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

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 Practicum: 3 credits (or special substitution)
  • Engineering cognate: 12 credits
  • Social Science cognate: 12 credits
  • Electives: 12 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 included among the cognate and elective classes.
  • 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

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. 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. 
  • 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 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 (

ASPECTS Research Group

The Academic Study of Pathways to Engineering for Children, Teachers, and Schools (ASPECTS) lab is led by Dr. Ken Reid.  The group seeks to research and promote pre-college engineering education.  Realizing that skill development and motivations for engineering are found far earlier than the admissions cycle for college, we seek pathways to knowledge about how students may learn, how teachers may instruct, and how school systems may implement engineering in PK-12.  Our studies emphasize similar dimensions of education as college-based studies, with emphasis on enhancing the research community’s understanding of the pre-college educational infrastructure and process so that we may better prepare students that enter college programs and alleviate concerns of ability and performance that are often found at the first-year level of college instruction.  We also investigate developments in the first year of college to assess said concerns. Our contributions are also directed towards the introduction of engineering education as a means of augmenting teaching efforts and learning outcomes in other core subjects and state-of-the-art educational initiatives in K-12.

We are focusing on engineering in K-12 and the first year of college.

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 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.


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

The GUIDE Research Group is a unique and collaborative effort between engineering education researchers and student-support practitioners, directly bridging the research-to-practice cycle. Members of GUIDE (1) conduct practice-informed research, focused on identifying areas of opportunity within engineering education to advance inclusion and diversity; and (2) develop and evaluate research-based solutions for making engineering a more inclusive and diverse environment. Our vision of a more inclusive engineering community–locally, nationally, and globally–inspires our quest to answer the following questions:
  • How might we better support a diverse population of students?
  • How might we make engineering more equitable, accessible, and inclusive?
  • How might we broaden participation in engineering?
  • How might we educate engineering students and faculty about diversity?
Dr. Walter Lee, Director


The Improving Decisions in Engineering Education Agents and Systems (IDEEAS) lab is led by Dr. Andrew Katz. We use multi-modal data to understand and improve decisions made throughout engineering education systems. Our work is driven by one overarching question: how can we use extant and novel data to support decisions from the individual level up through the organizational level in order to achieve better societal outcomes through engineering education? 

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

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 (

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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