How do I Earn a Systems Engineering PhD?

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  • Written By: N. Madison
  • Edited By: Jenn Walker
  • Last Modified Date: 29 October 2018
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Earning a Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) in systems engineering can prepare you for advancement in your current job or make you a much more attractive job candidate for prospective employers. Earning this degree may prepare you to become a professor or help you gain entry into a research field; you might even use this degree to become a consultant. The requirements you'll have to meet to enter a systems engineering PhD program may depend on where you apply, but you'll typically need bachelor's degree, and some schools require master's degrees as well. As part of the application process, you'll probably have to submit official transcripts, letters of recommendations, a personal goal statement, and supporting documents. Once you've been admitted to a PhD program, you may need three to five years to earn your degree.

If you want to gain admission to a systems engineering PhD program, you must first complete high school or earn a jurisdiction-approved equivalency diploma. While all of your high school coursework will likely help prepare you for college, math and science courses may be particularly helpful. Additionally, computer classes, especially any that cover how computer systems work, may be helpful as well.


After graduating from high school or earning an equivalent credential, you'll likely have to earn a bachelor's degree as the next step in your education. Majors such as engineering, computer science, or mathematics may be good choices. Degree programs in economics, physical sciences, or a related major may be appropriate as well.

After earning your bachelor's degree, you typically need to earn a master's degree in systems engineering. Often, these programs have prerequisites such as the completion of advanced mathematics classes and courses in scientific programming language and statistics. You may also be asked to provide scores from standardized entrance exams, recommendation letters, and official transcripts. Once admitted, you may earn your master's degree in systems engineering in about two to three years.

The requirements for admittance to a systems engineering PhD program may depend on the school to which you apply. You'll usually have to submit transcripts from all of the higher education institutions you've attended as well as letters of recommendation and a statement of goals. This type of statement typically includes details about why you want to earn a systems engineering PhD.

As you work toward a systems engineering PhD, you'll likely have to complete a core of courses as well as independent study and research. The course requirements may vary from program to program, however. You may also have to take exams and prepare a dissertation. The length of time required to earn a systems engineering PhD may vary, but you may be able to complete your studies in about three to five years.



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