UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Penn State World Campus is accepting applications for a new doctoral degree program in engineering that focuses on the practical implementation of engineering research and leadership in the field.

The doctor of engineering in engineering is a 45-credit program that aims to provide a deep understanding of advanced engineering and leadership principles through individualized research. The curriculum covers topics including how to be engineering leaders and to manage innovations within research labs.

Engineering professionals and those with a science or math background who have a master’s degree and a few years of experience are encouraged to apply to the program.

Applications are being accepted for spring 2023 enrollment.

The doctor of engineering in engineering is offered online through Penn State World Campus in partnership with the Penn State College of Engineering. The program is one of almost a dozen in the United States, but one of only a few online programs, according to Sven Bilén, professor of engineering design, electrical and aerospace engineering, and program director.

What is the difference between a Doctor of Engineering (D.Eng.) and a Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)?

Bilén said faculty designed the program to create opportunities for professionals in engineering who want a more advanced degree with the rigor of a Ph.D. but need a flexible program.

Ph.D. programs typically require an in-person residency and classroom learning, which can complicate completion for a professional who works or lives far away from campus, according to Bilén.

“There are a lot of people who really can’t put their career on hold to go back and finish a Ph.D.,” he said. “We were looking for a way that people could continue on with their advanced education, particularly those who are in really high-research environments within industry and government, but not put their career on hold.”

The doctor of engineering in engineering is designed for those who want to go beyond a master’s degree, according to Bilén. The program is more focused on the application of advanced knowledge to a specific field, while a Ph.D. tends to focus on fundamental research.

Doctoral candidates will bring their own research questions from their industry and carry out research within their own workplace toward the completion of their praxis. This individualized approach is a common model for Doctor of Engineering programs, Bilén said. Students will have access to campus facilities to aid in measurements, as well as guidance from faculty and program advisers.

“They’re doing their research within their organizations locally. We’re helping them apply what they’re learning through the D.Eng. program to that research,” he said.

Bilén said the approach focuses on research questions addressing real-world problems stemming from challenges found in today’s industries. Part of the application process includes an assessment of employer support the student will receive.

“The challenges that industry has are interdisciplinary problems — these are problems that generally cannot be addressed through knowledge of a single field,” Bilén said. “We intend that the students who join the program are working on those highly interdisciplinary challenges.”

Completing research and a doctorate anywhere

Faculty designed the doctor of engineering in engineering to be flexible to fit the life circumstances of working professionals. The program can be completed in as little as three years.

In addition to a qualifying exam, comprehensive exam and praxis research defense, the program includes a five-day residency requirement that students can meet in several ways: through attending exams, orientations, workshops or campus research meetings.

“We’ve made it very, very flexible,” he said. “This is a highly individualized program.”

“International students may find it logistically easier to visit campus on one trip, while others may find shorter trips to be a better fit,” Bilén explained. “Anywhere in the world, motivated students can be part of our program.”

The residency requirement is not limited to University Park and can be fulfilled at multiple campus locations across the commonwealth. Bilén said this opens additional opportunities for academic faculty advisers across Penn State’s campuses to work with more advanced students.

“They’ll be engaging with the same faculty who are advising Ph.D. students, the same faculty who are doing research and teaching the courses,” he said.

The new doctorate in engineering is one of 17 degrees and certificates in engineering that are offered online through Penn State World Campus. The offerings include master’s degrees in electrical, industrial, mechanical, and software engineering, as well as programs in additive manufacturing, engineering management, systems engineering, and various graduate certificates.

Learn more about the doctor of engineering in engineering offered online through Penn State World Campus.

By AKDSEO