Lyle School of Engineering - Doctor of Engineering Degree
The objective of this degree is to provide students with adequate preparation to
meet doctoral standards in an applied science or engineering practice. Applied
science, as a focus for the doctoral degree, refers to the study of advanced theory
and its application to a practical problem in order to test and verify performance
and limitations. A doctorate with focus on applied science requires a high level of
expertise in the theoretical aspects of the relevant scientific principles and experi-
ence with the details of the implementation of this theory on realistic problems.
Engineering practice, as a focus for a Doctor of Engineering degree, is the study
of the different aspects that play a role in the transfer of technology from its incep-
tion in research to the intended engineering environment. This requires a high
level of expertise in (a) theoretical aspects of the relevant scientific principles, (b)
solving the problems and understanding the details of the transfer and application
of the technology and (c) economic issues.
A Doctor of Engineering degree is distinguished from a Doctor of Philosophy
degree in that a Doctor of Philosophy is expected to make a significant advance to
scientific knowledge, whereas a Doctor of Engineering is expected to have made a
contribution to science by studying its implementation and participating in the trans-
formation of knowledge into technology. Currently, the Doctor of Engineering Degree
is offered with majors in engineering management and software engineering.
The following events must occur in the process of obtaining a Doctor of Engi-
neering degree. Some events may occur concurrently.
- Acceptance into the program and assignment of an academic adviser.
- Preparation of a formal degree plan (form labeled “Degree Plan – Doctor of
Engineering”) and creation of the advisory committee (Form 6-66: “Recom-
mendation and Certification of Supervisory Committee”).
- Basic coursework.
- Written qualifying examination.
- Submission of written proposal for praxis project.
- Oral qualifying examination and proposal presentation.
- Admission to candidacy (form labeled “Admission to Candidacy”).
- Preparation of praxis.
- Review of praxis by project supervisor and chair of committee.
- Presentation and defense of praxis to the committee (form labeled “Report
on Thesis or Dissertation and/or Final Examination”).
Persons with a B.S. or equivalent baccalaureate degree and a Master’s degree
may qualify for admission. The undergraduate degree must be in a technical or
applied science area. This includes all engineering degrees as well as degrees in
mathematics and applied sciences. The Master’s degree may be in a technical area
or other areas such as business administration or economics.
Upon acceptance into the Doctor of Engineering program, the student is assigned
an academic adviser. This adviser is a member of the full-time faculty in the student’s home department. The selection of the adviser is an administrative decision
that may not be connected to the student’s academic interests. At the outset, the
student should identify whether the focus of the doctorate will be in applied science
or in engineering practice. The adviser and the student will prepare a formal degree plan based on the student’s academic background and declared interests and objec
tives. This plan of study should present clearly how past and proposed coursework
will satisfy the requirements for the degree. It should also provide a term-by-term
schedule for taking courses consistent with current course offering projections. It
is at this point that the student and the adviser organize an advisory committee.
This committee must be composed of five faculty members, at least two of whom
will be full-time faculty in the Engineering Management, Information and Systems
Department. Other members of the advisory committee may come from related
areas such as engineering, business or economics. One committee member must
be from outside the Lyle School of Engineering. The advisory committee must be
approved by the chair of the department and the associate dean. The advisory
committee may be modified as the student progresses in the program. The initial
task of this committee is to review and officially approve the degree plan.
Requirements for Doctor of Engineering With a Major in Engineering Management
The total term credit hour requirement is 78–66 hours of graduate coursework
and 12 hours devoted to the praxis project. Post-baccalaureate coursework from
other institutions and other graduate degrees may be applied toward the degree
requisites subject to approval of the advisory committee. There must be a minimum
of 36 term hours of graduate coursework and a minimum of 12 term hours of praxis
project work, none of which have been nor can be applied to any other degree. A
degree plan must satisfy the following requirements:
Engineering Management: 24 Term Hours.
These hours must come from graduate-level courses in quantitative and qualitative aspects of managing in a modern
technical environment. Courses in the areas of engineering management, management science, operations research, operations management, production manage-
ment and other related fields may qualify. All graduate courses in engineering
management in the EMIS Department are acceptable for this category.
Technical Specialty: 18 Term Hours.
These hours must come from engineering or
other technical area consistent with anticipated doctoral work demands.
Business/Economics: 9 Term Hours. These hours must come from courses in a
graduate business or economics program. They should expand the student’s
understanding of the economic issues and problems relating to the transfer and
management of technology.
Electives: 15 Term Hours.
All elective hours must come from graduate-level courses
and must be approved by the advisory committee. These courses should, in some
way, complement and strengthen the student’s program of study.
Praxis: 12 Term Hours.
These are normally “in residence” hours. The student
enrolls for these hours in the course of preparing the praxis project.
See the requirements for the Doctor of Engineering with a major in software
engineering in the Computer Science and Engineering section of the Lyle Graduate
At least 18 of the 66 credit hours of coursework must be taken at SMU. The
12 credit hours devoted to the praxis must be taken in residence at SMU.
Articulation requirement for the Doctor of Engineering with a major in engineer-
ing management: 15 of the 66 credit hours of coursework must include (or be equivalent to) EMIS 7362 Production and Operations Management, EMIS 7370
Probability and Statistics for Scientists and Engineers, EMIS 8360 Operations
Research Models, EMIS 8361 Economic Decision Analysis, and EMIS 8364
Management for Engineers.
Recognition of Previous Post-Baccalaureate Coursework
Graduate-level courses may be used to fulfill the course requirements for the
degree. Any course assigned to a specific requirement must be approved by the
The qualifying examination marks the transition from preparation to execution
of the doctoral research. Upon its successful completion, and the presentation of
a research plan, the student is certified to proceed with the research directly related
to the praxis. Beyond this point, the student is formally recognized as a doctoral
candidate. Transition into candidacy occurs after the following three requirements
The Written Qualifying Examination
The written portion of the qualifying examination is composed of a battery of
five tests. A member of the advisory committee administers each test. The examiner
has full discretion as to the choice of material and the format and style of the written test. Usually, tests are designed to measure knowledge in an area of expertise
of the instructor or on a topic from a course taught by him or her. Tests are commonly “take home” exams over the course of a week or more. It is the responsibility
of the student to inquire as to the nature and format of the exam and the availability
of the instructor when scheduling the exam. When the student is ready to proceed
with the written portion of the qualifying examination, and when all participating
examiners have been consulted and agree on a schedule, the academic adviser issues
a memorandum to all members of the advisory committee formalizing the schedule
for this portion of the exam.
The Written Research Proposal
A formal document, describing in detail the proposed research project that
constitutes the praxis, must be submitted to the advisory committee in time to be
read prior to the oral presentation. This document outlines the responsibilities of
the praxis committee as well as presents a realistic plan and time schedule for the
completion of the praxis.
The Oral Qualifying Examination and Proposal Presentation
The oral qualifying examination and the oral presentation of the research project
proposal may be presented following the successful completion of the written examination and when the members of the advisory committee have had time to review
the written research proposal. The oral qualifying examination is a continuation of
the written qualifying examination. At this time, the five examiners may proceed
with an oral examination of the student. After this, the student presents the proposed
praxis project. The student must be prepared to defend the proposal to the advisory
committee and additional members who will integrate the praxis committee.
Composition of the Praxis Committee
The purpose of the praxis committee is to supervise the student’s praxis project.
The praxis committee may add up to two members to the advisory committee to
include faculty members from other areas of specialization or cognizant members from industry which may contribute to the praxis. The chair of the committee is
required to be a member of the full-time EMIS faculty; however, a different com-
mittee member may act as the praxis director.
The Project and Final Defense
As a culmination of the doctoral program, the student must perform a suitable
engineering praxis (practical engineering study), including both a written report
and an oral presentation of the results. The scope of the praxis may be broad or
narrow and may involve engineering design, development or any other major
category of engineering work, typically revolving around a well-defined project
relevant to current engineering practice. Good scholarship, including recognition
of both previous and current work in the subject area, is required. The praxis may
be conducted on campus or at an industrial location. The proposal will (a) outline
the general technical scope of the project, (b) state the economic and technical
relevance of the work and (c) give a time schedule for accomplishing the project.
It is expected that this proposal will be worked out in close consultation with the
faculty member supervising the work and cognizant industry people when the
project is to be conducted off campus. Once the project is set into motion, the
student is expected to adhere to the time schedule and to keep the advisory com-
mittee informed on a regular basis of progress made. The project may focus on a
well-defined practical problem or on a more general theoretical development. If
the focus is a practical problem, economic considerations must also be incorporated
in the praxis. If the focus is more general, the advisory committee will determine
whether or not economic aspects will be required.
The Praxis Report
The praxis report is expected to be a mature and competent piece of writing.
The praxis format must follow the University guidelines as indicated in the Guide-
lines for Preparation of Theses and Dissertations. Upon successful completion of
the praxis defense, the abstract original must be signed by the praxis director, and
the original half-title page of the praxis must be signed by all the faculty members
attending the final examination. After the praxis has been checked and approved
by the Lyle School of Engineering examiner, the praxis is uploaded electronically
to the SMU/UMI submission website. One extra copy of the abstract signed by the
adviser and one copy of the original half-title page with signatures must be delivered
to the director of Graduate Student Experience before the final examination period
in a regular term and before examinations in a summer term.