The Doctor of Philosophy in systems engineering degree program is designed for students who plan careers in industrial or governmental research and development laboratories or problem-oriented agencies, as well as in the academic field.
The field of engineering has evolved into a blending of disciplines that is well suited for dealing with such concerns as robotics and machine vision, electronic and communication systems, mechanics, material and manufacturing systems, fluid and thermal systems, dynamic systems and control, computer and microprocessor systems, industrial and production systems, and artificial intelligence and expert systems. The School of Engineering and Computer Science (SECS) is concentrating its efforts in these areas at the Ph.D. level.
The field of systems engineering recognizes the inter-disciplinary nature of engineering, particularly in the areas of robotics, electronics, communications, mechanics, manufacturing systems, production systems, fluid and thermal systems, dynamic systems and control, computer hardware and software systems, software engineering, artificial intelligence and expert systems. The successful analysis and design of complex engineering systems in each of these areas involve two major perspectives. The first perspective, characterized by viewing individual elements of any phenomenon, process or system as being interrelated, with the form of the relationship influencing the behavior of the whole, requires that a systems approach be taken in the analysis, modeling or synthesis of the phenomenon, process or system under consideration. The second perspective is discipline-specific and requires a detailed understanding of the fundamental physical principles or concepts associated with the particular system under study.
A direct benefit of the above approach to problem solving is that it ties the contributions made to the fundamental knowledge in the field with the nuances and constraints imposed by the environment on the specific problem under investigation.
In other words, it makes the engineering research sensitive and relevant to practical applications. For example, consider the problem of computer vision. Research in this area will involve the fundamental principles of pattern recognition, digital signal processing, image enhancement, data communication, etc. However, a computer vision system that is associated with robotics in a classical or flexible assembly line manufacturing environment would be subjected to very different environmental conditions and constraints than would a computer vision system on an all-terrain, ground-based vehicle. Integration of such fundamental research, while recognizing the interaction with the environment, lends itself to a systems approach to problem solving.
It is this broad definition of engineering systems that forms the cornerstone of the Ph.D. in systems engineering program at Oakland University. The program is multi-disciplinary, drawing its strength and resources from the entire faculty of the School of Engineering and Computer Science.
Ph.D. discipline specializations
In keeping with the programs of study that are currently available through the Computer Science and Engineering Department, Electrical and Computer Engineering Department, Industrial and Systems Engineering Department and Mechanical Engineering Department, the student can follow any one of the following discipline specializations, depending upon his or her previous background and training.
The work in this discipline may be focused on hardware and software system design, artificial intelligence and expert systems, computer communication systems including parallel and distributed computing, computer graphic systems, computer vision and multimedia systems, pattern recognition and data mining, and software engineering systems.
Control Engineering and Dynamic Systems
The work in this discipline may be focused on adaptive, intelligent, digital and optimal control systems, modeling and estimation of dynamic systems, robotic systems, fuzzy logic and neural network-based control systems.
Electrical Engineering Systems
The work in this discipline may be focused on digital image and signal processing, microelectronic circuits and systems including VLSI, instrumentation and measurement systems, electromagnetic systems, and analog and digital communication systems.
Industrial Engineering Systems
The work in this discipline may be focused on production systems, quality control, manufacturing systems, computer integrated manufacturing, flexible manufacturing systems, graphics and CAD/CAM, Product Lifecycle Management (PLM), lean systems, artificial intelligence in manufacturing systems, scheduling and systems integration.
Manufacturing Processes and Systems
The work in this discipline may be focused on manufacturing processes including machining, metal forming, materials, automated inspection and evaluation systems.
Mechanical Engineering Systems
The work in this discipline may be focused on engineering mechanics systems involving acoustics, vibrations, classical/experimental mechanics and non-destructive testing; fluid and thermal energy systems, combustion and fuel cells, and energy transfer and conversion; tribology systems involving friction, lubrication and wear; and general manufacturing processes systems.
Students can begin doctoral study on a part-time basis, availing themselves of late afternoon or evening courses while working full time in local industry. However, later phases of study and research will require full-time devotion to the program. Students must also fulfill a residency requirement.
Admission terms and application deadlines
Before an applicant’s file can be reviewed for full program admission, all application documents must be received in Graduate Study and Lifelong Learning by the semester deadlines listed below. Incomplete applications will not be sent to departments for admission review.
- February 15 (early) April 15 (regular) and July 15 (late) for fall semester
- October 1 (early) and November 15 (regular) for winter semester
- March 1 (regular) for summer semester
- International applicants
To be considered for graduate admission, applicants must submit all Graduate Application Requirements and additional department requirements by the published application deadlines:
- Additional department application requirements
- Additional Recommendation for Graduate Admission form
In addition to the two recommendations listed above, a third recommendation is required by the program.
Requirements for recommendations:
The recommendations must be from faculty members or professionals in the field who can evaluate the scholarly achievement and potential of the applicant. These recommendations form an important part of the admission credentials.
- Statement of research objectives and goals.
- Applicants must submit official scores from the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) if they graduated from an institution not accredited by a regional accrediting agency of the USA. The hosting department may choose to waive the GRE requirement if at least one of the following special circumstances is met:
- Applicant’s overall GPA from last degree is at least 3.5 on a 4.0 scale.
- Applicant has worked in the USA for at least two years in engineering or related profession.
- To request a waiver, applicants must submit a Request to Waive GRE form to the Graduate School as part of the application packet. The request for waiver is subject to the approval of the Graduate Admissions Committee
- Admission to Ph.D. program is selective; applicants should have an M.S. degree GPA of 3.5 on a 4.0 scale or better for regular admission.
- If the applicant’s M.S. GPA is between 3.0 and 3.5 on a 4.0 scale, and the percentile score of the GRE Quantitative Reasoning section is 70% or better, admission with limited standing may be offered.
- Applicants from institutions with which Oakland University has an articulation agreement containing alternative admission criteria will be admitted according to the criteria in that agreement.
- Normally a master’s degree from an accredited institution is required for admission; however, students with outstanding undergraduate records may apply directly for admission to the doctoral programs.
- The Ph.D. in systems engineering program is designed for students with academic backgrounds in engineering and computing. Students with backgrounds in mathematics or the physical sciences may also be admitted to the program, but they will be required to build up basic engineering/computing knowledge through relevant coursework.
- Special consideration may be given if a student does not meet the admission criteria listed above but demonstrates potential for academic excellence through research publications, patents, and awards, etc. In addition, the student must be recommended by an SECS faculty member.
Admission review and assessment
Admission to graduate school at Oakland University is selective. In making admission recommendations to the Oakland University Graduate School, each department assesses the potential of applicants for success in the program by examining their undergraduate/graduate records, goal statement, letters of recommendation, prerequisite courses and any other admission requirements established by the academic department.