Graduate Catalog
Policies, Procedures, Academic Programs
Engineering Education
College of Engineering
Goodwin Hall at the corner of Prices Fork Road and Stanger Street is the new flagship building for the College of Engineering. It houses 40 instructional and research labs, eight classrooms, an auditorium, and 150 offices for several engineering departments. More than classrooms, offices, and laboratories for Virginia Tech, the building is a ground-breaking experiment to measure even the smallest vibrations made inside the building. Accelerometers can measure vibration from wind loads, structural settling, or even foot traffic.
345 Goodwin Hall 635 Price's Fork Road: 0218 Blacksburg VA 24061
Goodwin Hall
Degree(s) Offered:
• PhD
PhD Degree in Engineering Education
Minimum GPA: 3.0
Offered In:
Email Contact(s):
Web Resource(s):
Phone Number(s):
Application Deadlines:
Fall: Jan 15
Spring: Oct 01
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Department Head : Jennifer Case
Graduate Program Director : Walter Lee
Emeriti Faculty: Richard Goff
Professors: Jennifer Case
Associate Professors: Diana Bairaktarova; Jacob Grohs; Walter Lee; Jeremi London; Sarah Rodriguez; Qin Zhu
Assistant Professors: Mark Huerta; Andrew Katz; Dayoung Kim; Homero Murzi Escobar; Nicole Pitterson; Susan Sajadi

Engineering Education Introduction

The Engineering Education (ENGE) graduate program at Virginia Tech is ideal for students who are interested in becoming leaders in innovation and catalysts for change in society through rigorous research in the field of engineering education. The program strives to prepare students who are interested in a variety of professional goals, including engineering faculty positions in universities of all types, students who wish to pursue careers in policy, and students with a strong interest in educational research, corporate training management, university assessment or university administration.

The cross-disciplinary PhD program is designed specifically to prepare graduates for careers across the entire range of engineering education. The inherent flexibility of the program allows students to tailor their curriculum and research to prepare them to achieve their goals in engineering education.  

In addition to the PhD, the Virginia Tech Department of Engineering Education also offers a 12-credit Graduate Certificate. The ENGE Graduate Certificate course offerings overlap significantly with those of the Engineering Education PhD and the Graduate School's Professoriate Certificate.

Our Mission: Preparing scholars to advance knowledge and address significant challenges facing engineering education.

Offered In (Blacksburg)

Degree Requirements

Minimum GPA: 3.0
Institution code: 5859
Testing Requirements:
    • Paper
      • 550.0
    • Computer
      • 213.0
    • iBT
      • 79.0
PhD students must take a minimum of 90 total credits beyond the Bachelor's degree, submitted on a program of study subject to approval by the student's advisory committee.

Curricular Requirements:
  • Dissertation: 30 credits min.
  • Engineering Education core courses: 8 credits
  • Engineering Education Practical Applications: 3 credits
  • Engineering Education Research Methods: 3 credits
  • Engineering cognate: 12 credits
  • Social Science cognate: 12 credits
  • Electives: 9 credits
  • Engineering Education Seminar: 4 credits ENGE & 1 credit GSSME

Required Milestones and Examinations:

  1. Qualifying Examination
  2. Preliminary Examination
  3. PhD Research Proposal
  4. Progress Report
  5. Final Examination (Defense)

Additional Information:
  • At least 9 credits (ENGE or non-ENGE) will be at the 6000 level relevant to the student's research.
  • At least 3 credits of Qualitative Research Methods and 3 credits of Quantitative Research Methods must be completed (3 credits must be in ENGE).
  • Up to 30 credits from a Master's degree may be counted toward the PhD at the discretion of the student's advisory committee.
More detailed information regarding degree requirements is available in the Engineering Education Graduate Manual.

Engineering Education Facilities Introduction

Five key areas of research strength characterize VT Engineering Education: 1) Diversity, equity, and inclusion, 2) Engineering workforce development, 3) Inter/transdisciplinary collaboration and development of systems thinking skills, 4) Application of educational research to practice, and 5) Outreach and engegement with K12 schools and community/regional institutional partners, in particular in rural settings. 

ACE(D) Lab

Through real-world engineering applications, the Abilities, Creativity, and Ethics in Design, ACE(D), Lab experiential learning research crosses disciplines including engineering, psychology and the learning sciences, as we uncover how individual performance is influenced by abilities, personal interests and direct manipulation of physical and virtual objects. 
Led by Dr. Diana Bairaktarova, the ACE(D) Lab at Virginia Tech is dedicated to engineering and design education research and the engineering learner. Our interdisciplinary research focuses on the following three lines of inquiry:
  1. Using innovative technologies to study novel user interfaces, virtual and augmented learning and working environments that encompass human aspects at the cognitive, eye-tracking and sensory-motor levels.
  2. Investigating the role of individual aptitudes and abilities in performing and learning engineering through psychometric instruments and psychological interventions.
  3. Adopting design thinking as a philosophy (inspiration, ideation, and quick prototyping) to investigate user-centered design, empathic design and design for social innovation.

Resource: Website (

Complexities | Communities | Change Lab

The Complexities, Communities, Change (EC)3 Lab is directed by Dr. Jacob Grohs.  His team of students and faculty are committed to research, teaching, and outreach within three interconnected areas:
  • Embracing Complexities:  We love wicked problems, coupled systems, socio-ethical complexities, and trying to make sense of all sorts of messy data.
  • Engaging Communities:  We believe good things can happen when diverse stakeholders come together around shared goals. We think often about our responsibility to others outside of our field and academia and we aim to be willing and committed partners.
  • Enacting Change:  We are motivated by pressing challenges within the education system and broader society and we strive for positive change. this means we must sometimes work hands-on with stakeholders to achieve what we envision.

Critical Frontiers Research Group

The Critical Frontiers Research Group comprises a group of students who are engaged with Dr. Jenni Case on their research journeys.  Some are advised by her, some have her on their committee, some are working with her as graduate assistants, and others just choose to connect in the weekly Research Group meetings.

We chose the title ‘Critical Frontiers’ to represent their research interests as each of them is seeking in some way to push the boundaries in engineering education or higher education research.  Many of us are interested in comparative educational questions; most of us are interested in culture and its relation to engineering education.  We are open to critical approaches and we are interested in the sociology of education.


The vision of the Virginia Tech Data Enhanced Educational Practice (DEEP) Lab is to serve as one of the world's leading research shops for promoting a systems view of engineering education with an explicit mission to improve the efficiency, effectiveness, and inclusion of the field.  Aligned with Virginia Tech's Data Anayltics and Decision Sciences Destination Area, the VT DEEP Lab uses large-scale quantitative data to diagnose problems, identify opportunities and solutions, and enact organizational change by connecting research to policy and practice.  Adopting this macro-scale, systems perspective to inform organizational decision-making has helped our team serve as active organizational change agents trhough collaborative projects, locally, nationally, and internationally.  
Dr. David Knight, Director


The Engineering Competencies, Learning, and Inclusive Practices for Success (ECLIPS) Lab, is directed by Dr. Homero Murzi. This group focuses on understanding how to create contemporary, inclusive, data-driven pedagogical practices to develop effective learning environments that better support engineering students, especially those from traditionally marginalized populations (e.g., Latinx, Native American, International students) and to prepare them for the complexities of the engineering workforce. This diverse community critically explores issues in engineering education and higher education, focusing on the following areas: Competencies, Learning, and Inclusive Practices.  They value international perspectives and seek to expand their research agenda in ways that include international collaborators.

ELITE Research Group

The Education, Learning, Identity and Transfer in Engineering Research Group (ELITE)- directed by Dr. Nicole Pitterson, engages in research aimed at creating, supporting and sustaining engineering learning environments, formal and informal, that are designed to provide students with relevant knowledge, skills and attitudes necessary to be successful in their course of study and future professions. Our research seeks to answer the following core questions: 
  1. How do we assess learning formally and informally in engineering (STEM)?
  2. How we design and innovate learning environments?
  3. How we support the development of students’ identity and sense of belonging in engineering? 
  4. What mechanisms can be best leveraged to optimize transfer of learning? 
  5. How do we use instructional practices to foster cognitive engagement and conceptual understanding? 

GUIDE Research Group

GUIDE is committed to exploring, understanding, and elevating the lived experiences of engineers, engineering students, and prospective engineering students from historically oppresses communities.  Through our work, we aim to advance the: 
  • Support of engineers and engineering students as the navigate existing work and learning environments.
  • Education of engineering students and faculty about pervasive systems of oppression and the relevance of social issues to engineering work and practices.
  • Empowerment of engineers who wish to actively disrupt oppressive systems and practices through their application of engineering tools and processes.
  • Transformation of engineering education to make it more equitable, accessible, and inclusive.
Dr. Walter Lee, Director


The Improving Decisions in Engineering Education Agents and Systems (IDEEAS) lab is a research Lab directed by Dr. Andrew Katz. Our work is driven by one overarching question: How can we use data to support decisions from the individual level up through the organiational level in order to achieve better societal outcomes through engineering education?  We use large-scale, multimodal data to focus on topics ranging from environmental education in engineering to ethical decision making. 

LabVIEW Enabled Watershed Assessment System Lab (LEWAS Lab)

The Learning Enhanced Watershed Assessment System (LEWAS) is a unique outdoor lab on Virginia Tech campus that integrates hardware and software components to monitor high frequency water (quality and quantity) and weather data from a site on Webb branch that flows through the campus. This lab has been integrated into various engineering courses at Virginia Tech and Virginia Western Community College and also supports research activities of graduate (PhD & MS) and undergraduate students. Currently, the lab hosts two projects funded by the National Science Foundation.

Dr. Vinod Lohani, Director

Resource: Website (

RISE Research Group

The Research's Impact on Society and Education (RISE) Research Group is directed by Dr. Jeremi London.  RISE is a diverse team of mixed methods researchers investigating the impact of research on society and education while simultaneously making an impact on STEM education through research.

Resource: Website (

SMILE Research Group

The Studies of Motivation and Identity in Learning Engineering (SMILE) group is directed by Dr. Holly Matusovich.  This group engages in research and outreach to all levels of learners from pre-kindergarten through academic and industry workforces.  We aim to inform, support, and create learning environments that encourage and enable broad participation in engineering majors and careers. We use motivation-and identity-related theories to examine ways to break down barriers, create opportunities, and engage all stakeholders (students, parents, teachers, co-workers) in thoughtful teaching and learning processes.

Virginia Tech Engineering Communications Center (VTECC)

VTECC integrates the professional and the technical to create a new kind of engineer. The Center brings faculty, students, and professionals together to explore, design, practice, and teach communication and collaboration in support of engineering work. Our lab provides a creative think space for engineering students and faculty to break through disciplinary molds and collaborate across boundaries to drive innovation.

Dr. Marie Paretti, Director

Resource: Website (
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