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ISE to Offer Region’s First Doctor of Engineering Degree

On Friday, March 1, 2024, the University of Tennessee Board of Trustees approved a proposal from the Department of Industrial and System Engineering (ISE) to create a Doctor of Engineering (DEng) program, the first of its kind in the state of Tennessee and in the region.

Like the PhD program currently offered by ISE, the DEng program requires students to enter with a master’s degree and culminates in a capstone project. However, while a PhD program focuses on foundational research, a DEng degree emphasizes practice and application.

“The DEng degree is designed for working professionals who want to pursue a doctoral-level degree while working full-time,” said ISE Department Head Mingzhou Jin. “Our new program will be especially valuable for professionals in the industry and public sectors who have backgrounds in engineering and science and want to take on more leadership responsibilities.”

To facilitate attendance by professionals, ISE will allow students to attend courses either in person or fully online (asynchronously). In addition to advanced engineering, technology, and business management courses, the new DEng curriculum will cover emerging technologies in industrial engineering, such as machine learning and artificial intelligence. Students will also have the option to supplement the degree with a concentration in engineering management.

Pending final approval from the Tennessee Higher Education Commission, the new degree program is expected to begin in August 2024.

Matthew Mench, Tickle College of Engineering dean and Wayne T. Davis Dean’s Chair, views the new degree as an important step toward broadening the college’s impact.

“Many of the world’s biggest challenges run through engineering, and the programs we are creating are in great demand,” Mench said. “(This new DEng is) reflective of our strategic commitment to meeting the state and national need to produce a highly skilled engineering workforce and conduct research at the highest levels of significance and societal impact.”

Jin is proud to be addressing the needs of modern engineering professionals who work outside the academic sector.

“We have been getting requests for a DEng program from engineers and other working professionals for a long time,” Jin said. “This DEng will be a great complement to our PhD program, building leaders with strong engineering and technical skills who are also experts in management, advanced analytics, communication, systems thinking, and problem solving.”


Izzie Gall (865-974-7203,