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Engineering  |  The Polytechnic School

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 ecosystems, including the multiple inputs, outputs, and interactions within these ecosystems. The program will prepare students to critically analyze and conduct research on aspects of these engineering education systems that are related to their scholarly interests. Upon completion of the program, students will be equipped to take competitive positions in top-tier research institutions as exemplary scholars and teachers, or as leaders in engineering education in a variety of education settings such as universities, science centers, government agencies, museums, policy setting institutions, or industries.

Watch the EESD virtual open house video

We hosted our first virtual open house in October 2017. Click the button below to view.

Ph.D. students entering the program have a background in engineering or a related field and are passionate about developing their skills as engineering education researchers. They are committed to contributing to the engineering education research programs at TPS while also developing new research directions that emerge from their experiences as Ph.D. students. During their coursework, which includes multiple doctoral level project courses, students in the program will learn and have the opportunity to apply a variety of theoretical frameworks and research methodologies. Students will engage with faculty who are diverse both in the methods they use for conducting research (e.g., quantitative, qualitative, and mixed-methods) and the populations they study using these methods, which range from makers in informal learning spaces to students and faculty in post-secondary engineering education programs and early career professionals.

Our Current Students

EESD students come from a variety of backgrounds and have a diverse set of research interests. Click here to see profiles our current students.

Admission Requirements

All applicants must have a Bachelor’s degree and/or a Master’s of Science degree in an engineering discipline or closely related field from a regionally accredited institution.  Most students who are admitted to the program will have a Master’s degree in an engineering or closely related discipline with a cumulative GPA of 3.25 (scale is 4.0 = A). In addition, students who have demonstrated exceptionally good performance in their undergraduate programs but do not have a master’s degree in an engineering or closely related field can be admitted.This track requires a cumulative undergraduate GPA of 3.75/4.0 or better coupled with a record of research and/or leadership accomplishments.

Application Process

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

  1. 2 Letters of Recommendation
  2. CV/Resume
  3. Official transcripts from each college or university attended.
  4. Official GRE general exam scores.
  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:
    • Statement of Purpose: Submit online a statement of about 500 words that includes the following information:  1) 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, 2) why the Engineering Education Systems and Design (EESD) PhD program at Arizona State University is the right place for you to pursue those goals, and 3) which faculty within the EESD program at ASU, if any, might you be interested in working with during your first year in the program?
    • 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 online a statement of about 500 words that includes the following information: 1) the citation (title, author(s), and year) for the article, 2) the reason you selected the particular article, 3) what you liked most about the article, and 4) in what ways, if any, does this article relates 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 to the PhD.  Students who completed an accelerated Master’s degree in which some courses from their undergraduate degree also were 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.