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Engineering Education Ph.D.

Ph.D. Program

Become a leader in innovation and catalyst for change in society through research in the exciting field of engineering education.

Our Ph.D. program allows you to tailor your curriculum and your research to prepare you in achieving your goals in engineering education.


We pledge funding to incoming graduate students in the form of a teaching or research assistantship for 2 years with satisfactory academic degree progress.  Students easily find funding for the duration of the doctoral program through fellowships, or assistantship within or outside of our Department.


Our selective and supportive program has important and distinct advantages.  The structure of our program enables direct and frequent interactions with faculty through small research groups.  At the same time, we encourage students to interact and exchange ideas across research groups and areas.

Career Outlook

The character and size of our program enables optimal support to our students as they seek employment in today's job market. Our students are equipped with the knowledge and skills to be competitive for employment in a variety of careers.  Our graduates are prepared for success.  We have a 100% employment rate among all graduates.

Engineering Education graduate students and Ph.D. alumni smiling together at the 2022 ASEE conference


We have one of the most diverse student bodies of any engineering discipline at Virginia Tech.  We value diversity in backgrounds, experiences, talents, knowledge, and creativity.  We promise a culture of inclusivity.


We have an outstanding national reputation for teaching, research, and quality of graduates.  Contributing factors are our high-profile faculty, flexible and well-articulated course of study, and a strong record of recruiting, training, and placing diverse and talented graduates.

Have questions?

We want to hear from you! Email our Assistant Department Head for Graduate Programs, Dr. Walter Lee, or our Academic Programs Manager, Mara Knott

Degree Requirements

PhD students must take a minimum of 90 total credits beyond the Bachelor's degree.  A plan of study, approved by the student’s advisory committee, is submitted after completion of the qualifying exam.

Curricular Requirements:

  • Dissertation: 30 credits min.
  • Engineering Education Qualifier Courses: 8 credits
  • Engineering Education Practical Applications: 3 credits
  • Engineering Education Research Methods: 3 credits
  • Engineering cognate: 12 credits
  • Social Science cognate: 12 credits
  • Electives: 9 credits
  • Engineering Education Seminar: 4 credits ENGE & 1 credit GSSME

Required Milestones and Examinations:

  1. Qualifying Examination
  2. Preliminary Examination
  3. PhD Research Proposal
  4. Progress Report
  5. Final Examination (Defense)

Additional Information:

  • At least 9 credits (ENGE or non-ENGE), relevant to the student's research, will be at the 6000 level.
  • At least 3 credits of Qualitative Research Methods and 3 credits of Quantitative Research Methods must be included among the cognate and elective classes.
  • Up to 30 credits from a Master's degree may be counted toward the PhD at the discretion of the student's advisory committee.

Current issues in Engineering Education (e.g., broadening participation, transformative practice, teaching and learning, emerging issues). Critical questions surrounding fundamental issues and approaches to engineering education research and practice. Pre: Graduate standing in College of Engineering.

Communicating engineering education research via writing. Reading and synthesizing existing research. Common genres and rhetorical patterns in the field. Theory in engineering education research. Common paradigms and theoretical frameworks. Writing as a means to engage in theorizing. Effective writing and editing practices. Ethical responsibilities of writers. Pre: Graduate standing in College of Engineering.

Socialization to the graduate student environment. Strategies for entering an effective mentee-mentor relationship. Virginia Techs diversity and inclusion values. Focus on strategies for (1) facilitating clear communication with advisors, peers, or undergraduate mentees; (2) working within a culturally diverse environment; and (3) upholding ethical research practices. Pre: Graduate standing in the College of Engineering. Pass/Fail only.

Using research, bridge theory and practice to effectively design and assess educational experiences in engineering. Contemporary learning theories and evidence-based practices for effective and equitable education and evaluation in engineering across a range of levels (e.g., higher education, K-12, industry training) and contexts (e.g., formal courses and programs, informal co-curricular or extra-curricular programs, outreach experiences). Systematic design principles for aligning expected learning outcomes, assignments and activities, teaching and feedback practices, and assessment and evaluation tools. Specific attention to issues of equity and inclusion.

This course introduces methods and considerations specific to research in engineering education. Quantitative, qualitative and mixed methods are discussed as well as measures of research quality. Students will learn to design and critique engineering education research quality. Students will learn to design and critique engineering education research that addresses standards of rigor and quality. Graduate standing required.

This course is designed to bring contemporary issues in engineering education research into the classroom. Experts from academia, industry, and the corporate world will be invited to make presentations on engineering education research issues, recruitment of minorities, retention issues, technology integration into engineering curricula, distance learning, engineering content into K-12 curricula, learning theories, engineering education policy issues, etc.

In addition, graduate school procedures relevant to various graduate programs in the ENGE department will be explained. Altogether the course will include a minimum of 11 seminar presentations. Students will learn to critique engineering education research presentations and will demonstrate knowledge of contemporary issues in engineering education research. May be repeated 3 times with different content for a maximum of 4 credit hours. Pre: Graduate standing.

Topics in engineering education research methods. Explorations of current and emerging methods used in engineering education research. Adapting methods used in other fields for engineering education audiences. Implications for future research. May be repeated up to three times with different topics.

Quantitative analysis methods for engineering education research. Key concepts in statistics including correlation, regression, t-tests, analysis of variance, and cluster and factor analysis. Organizing and manipulating data, interpreting and communicating findings from quantitative analysis, application to engineering education research. Use of statistical computing software such as R.

Qualitative data collection and analysis techniques, data collection and organization strategies, evaluation of data quality, systematic analysis of qualitative data regularly encountered in engineering education research, design of qualitative research studies, reporting qualitative research.

Topics in engineering education. Explorations of current and emerging topics relevant to engineering education research and professional practice. Historical and contemporary perspectives on current conversations within engineering education. Implications for research and practice. May be repeated up to three times with different topics.

Applicants applying for admission to Engineering Education use the online Virginia Tech Graduate School Application.

Domestic applicants

Fall Semester - January 15
(to be considered for full-funding)

Spring Semester - October 1

International applicants

Fall Semester - January 15
(to be considered for full-funding)

Spring Semester - September 1

We pledge two-year funding packages in the form of a teaching or research assistantship and make funds available to support conference attendance and other professional development activities. Some students may be eligible for fellowships.

There is a non-refundable application fee of $75.  Some applicants are eligible for application fee waivers through the graduate school. The department offers fee waivers to those attending our Fall Open House.

Completed Application Requirements

To complete the VT Graduate School Application you will need to submit the following:

  • Upload a scan of original Official transcript(s), scanning all pages including the backs of all pages, from each institution from which you have earned or will earn an undergraduate or graduate degree. Transcripts must come from your institution's Registrar's office. Please be sure your scans are legible.
  • Engineering Education does not require former and current Virginia Tech students to submit official transcripts; however, we do require that you log into HokieSpa and download your web-based academic record and upload it as a transcript at the time of application.
  • If you are not a former or current Virginia Tech student, please do not upload your institution's web-based academic record or a document stating it is not an Official transcript.
  • Until you have received an offer of admission from Virginia Tech, please do not mail your official transcripts to Virginia Tech.
  • Upon enrollment at Virginia Tech, you must have official transcripts mailed to our Graduate School.

All letters of recommendation must be submitted through the online process as part of your application. When in the online application, enter the recommendation section and follow the instructions.

The statement of purpose articulates and demonstrates an applicant’s specific qualifications and what that applicant’s end goal might be once their work is completed. (This document is submitted only through the online application.)

Starting Fall 2019, the Virginia Tech Engineering Education Department DOES NOT require the GRE.

TOEFL/IELTS - International Students Only
Waivers of the TOEFL or IELTS scores can only be granted by the Graduate School, not the department. All international applicants must provide official TOEFL or IELTS scores. Our department minimum for the TOEFL is 230 (computer based), 570 (paper based) or 89 (internet based). Our department minimum for the IELTS is 6.5, with no score below 6.5 in each of the sub-sections. Scores are good for two years from the date of testing to the date of application submission. TOEFL/IELTS scores are not required if the applicant has graduated from a US institution or from a non-US accredited institution where English is the official language of instruction. TOEFL/IELTS scores are not required of US permanent residents and US naturalized citizens. Please do not apply if your score is below the minimum. Your application will not be reviewed by the faculty.

Application FAQs

An emerging field in engineering. It builds on a long history (100+ years) of educators sharing best practices. The field is now expanding and becoming a rigorous research field in which evidence-based studies explore issues of how people learn. In other words, we still share good teaching practices, but those getting PhDs in Engineering Education are focusing on scientifically understanding how and why successful learning and teaching approaches work.

Admission for graduate study in Engineering Education at Virginia Tech is granted by a departmental review committee and/or the Department Head. Admission normally requires a bachelor's degree in engineering from an ABET-accredited engineering program. Some students come into our PhD program directly from completing a Bachelor’s degree and work on a Master’s in a technical engineering discipline at Virginia Tech while working towards their PhD. Some students come from just completing their Master’s degrees, and some come from working in industry. We require a GPA of 3.0 or higher, official academic transcripts, three letters of reference, official TOEFL/IELTS scores (if applicable), and a statement of purpose explaining your background, your career goals and your interest in teaching and research.

A Grade Point Average (GPA) of 3.00 or higher (on a 4.0 scale) for the last 60 semester hours the applicant completed is expected.

Yes. Students with non-engineering backgrounds can be admitted for graduate study in Engineering Education. These students may need to complete additional coursework to prepare them for graduate level courses in an engineering discipline other than Engineering Education that are required for the ENGE PhD degree.  Specific requirements will be set by the Graduate Committee.

We require credits from our department and credits from the School of Education—this is an interdisciplinary degree. A minimum of 90 credits beyond the Bachelor’s degree is required, consisting of:

  • Dissertation: 30 credits minimum (counts towards the 90 credits); 
  • Engineering Education Qualifier Courses: 8 credits; 
  • Practical Applications in Engineering Education: 3 credits; 
  • Engineering Education Research Methods: 3 credits;
  • Seminar: 5 credits; and 
  • Specialization Courses: 33 credits.

Specialization Courses need to collectively align, and should include one quantitative and one qualitative course in social science research methods. Specialization courses should consist of:

  • Engineering cognate: 12 credits
  • Social Science cognate: 12 credits
  • Electives: 9 credits 

Milestones include: passing qualifier exams; selecting an advisor, completing a plan of study and forming your committee; preliminary exam; dissertation proposal defense; and dissertation defense.

Yes. For application dates for the upcoming academic year, please visit the Applications page for deadlines. However, due to course sequencing, students are strongly encouraged to begin the PhD in a fall semester.

Our university code is 005859. If you have your official scores sent to our university code, the Graduate School and the department will have access to the scores at the same time.

The TOEFL can only be waived by our Graduate school. Many circumstances are an automatic waiver such as graduating from a U.S. university. Email for more information.

Yes. Part-time students are not eligible for financial assistance from the department. Ph.D. students would have to meet the residency requirements set forth for research. Please see the Graduate Catalog for residency information.

We pledge funding to incoming research students in the form of a teaching or research assistantship for 2 years with satisfactory performance and academic degree progress. The assistantship will provide tuition and a monthly stipend. Students easily find funding for the duration of the doctoral program through fellowships, or assistantships within or outside of our Department.

An assistantship is a contract where a graduate student works for pay. Most assistantships also cover tuition payments related to the amount of hours you are contracted to work each week. A graduate student is considered full-time in the department if he or she works 20 hours per week.

For a full-time assistant, the department would pay for in-state tuition and the academic fee in full. Graduate Research Assistantships are awarded by individual faculty members who have received research projects (e.g. from government agencies). The availability of GRA's and the amount of the award varies, depending on the projects that have been obtained and the funds allotted for GRA's in those projects. Typically, in engineering research carried out by a graduate student on a GRA becomes part or all of the research for the student's thesis or dissertation.

For Graduate Teaching Assistantships, each program area in the Department of Engineering Education is allotted a number of GTA's to award to graduate students. The amount of the assistantship varies, depending on the duties and number of hours associated with it. The duties may involve grading of homework for courses or supervising an undergraduate laboratory course.

A fellowship is basically income for the student to help with cost of studies. Fellowship pay is not earned income like an assistantship. Many times a fellowship is combined with an assistantship. Sometimes promised income is part assistantship and part fellowship payments. Other times a fellowship can cover expenses on the student's behalf. An example would be the payment of the comprehensive fees in a semester. In cases as these, the fellowship is paid directly to the university.

Graduate students are encouraged to look into in-state status. A form and guidelines can be found at our Graduate School website. International students are not eligible to become in-state students.

The character and size of our program enables optimal support to our students as they seek employment in today's job market.  Our students are equipped with the knowledge and skills to be competitive for employment in a variety of careers.  Our graduates are prepared for success.  We have a 100% employment rate among all graduates.  

Have you ever looked forward to an engineering course only to find yourself sitting through a mind-numbingly boring lecture?  Have you ever dreaded a hard engineering topic but discovered it to be fascinating?  Have you ever wondered how students learn engineering knowledge and, realisitically, how long do they retain it?  Engineering education researchers are currently trying to answer these and other questions.

Engineering education research is changing the way that engineers are educated.  The field of engineering education is dominated by engineers, many of whom want to provide students with better educational experiences than they themselves had. Impacting practice is a strong value that distinguishes engineering education from some other fields. However, the strong desire to help students needs to be balanced with systematic studies to understand which educational approaches are most effective under which circumstances. 

Current Officers

Andrea Schuman

Andrea Schuman, President

Yi Cao

Yi Cao, Vice-President

Fabiola Gisel Rosales Sanchez

Fabiola Rosales, Treasurer

Amanda Ross

Amanda Ross, Secretary

Abdulrahman Alsharif

Abdulrahman Alsharif, Information Resources Officer


Our Mission:
The mission of the American Society for Engineering Education (ASEE) student chapter at Virginia Tech is to provide a forum to enhance teaching and research skills, promote careers in academia, and encourage and assist students considering graduate school in the field of engineering education.

Seminar Student Exchange
ASEE co-coordinates a student seminar exchange between UMich, Arizona State University, UT El Paso, Clemson, Purdue, University of Nebraska, and Ohio State University. Students have an opportunity to present their dissertation work to date, receive feedback from peers and colleagues in the field, and experience the culture of another department. 

What do we do?
We provide a space for people interested in education in engineering to get together, learn from each other, and collaborate in research & teaching activities. We hold regular social events to bring together the ASEE community, and provide professional development sessions to help prepare students for careers in our field. If you're interested in being a part of the ASEE community at VT, come to one of our events or monthly meetings and see how you can be involved!

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