Ph.D. in engineering is a prestigious doctoral degree obtained upon completion of a postgraduate program in engineering from an accredited institution. This rigorous degree involves extensive research, course work, and often includes teaching responsibilities for undergraduate students. It provides advanced knowledge and expertise in specialized engineering fields, paving the way for career opportunities in academia, research, industry leadership, and innovation.

PhD in Engineering

phd in engineering professional at work

Course work for an engineering doctorate generally includes quantitative research methods and highly specialized classes in the student's engineering specialty. In addition, students working toward a PhD in engineering can expect to complete a written dissertation based on original research.

Graduates of PhD in Engineering programs can work as professors at research universities, dedicate their expertise to industrial or government research labs, or create a business around their own innovation. Consider building your career as the developer of a green energy trend, discovering a life-saving biomedical process, or taking the world to the next global communication platform.

Types of Engineering PhD Programs

Doctorate programs in engineering usually grant graduates with a Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) degree, although some might award a Doctor of Engineering (D.Eng or D.E.), depending on the college or university.

Typically, doctoral students work closely with one or more engineering professors who serve as PhD advisers, guiding them through their research and dissertation. As part of the dissertation process, schools may require PhD candidates to pass either written or oral (or both) qualifying exams and to defend their research conclusions before their PhD advisory committee.

Earning a PhD in engineering generally involves five to seven years of graduate study, with substantial professional opportunities awaiting those who hold this highly respected degree.

Online PhD Programs

Online education offers its own set of benefits, from flexible class scheduling to savings on tuition and commuting costs. In particular, working adults interested in completing their studies without quitting their job or sacrificing family commitments will find online learning well-suited to their priorities. 

That said, engineering PhD programs are not common across all specialties. Master's-level online engineering programs are much more prevalent, and, of course, an MS or MEng is a standard requirement for an engineering PhD. If you do not already hold an engineering master's degree, you might consider online education as a potential route for earning that credential. 

Traditional engineering PhD programs will set their own terms for potential PhD candidates, and you may find a college willing to let you take some of the required course work via online learning. Overall, however, the nature of an engineering PhD program necessitates a solid commitment to in-person time spent with PhD advisers and on lab or real-world research.