Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering
PhD Program Policies
Approved by the Department 30 April 2009
Amended version approved by the Department 28 February 2017
Amended version approved by the Department 25 October 2018
These policies govern the operation of the PhD programs in Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering.
- PhD Comprehensive Exam
- PhD Proposal Exam
- Processes Governing the Comprehensive and Proposal Exams
- Course Requirements
- Seminar Requirements
- Direct Transfer to PhD Program from an MASc Program
|A. PhD Comprehensive Exam
The purpose of the comprehensive examination is to determine if the candidate has a sufficiently strong background in their research field and in related areas of fundamental engineering principles to conduct PhD level work. The comprehensive will focus primarily on the student’s research field and related areas of knowledge. Questions in the comprehensive exam should test fundamental principles and knowledge in the undergraduate fields related to the candidate’s field of research, and can also include knowledge gained from relevant graduate courses and from the candidate’s early preparation for their thesis work. In keeping with the idea of a “comprehensive” exam, it should be fairly broadly based, and not concentrate exclusively on knowledge directly related to the thesis topic.
The following regulations govern the comprehensive:
|B. PhD Proposal Exam
The purpose of the thesis proposal is to determine whether the candidate has acquired sufficient knowledge of the intended thesis topic area to formulate and carry out a viable PhD research plan.
The following regulations govern the PhD proposal:
1.The candidate shall prepare a written research proposal of not more than 50 pages in length which contains the following elements:
– introduction and outline of the problem;
The proposal may also contain the results of preliminary research work if the student wishes, although it does not have to.
2. The written proposal must be given to the advisory committee a minimum of two weeks before it is examined.
3. The proposal examination consists of an oral presentation and defense of the written proposal before the advisory committee.
4.The advisory committee can return one of two verdicts:
a). Pass: the student can proceed in their thesis research. To be granted a pass, the candidate must, through the written proposal and the oral examination,
– demonstrate a critical knowledge of relevant recent literature in the field,including a sound understanding of the fundamental principles and the important phenomena, methodologies (experimental, computational, etc.) and conclusions;
– demonstrate that the proposed research plan is feasible;
b. Fail: the student has insufficient knowledge and preparation to proceed Further with their thesis research.
A majority of examiners including the supervisor must agree on the verdict; i.e. the supervisor must be in agreement with the verdict.
5. If the proposal examination is failed, it may be repeated once only. Repeating the examination will require submission of a new research proposal document. Failure of the second attempt at the proposal examination will result in withdrawal from the program.
6. The comprehensive examination must be passed before the proposal can be examined.
|C. Processes Governing the Comprehensive and Proposal Exams
Prior to the Exams
After the Exams
 Starting with the presentation is generally a benefit to the student, to help them “warm up” before questions begin. However, with the agreement of the student and committee, the order of items 4a and 4b can be reversed.
The comprehensive exam and proposal exam must be submitted and the proposal examination attempted before the end of the fifth semester of registration in the PhD program. The comprehensive examination must be passed before the proposal exam may proceed. In the event of a delay caused by a second attempt at either the comprehensive examination or the proposal examination, both requirements must be completed by the end of the sixth semester of registration in the PhD program (24 months).
The advisory committee comprises the supervisor plus a minimum of two other professors from the Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering at Carleton University. The final thesis examination board is comprised as per the FGPA Thesis Examination Policy
|F. Course Requirements
The course load for the PhD will be maintained at the present level of 3 courses, with the understanding that the Department (through the graduate officer) can assign additional courses on admission to the program to students who show particular deficiencies in their background. Graduate courses offered by departments in other disciplines may be taken for credit with pre-approval by the Department (through the graduate officer).
|G. Seminar Requirements
The seminar requirement for the PhD program is:
– attendance at a total of 15 seminars
– presentation of a seminar on the candidate’s work
Seminar attendance will be monitored by the Graduate Officer. Professors and students attending the seminars will fill out evaluation forms for each seminar. If the candidate fails to give a satisfactory seminar as judged by the results of this evaluation they will have to repeat the seminar until a satisfactory performance is achieved.
A similar regulation is proposed for an MASc student, except that attendance is required at only 10 seminars.
|H. Direct Transfer to PhD Program from an MASc Program
1.Students with strong performance in courses and research during their first year of the MASc can be nominated by their supervisor to fast track into the PhD, subject to approval of the department admissions committee, without completing the MASc thesis.
2. A student who transfers from the MASc to the PhD program must complete:
3. The deadlines for the PhD Comprehensive Exam, PhD Proposal Exam and program completion shall be with respect to the date of transfer into the PhD program.