The PhD in Mechanical Engineering program at WPI allows you to advance your studies and contribute original research to your chosen focus. Our flexible, multidisciplinary curriculum and extensive industry connections let you pursue the most appropriate and tailored path to exceed your career goals and address the major engineering challenges of the 21st century.

Working alongside our world-renowned faculty and within a collaborative and supportive research environment, you’ll lead breakthrough research in areas like assistive technology, biomedical robots, digital manufacturing, electronics cooling, nanotechnology, holography, and medical imaging that can have life-changing results.

Mechanical Engineering student working in the lab


You can tailor WPI’s Mechanical Engineering PhD program to suit your professional and personal goals. After passing an admissions exam that determines your abilities in several areas, you’ll take courses or complete an independent study project in your field of interest while leading up to your dissertation research.                

Our many research centers offer the input of almost 100 members across several industries and offer rich opportunities for diverse projects. The cooperative atmosphere brings innovative research prospects with the support of both WPI and industry partners.

A New Class of Soft Robots Inspired by Origami



Whether your interests lean toward structures and materials or toward fluids and thermal engineering, WPI’s mechanical engineering graduate program allows you to shape your studies according to your career goals.


Faculty in WPI’s mechanical engineering department pursue research in areas that are varied, but all have an important impact on humanity.


Mechanical engineering includes studies in areas including aerospace and materials science.


Research possibilities include collaborations with local industries working on immediate healthcare needs or with NASA on future space exploration and technology.


Students and faculty work collaboratively on well-funded research projects, opening up valuable opportunities and possibilities for internships, collaborations, and potential employment.


Well-equipped facilities and accessible research labs let you focus on your research at hand.

Faculty Profiles

Faculty Profiles

Jamal Yagoobi

I enjoy teaching at the undergraduate and graduate levels. Teaching is very rewarding, and it allows me to interact with the students. My teaching portfolio includes undergraduate and graduate level courses in the areas of heat transfer, fluid mechanics, liquid/vapor phase change, thermodynamics, and design of thermal systems.

Raghvendra V. Cowlagi

Autonomous vehicles – aircraft, cars, rovers, over- and underwater vehicles that can move in the real world by themselves without human pilotage – have gained immense importance not only due to the broad spectrum of their potential military and civilian applications, but also due to the concurrent development of sensor technology and embedded systems that enable the realization of true autonomy.

Gregory S. Fischer

Professor Fischer is the William Smith Dean's Professor and a faculty member in Mechanical Engineering and Robotics Engineering with a appointments in Biomedical Engineering & Electrical Engineering at WPI. He received his PhD in Mechanical Engineering in 2008 from Johns Hopkins University, where he was part of the NSF Engineering Research Center for Computer Integrated Surgery.

Jagannath Jayachandran

My research is aimed towards understanding fundamental aspects of reacting flows at thermodynamic conditions of relevance to aircraft, rocket, and automobile propulsion. Reacting flow phenomena occurring in engines are complicated as a result of turbulent flow, interaction with solid boundaries, and extreme thermodynamic conditions. In order to understand and simulate combustion phenomena under such conditions, there is a necessity to develop accurate chemical kinetic and molecular transport models in addition to fluid mechanics models.

Zhi Li

My research on the synergy of human and robotic systems aims to develop motion and task planning strategies for wearable and humanoid robots, based on the behavior and preference demonstrated in human motion coordination and task plans. For wearable robots such as the upper limb exoskeletons for stroke rehabilitation, the arm posture of the robots cannot be appropriately determined using the general kinematic redundancy resolution methods for manipulation robots, yet it can be accurately predicted based on human perception-action coordination.

Yuxiang Liu

The overarching theme of my research is light-matter interactions and their applications in microscale and nanoscale. Particularly, my research interests include optical trapping, optofluidics, nanophotonics, cavity optomechanics, and fiber optic sensing systems, with an emphasis on optical actuation, damping, and sensing of mechanics in micro-/nano-scale structures and biological specimens. The potential applications of my research include on-chip disease diagnosis, in vivo disease treatments, motion detection in consumer electronics, health monitoring, and biomechanics.

Balaji Panchapakesan

Dr. Panchapakesan is the director of the Small Systems Laboratory (SSL) which is dedicated to the development of multi-functional materials, devices and systems at the macro-, micro-, meso- and nanoscales. Our work spans in multiple areas bridging multiple disciplines and multiple length scales. Facilities at SSL include fabrication and characterization units for advanced materials, device processing and testing and biomaterials characterization. Access to the clean room facilities around the Boston area adds to the excitement of student learning as well as experimentation.

Brian James Savilonis

The project mode of education is a significant tenet of WPI; project based courses are common, along with the required Interactive Qualifying Project and Major Qualifying Project. Managing this close knit intellectual activity has m any parallels to coaching sports; watching individuals " light up" is tremendously rewarding. The recent addition of the Great Problems Seminar allows strong interaction with the freshman class as well. The thermofluid area is critical to world sustainability and extends beyond technical expertise to socio- political and economic context.

Yu Zhong

Dr. Yu Zhong joined WPI as an Associate Professor. He received his Ph.D. from Penn State (2005). After a short-term working as Research Associate, he joined Saint-Gobain High Performance Research Center in Northborough, MA. He had spent his 8-year career there working as internal technical consultant focusing on the application of thermodynamics and kinetics to various materials R&D projects. In 2013, He moved to Florida International University (FIU) as Assistant Professor.