Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)

A program tailored for students with a passion for researching in systems engineering and plan to continue on into industry or academia.

Our Ph.D. program prepares students to become academic leaders in systems engineering.

Throughout the program, students produce significant academic contributions in terms of original research to the field, driving advancements and leading to improvements in energy efficiency, environmental impact, cybersecurity, and economic growth.

The Ph.D. has a limited capacity for new students each year and the admissions process is competitive.

Deciding between a Ph.D. and D.Eng.?

Admission Deadlines

Our program’s flexible design means you can earn your Ph.D. online or on-campus. 

Visit CSU Online to learn more about completing your Ph.D. online.

Fall admission

Application materials due by July 1

Spring admission

Application materials due by November 1

*Note: Before your application can be reviewed, you must secure a faculty advisor. The advisor must hold academic faculty rank as a professor, associate professor, or assistant professor of any appointment type within the systems engineering department.

See advisor eligibility information.

Ph.D. Curriculum


 Course descriptions and expected offerings are available on the Courses page.
42-Credit Ph.D.

If an appropriate technical master’s degree has been completed, there is the possibility that up to 30 hours of that degree could be counted toward the 72-credit hour requirement for the Ph.D. The 42-credit Ph.D. option does not include space for electives.

SYSE 501 – Foundations of Systems Engineering (3 cr.)

SYSE 530 – Overview of Systems Engineering Processes (3 cr.)

SYSE/ECE 532 – Dynamics of Complex Engineering Systems (3 cr.)

SYSE 534 – Human Systems Integration (3 cr.)

SYSE 567 – Systems Engineering Architecture (3 cr.)

SYSE 569 – Cybersecurity Awareness for Systems Engineers (3 cr.)

SYSE 571 – Analytics in Systems Engineering (3 cr.)

SYSE 573 – Cost Optimization for Systems Engineers (3 cr.)

SYSE 602 – Systems Requirements Engineering (3 cr.)

SYSE 603 – Introduction to Systems Test and Evaluation (3 cr.)

SYSE 667 – Advanced Model-Based Systems Engineering

ENGR 502 – Engineering Project and Program Management (3 cr.)
        OR
    CIS 600A – Information Technology and Project Management (3 cr.)
        OR
    CIS 670 – Advanced IT Project Management (3 cr.)

ENGR 510 – Engineering Optimization: Method/Application (3 cr.)

ENGR 520 – Engineering Decision Support/Expert Systems (3 cr.)

ENGR 525 – Intellectual Property and Invention Systems (3 cr.)

ENGR 531 – Engineering Risk Analysis (3 cr.)

ENGR/ECE 565 – Electrical Power Engineering (3 cr.)

ECE 566 – Grid Integration of Wind Energy Systems (3 cr.)

ENGR 570 – Coupled Electromechanical Systems (3 cr.)

MECH 513 – Simulation Modeling and Experimentation (3 cr.)

Other experimental courses as offered; check with SE advisor

SYSE 799A – Dissertation: PhD (variable credit each semester)

Dissertation credits will be completed throughout multiple semesters.

Three credit hours of SYSE 795 (Independent Study) may be used towards the total of dissertation credits OR as one 3-credit course. If you have had your Ph.D. research, which was performed while enrolled at CSU, accepted for publication (completely or with minor revisions) in at least two peer-reviewed journal or conference proceedings, then you may be eligible for Independent Study credit. You must be first author on at least one of the papers accepted. Please work with your faculty advisor when planning publications to meet this requirement. To register for these credits, you will complete an SYSE 795 Independent Study form on this page, with faculty advisor approval, and submit to the Systems Engineering Program.

72-Credit Ph.D.

Students who have not yet received a master’s degree may be admitted to the 72-credit Ph.D. program and will be required to meet the “Program of Study” for both the Ph.D. and M.S. programs.

SYSE 501 – Foundations of Systems Engineering (3 cr.)

SYSE 530 – Overview of Systems Engineering Processes (3 cr.)

SYSE/ECE 532 – Dynamics of Complex Engineering Systems (3 cr.)

SYSE 534 – Human Systems Integration (3 cr.)

SYSE 567 – Systems Engineering Architecture (3 cr.)

SYSE 569 – Cybersecurity Awareness for Systems Engineers (3 cr.)

SYSE 571 – Analytics in Systems Engineering (3 cr.)

SYSE 573 – Cost Optimization for Systems Engineers (3 cr.)

SYSE 602 – Systems Requirements Engineering (3 cr.)

SYSE 603 – Introduction to Systems Test and Evaluation (3 cr.)

SYSE 667 – Advanced Model-Based Systems Engineering

ENGR 502 – Engineering Project and Program Management (3 cr.)
        OR
    CIS 600A – Information Technology and Project Management (3 cr.)
        OR
    CIS 670 – Advanced IT Project Management (3 cr.)

ENGR 510 – Engineering Optimization: Method/Application (3 cr.)

ENGR 520 – Engineering Decision Support/Expert Systems (3 cr.)

ENGR 525 – Intellectual Property and Invention Systems (3 cr.)

ENGR 531 – Engineering Risk Analysis (3 cr.)

ENGR/ECE 565 – Electrical Power Engineering (3 cr.)

ECE 566 – Grid Integration of Wind Energy Systems (3 cr.)

ENGR 570 – Coupled Electromechanical Systems (3 cr.)

MECH 513 – Simulation Modeling and Experimentation (3 cr.)

Other experimental courses as offered; check with SE advisor

You may choose from the SE Suggested Elective list. This list is not exhaustive. If you find a graduate-level technical course that pertains to your professional goals and/or the systems engineering field, please contact the SE Department to check if it may apply as a technical elective.

Only the 72-credit Ph.D. curriculum allows electives.

A maximum of 6 credit hours at the 400 level is permitted. The remaining credits must be at the 500 level or above.

SYSE 799A – Dissertation: PhD (variable credit each semester)

Dissertation credits will be completed throughout multiple semesters.

Three credit hours of SYSE 795 (Independent Study) may be used towards the total of dissertation credits OR as one 3-credit course. If you have had your Ph.D. research, which was performed while enrolled at CSU, accepted for publication (completely or with minor revisions) in at least two peer-reviewed journal or conference proceedings, then you may be eligible for Independent Study credit. You must be first author on at least one of the papers accepted. Please work with your faculty advisor when planning publications to meet this requirement. To register for these credits, you will complete an SYSE 795 Independent Study form on this page, with faculty advisor approval, and submit to the Systems Engineering Program.

Secure faculty advisor

Before application to Ph.D. program is reviewed.

Complete qualifying process

Coursework done with B or higher.

Suggested within 2-4 years of start date.

Submit your GS6

Program of Study and Committee Selection

Submit before registration for fourth regular semester.

Preliminary exam; Submit GS16

After filing GS6 and before on-site practicum activity; schedule with committee at least two weeks in advance.

Submit GS25

Application to Graduate.

Deadline changes each semester. Check the Graduate School website for the deadline. Typically in the first three weeks of the intended graduation term.

Final exam; Submit GS24

See published deadlines from the graduate school; schedule with committee at least two weeks in advance.

GS24 needs to be submitted within two working days of defense.

Submit GS30

Thesis/Dissertation Submission

After final exam; see published deadlines on graduate school website.

Graduation

Graduation ceremonies take place at the end of Fall and Spring semesters.

Documents and Forms