PhD Programs in Engineering

Can I work while studying for my PhD in engineering?

Some programs do allow you to work while studying for a PhD in engineering, but other schools strongly recommend against it. Some programs can even ban it altogether. Schools will generally try to persuade you not to take on a job while enrolled in a PhD program because of the significant time commitment that is required.

If you do plan on working while completing your PhD in engineering, be sure the schools you want to attend will allow you to do so. Online engineering certification and PhD degree programs should have more lenient policies on having a job while completing coursework. However, even some of the best online PhD engineering programs will not allow you to work while attending their PhD program.

One benefit of working while studying for your engineering degree online or traditional degree is that you can use the earnings to pay for your PhD program. The best case scenario would be to find a job in the engineering field so you can also gain relevant work experience. There should be some specific opportunities to look into, based on the popular industries in your region. Large facilities and heavy equipment operators could often use an extra hand from a knowledgeable engineering student.

Are there any scholarships for traditional or online PhD students in engineering?

Any engineering doctorate student that engages in a research field related to space travel is eligible for a scholarship that NASA offers called the Graduate Student Researchers Project. The scholarships last for 12 months initially and can be renewed up to 3 years. Fellowship winners will study at 1 of the 9 NASA jet propulsion labs around the United States. NASA awards the scholarships based on academic transcripts, research proposals and letters of recommendation.

The United States Department of Defense offers a scholarship called the Information Assurance Scholarship Program. The fellowship is open to students in a number of engineering fields, including electrical, computer and software engineering. It covers full tuition, books and fees for PhD students who receive the award. If you are interested in working for the government and you are applying to an accredited online PhD in engineering program, this scholarship is definitely worth consideration.

Minority students can apply for the GEM PhD Engineering Fellowship. GEM offers up to 5 years of funds to students who are completing a PhD in engineering. The fellowship is not school-specific but it must be completed at a GEM university. The scholarship can be used at many of the top PhD engineering programs across the United States.

Are there any notable people who have earned PhDs in engineering?

There are many notable people in the technology industry that have completed engineering PhD programs. One them is Dr. Min Kao, the co-founder, chairman and CEO of Garmin Corporation. He earned a PhD in electrical engineering from University of Tennessee. Kao founded Garmin in 1990 and has grown the company’s sales to nearly $3 billion.

Google co-founders Lawrence Page and Sergey Brin were both working on PhDs in computer science at Stanford University when Google’s popularity soared. Computer science is very closely related to both computer and software engineering. Google was actually Page and Brin’s PhD research project at Stanford University. Page and Brin are each estimated to be worth $18.7 billion as of 2012.

The famous female astronaut, Bonnie Dunbar, holds a PhD in engineering. She earned a biomedical engineering degree from University of Houston. Dunbar is well known for joining 4 shuttle missions and was a member of the first shuttle mission that docked with Russian space station, Mir.

Judith Resnik was another NASA astronaut who held a PhD in electrical engineering from University of Maryland. She was the first Jewish-American astronaut and was 1 of the crewmembers killed in the Challenger shuttle disaster in 1986.

Do you recommend any engineering PhD student blogs that I should follow?

The civil, environmental and architectural engineering department at University of Colorado, Boulder announces scholarships, awards and other events on their blog. They also link to other information current that prospective engineering students might need.

Another great resource you can read is the variety of engineering blogs written by current or former PhD students. J. Ben Deaton is working towards a doctorate in engineering at the Georgia Institute of Technology and he offers great insights with an added element of humor.

Where is Amy is a unique blog written by a woman who is a mother and is studying for her PhD. Her blog chronicles her path towards earning her PhD in economics, but also references engineering. While she is a not an engineering student, she can give you a good sense of the expectations of PhD students and how to balance a busy schedule.

Another blog you should take a look at is written by Gail Carmichael. She is earning a PhD in computer science from Carleton University in Canada and she mostly writes about the female perspective of computer science. Many of her viewpoints on computer science can translate to the engineering field.

A blog that takes a similar view to Carmichael’s is the Women in Engineering blog. It was founded by 3 female students at University of Rochester. One of them is a biomedical engineering student who provides mentoring and networking opportunities to female engineering students.