MechE PhD FAQs

We invite you to browse our MechE PhD Degree Program Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs). We have compiled the questions based on the most popular inquiries but you may have a specific question, which we are happy to answer. Please look through below and contact us if you have further questions. We are always pleased to hear from you!

Degree Programs

Q: Can I apply for a Ph.D. degree even if I will only have a B.S. degree?
A: Yes. For applicants with strong interest in pursuing a Ph.D., we recommend applying for direct entry to our Post-Bachelor’s Ph.D. program. We do not require an M.S. degree for you to apply to the Ph.D. program.

Q: Is there any advantage to applying to the M.S. program if I am interested in obtaining a Ph.D.?
A: If your interest in pursuing Ph.D. is high, then you should apply directly to the Ph.D. program. If you feel that you are more likely to decide to earn an M.S. only, then you should apply to the M.S. program.

Q: What should I select as my “ultimate degree objective” for Question 1 under the “Additional Info” section (page 4) of the application form? I might be interested in continuing on or a Ph.D. after completing my M.S. at BU.
A: The purpose of this question is to gauge your near- and intermediate-term plans for graduate study at BU. In most cases, applicants should answer this question with the name of the degree program to which they are applying (e.g., Ph.D. applicants should choose “Ph.D.” as the Ultimate Degree Objective). Applicants unsure about pursuing a Ph.D. vs. M.S. might find the following guidelines helpful:

Scenario Ultimate Degree Objective
You are interested in pursuing an M.S. degree at BU and you believe that at some later point in your career you might pursue a Ph.D. M.S.
You want to pursue a Ph.D. at BU but feel that you should do the M.S. degree at BU first. Ph.D.

Q: Can I transfer from the M.Eng. program to the Ph.D. program?

A: Transferring from M.Eng. to Ph.D. is rare. An M.Eng. student must still complete the full Ph.D. application process to do so. The application will only be considered favorably if a student has earned high grades in courses and has begun a research project with a faculty member. Applications for a transfer to Ph.D. from M.Eng. will only be considered for current students.


Q: Where do I apply?
A: Please use the APPLY button on this or any other page in the Prospective Graduate section of this website. It will take you to our Graduate Admissions Application system where you will set up an account.

Q: Are there minimums on the GREs or GPA?
A: No. However, we do expect students to have a strong undergraduate record and test scores.

Q: Are there minimums on the TOEFL/IELTS?
A: Yes. The minimum TOEFL/IELTS scores that are required for admission, as well as admission with financial aid, are listed below.

Admission Admission & Aid
TOEFL iBT Total Score 84 100
Required scores by category:
Reading 21
Listening 18
Speaking 23
Writing 22
TOEFL Paper-Based Test 550 600
TOEFL Computer-Based Test 213 250
IELTS 7.0 7.5

Q: What is the timing for applications?
A: Application deadlines are listed here. Initial decisions are made by March 1, and all decisions are complete by April 15. Students must notify BU of their acceptance decision by April 30.

Q: Must I have a specific undergraduate degree to apply for the Ph.D. program?
A: No. The undergraduate degrees of the graduate students in our department span a wide range of areas of Engineering, and Mathematics and Physics.

Q: What are the acceptance rates for the graduate programs in ME?
A: The acceptance rates for the prior application cycle were as follows:

Post-BS PhD 22%
Post-MS PhD 21%

Q: Can I apply for Spring admission?
A: Ph.D. applications are only accepted for consideration for Fall admission.

Q: May I waive the application fee?
A: No. The application fee must be received in order for an application to be processed and reviewed.

Funding Opportunities

Partial information on current funding opportunities for advanced graduate study can be found here.

Degree Requirements

Q: Is there a Teaching Assistantship requirement?
A: There is a Teaching Assistantship requirement for the Ph.D. program only. Each Ph.D. student must serve as a Teaching Assistant (TA) for two semesters during his/her program. Students typically do not serve more than two semesters.

Q: What are the degree requirements for the Ph.D., and what courses are required to complete this degree program?
A: Please consult the Ph.D. in Mechanical Engineering Program page for information on the degree requirements.

Q: Should I contact a faculty member about their research interests?
A: We recommend that you look over information about the faculty research interests, available on the department website and in their research publications, in advance of contacting individual faculty. This will answer as many of your questions as possible, and will help you gauge your interest in the faculty member’s research. If you have specific questions for a specific faculty member and cannot find the answers on the web, then ask. Please note that most faculty members receive a large volume of inquiries from prospective students, so many faculty cannot answer each one. Please do not get discouraged if you do not get a response, and do not let a lack of response deter you from submitting your application. Many faculty members focus on student recruitment in January-March only.

Q: Can I send a resume to a faculty member or Academic Programs Manager to inquire about my admission possibilities?
A: Because individual faculty and staff do not directly admit students into the graduate programs, they cannot answer this type of inquiry. The best way to express your interest in working with a faculty member on a Ph.D. is to submit an application. Make sure that you indicate your interest in that particular faculty member’s research in your application form where asked.

Q: Is there anyone I can contact about additional questions I have?
A: Please contact the Academic Programs Manager, Patty Robinson-Angel, in the Department of Mechanical Engineering with any additional questions you may have.

Q: Can I study towards a graduate degree in Mechanical Engineering part time?
A: Given that all of our Ph.D. students are fully funded through the department, part-time study is not an option at this time.

Q: Can I transfer in previous graduate coursework to count towards my degree requirements?
A: Yes, you may petition to transfer up to 8 academic credits of comparable graduate coursework, which will be counted towards your degree requirements.