The University of Colorado Boulder mechanical engineering graduate program is ranked 18th by U.S. News & World Report, making it one of the top-ranked engineering graduate programs among public universities. The Department is home to over 100 mechanical engineering PhD students. 

With 64 faculty members conducting fundamental and applied research in air quality, biomedical engineering, micro/nanoscale engineering, materials science, mechanics of materials, robotics and systems design, and thermo fluid sciences, our graduate students are surrounded by a multitude of tier-one research opportunities to meet their interests and career goals. Boulder is also home to four federal research labs, the National Center for Atmospheric Research, the National Institute for Standards and Technology, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, all closely connected to College of Engineering and Applied Science students and faculty. Our research harnesses state-of-the-art experimental, theoretical, and computational approaches to expand the frontiers of technology​​​​​​​​​​, while advancing fundamentals in the underlying disciplines of fluid and solid mechanics, thermal engineering, materials science and engineering. 

PhD students choose from the following research focus areas: 

Coursework for each focus area is mapped out on the PhD curriculum page.

In addition to coursework, PhD students are required to complete 30 dissertation hours. All graduate students are also supported with professional development programming through the Professional Development Program (PDP)

The PhD program in Mechanical Engineering is available if you’re entering graduate studies for the first time or if you already have a master’s degree. While a master's is not required to enroll, our PhD students will typically earn one on the way to a PhD. The best way to do that is by following one of our Master of Science - Thesis Option curriculums. Note: you will NOT need to complete a separate thesis for your MS if you pursue this option.

You do not need a Master's degree to be admitted to the PhD program, but if you have one, up to 21 hours of coursework may be transferred to meet the PhD course requirements. More information is available in the Request for Transfer of Credit form from the CU Boulder graduate school.