Mechanical Engineering Doctoral Qualifying Exams

Please consider the information presented here and in the Mechanical Engineering Graduate Guide before considering information presented on other websites.

The department distributes an updated list of Quals guidelines and formats before each exam. The most recent update is for the January 2024 exam: Qualifying Exam: Guidelines and Formats

Study Material and Student-to-Student Advice

Our Quals Seminar Chair also puts together a biannual guide to quals (MIT certificates required).

Former grad student Kate Thompson prepared her own unofficial guide to the qualifying exams. Many details are for the old format of quals, but lots of the tips are useful nonetheless.

Previous quals exams (and soon some study materials compiled by previous students) are available here to help students prepare for quals (MIT certificates are required). It is recommended that you as previous students who took the exam if they have additional materials to share as well (textbooks to lend you, solutions they worked, study sheets, etc).

Additional Resources

GAME encourages you to explore additional resources around campus during the quals preparation process. These include:

MechE REFS (for peers to talk to about stress)

MIT Student Mental Health and Counseling (for professionals to talk to about stress)

MechE Communication Lab (for coaching on research presentations)