Traditional PhD programs are designed to support full-time, primarily on-campus students. WPI’s Blended PhD in Systems Engineering program is different. We expect the majority of our students to be part-time, off-campus professionals who have full-time jobs and have been or are involved in systems engineering related work.

The implications of this expectation are that the WPI systems engineering program faculty and administrators will:

  • Offer most program courses online.
  • Offer the required research seminars in a virtual classroom setting where all participants can readily interact with each other.
  • Support student research by strongly encouraging, and financially supporting the travel costs for presentations at national conferences.
  • Expect regular, well-documented, research advisor(s) interactions.
  • Explore unique, as well as best-practice ways to enhance student engagement and professional development.

The application window for the PhD program in Systems Engineering is now open. Click here to APPLY NOW.


PROGRAM OVERVIEW (a minimum of 60 credits beyond MS)

Selected in consultation with the Research Advisor
Focus Area 1: A minimum of 12 credit hours of thematically related graduate courses selected from the areas of Science (including Computer Science), Mathematics, and Engineering excluding Systems Engineering (which can be waived for students with an MS in Science, as defined above)
Focus Area 2: A minimum of 9 credit hours of thematically related courses, as defined above and different from the first Focus Area

A minimum of 30 credits registered as SYS 699. Dissertation Research

Qualifying Exam: Successfully completed no later than 18 credits beyond the MS degree
Area Examination: Successfully completed after the Qualifying Exam and no later than 42 graduate credit hours after matriculation into the PhD program
Defense: A public defense after certification of the final PhD dissertation research is required. The defense can be scheduled any time after the end of the semester in which the Area Examination was completed

The student must establish residency by being a full-time graduate student for at least one continuous academic year


Preferred Program Applicant

The preferred program applicant will have an MS in systems engineering with a minimum GPA of 3.5. Applicants who have earned an engineering master's degree, but not in systems engineering, and who have demonstrated systems engineering work experience, are also strongly encouraged to apply. All applicants will be considered for admission into the PhD program based on a thorough review of their application materials.

Students who have not yet earned an MS degree will not be considered for the WPI Systems Engineering PhD program until completion of the MS program.

PhD Application Process

The application window for the PhD program in Systems Engineering is now open. Click here to APPLY NOW.

  • Non-refundable $70 application fee (waived for WPI alumni and current WPI students)
  • Official transcripts in English from accredited institutions
  • Three letters of recommendation (can be done through the application portal)
  • Statement of purpose (to be submitted with the online application)
  • A statement of relevant and related SE work experiences
  • Proof of English language proficiency from all applicants for whom English is not their first language: TOEFL or IELTS

Note: GRE scores are not required; we strongly encourage applicants to submit their GRE scores though if they are still current (3 years or less)

Other online graduate programs in Systems Engineering: