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PhD in Mechanical Engineering: Robots, mechanicsms, and more

By Brendan Conway updated on Monday, January 28, 2013

Mechanical engineering makes the world go round, and mechanical engineers are the ones turning the wheels. Getting a PhD in mechanical engineering will plant any number of opportunities firmly before you, and it'll be up to you to reach out and take them. It's no easy road to travel, though; getting a mechanical engineering degree at the doctoral level will require tremendous amounts of work and effort over a significant amount of time, as do all PhDs.

A PhD in mechanical engineering would require a strong knowledge of scientific and mathematic principles, specifically in areas of physics and geometry, among others, along with a strong knowledge of ways to apply those principles to real-world problems. Taking undergraduate courses which could provide this kind of background is a good idea for those who are interested in the PhD in mechanical engineering.

Which Kind of Mechanical Engineering Degree?

One of the most important questions to face with getting a mechanical engineering degree is whether or not a master's degree will suffice for what you want to do. As with many other types of engineering PhD, such as a PhD in engineering management or a PhD in electrical engineering, a PhD in mechanical engineering is most necessary for those positions in the field of mechanical engineering that will require the greatest knowledge; those positions are most likely to be encountered in academia and at the highest levels of engineering work.

A PhD in mechanical engineering might not be necessary to work on a regular basis as an engineer; a master's might be adequate for getting such a position, and after enough time, your experience will in all likelihood outweigh your education, anyway. So determining whether or not the PhD in mechanical engineering is worth the effort is an important first step in determining whether to get a mechanical engineering degree, and what kind of mechanical engineering degree to get.  

A Master of Engineering or equivalent degree is often the extent of postgraduate education that an individual interested in entering into the practice of mechanical engineering would need.

It's also often worthwhile for those interested in a PhD in mechanical engineering to determine whether or not an online engineering degree makes sense for them.

Requirements of a Mechanical Engineering Degree

Obtaining a PhD in mechanical engineering will require you to take courses in and have knowledge of a wide range of subjects, including fluid mechanics and dynamics, hydraulics, pneumatics, mechanism design, and drafting using CAD and CAM.

Students working towards mechanical engineering degrees will need to have a significant knowledge of mathematics, as well as physics, as many mathematic formulae will be required in mechanical engineering. Calculus, differential equations, and differential geometry are all examples of the important mathematic subjects which a student pursuing a mechanical engineering PhD would need to know.

Mechanical engineering, as a subject, is broken up into multiple topics. You might be a mechanical engineer who focuses on the design, production, and maintenance of robots, for example, or you might be a mechanical engineer who focuses primarily on car design, or even more specifically, on fuel technology for a wide range of different vehicles. Each of these subjects will likely require a slightly different knowledge base for success.

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About the Author

Brendan Conway is the Web Content Editor for Peterson's Interactive and is well-versed in the world of higher education and admissions. He is a graduate of Hamilton College, and has been working in admissions advice, test-prep advice, career planning advice, and similar fields for the majority of his career since graduation. Brendan endeavors to provide the most relevant, useful, and interesting information via Peterson's Facebook, Twitter, and Google+ feeds. Brendan enjoys lexicological oddities and voraciously reading in his free time.

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