The PhD degree program in Engineering and Applied Science (EAS) features contemporary, advanced interdisciplinary research and educational opportunities for students and faculty. Today's scientist/engineer/professional must be able to deal with a rapid pace of technological change, a highly interconnected world, and complex problems that require interdisciplinary approaches to advance fundamental understanding or to address pressing societal needs. The unique cross-cutting options provide students with the means to integrate and synthesize disciplinary depth with breadth of interests, visions, and skills for successful interdisciplinary research careers in industry or academia.
The educational goal of the PhD program in Engineering and Applied Science is to prepare qualified scientists/engineers who can contribute significantly to society through their professional, scientific and research activities. To achieve these goals PhD students will acquire breadth in scholarship and the ability to make original research contributions. As such, the program options emphasize the interdisciplinary nature of modern research at the interfaces of engineering, the applied sciences, and technology. At the completion of the program the scientist/engineer will have knowledge and skills in:
- computational and experimental research
- Understanding the nature and criteria for scientific inquiry
- theory building, synthesis and application
- research design and theoretical perspectives in engineering
- multi- or interdisciplinary approaches to understanding complex systems
- technical communication within and outside their field
- knowledge of experimental/computational techniques and approaches appropriate to their field, and
- ethical, social and environmental consequences of engineering developments
Presently, six interdisciplinary options are available in the EAS PhD program:
- Applied Mechanics and Materials
- Computational Science and Engineering
- Computer Science and Information Science
- Industrial and Systems Engineering
- Machine Learning and Data Science
- Infrastructure, Environmental, and Fluids Engineering option
Admission to EAS-PhD programs follows general university regulations. Students possessing a bachelor's or master's degree and a strong academic background in any of the four program tracks (Applied Mechanics and Materials, Computational Science and Engineering, Computer Science and Information Science, Industrial and Systems Engineering) or similar disciplines are encouraged to apply for admission to the EAS PhD program.
Admissions criteria for the PhD program include GRE scores (if required), undergraduate and graduate GPA and a TOEFL score (if required). Significant weight is also placed on reference letters, the applicant’s statement of purpose, and professional experience. Generally, an undergraduate GPA ≥ 3.00 (on a scale of 4.00) is required or a graduate GPA ≥ 3.25. Applicants whose native language is not English should have a minimum paper-based TOEFL score of 550, a computer-based TOEFL of 213 or an internet based TOEFL of 79.
Applications indicating option preference(s) will be made directly to the PhD program and reviewed by admissions committees in the selected option(s). Application deadlines are February 1st for fall semester and November 15 for spring semester. Admission to all major options is made by the associate provost for graduate studies and the dean of the college of engineering upon the recommendation of the EAS-Graduate Program Director (GPD) and the admissions director of the major option. All PhD students admitted to the program are eligible for assistantships and fellowships, which are awarded based on qualifications and availability.
This section summarizes degree requirements common to all major options. Each major option may impose additional requirements beyond those listed here; current students should consult their major option's curriculum map at the bottom of this page.
The PhD in Engineering and Applied Science is a research-intensive program. A minimum number of core courses are required of all students in the program, with additional course work directed by the student’s faculty advisor and supervisory committee based on the student’s area of interest. Committee members must be selected from at least two different disciplines, and the planned curriculum must result in cross-training in two or more disciplines. Students complete a significant, original research investigation and write a dissertation based on it that is defended publicly.
EAS major options require a minimum of 66 semester credit hours beyond the bachelor’s degree. Of the 66 credits a minimum of 36 semester credit hours must be course work and a minimum of 30 credit hours may be allotted to doctoral research. Further, the following distribution of course credit is required:
- 6-credit hours of graduate-level mathematics or numerical analysis
- 12-credit hours of core courses in the discipline with a B+ average (3.25 GPA)
including one on experimental or computational techniques
- 6-credit hours in a minor area in another field of science or engineering
- 1-credit Ethics
- 2-credits of doctoral seminar
At least 10 courses at the 500-600 level must be full-credit graduate courses with clear technical, scientific, or mathematical focus. Twelve of the required 36 credit hours of coursework will be at the 600-level or above. A minimum cumulative grade point average of 3.25 in course work taken in the program of study is required for graduation. More course work may be required by a particular option or by an individual supervisory committee. An outline of the curriculum requirements for each of the initial program options is presented below.
Typically, up to 24 semester hours of graduate course credit earned at an accredited institution with a grade of 3.00 or above may be applied toward course requirements for the doctoral degree upon recommendation of the graduate committee and with approval by the Dean.
Additional degree requirements include:
- Successful passing of a Qualifying Examination upon completion of coursework;
- Approval of a dissertation proposal submitted and presented by the candidate;
- Passing a Comprehensive Examination on research preparedness;
- Approval and successful defense of the dissertation in an oral examination conducted as specified by university procedures.
More information about PhD Degree Requirements may be found in the Graduate Catalog.
Accepted students are assigned a major advisor in a home department. The major advisor is normally in the student's field of interest and may later serve as the dissertation advisor. At least before the end of the first semester or the completion of six credits, and in consultation with the major advisor, the student will submit a Program of Study listing course work and examination schedules to the director of the graduate program.
By the end of the first year in the program the student will select a faculty dissertation/research advisor. Once a research direction is decided, the student and faculty advisor(s) will form a dissertation supervisory committee to guide the proposal preparation, the research and the dissertation preparation. Dissertation committees must include at least four members from at least two different academic departments at UMass Dartmouth. External members of faculty standing may also be included, but a majority of the committee members must be permanent full-time faculty at UMass Dartmouth. All dissertation committees must be approved by the EAS graduate committee prior to the dissertation proposal.
All PhD students must complete two consecutive semesters as full-time students. Full-time student status is maintained by taking a minimum of 9 credits of course work or dissertation per semester.
Students are expected to be engaged in full-time study and complete their degree within six years. Students who fail to maintain minimum scholastic standards or pass required examinations, or demonstrate unsatisfactory research progress will be subject to dismissal from the program. All students will undergo an EAS - PhD Annual Review of Progress (DOC).
By the end of the first year beyond the M.S. each student must pass a qualifying exam (QE) that establishes the student’s fundamental understanding of relevant topics covered in undergraduate/graduate courses. Students are allowed no more than two attempts to pass the QE. The format and administration of the QE is prescribed by each major option.
Since the PhD in engineering and applied science has a strong research emphasis, students are expected to engage in individual research as early as possible in their studies. By the end of the second year after reaching the M.S. level, students must pass a comprehensive examination covering a dissertation/research proposal. The exam, which may include written and/or oral components or other measurable criteria, is customized for each student and administered by the supervisory committee. Upon passing the Comprehensive Exam and completing at least 36 hours of course work, a student is advanced to doctoral candidacy.
Advancement to candidacy
The major step toward the degree is the conduct of independent research in the field of interest and documenting the work in a dissertation. When the dissertation has been completed, doctoral candidates present and defend their work before their supervisory committee, the university, and the public. This defense constitutes the candidate’s final exam preceding degree conferral. Dissertation results are expected to be submitted for refereed scholarly publication.
Communicating results and exchanging ideas is an essential part of any PhD program and all successful careers after degree completion. Therefore, all graduate PhD students are required to attend the research seminar series. In addition, each graduate student will present his/her research in a public seminar at least once during their graduate student career. Teaching is also a valuable experience in graduate training and some options may require experience as a teaching assistant/associate or lecturer during the graduate program.
Master of Science option
The MS degree is an option only for students enrolled in the PhD program. Direct admission into the Master's program is not permitted. Students who have completed all of the requirements for the PhD degree may apply to receive a MS degree by completing the EAS Masters in Passing Request (DOC). Students leaving the program for any other reason and who seek a Master of Science degree will need to qualify for a discipline specific Master's degree.
The College of Engineering has multiple instructional and research facilities located in five campus buildings: DION, Science and Engineering, Violette, Research and Textiles. The latter is undergoing major renovations to modernize and expand research space for graduate students in the EAS PhD program.
Experimental facilities include integrated laboratories for research in environmental engineering, energy and fluids, mechanics and structures, materials characterization and testing, robotics, and acoustics. All of these laboratories are equipped with state-of-the-art instrumentation and data acquisition capability.
Computational facilities include a High-Performance Computing Cluster (HPCC) for high-fidelity dynamics simulations (HFS), large-scale data mining/management/analysis, image processing and feature recognition, and additional computer laboratories for computer-aided engineering and numerical analysis.
The above facilities are vital for the development of cross-cutting toolkits to enhance research and development in interacting biological, chemical, medical, physical, business and finance and engineering phenomena associated with interdisciplinary research. Additional equipment is available to students through participating faculty from other Colleges/Schools across campus and at the Center for Innovation & Entrepreneurship.
EAS Curriculum Examples
The PhD in EAS contains a broad spectrum of possible fields of expertise in engineering and applied science; and, thus, curricula vary depending on the specific fields of research and the background of the student. The faculty from participating disciplines and departments are designing domain specific expertise and associated curriculum.
All students will earn varying credits in the following common courses:
- EAS 601: Pre-Dissertation Research
- EAS 700: Advanced Graduate Seminar
- EAS 701: Doctoral Dissertation Research
Curriculum maps for each of the available options may be found using the following links:
- Applied Mechanics and Materials (AMM) Option Curriculum
- Computational Science and Engineering (CSE) Option Curriculum
- Computer Science and Information Science (CIS) Option Curriculum
- Industrial and Systems Engineering (ISE) Option Curriculum
- Machine Learning and Data Science (MLDS) Option Curriculum
- Infrastructure, Environmental, and Fluids (IEF) Engineering option