PhD in Engineering Education Systems and Design

The Engineering Education Systems and Design (EESD) PhD 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

Graduate admissions at ASU begins with the online Graduate Education application. The application requires the submission of the following:

  1. Curriculum Vita or Resume (see Creating a CV for Grad School for guidance)
  2. Statement of Purpose (see Writing Your Statement of Purpose for guidance): Submit a statement of no more than 1000 words that includes the following information:
    • motivation(s) for pursuing a PhD in the field of engineering education
    • personal goal(s) associated with pursuing a PhD at this time in your career
    • reason(s) for considering the ASU EESD program as the right place for you to pursue your PhD
    • Optional: Applicants can opt to note ASU EESD faculty (see current endorsed list of faculty) they’ve spoken to or are interested in working with if they were to matriculate at ASU.
  1. Writing Sample: Find and read a conference proceeding that connects to your own personal interests from last year’s American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference and Exposition. Submit a statement of no more than 1000 words that includes the following information:
    • Citation information: Example: Lee, E., Brunhaver, S. R., & Bekki, J. M. (2020). Developing an instrument to measure online engineering undergraduate students’ learning experiences and intentions to persist. American Society for Engineering Education Virtual Conference & Exposition.
    • Reason(s) for selecting this particular paper
    • Aspects about the article that you found compelling
    • Connection(s) to your current research interests and long-term career goals
  1. Official transcripts from each college or university attended. Applicants may upload legible unofficial transcripts as part of the online application; if admitted official transcripts are then required. Be sure to upload all transcripts as one PDF file.
  2. Minimum of 3.25 cumulative GPA (scale is 4.00=A) in their first bachelor’s degree program, or in the last 60 hours of a student’s first bachelor’s degree program.
  3. Minimum of 3.00 cumulative GPA (scale is 4.00=A) in a minimum of nine semester hours of graduate work from a U.S institution; or a cumulative GPA of 3.00 (scale is 4.00=A) from an applicable conferred master’s degree program in a regionally accredited college or university, if applicable.
    • If the applicant does not meet the minimum GPA requirements, the application may still be considered. In certain cases, demonstrated aptitude through professional experience or additional postbaccalaureate education is considered.
  1. Two letters of recommendation
  2. 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.

There is a one-time fee associated with submitting your application; $70 for those who are a US Citizen, US Permanent Resident, In Application for Permanent Residency, or DACA; $115 for international students on any non-immigrant visa type studying in the US (e.g., F-1, H-1B, H-4, etc.). Potential fee waivers will be determined by the TPS Graduate Program Chairs Committee. Additional costs may be incurred when obtaining prior institutional transcripts.

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 the Comprehensive Exam and Dissertation, can be found in the EESD Graduate Program Handbook.


  1. 21 credit hours of core coursework that are intended to expose students to fundamental topics in engineering education.
    • EGR 535: Innovation and Design of Engineering Academic Settings (IDEAS) Innovation plays an important role in the evolution of the field of engineering education. This course explores innovation processes in a variety of contexts, including (but not limited to) engineering education research and methods, theory, dissemination, teaching, and training within formal and informal academic settings.
    • EGR 565: Qualitative methods for engineering education research This course provides a deep, empirical exposure to interpretive research methods in engineering education research.
    • 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 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.
    • EGR 576: From Then Until Now: Examining Inequities in STEM
      This course recognizes that educators have a responsibility to provide a quality experience for students who enroll in their classes. Quality is framed by class features, including teaching strategies, grading systems, assignments, and embedded technologies used in the class. The choices educators make for their class greatly affects how well students ultimately learn the class content. This course provides an opportunity to learn how to assess the choices we make as educators by learning about pedagogical strategies, in-class assessment, and learning theories. Students engaging in this course will learn how to bring research to practice from the perspective of course design and testing.
    • 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 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.
  1. 6 credit hours of elective coursework that directly support a student’s research area.
  2. 3 credit hours of EGR 594: EESD Seminar
  3. 12 credit hours of EGR 792: Research
  4. 12 credit hours of EGR 799: Dissertation
  5. 30 credit hours of coursework in engineering or a related field
    • Students with Master’s degrees in engineering or a related field can apply those credits towards these required credit hours.
    • Students who completed an accelerated Master’s degree with fewer than 30 credit hours will be required to complete additional coursework.
    • 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 and can optionally earn a concurrent Master’s degree.


STEM designation makes students within the program at ASU eligible for STEM specific Scholarships, OPT extension for International Students, and expanded GI benefits for Student Veterans.