside award-winning researchers. In fact, nearly two-thirds of the mechanical engineering faculty have received prestigious National Science Foundation CAREER awards. You’ll also have access to an array of world-class laboratories,including the new John Olson Advanced Manufacturing Center, the newly renovated Jere A. Chase Ocean Engineering Laboratory, and the Flow Physics Facility, the largest boundary-layer wind tunnel in the world.

Potential career areas

  • Academia
  • Aerospace
  • Analytics/data science
  • Automotive industries
  • Biomedical engineering
  • Environmental engineering
  • Manufacturing/industrial engineering
  • Ocean engineering
  • Power generation
  • Renewable energy
  • Robotics


Gregory Chini

Director of Integrated Applied Mathematics
Phone: (603) 862-2633
Office: Mechanical Engineering, Kingsbury Hall Rm W113, Durham, NH 03824

Request Information

We use text messages to communicate important event and application information (msg and data rates may apply).

Curriculum & Requirements

The Department of Mechanical Engineering offers studies leading to specialization in the following six concentrations:

  • Fluid Dynamics and Thermal science
  • Solid Mechanics
  • Materials Science
  • Design and Manufacturing 
  • Dynamic Systems and Control
  • Ocean Engineering

Following admission into the program, a temporary research advisor and a guidance committee consisting of three professors including the research advisor are appointed for the student by the graduate coordinator. The student's research advisor assists in outlining the student's course of study and may specify individual coursework requirements.

A student entering with a B.S. degree must successfully complete at least twelve 3- or 4-credit courses with five at the 900 level. Students entering with an M.S. degree in engineering are required to take a minimum of five 3- or 4-credit courses with three at the 900 level. This course requirement represents the department's minimum for any Ph.D. student. Students normally take more than the required number.  A “B” average (3.00 GPA) with no grade below “B­-” is required in all the coursework. No more than 12 credit hours from UNH graduate courses (8 credit hours from non­-UNH graduate courses) taken prior to admission to the Graduate School may be applied to the doctoral degree. Further course requirements are identified by the student's area of concentration and by the guidance committee. The guidance committee also administers the qualifying examination. Upon successful completion of required coursework and the qualifying examination, the student may advance to candidacy. A doctoral committee may be appointed once candidacy has been attained. The committee needs to be composed of a minimum of five members, usually three from a student's major department and two from related departments.

Each Ph.D. candidate must conduct research of sufficient originality and significance to warrant the awarding of the Ph.D. degree. The final examination (oral defense) is the defense of the student's dissertation. This will be scheduled in accordance with the Graduate School rules. The candidate will be informed of the results of the defense by the dissertation chair.

All full-time graduate students are required to attend a weekly Mechanical Engineering Graduate Seminar and make one presentation per year.

  • A deep understanding of at least one core area of Mechanical engineering (e.g., solid mechanics and mechanics of materials, fluid mechanics and thermal science, systems and controls, ocean engineering. [MS/PhD]
  • A broader understanding of at 1-2 areas of Mechanical Engineering that are different from the area of research of the student's thesis. [MS/PhD]
  • Ability to think critically and creatively in defining research questions and to outline strategies of inquiry. [MS/PhD]
  • Ability to document research outcomes comprehensively for publication. [MS/PhD]
  • Ability to communicate research results to scientific audience in conferences. [PhD]
  • Ability to work collaboratively with other peers. [MS/PhD]


Applications must be completed by the following deadlines in order to be reviewed for admission:

  • Fall: Feb. 15 (for funding); April 1 (recommended US; final international); July 1 (final)
  • Spring: Dec. 1; Nov. 1 for international students
  • Summer: N/A
  • Special: N/A

Application fee: $65

Campus: Durham

New England Regional: No

Accelerated Masters Eligible: No

New Hampshire Residents

Students claiming in-state residency must also submit a Proof of Residence Form. This form is not required to complete your application, but you will need to submit it after you are offered admission or you will not be able to register for classes.


If you attended UNH or Granite State College (GSC) after September 1, 1991, and have indicated so on your online application, we will retrieve your transcript internally; this includes UNH-Durham, UNH-Manchester, UNH Non-Degree work and GSC. 

If you did not attend UNH, or attended prior to September 1, 1991, then you must upload a copy (PDF) of your transcript in the application form. International transcripts must be translated into English.

If admitted, you must then request an official transcript be sent directly to our office from the Registrar's Office of each college/university attended. We accept transcripts both electronically and in hard copy:

  • Electronic Transcripts: Please have your institution send the transcript directly to Please note that we can only accept copies sent directly from the institution.
  • Paper Transcripts: Please send hard copies of transcripts to: UNH Graduate School, Thompson Hall- 105 Main Street, Durham, NH 03824. You may request transcripts be sent to us directly from the institution or you may send them yourself as long as they remain sealed in the original university envelope.

Transcripts from all previous post-secondary institutions must be submitted and applicants must disclose any previous academic or disciplinary sanctions that resulted in their temporary or permanent separation from a previous post-secondary institution. If it is found that previous academic or disciplinary separations were not disclosed, applicants may face denial and admitted students may face dismissal from their academic program.

Letters of recommendation: 3 required

Recommendation letters submitted by relatives or friends, as well as letters older than one year, will not be accepted.

GRE Test Scores

GRE General test scores are normally required but are waived for UNH Mechanical Engineering alumni with a minimum GPA of 3.0. If required, request official test scores to be sent directly to the Graduate School by the testing service. Test scores more than five years old are not acceptable. Student copies and photo copies of scores are not considered official. Our CEEB code is 3918.

For general information about test scores required for admission into our programs please visit our Test Scores webpage.

Personal Statement/Essay Questions

Prepare a brief but careful statement regarding:

  1. Reasons you wish to do graduate work in this field, including your immediate and long-range objectives.
  2. Your specific research or professional interest and experiences in this field.

Important Notes

All applicants are encouraged to contact programs directly to discuss program-specific application questions.

International Applicants

Prospective international students are required to submit TOEFL, IELTS, or equivalent examination scores. English Language Exams may be waived if English is your first language. If you wish to request a waiver, then please visit our Test Scores webpage for more information.

take the next step

student outside building on campus
Students on the lawn at Thompson Hall
student at career event