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Online PhD in Engineering Management: Program Overview

Find out about online engineering management courses and in which doctoral degree programs they're most commonly offered. Get course descriptions, program info and online requirements to make an informed decision.

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Essential Information

A Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) in Engineering Management program is available in online formats. While courses can be taken entirely online, several on-campus residencies are required to gain hands-on training with professors. These degree programs require applicants to have either a bachelor's or master's degree and often qualify graduates for advanced management positions or careers in academia.

Engineering management is often presented as a specialization within programs in engineering, management or business administration. Students enrolled in these degree programs examine the behavioral and social perspectives of management and combine technical knowledge with business expertise. At the master's degree level, it is possible to find some of these programs in fully online formats.

Information and Requirements

A Ph.D. in Engineering Management program can usually be completed in 3-5 years. Due to the highly technical nature of the Ph.D. program and advising provisions, 2-4 in-person residencies are often required. Some schools also require students to minor in a related area, such as operations research, human factors or statistics. Other schools present curricula in self-directed formats, supplying knowledge-area modules that emphasize the breadth, depth and application of research subjects.

The online components of the class are typically delivered through a virtual course management system, such as Angel, Mediasite or Wimba. Most materials are delivered asynchronously, allowing students to work at their own schedules. Some schools could offer live discussion components and class sessions that require a high-speed Internet connection as well as video and sound capabilities.

Common Courses

The curriculum of a Ph.D. program in engineering management consists of core requirements, elective courses and dissertation credits. The specialization selected determines a student's particular curriculum and requirements.

Managing Quality and Productivity Improvement

This course focuses on methods and strategies for improving workplace productivity and efficiency. Students discuss current issues involving productivity, such as the unstable economy, heightened globalization and technological progress. Students also learn how to evaluate an organization by using a detailed performance-measurement system.

Decision Theory

Basic and advanced effective decision-making and problem-solving skills and techniques are illustrated through their application to specific situational contexts. Emphasis is placed on problem-recognition and identification methods. Students use influence diagrams, decision trees and analytical hierarchy processes as useful decision-analysis tools.

Research Methods, Designs and Theories

Students learn various research methods and how to use the data collected. Topics outline the key differences between quantitative, qualitative and mixed methods of research and explain the most appropriate situations for each type of application. Students evaluate the ethical considerations involved with conducting specific research.


Career Information

Earning a Ph.D. in Engineering Management allows experienced engineers to advance into leadership positions. Additionally, graduates can choose to offer further research and teach at the university level. In May 2015, the BLS reported that there were approximately 179,770 architectural and engineering managers; on average, these managers earned a yearly salary of $141,650. The BLS also predicted occupational growth of 2%, slower than the average for all occupations, for architectural and engineering managers between 2014 and 2024, with the best employment opportunities existing in biomedical or environmental engineering.

In online Ph.D. programs in engineering management, students learn to evaluate the productivity of business and organizations, including engineering firms, and explore techniques that can be used to design and implement strategies to improve performance. In addition to these advanced managerial studies, enrollees must also conduct independent research in a particular field of interest, leading to a final dissertation.

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