University of South Alabama, Office of Public Relations
March 14, 2012
Contact: Jennifer Z. Ekman, USA Public Relations, (251) 460-6360

USA College of Engineering to Offer
Doctor of Science in Systems Engineering

The University of South Alabama has received unanimous approval from the Alabama Commission on Higher Education to offer a Doctor of Science in Systems Engineering degree beginning in fall 2013.

The new, terminal research degree is unique in the state and across the Southeast. With a focus on applied research, it will be the first doctoral program offered by the USA College of Engineering.

“The Doctor of Science in Engineering represents the continued maturing of the breadth and scope of the University of South Alabama’s academic offerings,” said USA President Gordon Moulton. “This program is important because it meets the needs of industry, stimulating the growth of clean and sustainable jobs in the Mobile region and beyond.”

“I am particularly excited about this doctoral program because of the strong partnership that exists between industry in our region and our University,” said USA Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs Dr. David Johnson.  “This program will recruit students from local industry, many of whom will continue to work and live in our community after they graduate. This program will be a catalyst for economic development in the Gulf Coast region for years to come.”

“This is a very significant step in moving the College of Engineering to a new level of graduate education in support of economic development in the Gulf Coast,” said USA College of Engineering Dean Dr. John Steadman. “Our industry partners, such as Austal, have been key supporters of this new doctoral program, stating that currently they have to search far beyond the borders of Alabama to obtain systems engineering expertise at this level. This program opens opportunities for both Alabama students and the current engineering employees of local companies. It is, without a doubt, a game-changing development for the College and University.”

The program differs from a traditional Ph.D. in engineering due to its applied research focus. The Doctor of Science program emphasizes involvement of local industry leaders in the research topics and membership on the graduate committee.

The idea for the program began several years ago with the members of the USA College of Engineering’s Industrial Advisory Board. In recent years, local industries have sent students as far away as California to receive such training.

Prospective students for the program would have an undergraduate degree in engineering and be designing large, complex systems. The students would need formal training in defining technical specifications, project management and performance validation, and they must be able to lead multi-disciplinary teams.

Dr. Steadman also said the USA College of Engineering and the University of Alabama College of Engineering have entered into a new memorandum of understanding allowing engineering graduate students at either institution to enroll in and take courses from the other institution and to transfer credits back to the home institution. This will offer students a wider range of specialized graduate courses.

For more information about the program, contact the USA College of Engineering Dean’s Office at (251) 460-6140.

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