Doctoral Programs

Doctoral Degree Requirements:

Completion of doctoral course requirements: A minimum of 15 credits.

Completion of minimum doctoral research credits: A minimum of 15 credits.

Successful completion of qualifying exam.

Successful completion of proposal defense.

Be a doctoral student in good standing.

The programs leading to the Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) degree are designed to develop the student’s ability to perform research or high-level design in systems engineering, engineering management and/or socio-technical systems. Admission to the doctoral program is made through the school’s Doctoral Studies Committee and is based on a review of the candidate’s scholastic record, professional accomplishments and the fit between his/her research objectives and those of the available SSE faculty. All admitted students must have the potential to advance the state of the art in their field of research.

For domestic students, admission to the doctoral programs in SSE requires that the candidate has graduated from an ABET accredited undergraduate program, preferably in engineering or science. A master’s degree is usually required before a student is admitted to the doctoral program. A student’s master’s level academic performance and/or career must reflect his/her ability to pursue advanced studies and perform independent research. Typically a GPA of 3.5 or better at master’s level and 3.0 or better at the undergraduate level is required for admission to the doctoral program. International students must also demonstrate proficiency in the English language prior to admission by scoring at least 550 (210 for computer-based) on the TOEFL examination.

All doctoral applicants are required to submit Graduate Record Exam (GRE) results. Applicants may submit GMAT scores in lieu of GREs for the doctorate in engineering management.

In addition, each applicant must submit a current resume or curriculum vitae, three recommendations, evidence of written work and a statement of purpose. The statement of purpose should be limited to three pages and describe the applicant’s academic interests, proposed course work, research interests and rationale, general career objectives and desired full/part-time student status. Applicants are strongly encouraged to review the available doctoral advisors on the SSE website and identify those who they believe are most closely aligned with their desired areas of research in their statement of purpose. The statement of purpose not only represents the student’s interests, motivations and goals, but also is a reflection of his/her ability to communicate effectively and reflects the maturity of his/her research aspirations. Each applicant must submit an example of his/her written technical work. This work should be written solely by the applicant; published work, if available, is most desirable. All applications for part-time studies must include a letter of commitment from the applicant’s employer.

Application Deadlines

Fall applications: March 15

If seeking financial support: February 1

Spring applications: October 15

Applicants seeking financial support are encouraged to apply as early as possible

Coursework and Requirements

The following is a summary of coursework and the requirements for a doctoral degree in the School of Systems and Enterprises.

Course and Research Work

84 credits of graduate work in an approved program of study beyond the bachelor’s degree consisting of:

A maximum of 30 credit hours obtained in a master’s program.

A minimum of 15 credits of additional graduate course work.

A minimum of 15 credit hours of dissertation work.

Completion of SSE core course requirements.

Completion of Stevens Doctoral Signature Course.


Written and Oral Qualifying Examination – due by the end of the fourth semester.

Dissertation Proposal Defense (also called Preliminary Examination).

Dissertation Defense (also called Final Examination).


The dissertation is the capstone of the doctoral program and should result in research that advances the state of the art in the chosen field. Dissertations may be written in a traditional format or composed of a portfolio where the main body of the dissertation integrates a set of refereed journals and peer reviewed conference papers, which are included as appendices for the details. Regardless of the format, the results of the research must be deemed publishable in major scholarly journals. The following are the guidelines for publication prior to dissertation defense, but should be considered the norm:

One (1) accepted peer reviewed journal article.

One (1) submitted peer reviewed journal article.

Two (2) presented refereed conference papers.


The intent of this requirement is the belief that peer-reviewed research produces a superior dissertation, providing a broad review of quality and dissemination of the results to a wider community. (See for specific formatting and submission information.)

All research that involves human subjects requires Institutional Review Board (IRB) approval.

Doctoral Degree Requirements

Core Course Requirements

To ensure that every student has the skills to be successful in their chosen field, to ensure consistency in skillset standards, and to provide a common experience among students, there are several course requirement categories detailed below. 

Students may opt to take an independent project course (SYS 801) to fulfill some of their graduate coursework requirements with approval from their doctoral advisor. This course is typically conducted as a one-on-one investigation of a topic of particular interest between a faculty member and a student. The course is often used to explore topical areas that can serve as a dissertation. A student may take up to two special problems courses in a doctoral degree program, typically before the qualifying exam. A technical report is required as the final product for this course.

Course credits used for a degree requirement cannot be used to meet the requirements of another degree. Students who took the required courses and used them for their master’s degree requirements at Stevens must substitute these courses with other relevant courses with the approval of their advisor and the SSE PhD Program Committee chair.

Course Specific - Core Courses required for all SSE doctorate degrees

Systems Thinking

SYS 684Systems Thinking


Research Methods

SYS 710Research Methodologies


Doctoral Signature Course

Doctoral Signature Credit

Area Specific

Selection of two (2) quantitative courses from the following list
(other courses may be accepted based on the approval of the advisor and the SSE PhD Program Committee Chair): 

Quantitative Methods

EM 605Elements of Operations Research


SYS 611Systems Modeling and Simulation


SYS 645Design for Reliability, Maintainability, and Supportability


SYS 660Decision and Risk Analysis


SYS 670Forecasting and Demand Modeling Systems


SYS 681Dynamic Modeling of Systems and Enterprise


EM 600Engineering Economics and Cost Analysis


EM 622Decision Making Via Data Analysis Techniques


EM 624Data Exploration and Informatics for Engineering Management


SSW 625Artificial Intelligence for Software Engineering


Domain Specific

Selection of three (3) courses from degree domain with advisor approval. These courses must be from SSE with the SYS, EM or SSW prefix and should be closely related to the program of study for the student.

Domain Non-Specific

Selection of one (1) course from any domain.