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Ph.D. in Mechanical Engineering


A student researcher in the lab

The Mechanical Engineering Department of the University of Nevada, Reno, has a strong tradition of excellence in research and teaching. We have well-recognized faculty members actively engaging in advanced research in all areas of mechanical engineering and science.

A number of our research laboratories are outfitted with state-of-the-art equipment and computing facilities. Our current research projects are sponsored by the National Science Foundation, the Department of Defense), the Department of Energy, the National Aeronautics and Space Agency, and private industries. Most of our graduate students receive research or teaching assistantships to support their graduate studies.

Areas of focus

Students pursuing a Ph.D. can work with faculty who have expertise in the following topics:

  • Solid mechanics
  • Composite and intelligent materials
  • Fluid flow & heat transfer
  • Energy
  • Biomedical engineering

In addition to pursuing a focused research topics, graduate students gain exposure to modern mechanical engineering research subjects including smart materials, nanotechnology, renewable energy and biomedical engineering.

Degree Requirements

There are three main requirements for the Ph.D. in mechanical engineering:

  1. Coursework: A minimum of 48 credits of coursework is required for the Ph.D., and at least 30 of these courses must be at the 700 level. Up to 24 total credits may be transferred from a master's degree program, with approval. You will work with your faculty advisor to develop a program of study for your Ph.D.
  2. Comprehensive examinations: Near the end of your first year of classes, you must pass a qualifying exam to demonstrate mastery of a wide range of topics within mechanical engineering. Once you have passed these exams, you can form a dissertation committee.
  3. Research-based dissertation: Dissertation research is performed under the guidance of your dissertation committee. You must successfully defend your dissertation in front of your committee to finish your Ph.D.

Admissions and Application Information


Contact Graduate Program Director Yanyao Jiang at

We are always interested in hearing from students world-wide who want to continue their studies in graduate school. We are looking for motivated students with high academic achievement.

If you think that you fit this description, we encourage you to apply via the Graduate School application website. Please do not send e-mails requesting advice on your chances of acceptance. For additional resource information, please visit the Graduate School website for University requirements or the Office of International Students and Scholars (OISS).

Admissions Requirements

  1. GPA of 3.25 or better (on a 4.0 scale) from your B.S. program
  2. Combined GRE scores (Verbal + Quantitative) of 300 (1100 on the old scale). Candidates with quantitative scores above the 70th percentile (at least 155 or at least 700 on the old scale) are especially encouraged to apply.
  3. TOEFL score of at least 550 (213 computer based or 79 internet based)or IELTS score of at least 6.5 for non-native English speakers. NOTE: If you have completed a bachelor's or master's degree at an English-speaking university, this requirement is waived.
  4. Research and/or industrial experience, 3 letters of recommendation, and a statement of purpose are an important part of your application package

Financial support

Research assistantships are awarded by individual faculty. Contact faculty members with research programs that interest you to learn about RA opportunities. Contact faculty for research assistantships as early as possible. This can done before applications are submitted to the graduate school.

The department also has a limited number of teaching assistantships available.  Exceptional students who have submitted a completed application to the graduate program will be considered for a teaching assistantship.

Either type of assistantship covers tuition and health insurance and provides a stipend for living expenses.

How to Apply

Please apply via the University's Graduate School website. In addition to your official application, please email your CV, including GRE and TOEFL/IELTS scores, to the Graduate Program director, Dr. Yanyao Jiang.

To receive full consideration, you should meet the following deadlines:

  • January 15 for Fall Semester
  • September 1 for Spring Semester

You must also pay the following non-refundable application fees:

  1. International applicants: $95.00
  2. Domestic applicants: $60.00

The College of Engineering has a fee-waiver program to waive application fees for students with strong test scores. Please see our Grad Fee Waiver webpage for details.

Housing Options

The University offers on-campus housing for graduate students. Visit the graduate housing website to learn more about living at the University of Nevada, Reno.

Related Degrees and Programs

Contact Mechanical Engineering

Phone (775) 784-6931
Fax (775) 784-1701
Location Knudtsen Resource Center

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