Engineering Education


Why study Engineering Education?

The University of Cincinnati’s graduate degree in Engineering Education will prepare students to design and execute a research agenda that advances the knowledge base in engineering education, while in parallel advancing their expertise within a technical engineering discipline of their choice. In addition, each student will specialize in one of three focus area options: higher education in engineering, engineering education in PreK-12 levels (formal and informal environments, for- or non-profit), or engineering industry and workforce development. A degree in engineering education can lead to a career in academia, industry, or government.

Engineering education research, as a discipline, builds on the theories, methods of inquiry, and ways of knowing that have been and continue to be developed in related disciplines - including anthropology, diversity equity and inclusion studies, economics, education, neuroscience, philosophy, political science, psychology, and sociology, along with education research in science, technology, and mathematics - through the lens of engineering. Students will be introduced to theories related to the teaching and learning of engineering, the applications of pedagogy and assessment, as well as develop advanced knowledge on research methods, including quantitative, qualitative and mixed methods of inquiry.

Admission Requirements

  • GRE - Required of all international students; GRE is exempt for students that earned a degree from an ABET accredited university (or equivalent accreditation) in the USA with a GPA of 3.0+
  • Transcript(s) and Degree Certificates (unofficial transcripts are used for admissions review, only admitted applicants submit official transcripts)
  • GPA of at least 3.0 in a Bachelor’s or Graduate degree program in engineering, mathematics, or the physical sciences from a college or university regarded as standard by a regional or general accrediting agency
  • Research Statement - (1-3 pages) should describe your research interests (see below), with specific reference to the research area(s), engineering education research methodology, and focus area. You may choose to build on or tie in prior research experience. This statement is used by the faculty as an example of your writing, to help gauge your potential to effectively engage in research at this degree level, and to help determine if the Engineering Education program is a good fit.
  • Statement of Purpose - (1-2 pages) should include brief narratives about: a) your academic, professional, and previous research experiences (if not discussed in your research statement); b) your immediate and long-range aspirations; c) how the Engineering Education program will help you to meet your goals; and d) any additional information you feel strengthens your application (e.g., your perspective on the relationship between educational research and teaching/learning). This statement is used by the faculty as an example of your writing and to help determine if the Engineering Education program is a good fit.
  • Curriculum Vita (resume) - should include your name(s), a phone number, e-mail address, and colleges attended with degrees and dates. Also include, if applicable, employment history, honors and awards, publications and presentations, and relevant professional experiences (e.g., research, teaching/tutoring, service). Your CV does not need to be structured with these sections and is not limited to these items.
  • Two letters of recommendation.
  • International students - English Proficiency Test: TOEFL (minimum 92) or IELTS (minimum 6.5)

Description of Engineering Education Research Areas:

  • Engineering Epistemologies: research on what constitutes engineering now and into the future
  • Engineering Learning Mechanisms: research on developing engineering learners’ knowledge and expertise
  • Engineering Learning Systems: research on the instructional culture and knowledge required of engineering educators
  • Engineering Diversity and Inclusiveness: research on how diverse human talents contribute to the social and global relevance of our profession
  • Engineering Education Assessment and Research Methodologies: research on, and the development of, the quantitative, qualitative, and/or data scientific aspects of engineering education (i.e., how theories are studied, designed for, and assessed), including assessments, instruments, and protocols


Description of Engineering Education Research Methodologies: 

  • Quantitative Research emphasizes objective measurements and the statistical, mathematical, or numerical analysis of data.
  • Qualitative Research seeks to produce in-depth descriptions and interpretations of human behaviors and experiences based primarily on the words of selected individuals (e.g., through interviews) and/or through the interpretation of actions (e.g., observations) or artifacts (e.g., analysis of documents).
  • Mixed Methods Research is characterized by (among other features) drawing on the strengths of both quantitative and qualitative methods for generating possible solutions or holistic understandings of the problem that may not have been possible using either method by itself.

Description of Engineering Education Graduate Program Focus Areas:

  • Higher Education in Engineering: Research will focus on higher education contexts (e.g., undergraduate students, graduate students, faculty).
  • Engineering Education in PreK-12: Research will focus on PreK-12 contexts (e.g., students, parents, teachers, administration; formal and informal environments, for- or non-profit). (Note: This focus area does not lead to teacher licensure.)
  • Engineering Industry and Workforce Development: Research will focus on industry and workforce development contexts (e.g., practicing engineers; management; translating among technical content, management, leadership, and andragogy).

The Ph.D. ENED program will prepare graduates for careers: at universities (traditional technical disciplines and/or departments of engineering education); at community colleges; in PreK-12 schools; in for-profit and non-profit organizations (e.g., testing organizations, foundations, governmental agencies); in programmatic roles (e.g., assessment and accreditation coordinators, curriculum designers, policy makers, program officers); as corporate trainers and other workforce development positions; and as directors of teaching/learning centers, diversity programs, or outreach programs.

The Ph.D. ENED program at UC is differentiated from other similar programs in four ways: 

  1. The program has a strong emphasis on developing in-depth educational research skills (based on research methodology coursework requirements).
  2. The program requires students to advance their level of expertise within their technical engineering discipline.
  3. Thee program allows students to choose one of three focus areas depending on their background and goals: higher education in engineering, engineering education in PreK-12 levels (formal and informal environments, for- or non-profit), or engineering industry and workforce development (to the best of our knowledge, workforce development is not an explicit emphasis in any of the existing M.S. or Ph.D. programs at other institutions).
  4. The program leverages the strong foundation of experiential learning within the College of Engineering and Applied Science (CEAS) by requiring students to complete a reflective experiential activity.

Application Deadlines

Application deadlines and additional application information can be found at the CEAS Office of Graduate Studies.

The University of Cincinnati and all regional campuses are accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

Contact Information

CEAS Graduate Studies Office
PO Box 210077
Cincinnati , OH 45221-0077
(513) 556-3647

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Program Code: 20DOC-ENED-PHD