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Dear Prospective Graduate Student:

Today, more than ever before, the knowledge and skills of talented persons with advanced degrees in mechanical engineering are vitally needed to serve our society. The diversity of the field has made the work of mechanical engineers critical to problem solving in virtually every field of technology.

Purdue University's School of Mechanical Engineering is shaping its academic programs around these challenges and we are proud to offer our graduate students the education needed for success in the twenty-first century.

The graduate program in Purdue University's School of Mechanical Engineering is one of the oldest and most distinguished in the United States. Over the years, the School has acquired an international reputation for excellence in its wide-ranging curriculum and diverse research activities.

In this document we attempt to answer some of the questions you may have about graduate study and our graduate program. If you have other questions, please send an email message to or contact the faculty members whose research interests most closely parallel your own.

We look forward to the opportunity to discuss our program with you.

|  Programs of Study   |  Degrees Offered   |  Graduate Courses   |  Research Facilities   |  Libraries  |   |  Applying for Admission  |   Financial Aid  |   Cost of Study  |   Living and Housing Costs  |   Student Group  |   |  Campus Environment  |   Location  |   University and the School  |   Correspondence and Info  |

Programs of Study

The School of Mechanical Engineering offers graduate programs leading to the degrees of Master of Science and Doctor of Philosophy. Students may choose to major in any of the following areas:

  • Acoustics and Noise Control
  • Bioengineering 
  • Combustion 
  • Design 
  • Fluid Mechanics and Propulsion 
  • Heat Transfer 
  • Heating, Ventilating, Air Conditioning and Refrigeration 
  • Manufacturing and Materials Processing 
  • Mechanics and Vibration
  • Nanotechnology 
  • Systems, Measurement and Control

As the list indicates, individual programs are available in all the standard subject areas associated with mechanical engineering, as well as several related areas of specialization. A student is encouraged to select a subject area which interests him or her the most, regardless of the academic background prior to graduate school. The ME graduate program accommodates individual interests and encourages independent and innovative study.

Approximately 365 students are enrolled in the School of Mechanical Engineering graduate program, 57 percent of whom are working towards the Ph.D. degree. Each graduate student works with a major professor who assists in the development of a plan of study tailored to a specific interest and background. In addition to the major professor, an advisory committee helps guide the student's research activities.

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Degrees Offered

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Graduate Courses

Catalog information on all Graduate courses taught in the School of Mechanical Engineering is available online.  

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Research Facilities

 The research activities of the School are conducted in fifteen laboratories, and annual expenditures are approximately $16  million. The facilities include Laboratories for Robotics and Advanced Manufacturing; Computer-Aided Design and Graphics; Structural Dynamics and Tribology; Engine and Microprocessor Control; Fluid Mechanics; Aeromechanics and Propulsion; Heat Transfer; Boiling and Two-Phase Flow; Bio-Heat Transfer; Electronic Cooling; Flame Diagnostics; Applied Optics; Materials; Bioengineering; Laser Processing; Electromechanical Systems; Microfluidics; and Products Informatics.

The Ray W. Herrick Laboratories provide facilities for basic and applied research in mechanical vibrations, noise control, acoustics, fluid mechanics and heat transfer for energy utilization, active and adaptive control, engine controls, sound quality and electromechanical systems. Specialized facilities exist for the application of these basic engineering sciences to many areas, including environmental air quality, heating and air conditioning, refrigeration, compressors, engines, vehicles, and other mechanical systems.
The Maurice J. Zucrow Research Laboratories (formerly the Thermal Sciences and Propulsion Center) have facilities for research in large-scale turbomachinery, basic fluid dynamics, spray formation, basic combustion processes, and propulsion. Specialized facilities exist to support research in compressors, turbines, gas turbine combustors, spray formation, wind tunnels, pool flames, and various propulsion applications.
The newest laboratory is the Birck Nanotechnology Center in Purdue’s Discovery Park. The Birck Center is an advanced facility to promote interdisciplinary work in nanoscale research. This Center is one of the most advanced facilities of its kind in the world, with specialized labs for nanoscale chemistry, biology, and physics with semiconductor-grade clean rooms.
Computational facilities within the School of Mechanical Engineering include one Sun Enterprise V440 quad processor departmental server, one Sun Enterprise V245 dual processor departmental file server, four Intel-based Linux workstations and approximately 130 general purpose Intel-based Windows workstations. Additional computational facilities exist within individual research groups that include additional UNIX-based workstations, Intel-based Linux clusters and general purpose Windows Workstations. Wireless Internet connectivity is available throughout the Purdue West Lafayette campus; higher speed wired access is available in each office/lab. The Engineering Computer Network [ECN] provides additional computational resources with a Sun Enterprise 10k, 64 processor server. Information Technology at Purdue [ITAP] provides additional computational options with an IBM SP2, 320 processor supercomputer. ITAP provides 12, RS/6000-based computer servers and a 720 node Intel cluster for parallel and serial computations. A DXUL tape server is available for archival file storage. ITAP also provides several thousand Intel-based workstations for general use.

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The Siegesmund Engineering Library, which serves all the Schools of Engineering, is housed in the Potter Engineering Center adjacent to the Mechanical Engineering Building. It contains more than 344,500 volumes and an extensive collection of technical reports on engineering and related subjects; subscribes to approximately 2,000 periodicals; and provides computer-based literature search services. Additional reference facilities include the University Library in the Stewart Center and the Physics and Chemistry Libraries. The entire Purdue University library system contains more than 2.0 million bound volumes, approximately 15,500 journals, and extensive microfilm materials.

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Applying for Admission

 Applications are accepted for admission to the Fall, Spring, and Summer semesters which begin in August, January, and June, respectively. To qualify for admission to the master's degree program, students are required to have a bachelor's degree from an accredited school in mechanical engineering, another field of engineering, or one of the physical sciences. Applicants who do not have an undergraduate major in mechanical engineering may be required to take additional coursework. In addition, students must provide verification that they graduated in the upper quarter of their class. For more complete application information click here.

For admission to the PhD program, students must have completed the MS degree, must have a superior academic record, and must be able to show evidence of the ability to complete independent research.

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Financial Aid

Financial aid is available to qualified students in the form of research assistantships, teaching assistantships, or fellowships.

The majority of graduate students are supported by research or teaching assistantships. New students awarded at least a quarter-time assistantship also have their tuition and fee charge reduced to $1057 per semester for the 2007-08 academic year, current students with assistantships have their tuition and fee charge reduced to $926.  Students with a half time assistantship are eligible for health insurance through the University at an 80% discount.  In addition, spouses of staff assistants are eligible for in-state tuition.

Teaching Assistant's salaries are funded by the school's salary budget, and research assistantships are supported primarily by faculty research contracts.

Students interested in an assistantship should submit an application as early as possible, should show evidence of high academic achievement, and should make every attempt to submit an official Graduate Record Examination (GRE) score report.

Several fellowships are awarded each year by the School of Mechanical Engineering. These awards are based on recommendations by the Graduate Committee of the School after reviewing the files of students who have applied for admission to the graduate program. Only files that are completed (all required documentation received) by January 15 are eligible. No action is required on the part of the applicant.
Fellowships are also awarded directly to students by the National Science Foundation, certain industries, and other organizations. To compete for these fellowships, applicants must apply directly to the sponsoring organization.

For more financial information, visit the Graduate School Funding Financial Information page

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Cost of Study

In 2007-08, new  full-time resident graduate students pay tuition and fees of  $4022 per semester; nonresidents pay $11,426 per semester. Summer-session rates are approximately half of this amount.

•  West Lafayette Campus Fees and Tuition Calculator

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Living and Housing Costs

University dormitories rent rooms for approximately $581 - $769 per month in 2007-08; meal plans are available in conjunction with university housing. Married student apartments are $520 - $655 per month in 2007-08. Housing and apartments are also available near campus.

•  University Housing Information
•  Cost of Living Comparison Chart

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Student Group

The School currently has approximately 365 graduate students, 57 percent of whom are working toward the Ph.D. degree. Approximately 60 percent of the students are from other countries.

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The Campus Environment

Cultural activities available at Purdue include Broadway plays, dance companies, major symphony orchestras, popular bands and entertainers, individual performing artists, and distinguished guest lecturers. These activities occur at the 6,000-seat Elliott Hall of Music and other campus auditoriums. Many students are active in musical and drama groups on the campus and in the community. Student organizations are devoted to hobbies and pastimes ranging from hang gliding and SCUBA, photography and cycling, to student government and religious groups. The Greater Lafayette community offers more than 60 churches of all major denominations, a symphony orchestra, annual civic theater, art museum, historical museum, movie theaters, civic events, and 2,000 acres of public parks.

Nearby points of scenic and historic interest include the Tippecanoe Battlefield, where William Henry Harrison fought the Battle of Tippecanoe; Fort Ouiatenon, the site of the annual Feast of the Hunter's Moon; and Shades and Turkey Run State Parks.

Purdue is a member of the Big Ten Conference and the National Collegiate Athletic Association. The University fields competitive teams in all major collegiate sports. In addition, Purdue has one of the largest collegiate intramural athletic programs in the nation. Students will find numerous opportunities and ample facilities available through the Co-Recreational Gymnasium and its variety of intramural sports programs. Students who enjoy spectator or active sports are sure to find their particular interests represented in Purdue's range of offerings. 

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Purdue University, established in 1869 as the land grant university of Indiana, is located in West Lafayette, across the Wabash River from Lafayette. The population of the twin cities exceeds 100,000. Total enrollment on the West Lafayette campus approaches 39,000 students. Of the more than 8,370 students enrolled in engineering, about 2,190 are working towards a graduate level degree.

West Lafayette is located 65 miles northwest of Indianapolis and 126 miles southeast of Chicago. Public transportation to these and more distant points is provided by railway, bus lines, and a number of daily flights from the Purdue University Airport. Shuttle service is also available from the Indianapolis Airport to Purdue.

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The University and The School

Purdue has thirteen schools of engineering, three divisions representing interdisciplinary research activities, and a Department of Engineering Education. The engineering schools have over 6,100 undergraduate and 2,200 graduate students, and the total University enrollment is nearly 39,000. The School of Mechanical Engineering has approximately 850 undergraduates, 365 graduate students, 60 faculty members, and 49 professional, service, and clerical staff members.

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Correspondence and Information

Graduate Office
School of Mechanical Engineering
Purdue University
585 Purdue Mall
West Lafayette, Indiana 47907-2088
Telephone: (765)-494-5730

Graduate School Administration
Purdue University
Young Hall
Rm. 170
West Lafayette, IN 47906-3560
(765) 494-2597
TDD: (765) 494-1247


•  Request Information About Mechanical Engineering Graduate Program

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