Mechanical Engineering Ph.D. (Ithaca)

Field of Study

Mechanical Engineering

Program Description

The program emphasizes basic mechanical sciences to prepare students for the diversity found at the frontiers of research and industrial development. The faculty is particularly strong and active in biomechanical engineering, fluid dynamics, turbulence, combustion, thermal systems engineering, multiphase flows, energy and power systems, transport processes in microgravity, mechanical systems and design, control and robotics, dynamics and control of space structures, mechanics of materials and materials processing, materials microgravity sciences and computational mechanics.

Biomechanical engineering: Analysis and design of biomechanical systems for orthopedic surgery; development of computer-aided design and analysis techniques for bone-implant systems; skeletal adaptation and bone structural behavior; mechanics and dynamics of human and animal motion and coordination.

Combustion: Combustion processes for practical energy-conversion devices; computational techniques for turbulent combustion; incineration of municipal and hazardous waste; combustion in a microgravity environment; computer simulations of rapid granular flows; models of pneumatic transport; laser imaging studies of turbulent combustion; development and application of laser tomography for combustion measurements.

Energy and power systems: Combustion and transport processes in gas turbine combustors.

Fluid mechanics: Theoretical and experimental studies of turbulence with applications to industrial, meteorological and oceanographic flows; construction of consistent turbulence models; experimental studies of transition to turbulence and three dimensionalities in wakes, shear flows, and boundary layers; linear and nonlinear wave propagation and stability studies of vortex flows; experimental investigations of vortex structure; vortex-induced vibration; fundamental vortex interactions; wing vortex wake dynamics; splash dynamics of droplets on surfaces.

Heat transfer: Experiments in critical heat flux and boiling instability; heat transfer in electronic components; radiosity for realistic images in computer graphics; transport phenomena in materials processing; inverse heat transfer problems; computational design and control of thermal systems and processes.

Materials processing and precision engineering: Experiments and modeling of microstructure and damage evolution in metals; modeling, optimal design and robust control of deformation, solidification and crystal growth processes; computational mechanics.

Mechanical systems and design: Spatial and dynamical modeling and the use of models in analysis, design, and control; magnetic bearings; application of nonlinear dynamics and chaos to mechanical systems; guidance, estimation, and trajectory optimization; multi-variable robust control; dimensional tolerances and metrology; metatheories for design; design analysis of fluid film bearings; tribology.

Multiphase flows: Experimental circulating fluidization; impact of particles on other particles or solid boundaries; scale-up and heat transfer in fluidized beds; development of instrumentation for gas-solid suspensions; granular flows down inclines; theories and numerical simulations of collisional granular materials; microgravity experiments on the flow, heat transfer and segregation of collisional granular materials and gas-solid suspensions; development of instrumentation for the snow pack and snow avalanches; suspension theories; rheology of polymer melts; two-phase boiling.

The Ph.D. programs provide advanced levels of training suitable for students pursuing careers in research and development, education, or advanced engineering analysis and design. Applicants may apply for the Ph.D. program directly from a bachelor's degree.

Contact Information

Email: or see the MAE Ph.D. home page
Phone: 607 255-5250

107 Upson Hall
Cornell University
Ithaca, NY  14853

Concentrations by Subject

  • biomedical mechanics
  • dynamics and control
  • energy and sustainability
  • fluid dynamics
  • micro- and nanoscale engineering
  • solid mechanics and materials
  • thermal science


Visit the Graduate School's Tuition Rates page.

Application Requirements and Deadlines

Application Deadlines:

Fall, Dec. 1; no spring admissions.


Requirements Summary:

Applicants should hold a bachelor's degree in engineering or the physical sciences. Admission is offered only for the fall semester, except in unusual cases. A field brochure is available on request from the graduate field office.


Learning Outcomes

Make an original and substantial contribution to the discipline

  • Think originally and independently to develop concepts and methodologies
  • Identify new research opportunities within one’s field

Demonstrate advanced research skills

  • Synthesize existing knowledge, identifying and accessing appropriate resources and other sources of relevant information and critically analyzing and evaluating one’s own findings and those of other
  • Master application of existing research methodologies, techniques, and technical skills

Demonstrate commitment to advancing the values of scholarship

  • Keep abreast of current advances within one’s field and related areas
  • Commit to professional development through engagement in professional societies, publication, and other knowledge transfer modes
  • Create an environment that supports learning—through teaching, collaborative inquiry, mentoring, or demonstration

Demonstrate professional skills

  • Advance ethical standards in the discipline
  • Communicate in a style appropriate to the discipline
  • Listen, give, and receive feedback effectively