Ph.D. in Engineering Education Systems and Design

The Engineering Education Systems and Design (EESD) Ph.D. program aims to increase the understanding and design of engineering education systems. The program prepares students to critically analyze and conduct research in alignment with their engineering education scholarly interests. Graduates of the EESD program are exemplary engineering education scholars equipped to take competitive positions in a variety of settings, including universities, science centers, government agencies, museums, policy setting institutions and industry.

Students entering the program must have a background in engineering or a related field and a passion for developing their skills as engineering education researchers (see Application Process below for details). They are committed to contributing to engineering education research programs within The Polytechnic School at ASU while also developing new research directions that emerge from their interests and experiences as doctoral students.

Required coursework (see Degree Requirements below for details) is designed to provide students with opportunities to learn about engineering education systems and research in depth. Students apply a variety of theoretical frameworks and research methodologies to project courses, research assistantships and dissertation research while engaging with faculty who bring diverse perspectives, expertise, and interests in engineering education research.

Application Process

The admission process begins with the online Graduate Admission application, which can be found online at: Graduate Admissions. The application requires that the following items must be submitted:


    1. Two letters of recommendation: Letters of recommendation should come from people who know you well, who are at a higher level in your organization, and whenever possible, from people who work in academia. Try to identify recommenders who can speak to your academic background and your ability to succeed in graduate school. Focus on recommenders with whom you’ve worked closely in classes or on research or service projects. For non-academic recommenders, consider asking supervisors to write letters that can attest to your skills, knowledge, and contributions at work.
    2. CV/Resume
    3. Official transcripts from each college or university attended.
    4. GRE is not required. Effective Spring 2021, the GRE is no longer a requirement for application to the Engineering Education Systems & Design, PhD program. If an applicant has GRE scores, these can still be submitted to Graduate Admission Services to be part of the application materials.
    5. International applicants must also meet the English proficiency requirements, as defined by Graduate Admissions. Please be sure to review the TOEFL, IELTS, or PTE score requirements, as your application will not be processed without valid proof of English proficiency.
    6. Essays:
      1. Statement of purpose: Submit an online statement of about 1000 words that includes the following information:
        • Your goals for pursuing a PhD in the field of engineering education research and the reasons you feel this is the right time in your career pathway to do so.
        • Why the EESD PhD program at ASU is the right place for you to pursue those goals.
        • Which faculty within the EESD program at ASU, if any, might you be interested in working with during your first year in the program? (You can find a complete list of the EESD graduate faculty here:
    7. ASEE Writing Sample: Find and read an article that interests you from last summer’s American Society for Engineering Education’s Annual Conference and Exposition ( Then, write and submit an online statement of about 1000 words that includes the following information:
      • The citation (title, author(s), and year) for the article.
      • The reason you selected that particular article.
      • What you liked most about the article.
      • In what ways, if any, does this article relate to your potential future research interests and your long-term career goals?
Degree requirements

A minimum of 84 semester credit hours are required for the PhD degree, distributed as described below. Additional specifics of the degree program requirements and processes, including descriptions of key degree milestones such as the qualifier and comprehensive exams are given in the EESD Graduate Student Handbook:


  • A maximum of 30 credit hours of coursework from a previous master’s degree in engineering or a related field may be applied towards the PhD.  Students who completed an accelerated master’s degree in which some courses from their undergraduate degree were also counted toward their master’s degree will transfer fewer than 30 credit hours to the PhD.
  • Students who enter the program without a master’s degree in engineering or a closely related field will be required to take an additional 30 credit hours of coursework.
  • 12 credit hours of elective coursework that is directly in support of the research area. A maximum of two 400 level courses can be included in this total.
  • 12 credit hours of EGR 792, research.
  • 12 credit hours of EGR 799, dissertation.
  • Six core courses, totaling 18 credit hours that are intended to expose mature students to fundamental topics in engineering education. The core courses, along with their catalog descriptions are:
    • EGR 535: Engineering innovation and entrepreneurship
      Provides knowledge of innovation and entrepreneurship practices and experience in the application of engineering systems innovation within an entrepreneurial setting of driving a product or process to successful launch.
    • EGR 565: Qualitative methods for engineering education research
      This course provides a deep, empirical exposure to interpretive research methods in engineering education research.
    • EGR 671: Applications of qualitative methods for engineering education research
      This course provides a deep, situated exposure to making and handling data in qualitative engineering education research projects.
    • EGR 572: Quantitative methods for engineering education research
      Introduction to the specific quantitative analysis techniques used in the field of engineering education, with special focus on instrument design, ANOVA, and multiple regression. Prior coursework or experience with basic statistical techniques is necessary to be successful in this course.
    • EGR 673: Applications of quantitative methods for engineering education research
      Application of quantitative analysis techniques to an engineering education research project. Specific focus on data collection, instrument development, and ANOVA/regression analysis techniques. Prior coursework or experience with basic statistical techniques is necessary to be successful in this course.
    • EGR 574: Engineering education systems in context
      This course provides a systems understanding of current trends in engineering education research to engage engineering education research graduate students with the latest developments in the field in which they will situate their research projects.