Systems Engineering Ph.D.

Ph.D. Degree #582

Starts: Quarterly

Program Area: Naval Engineering

POC: Program Director

Modality: Hybrid


The Department of Systems Engineering offers a Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) degree in Systems Engineering (DL). Students take graduate level courses in systems engineering (as needed to pass the oral and written qualifying examinations), advanced graduate courses in systems engineering and an application domain, and perform research that leads to a dissertation involving some aspect of systems engineering. Research topics may be selected from a broad variety of studies of the systems engineering process, applications of systems engineering to solving complex problems, systems level modeling and simulation, and systems suitability assessment. Subject to approval of the student's dissertation committee chairman, dissertation research may be conducted away from NPS at cooperating facilities. Students must satisfy a one-year residency requirement. This may be met by completing periodic extended stays (nominally two weeks per quarter) at an NPS campus spread throughout the duration of the student's program.


The following are eligible for this offering:

  • Naval Officers
  • Non-Naval Officers
  • DON Civilians
  • DOD Civilians
  • Non-DOD Federal Employees
  • International military personnel
  • International non-military personnel

Requirements for Entry

  • Ideally, applicants should possess an M.S. degree in Systems Engineering.
  • Applicants with only a B. S. degree or an M.S. degree in another discipline will be required to take a number of systems engineering courses (equivalent to the coursework portion of an MSSE degree program) to pass the qualifying examinations. Unless an M.S. thesis and any other ABET EAC accreditation requirements are also satisfied, an M.S. in Systems Engineering degree will not be awarded for this preparatory work.

Application Information

Applications are handled by the NPS Admissions Office. Please visit the admissions website or contact them at

Tuition & Service Obligation

For information regarding tuition, please contact the NPS Tuition office at, or contact this offering’s POC at

For information regarding service obligation, please visit the Admissions Office’s Eligibility/Service Obligation page.

Other Information

View the Systems Engineering Distance Learning Programs Flyer (PDF 661KB)

Program Requirements and Standard Curriculum

Five written exams

  • SE Fundamentals
  • Applied Probability and Statistics for Systems Engineers
  • Three exams on 4000 level courses at the discretion of dissertation adviser
  • Adviser may choose to have student sit for additional exams as necessitated by the student’s research

Dissertation Research

  • A minimum of 3 dissertation research course blocks (12 quarter credits) but must stay enrolled each quarter until completion of dissertation.
  • Publishing in archival, peer-review journals is considered one of the best ways to disseminate scholarly research. Additionally, publication in recognized journals entails external validation of the quality and relevance of the research.
  • All PhD students are required to have a prepared manuscript for journal publication. The manuscript shall be available and deemed acceptable for submission to a journal prior to scheduling the dissertation defense.

Additional Expectations

Biennial on-campus meetings: Twice year to coincide with beginning of Fall and Summer quarters (e.g.: synched with 721 SEM-PD21 curriculum) an orientation will be held on campus and other activities for both new and continuing PhD students. The purpose is to meet face-to-face, develop a research community among PhD students, and orient new as well as continuing students.

Admissions Requirements

Please contact the offering POC for details about where to submit application materials.

Materials required:

  • Academic transcripts
  • 2 Letters of academic recommendation
  • Letter of intent
  • Sample of technical writing
  • GRE scores may be requested to be taken under certain circumstances to include candidate has marginal academic performance, lacks engineering or technical experience or significant gaps exist between undergraduate, graduate and proposed PhD degree
  • A Participation Agreement
  • Confirmation of funding

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Application Deadlines

  •  08 Jul 2024

    Fall Quarter applications due

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