Engineering education research and computing education research primarily focuses on understanding how people learn engineering and computing respectively and how to improve instruction. Both are species of discipline-based education research (DBER), similar to chemistry education research and physics education research. There is also a significant research area that focuses on broadening participation in engineering and computing, fields that have long exhibited underrepresented of women and underserved minority populations. A Ph.D. in engineering and computing education will strengthen the quality and reputation of the teaching of graduate and undergraduate engineering and computer science.
This degree program merges two existing strengths: those of the STEM Transformation Institute, whose researchers conduct nationally impactful research in STEM Education primarily in physics, biology, and mathematics, and the strength of FIU’s College of Engineering and Computing, which in 2017-18 produced $25M of externally funded research and hosts one of the largest undergraduate programs in the nation.
- Have a bachelor’s or Master’s degree in Engineering or Computing or a closely related field.
- Have an upper-division GPA of at least 3.0 in the bachelor’s degree, measured by the last 60 credits attempted.
- Complete a Graduate Record Exam within the prior five years.
- Have an essay that explains how the program would help them achieve their career goals, three letters of recommendation, a copy of the transcript, and a copy of the university graduate application to the Graduate Program Director in accordance with University Graduate School deadlines.
- Have received approval of the departmental graduate committee.
- Obtain a score of 80 or higher on the TOEFL iBT (this corresponds to 550 on the old TOEFL test) or 6.3 overall on the IELTS—only applies if they are foreign students whose native language is not English. The University Graduate School has a list of countries that are exempt from this requirement.
Graduation Requirements for the program:
- Completing a total of 75 credit hours of coursework beyond the bachelor’s degree, with a cumulative GPA of 3.0 or higher.
- Successful completion of the Qualifying Exam. This examination is designed primarily to make sure students have the suitable background knowledge to conduct research in his/her chosen area. Two attempts are permitted. Any exception needs to be approved by the Graduate Committee.
- Upon completion of the required core courses and passing the Qualifying Exam, the student will advance to Candidacy.
- Choosing an advisor(s). The student will choose a faculty member from the College of Engineering and Computing as their dissertation advisor. A co-advisor could be selected from within the College or from outside.
- Assembling a Dissertation Committee. Graduate students will assemble a Dissertation Committee of at least four faculty members [including advisor(s)], three of whom will be from SUCCEED or the STEM Transformation Institute.
- Successful presentation and submission of a dissertation proposal. Students will present and defend their plan for the dissertation study. The purpose of the proposal is to verify that the candidate has chosen a suitable topic for dissertation research and to evaluate the candidate’s ability to conduct such research. The proposal will be submitted to members of the candidate’s dissertation committee (at least two of whom will be from SUCCEED or the STEM Transformation Institute). The candidate presents his/her accomplished and proposed research and answers questions from the committee and others in the audience.
- The satisfaction of the teaching requirement. The ability to teach at the university level is an important skill that should be encouraged in all graduate students. For this reason, students will be required to take the “Foundations of Engineering and Computing Teaching and Learning” course prior to candidacy, and participate in a mentored teaching practicum for one semester during their Ph.D. studies in order to gain exposure to the classroom or laboratory teaching environment. Students with teaching experience from previous graduate programs may petition to waive the teaching requirement, in which case the three-credit course should be replaced with an alternate course. Waivers will be granted at the discretion of the Graduate Program Director.
- Submission and defense of a dissertation based upon original research in engineering or computing education. A dissertation is required of all candidates for the Ph.D. degree and must conform to the format outlined in the Regulations for Thesis and Dissertation Preparation Manual available to students online from the FIU Graduate School.
- After submission of the dissertation and completion of all other required work for the Ph.D. degree, the candidate will be given a final oral thesis defense examination by the Dissertation Committee. Successful completion of all of these steps will culminate in the granting of the Ph.D. degree.