Mechanical Engineering Doctorate Degree (DES)

Online Program Overview

Degree Level
Doctorate Degree
Total Credits
72 credits. 30 credits earned from previously obtained MS, 30 credits of DES coursework, and a minimum 12 credits of research.
Partially Online
Contact Us
Minimum GPA
Qualifying Exam
GRE Required


The Doctor of Engineering Science is a variant of the doctorate that has identical academic requirements to the PhD program. The Doctor of Engineering degree is officially designated Eng.Sc.D., but in practice is typically referred to as DES.

The DES can be completed partially online. Students in the program can complete some of their courses online. Students also perform research on campus with a faculty advisor.

The most significant difference between PhD students and DES students is that DES students are permitted to be part-time and are expected to work for an employer who funds their tuition and other expenses related to their program; DES students receive no funding from Columbia.  Even though part-time, SEAS still imposes a maximum time to degree of seven years.  Applicants must already hold a masters degree in a related field to be admitted to the DES.  There are also some differences in registration for PhD vs. DES students. The DES does not require teaching/TAing or community service.

The DES in Mechanical Engineering is designed to provide specialization beyond the master's degree in an area chosen by the student. The program is geared to provide in-depth instruction in mechanical engineering and prepares the graduate to contribute scholarly work in the field. The prospective doctoral candidate follows a program of study closely formulated in consultation with a faculty advisor to meet the professional objectives of the candidate. The program requires coursework beyond the master's degree, research and a final dissertation as outlined below. After completing the coursework, the candidate pursues research requirements as specified by their faculty advisor. Courses are selected with a focus in a given area in the department such as controls and robotics, energy and micropower generation, fluid mechanics, heat/mass transfer, mechanics of materials, manufacturing, material processing, MEMS, nanotechnology, and orthopedic biomechanics.

The research areas of the mechanical engineering faculty can be viewed here .

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Admissions Requirements

All DES applicants must possess a master's degree in engineering, science, mathematics, computer science or other stem-related field from an accredited academic institution. The MS grants incoming DES students advanced standing of 30 points of credit.  To earn the DES, each student must complete an additional 30 credits of coursework and a minimum of 12 credits of research. Applicants should have a strong academic record to be competitive for admission.  

Applicants to the doctoral program must find a research advisor who would be willing to direct them for the research component of the degree before applying to the program. A listing of current faculty members and their research interests is available in the Faculty Research Guide. 

Other application requirements: 3 recommendation letters, transcripts, resume, and a personal-professional statement are required.  If you have not earned a degree from an undergraduate or graduate institution in which the instructional language was English, you may be required to take the TOEFL/IELTS. All application requirements in the Graduate Application must be completed as specified in the application. 

The requirements for the Doctor of Engineering Science degree must be completed in no more than seven years. The seven-year time period begins at the time the student becomes a candidate for the doctoral degree and extends to the date on which the dissertation defense is held.


The DES can be completed partially online. Students in the program can complete some of their courses online. Students also perform research on campus with a faculty advisor.

Each DES applicant must secure a faculty advisor prior to submitting an application.

A student must obtain a master's degree (M.S.) before enrolling as a candidate for the Doctor of Engineering Science degree. Application for admission as a doctoral candidate may be made while a student is enrolled as a master's candidate. The minimum requirement in coursework for the doctoral degree is 60 points of credit beyond the bachelor's degree. A master's degree from an accredited institution may be accepted in the form of advanced standing for 30 points of credit. 

The doctoral candidate is expected to attain a level of mastery in some area of mechanical engineering, and must therefore choose a field and take the most advanced courses offered in that field. This choice of specialty is normally made by the time the student has completed 30 points of credit beyond the bachelor's degree, at which time a complete course program is prepared and submitted to the departmental doctoral committee for approval. The student must maintain a grade point average of 3.2 or better in graduate courses.

The department requires the prospective candidate to pass a qualifying examination. Given once a year in May, it is usually taken after the student has spent two semesters in the graduate program as a MS/PhD, Eng. Sc. D., or PhD student.  The exam consists of a written exam covering a number of areas of Mechanical Engineering. A candidate who fails the examination may be permitted to repeat it once in the following year. Full details regarding the Mechanical Engineering Qualifying Exam can be found HERE.

After passing the qualifying examination, the student works with the research advisor to select a research problem and supervises the research, writing, and defense of the dissertation. Once a specific problem has been identified and a tentative plan for the research prepared, the student submits a research proposal and presents it to a faculty committee. The committee considers whether the proposed problem is suitable for doctoral research, whether the plan of attack is well formulated and appropriate to the problem, and whether the student is adequately prepared. It may approve the plan without reservation, or it may recommend modifications or additions. This is the last formal requirement until the dissertation is submitted for approval.

The defense of the dissertation constitutes the final test of the candidate's qualifications. It must be demonstrated that the candidate has made a contribution to knowledge in a chosen area. In content the dissertation should, therefore, be a distinctly original contribution in the selected field of study.

Course List


Doctoral Research Instruction

All doctoral students are required to successfully complete four semesters of the mechanical engineering seminar MECE E9500 and register continuously through the autumn and spring terms. Registration is also available during the summer session.

Completion of Requirements

The requirements for the Doctor of Engineering Science degree must be completed in no more than seven years. The seven-year time period begins at the time the student becomes a candidate for the doctoral degree and extends to the date on which the dissertation defense is held.

Tuition & Fees

2023–2024 Tuition & Fees

Please note that all tuition and fees are in U.S. dollars and are estimated. Tuition and most fees are prescribed by statute and are subject to change at the discretion of the Trustees.

CVN Credit Tuition: $2,462.00 per point (Credit Hour)
CVN Fee: $395 non-refundable fee per course
Transcript Fee: $105 non-refundable one-time fee
Tuition Deposit: $1,000 (More information on our Resources page)

Estimated cost of one nondegree course: $7,886.00
Estimated total cost of certification (four courses): $31,229.00

Estimated total cost of MS (ten courses): $77,915.00
*Estimated total cost of DES (ten courses plus a minimum of 12 research credits): $108,249.00

Graduate Admission Application Fee: $85 non-refundable one-time fee 
Certification Program Application Fee: $85 non-refundable one-time fee 

Late Registration Fee: $100 non-refundable fee

CVN Withdrawal Fee: $75, plus prorated tuition and all non-refundable fees
For example: A three-credit course would be $7,781 + transcript fee $105 (one-time) + CVN fee $395 = $7,886

*Assumes DES student enrolls in two six-credit research courses.

For Drop/Withdrawal fees and dates, refer to the Academic Calendar for the current term.

Please note: CVN no longer offers courses for audit.

Payment should be mailed to:

Attn: Shewanna House
Accounting & Business Management
Senior Student Services Rep
Payments & Deposits
210 Kent Hall, Mail Code 9205
1140 Amsterdam Avenue
New York, NY 10027

Before you mail your check or money order, please take careful note of the following requirements to ensure the timely processing of your payment:

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