Area Exams

What are the Area Exams?

The ME Area Exams are a set of knowledge examinations that all Ph.D. students in the ME department must pass prior to becoming an official Ph.D. candidate.  The exams are typically taken within the first two years of a student's study.  Students are required to take or secure waivers for three exams: a math exam, and exams in two areas within mechanical engineering, selected from several options offered by the ME department.  All students must pass the Area Exams in at most two attempts to continue in ME program.

What resources are available to help me prepare?

Most importantly, read through the official ME Area Exam webpage.  This page contains detailed descriptions of Area Exam topics, waivers, policies, and grading.  There are also links to study guides with detailed information about exam content.

Sample exams are an excellent way to practice and prepare.  The ME department publishes official past exams.  Another great (but unofficial) source of past exams for undergraduate courses is WeeklyJoys -- the Area Exams expand on the knowledge from undergraduate courses, but these topics are a good place to begin.

Finally, be sure to join OMEGA's Discord chat and subscribe to our events calendar to join review sessions!

Where can I find more information?

The best source of information about Area Exams is the official ME Area Exam webpage.  If you have questions about the Area Exams that are not answered on this webpage, send an email to the ME Graduate Office (

In addition, consider asking your advisor or other students in your lab for advice.  And don't forget to subscribe to the ME Grad Blog, as important announcements about Area Exams may be posted there!