A new Virginia Tech College of Engineering degree program that offers a Ph.D. in Engineering Education has been approved by the State Council of Higher Education for Virginia. This is only the second program of its kind in the United States.

Students will be admitted to the program beginning January 2008, said Hayden Griffin, head of the Virginia Tech Department of Engineering Education. The research-based Ph.D. program is designed for students with either a bachelor’s or master’s degree in engineering.

“The new cross-disciplinary doctoral program responds to the need — in Virginia and across the nation — for more research into engineering education and improved teaching of engineering at all levels,” Griffin said.

Created in 2004, Virginia Tech’s engineering education department has one of the premiere first-year engineering programs in the nation and offers graduate courses and programs in the area of engineering pedagogy and education research.

“Ours is one of the most diverse engineering departments in existence,” Griffin said.

Collectively, the 15 faculty members hold degrees in English; information, design, and technology; learning sciences and technology design; linguistics; mass communication; mathematics; and 11 different engineering disciplines. The department’s existing graduate courses and Graduate Certificate in Engineering Education have become popular with graduate students from throughout the College of Engineering.

In addition to studying advanced methods of conducting research and teaching engineering courses, students in the new Ph.D. program will learn to apply research to the development and assessment of engineering curricula and educational policies that promote curriculum integration and social relevance.

“This program will bring Virginia Tech into a leadership position in the emerging area of engineering education research,” Griffin said. “We expect that graduates will become engineering faculty members, leaders of corporate training programs, and educational policy makers — all serving as agents of change in a field that needs changing.”

Virginia Tech’s College of Engineering is internationally recognized for its excellence in 14 engineering disciplines and computer science. The college’s 5,500 undergraduates benefit from an innovative curriculum that provides a hands-on, minds-on approach to engineering education, complementing classroom instruction with two unique design-and-build facilities and a strong Cooperative Education Program. With more than 50 research centers and numerous laboratories, the college offers its 1,900 graduate students opportunities in advanced fields of study, including biomedical engineering, state-of-the-art microelectronics, and nanotechnology.


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