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 : David Knight
Professors: Jennifer Case; Vinod Lohani; Elizabeth McNair; Marie Paretti; Bevlee Watford
Associate Professors: Richard Goff; David Knight; Holly Matusovich; Kenneth Reid
Assistant Professors: Diana Bairaktarova; Jacob Grohs; Andrew Katz; Walter Lee; Jeremi London; Homero Murzi Escobar; Nicole Pitterson
Affiliated Faculty: Catherine Amelink; Liesl Baum Walker; Brenda Brand; Gary Downey; Jeremy Ernst; Earl Shealy; Lee Vinsel; Christopher Williams; Matthew Wisnioski

Engineering Education Introduction

The Engineering Education PhD program incorporates theory and practice so that its students are prepared to be teachers and scholars in the emerging field of engineering education. We incorporate theory with applied practice to prepare students for a wide range of careers:

  • Engineering policy
  • Corporate training management
  • University assessment
  • University administration
  • Education in academia and K-12
  • Research and scholarship

Graduates of the doctoral program will be able to conduct and direct research in engineering education, develop, review, and critique effective research designs, effectively teach engineering subjects, design and assess engineering courses, and address critical issues facing engineering education.

The Engineering Education Graduate Program also offers a 13-credit Graduate Certificate. Course offerings overlap significantly with those of the Engineering Education PhD and the Graduate School's Professoriate Certificate.

Our Mission:

  • to support the critical role of engineering in societal and global development
  • to improve the synergistic role of education research, teaching, practice, and advising in engineering
  • to promote the value of and need for educating and developing engineering professionals
Offered In (Blacksburg)

Degree Requirements

Minimum GPA: 3.0
Institution code: 5859
Testing Requirements:
    • Paper
      • 550.0
    • Computer
      • 213.0
    • iBT
      • 79.0
  • GRE
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.
  • Quantitative Research Methods: 3 credits
  • Qualitative Research Methods: 3 credits
  • Education: 9 credits
  • Engineering Education core courses: 12 credits
  • Engineering Concentration: 15 credits
  • Electives: 6 credits

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.
  • Up to 30 credits from a Master's degree may be counted toward the PhD at the discretion of the student's advisory committee.
  • Students must enroll in ENGE 5704: Engineering Education Graduate Seminar (1 credit) each semester.
More detailed information regarding degree requirements is available in the Engineering Education Graduate Manual.

Engineering Education Facilities Introduction

The Department of Engineering Education has cultivated core research strengths in professional skills such as interdisciplinary, communication, collaboration, design education, motivation, global issues, and first year courses (particularly learning technologies). Retention, diversity, and assessment are important foundational concepts in the field of engineering education; as such, they are elements of all our projects.

(EC)3 Lab

The (EC)3 Lab is directed by Dr. Jake 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. 

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.

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.

ACE(D) Lab

Through real-world engineering applications, the 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: (


The VT DEEP Lab–Data Enhanced Educational Practice–is directed by Dr. David Knight.  This lab is comprised of a collaborative team of researchers who work in interdisciplinary ways across the university.  Spanning the “grade school-to-graduate school” continuum, our work tends to be at the macro-scale, and we investigate multiple aspects of the system (i.e., curriculum, co-curriculum, and organizational contexts) to understand how to help students achieve a variety of outcomes. Three themes characterize our research:

  1. Investigate organizational contexts, educational environments, and student experiences that support the development of diverse engineers who can become interdisciplinary problem-solving leaders across global contexts.
  2. Identify mechanisms to enhance existing organizational decision-making processes through the incorporation of local data.
  3. Leverage existing, large-scale data sets or collect new data in innovative ways to create intelligent feedback loops by connecting data, processes, and outcomes.

Using these broad areas of focus as a guide, our research works toward improving the efficiency, effectiveness, and inclusiveness of the engineering and STEM education system.

GUIDE Research Group

GUIDE is directed by Dr. Walter Lee and consists of undergraduate and graduate students. It is a collaborative effort between researchers and student-support practitioners. Our mission is to advance understanding of the role that diversity plays in engineering, actively and intentionally connecting research to practice. Members of GUIDE (1) conduct practice-informed research, focused on identifying areas of opportunity to advance diversity and inclusion; and (2) develop and evaluate research-based solutions for making engineering a more accessible and supportive environment. 

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


 The Pitterson Research Group (PRG)- 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 tenets are centered on: 
  1. Improving curricular design through the use of scholarly practices,
  2. Facilitating teaching that elicits students’ conceptual understanding and supports the creation of inclusive learning environments,
  3. Designing assessments that evaluate authentic learning, and 
  4. Fostering identity development through engagement with knowledge


The RISE Research Group-Research's Impact on Society and Education-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: RISE 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 (

The subgroup that Dr. Ken Reid is collaborating with works on the impact of serious games has on the teaching of wireless communication and the development and assessment of tutorials aimed to assist in the teaching and learning of spectrum sharing cognitive radios as well as hosing a Spectrum Sharing Competition each year.  The work is facilitated by the CORNET radio network that is installed in Kelly Hall.

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