Welcome, prospective PhD students! We invite you to join our community of mechanical engineers at Paul M. Rady Department of Mechanical Engineering. With a mechanical engineering graduate program ranked 16th among public university peers by U.S. News & World Report, our program is one of the top-ranked in the nation. We offer paths to customize your degree in support of your unique interests and career goals, a variety of specialty courses taught by experts in the field, entrepreneurship resources and events like New Venture Challenge, and opportunities for high-impact research in air quality, biomedical, materials, mechanics of materials, micro/nanoscale, robotics and systems design, and thermo fluid sciences. 

We offer funding to all PhD applicants whom we admit. Our department anticipates extending full funding to about 70 Fall 2024 PhD applicants. Funding includes:

  • a graduate student salary,
  • tuition remission,
  • mandatory student fees, and
  • 91% health insurance coverage.

In your first year, you will be funded by the department as a Teaching Assistant (TA) for one semester and as a Research Assistant (RA) for the other semester, which enables you to find a research lab and to practice working in a classroom setting. Faculty with alternate sources of funding may petition the department to waive the TA requirement for first year students in their lab. In your second year and beyond, you will be funded by a research advisor as an RA or through other fellowships, pending reasonable research progress and academic performance. If your research advisor has a funding gap, they can apply to the department for gap funding. This way, students have a safety net so that they can continue to be funded throughout their PhD program.

Connect with Us! We invite you to watch one of our fall virtual events. If you would like to meet with a current student in our program, please email us with that request at megrad@colorado.edu.

To receive full consideration, you must submit all application items for a fall program start by the following deadlines:

  • International applicant deadline: December 1 by 10:00 p.m. MST
  • Domestic applicant deadline: December 15 by 10:00 p.m. MST

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Tier-One Research & National Lab Access

As a mechanical engineering graduate student at CU Boulder, you will get to conduct groundbreaking tier-one research. Boulder is also home to a variety of well-known companies and labs doing research and development. Our faculty researchers and their research groups regularly collaborate with scientists at federal research labs that are located in the Boulder/Denver area, including the following:

  • National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR)
  • National Institute for Standards and Technology (NIST)
  • National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)
  • National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL)

We aim to educate and nurture the next generation of socially conscious and deeply knowledgeable engineers, scientists, and problem-solvers with high-quality instruction, project-based learning, and cutting-edge research. The Paul M. Rady Department of Mechanical Engineering is home to over 60 faculty members conducting both fundamental and applied research in the following areas: 

We encourage you to review our Research Overview Slides to learn more about our faculty members and their unique capabilities and areas of expertise. 

    Research Overview Slides

    Our Community

    Our graduate community is truly special. You will join a multicultural graduate program that includes faculty, staff, and students from all over the world. Our faculty, staff, and student leaders will frequently advertise community events and professional development activities to support you and your unique experience. You will also have access to seminars, colloquia, and workshops delivered by notable engineering leaders in education, research, and industry.

    Our graduate program leadership is committed to cultivating an environment of respect and belonging. We actively partner with our graduate student-led organizations, including the Committee for Equity in Mechanical Engineering (CEME), our K-12 outreach student organizers, and the Graduate Engineering Annual Research and Recruitment Symposium (GEARRS) committee. If you join us in Boulder, we hope that you will particiate in of these groups; they are a great way to make lifelong friends and to contribute to our graduate program's unique and supportive culture.

    PhD and Certificate Programs

    Mechanical engineering PhD students take part in cutting-edge, tier-one research, learning from nationally and internationally recognized faculty. Our research harnesses state-of-the-art experimental, theoretical and computational approaches to expand the frontiers of technology while advancing fundamentals. Our PhD program will prepare you for a career in industry or academia. You do not need a master's degree to be admitted to this program. Many of our students enroll directly from their undergraduate institution. If you do already have a master's degree, up to 21 hours of coursework may be transferred to meet PhD course requirements. 

    Either degree-seeking or non-degree-seeking students can enroll in graduate certificate programs offered by our department. These certificates indicate expertise in a focused topic area and are intended primarily for continuing education and non-traditional students, though they can also be pursued as a supplement to the MS or PhD programs. The department currently offers a certificate in Biomedical Engineering, designed to train next-generation professional engineers to interface engineering and medicine with design and problem solving to improve human health. Additional certificate options are in development.