Research and graduate education in EME spans petroleum engineering and reservoir characterization, electricity market design, grid integration of diverse fuels and technology, mining engineering and mineral processing, fuel chemistry and processing, energy conversion engineering, environmental safety and health related issues associated with the energy and mineral resource sector, among many others. Methodologies include experimental laboratory science, computational modeling and simulation, and advanced data analytics. Our faculty are leading scholars in methods of applied science, engineering, and economics for energy and mineral resource questions. The PhD program in EME offers a unique graduate environment in which to develop your own research expertise for the energy challenges of the future.
Ph.D. Degree Requirements
Energy and Mineral Engineering graduate students are encouraged to design a course of study that suits their individual backgrounds, interests, and needs in consultation with their advisors. Therefore, the EME graduate program keeps the core program and option courses requirements to a minimum, leaving students with an array of elective courses to choose from, in consultation with their advisor and thesis committee, to meet the total credit requirements.
The required minimum number of total credits beyond the M.S. degree for the EME Ph.D. degree is 24, including 12 credits of research beyond the M.S. Of the remaining 12 credits, four core program credits are required. If an option is desired and was not declared for the M.S. degree, then 12 option course credits are required. At least 18 of the required course credits for the M.S. and Ph.D. degrees must be at the 500 level. Students who choose not to select an option only need to meet the total credit and core program course requirements. Because each thesis research problem is unique, the need for taking additional courses varies from student to student, and the student's thesis advisor and committee will make the final decision whether or not the additional courses should be part of a student's official course of study.
For details on any of the specific requirements for the Ph.D. degree, click on the topics below.
Ph.D. students must take one (1) course (3 credits of core courses) from this list. Ph.D. students without an M.S. are required to take three (3) courses (9 credits of core courses) from this list.
- EME 501(3): Design Under Uncertainty in EME Systems
- EME 511(3): Interfacial Phenomena in EME Systems
- EME 521(3): Mathematical Modeling of EME Systems
- EME 531(3): Thermodynamics in EME Systems
- EME 551(3): Safety, Health, and Environmental Risks in EME Production
Acceptance into the Ph.D. degree program in Energy and Mineral Engineering will be based on the student's performance on the Ph.D. qualifying examination administered by the Graduate Faculty of the EME graduate program.
The Ph.D. Qualifying Examination will be based on a written examination only which will measure the student’s fundamental knowledge of subjects covered in the program and interest area(s) of the individual candidate. It is intended to determine whether a student has the preparation, intellectual capacity, and professional attitude to complete a Ph.D. program successfully. This written Ph.D. Qualifying exam will be scheduled twice a year (once in Fall and once in Spring) and will be overseen by a 9-member qualifying examination committee of EME Graduate Faculty which is chaired by the EME graduate officer. The EME graduate office appoints the rest of the eight (8) members of the qualifying examination committee. EME Graduate Faculty will rotate in and out of the qualifying examination committee, and some degree of membership overlap with previous committees will be maintained.
Upon consultation with the qualifying examination committee, the EME graduate office will send a notification, at least one and a half (1 1/2) months in advance, with the time, date, and place of the Ph.D. qualifying examination to all eligible students in the Ph.D. track. Upon receiving the exam notification, and at least three (3) weeks prior to the exam, Ph.D. students will declare their intent to take the written examination by submitting a research proposal document emphasizing a critical review of relevant literature and a short research plan that reflects the interest area(s) of the individual candidate. Details of the recommended format for this document (max. 5 pages) will be circulated by EME graduate officer with the exam notification.
Upon receiving all research proposals, the Ph.D. qualifying examination committee meets to design content, duration, and metrics to pass or fail the exam. The exam may cover materials from EME core courses taken by the student, questions specific to option areas (if any is pursued by the student), and particularly questions specific to the research proposal, which can include critical peer reviews of relevant journal papers. Exam application will be supervised by the EME graduate office with the support of members of the committee.
Within the week following the conclusion of the exam, each committee member will individually evaluate student performance and submit scoring results to the EME graduate officer for compilation. This submission to the EME grad officer will include written feedback that can be shared with the student regarding research plan and areas that may need improvement. Passing and failing verdicts will be based on simple majorities. The EME graduate program officer will not vote; except in cases where tie-breaking is needed. EME graduate office will summarize the committee feedback and notify each student of the exam passing/failing outcome. If a candidate fails the exam, feedback must be provided in terms of suggestions for additional courses and re-structuring of the research plan.
Students are required to take the qualifying exam within three (3) semesters of being admitted to the Ph.D. program. Failure to schedule the exam before the start of the fourth semester of the doctoral program (summer sessions not counted) will be treated equivalently to the student having taken the qualifying exam and failed. Candidates will be allowed a maximum of two (2) attempts to pass the qualifying exam. Students will be permitted to re-take the qualifying exam within the following two semesters of a failure verdict. If the student does not pass the Ph.D. Qualifying Examination at that time, or does not take the exam within this window, the student will be automatically removed from the Ph.D. program.
All Ph.D. students, domestic and international, will undergo an assessment of English competency during their first year. The assessment will include the student's ability to read and comprehend technical literature, the ability to write well, the ability to make formal presentations and the ability to participate in scientific and technical discussions. The assessment will be conducted during the Ph.D. Candidacy Examination. Students must demonstrate English competency before scheduling the Ph.D. Comprehensive Examination. If the expected level of competency is not demonstrated, students will be required to take certain English courses to improve their skills.
A Comprehensive Examination is required of all doctoral candidates by the Graduate School. The examination in EME is primarily an oral examination, administered by the candidate's Ph.D. committee. The committee will consist of at least three faculty members in the EME Program and at least one faculty member in a related field (outside the department). The committee chair will ordinarily be the candidate's thesis advisor.
The examination takes place in two phases. First, the student will give an oral presentation on some aspect of his/her research topic, including objectives, methods, and current progress. The second phase will consist of questions by the committee to determine the candidate's ability to synthesize his/her knowledge, especially in his/her area of specialization, and apply the tools learned to the solution of relevant problems.
The final step to obtaining a doctoral degree is the Ph.D. Thesis Defense. This process consists of a written thesis and an oral defense administered by the Ph.D. committee. Upon successful completion of the defense, the student will submit the final version of the thesis to the Graduate School after obtaining the required signatures from the advisor, the Ph.D. committee and the EME graduate program officer.