Graduate Study
Graduate Specializations
PhD Specialization In Solid Mechanics


The Department of Mechanical Engineering at Northwestern University has several faculty members actively pursuing graduate level research in this area.

  • Oluwaseyi Balogun: optical techniques for materials characterization; nondestructive evaluation
  • L. Catherine Brinson: polymeric, composite and smart materials, micromechanics
  • Jian Cao: mechanics of forming, instability analysis
  • Wei Chen: stochastic multiscale analysis, model validation
  • Isaac Daniel: experimental mechanics, composites, nondestructive evaluation
  • Horacio Espinosa: nanomechanics, dynamic response of materials, cell mechanics
  • Yonggang Huang: mechanics of materials, nanomechanics, mechanics of stretchable electronics
  • Sridhar Krishnaswamy: intelligent structural health management, smart structures and materials, sensors, photoacoustic materials characterization
  • Wing Kam Liu: nanoengineering, multi-scale analysis, materials design, nonlinear finite elements
  • John Rudnicki: fracture and inelastic behavior, particularly geomaterials

Suggested Courses

A typical list of mechanics courses are as follows:

Fall Quarter

  • CEE 417-1: Continuum I
  • CEE 415-1: Elasticity I
  • ME 365, CEE 327: Finite Elements for Stress Analysis
  • ME 381: Introduction to MEMS

Winter Quarter

  • CEE 313: Expt. Stress Analysis
  • CEE 417-2: Continuum II
  • CEE 414-1: Composites I
  • ME 366: Finite Elements for Design
  • ME 385: Nanotechnology
  • CEE 426-1: Advanced FEM I
  • ME 426-1: Advanced FEM II
  • ME 465: Wave Propagation
  • ME 466: Inelastic Constitutive Relations

Spring Quarter

  • CEE 318: Fracture Mechanics
  • CEE 411: Micromechanics
  • CEE 414-2: Composites II
  • CEE 415-2: Elasticity II
  • CEE 426-2: Advanced FEM II
  • ME 426-2: Comp. Mech. II
  • CEE 429: Comp. Mech. Fracture
  • CEE 418: Continuum Theory of Fracture

Offered any quarter: CE/ME 495: Special Topics

Offered every other year: ME 456: usually in Winter Quarter

For a first-year MS or MS-PhD student, a typical program consists of four classes each term for fellowship students, two to three classes per term for RAs, and three classes per term for TAs. Also note:

  • Engineering Science and Applied Mathematics offers many excellent courses, including ESAM 311-1,2,3 series, suggested for students who have not had mathematics beyond sophomore-level differential equations. The series ESAM 411-1,2,3 covers more advanced topics.
  • Note that all ME students must satisfy a core requirement (for MS) and a minor requirement (for PhD). Check class schedule for availability of relevant classes each term.
  • For the MS program with thesis, a minimum of five courses (excluding 499) must be 400-level and a minimum of five courses (excluding 499) must be ME courses or the CEE courses listed here.
  • By spring term, first year students generally register for one to two units of 499 Project Research in addition to coursework.
  • Seminars: Mechanics students should register for Structural Mechanics Seminar CEE-512 each quarter and attend all seminars (typically on specific Thursdays at 11 a.m.; send email address to Effie Fronimos to receive announcements of all seminars). ME students must register for and attend ME-512 Mechanical Engineering Seminars.

The courses listed here are provided as guidelines. Course availability and scheduling change periodically; so confirm your intended schedule with the official class schedule for any given quarter. There are many other relevant courses both in CE and ME as well as in other departments that may interface with your research study. Take advantage of these courses.


Please see your graduate adviser to discuss your program of study. New graduate students without an adviser should see Professor Sridhar Krishnaswamy to discuss their initial course of study.