Jul 12, 2024  
2023/2024 University Catalog 
2023/2024 University Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Engineering Sciences (Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering), Ph.D.

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(Major Code: 19020) (SIMS Code: 444021)

General Information

The College of Engineering offers graduate study leading to the Ph.D. degrees in engineering sciences (bioengineering; electrical and computer engineering; mechanical and aerospace engineering; structural engineering). The Ph.D. degree programs are offered jointly with the University of California, San Diego. The graduate degree may also prepare students for a teaching career.

Engineering Sciences (Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering), Ph.D.


The cooperating faculties of the College of Engineering at San Diego State University and the Jacobs School of Engineering at the University of California, San Diego offers a joint doctoral program in mechanical and aerospace engineering. The Doctor of Philosophy degree is awarded jointly by the Trustees of the California State University and the Regents of the University of California in the names of both cooperating institutions.

The Ph.D. degree is a research degree and represents both attainment of advanced knowledge and demonstration of research skills. It is not awarded solely for the fulfillment of technical requirements such as academic residence and coursework. A typical student with an appropriate bachelor of science degree in engineering may complete the joint program in five to six years of full-time study and research. A student with advanced standing may complete the program in a shorter period of time.

The joint Doctor of Philosophy degree allows research specialties in the following: applied mechanics, materials science, materials processing, computational fluid mechanics, combustion, experimental fluid mechanics.

Program Administration
San Diego State University:
Program Director: Temesgen Garoma Ararsso
University of California, San Diego:
Program Director: Kal Seshadr
Financial Support

Students admitted to the program will be eligible for teaching associateships and graduate assistantships. 

For further information, the student should contact the director of the Engineering Sciences Joint Doctoral Program at the College of Engineering, San Diego State University, San Diego, CA 92182-1326.

Preparation for Admission

Applicants must have an acceptable bachelor’s degree or master’s degree and must meet the requirements for admission to both SDSU and UCSD. A minimum grade point average of 3.0 in the major field for students with the B.S. degree or 3.5 for students with the M.S. degree is required. Students are expected to have engineering degrees in the classical engineering sciences/applied mechanics areas (i.e. aerospace, chemical, civil, environmental, mechanical). Students with degrees in one of the allied fields (i.e., physics, mathematics, and engineering physics) will be required to remove any academic deficiencies by completing a series of courses normally required of the students who have academic degrees in the applied mechanics areas.



The faculty of the joint doctoral program on each campus will recommend admission of acceptable applicants to the graduate deans at SDSU and UCSD. Entry occurs when the student is formally accepted by both graduate deans and the student is officially notified of the acceptance.

Students applying for admission should electronically submit the university application available at http://www.calstate.edu/apply along with the application fee.

All applicants must submit admissions materials separately to SDSU Graduate Admissions and to the College of Engineering.

Graduate Admissions

The following materials should be submitted as a complete package directly to:

Graduate Admissions

Enrollment Services
San Diego State University
San Diego, CA 92182-7416

  1. Official transcripts (in sealed envelopes) from all postsecondary institutions attended;
    • Students who attended SDSU need only submit transcripts for work completed since last attendance.
    • Students with international coursework must submit both the official transcript and proof of degree. If documents are in a language other than English, they must be accompanied by a certified English translation.
  2. GRE scores (http://www.ets.org SDSU institution code 4682);
  3. English language score, if medium of instruction was in a language other than English (http://www.ets.org SDSU institution code 4682).
College of Engineering

The following materials should be submitted via interfolio:

  1. Three letters of recommendation;
  2. Curriculum vitae;
  3. Statement of purpose.
Residency Requirements

Students must remain enrolled at both universities every semester/quarter until completion of the degree unless approved for a leave of absence at both institutions.


The student’s co-advisers at both universities are responsible to develop in consultation with the student a course of study and a plan for the student’s dissertation research.

Joint Doctoral Committee

A doctoral committee shall be appointed by the graduate deans of SDSU and UCSD upon the recommendation of the director of the joint doctoral programs in engineering at UCSD and the director of the joint doctoral program in engineering at SDSU. The doctoral committee shall supervise the continued study and research programs of the student. The co-chairs of the committee are the primary advisers of the student’s dissertation research. The dissertation committee will consist of up to three members from each institution; one of the three will be from outside of the respective UCSD department and one from outside the student’s major area.

Course Requirements

The Doctor of Philosophy degrees in engineering sciences (mechanical and aerospace engineering) are research degrees and represent both attainment of advanced knowledge and demonstration of research skills. Students are required to satisfy course requirements, and students who only hold a bachelor’s degree are typically required to take more courses to develop a depth and breadth in their major. At UCSD, the course requirements for students who hold a master’s degree in a related engineering field is typically between 9 and 12 courses (check each UCSD department policy). At SDSU, there are no course work requirements, but at the direction of the SDSU co-adviser, students may be assigned course work at SDSU to expand their academic knowledge and improve research ability.

Qualifying Examinations
Joint Qualifying Committee

The doctoral program qualifying examination is administered by the student’s advising committee supplemented, if appropriate, by faculty appointed by the director of the joint doctoral programs in engineering at UCSD and the director of the joint doctoral programs in engineering at SDSU. The examination will be oral and will be at the level and content of the SDSU and UCSD graduate courses. 

Senate Qualifying Examination

The major requirement for the doctorate is the completion of a dissertation based on original research, which contributes new knowledge to the fields. The Senate Qualifying Examination consists of a presentation of initial dissertation results and plans for future research. The chair of the doctoral committee will determine in consultation with the student when the Senate Qualifying Examination will be held. Approval of a student’s dissertation topic by the doctoral committee implies that the committee believes that the work will contain the potential for one or more articles publishable in refereed journals.


The doctoral committee will administer the final examination, which will consist of the student’s presentation and defense of the dissertation, with particular emphasis on the principal findings and areas of future research. The first part of this examination is open to the public; a concluding portion involves appropriate questioning of the student by the committee.

The detailed requirements concerning the preparation of the dissertation, the number of copies, the editorial style, etc., are set forth in the UCSD document entitled “Instructions for the Preparation and Submission of Doctoral Dissertations and Masters’ Theses.” Acceptance of the dissertation by the University Librarian at UCSD and the College of Graduate Studies at SDSU represents the final step in completion of the student’s degree requirements.

Satisfactory Progress

The students admitted to this program are expected to make continuous, satisfactory progress and to remain in good standing at both institutions.

Award of the Degree

The Doctor of Philosophy degrees in engineering sciences, mechanical and aerospace engineering will be awarded jointly by the Trustees of the California State University and the Regents of the University of California in the names of both cooperating institutions.


The following faculty members of the cooperating institutions participate in the joint doctoral programs in engineering and are available for direction of research and as members of joint doctoral committees.

San Diego State University

Program Director: Temesgen Garoma Ararsso

Committee Members, Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering: L. Demasi, G. Jacobs, J. Katz, X. Liu, A. Plotkin, S. Venkataraman (Aerospace Engineering). J. Abraham, A. Beyene, A. Bhalla, S. Bhattacharjee, J. Camacho, S. Kang, S. Kassegne, P. Katira, K. May-Newman, F. Miller, K. Moon, K. Morsi, P Naseradinmousavi, Z. Nili Ahmadabadi, E. Olevsky, S.-Y. Park, E. Torresani, K. Wood,  W. Xu, Y. Yang, G. Youssef (Mechanical Engineering), T. Garoma, N. Mladenov, H. T. Davani (Civil, Construction and Environmental Engineering)

University of California, San Diego

Program Director: Kal Seshadr

Committee Members, Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering: R. Bitmead, J. Goddard, S. Krasheninnkov, X. Markenscoff, J. McKittrick, M. Meyers, C. Pozrikidis, J. Talbot, F. Williams (Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering)

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