ASU launches doctoral degree in engineering to help pros advance

The online, flexible degree will prepare professional engineers for roles leading large teams


A woman wearing a hijab works on a laptop at a white table.

The new engineering doctoral degree with a focus in engineering management will enable busy engineers to get the training needed to boost their careers and prepare to lead large teams. Photographer: Sabira Madady/ASU

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Today, employers need engineers capable of solving grand challenges.

While the C-suite is acutely aware of emerging opportunities in areas such as artificial intelligence, health care technology, advanced manufacturing and cybersecurity, they also know that future success will require effective leaders who can blend high-level technical capabilities, good soft skills and knowledge of advanced engineering management techniques.

And those employers would like to turn to the talent already on their bench.

Last year, the Wall Street Journal reported that many engineering-focused companies such as Northrop Grumman, Dell Technologies and Honeywell ranked high on the list of firms that desire to promote from within. Meanwhile, 48% of employers say they offer tuition assistance as part of their incentive packages.

But how can working engineers get the higher-level education needed to advance their careers while maintaining their current jobs?

The Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering at Arizona State University has come up with a solution.

Ross Maciejewski, director of the School of Computing and Augmented Intelligence, recently announced the launch of the fully online Doctor of Engineering, or DEng, with a focus in engineering management.

“The new DEng in engineering seeks to create a pathway for professional engineers to advance into roles that require highly sophisticated skills,” Maciejewski says. “The asynchronous learning program is designed to be of great value to both engineers and their employers.”

A practical degree from a professor of practice

To develop the degree, the Fulton Schools turned to Professor of Practice Daniel McCarville.

“The thing about busy, professional engineers is that they are busy,” McCarville says. “They have the drive to advance and want to develop new and critical skills, but they need access to a quality educational program that is flexible enough to be completed in tandem with their current work.”

McCarville was the ideal choice to spearhead the effort of developing the new DEng. As a faculty member in the School of Computing and Augmented Intelligence, he has significant research interests in quality engineering, industrial statistics and engineering management. But he also spent 27 years in the semiconductor industry, working for companies such as Motorola and Mindspeed Technologies, where he led teams through the development of large-scale quality systems and complex manufacturing processes. These hybrid experiences gave him unique insight into the skills engineers need to take their careers to the next level.

With busy adult learners in mind, McCarville conceived of a program that is fully online and highly flexible. Unlike a more conventional Doctor of Philosophy, or PhD, program that might involve the creation of a research dissertation that is more theoretical in nature, a Doctor of Engineering requires completing a significant applied research project.

Ideally, that project will be completed in conjunction with the engineer’s work for their current employer or be aligned with current research interests.

A portrait of Douglas C. Montgomery
Douglas C. Montgomery, a Regents Professor in the Fulton Schools, poses for a photo in his office. The new Doctor of Engineering program was developed by key faculty members in the School of Computing and Augmented Intelligence, including Montgomery, a noted and luminary figure in statistics and industrial engineering. Photo by Jessica Hochreiter/ASU

An online program forged from real-world excellence

McCarville especially understood that the educational offerings must be of the highest quality. So, he tapped top faculty members to help develop the curriculum.

It was crucial to involve Douglas C. Montgomery. The ASU Regents Professor is the author of 16 books and more than 200 technical papers. He is a fellow of the American Statistical Association, the American Society for Quality, the Royal Statistical Society and the Institute of Industrial Engineers; he is also an elected member of the International Statistical Institute.

Montgomery says that the Fulton Schools faculty worked hard to create a challenging, relevant new degree program.

“Our high-level faculty team came together to determine how we could best combine our experience in research, industry and academia and put those to work for the benefit of busy, professional engineers,” he says. “Our goal was to create a program that will help engineers take the next steps in their careers by preparing them to lead large teams working on demanding projects and assume higher-level technical management positions.”

Professor Rong Pan played a pivotal role in the discussion of the degree’s industrial engineering component. With projects supported by the National Science Foundation, the Science Foundation of Arizona and the Arizona Department of Transportation, Pan has significant experience in quality and reliability engineering.

Pan says the new degree will provide engineers with a synergy of skills.

“The engineering management degree program has both the advanced technical skills, such as the optimization of production systems and the Six Sigma methodology, and the critical soft skills, such as communication, strategic planning and leadership, built into its curriculum,” Pan says. “More importantly, it engages engineering professionals in life-long learning and provides them the opportunities to work directly with the faculty in our highly ranked program to solve real-world problems.”

Other notable faculty members highly involved in the planning process include Teresa Wu, associate dean of global engagement and founding co-director of ASU-Mayo Center for Innovative Imaging, industrial engineering Program Chair Feng Ju and Associate Professor Giulia Pedrielli, a former fellow for the Institute of Industrial Technologies and Automation with the Italian National Research Council.

Logging on and moving up

The new Doctor of Engineering will begin in fall of 2024. The School of Computing and Augmented Intelligence will accept applications on a rolling basis until July.

The program is the next logical step in engineering management degree programs for the Fulton Schools, which is ranked No. 5 in engineering management online master’s degree programs by U.S. News & World Report.

McCarville is looking forward to connecting engineers with the training needed to boost their careers.

“The new DEng degree program has been developed by internationally recognized faculty members and will use a practical, research-based approach to lead engineers forward so they can, in turn, lead their teams,” McCarville says.

Register for more information

Learn more and apply now.

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