Ph.D. in Systems Engineering

Why is Stevens so internationally renowned in systems engineering? As the largest program in the United States, it includes in its faculty a cross-section of executives from Bell Laboratories, Lockheed Martin, Celanese, FAA, NASA, the U.S. Department of Defense, and a host of private industry leaders. Just as important, its open academic model nearly eliminates the boundaries between academia and industry, creating a vigorous collaborative environment for innovation and research. By joining in this collaboration, Ph.D. candidates play a key role in advancing the institute’s leadership.

Faculty Distinction

  • With 35 years’ relevant experience at such industry leaders as Bell Laboratories and AT&T, Industry Professor Anthony Barrese came to Stevens from NCR, where he served as vice president and general manager of two divisions: the Teradata Industry Application Division and the Network Products Division.
  • Professor John Farr, the founding director of the program, has written more than 100 technical publications, authored a textbook, taught at West Point, and is a Fellow of the American Society of Civil Engineers. Currently he serves on the Air Force Studies Board of the National Academies and the Army Science Board.
  • Assistant Professor Wei Jiang is the co-principal investigator on a major joint research project funded by the National Science Foundation and AT&T—a project that won him the NSF’s CAREER Award. At AT&T Labs, he applied data mining and forecasting techniques to the company’s marketing and business analysis.
  • During his 31 years of leadership in systems engineering, Industry Professor Michael Pennotti designed and improved three generations of anti-submarine warfare systems for the U.S. Navy, led AT&T Business Communications Systems to a Baldrige site visit, and developed the human resource strategies to double the business of Lucent’s Enterprise Networks in just three years.
  • With four co-authored books, four inventions, and more than a dozen invited presentations to his credit, Professor Dinesh Verma came to Stevens from Lockheed Martin Naval Electronics and Surveillance Systems, where he was Systems and Supportability Engineering Strategist. He is the founding dean of the School of Systems and Enterprises and an internationally known expert in systems engineering.
  • Dr. Roshanak Nilchiani has collaborated on next-generation Mars Rovers and nuclear-powered Mars missions. At MIT, she researched flexible space systems and complex engineering systems design and operation under uncertainty.
  • Assistant Professor Brian Sauser is nationally recognized for his work in space systems engineering, project management, and organizational learning and behavior for organizations that develop complex systems and enterprises. He has worked in government, industry, and academia for more than 10 years, coming to Stevens from ASRC Aerospace at NASA Kennedy Space Center.
  • Distinguished Research Professor Art Pyster has served as senior vice president and director of systems engineering and integration for SAIC, manager of systems engineering at TRW, deputy chief information officer for the Federal Aviation Administration, and chief technical officer for the Software Productivity Consortium during his 30-year career.
  • During her tenure at Accenture, Associate Professor Rashmi Jain led large, complex systems integration projects at Fortune 100 companies in a range of industries. Her teams designed and implemented IT systems with a wide range of technology, from SAP and Oracle to e-commerce and database management systems.
  • With well over 50 journal articles and conference publications to his credit, Distinguished Professor John Boardman has held systems engineering professorships at De Montfort University (U.K.) and the University of Portsmouth. He is a leader in the fields of systems thinking and understanding systems of systems behavior.
  • Jose Ramirez-Marquez has published extensively in the field of systems reliability. His strong quantitative skills have made him an invaluable researcher at Stevens.
  • Robert Cloutier formerly worked for Lockheed Martin as a lead systems engineer on such complex projects at the Virginia Class attack submarines. His research on pattern analysis and system modeling language has received support from a host of defense leaders and national laboratories.

Research Areas

Research revolves around four principal areas:

  • Enterprise architecting
    • The language to represent systems thinking; enterprise simulation
    • Enterprise profiling and semantic interoperability
  • Enterprise optimization
    • Risk-based multi-resource allocation and optimization
    • Stochastic system modeling and optimization
    • Mobile ad hoc wireless network reliability analyses
    • Information mining and data fusion
  • Systems and enterprise management
    • Managing for systems engineering – technical planning
    • System readiness levels (SRLs)
    • The resilient enterprise (collaboration between systems, engineering, and management)
  • Systems engineering, architecting, and test
    • Networked requirements modeling
    • Resilient and agile infrastructure
    • Risk-based architecting
    • Architecture patterns and reference architectures


The Systems and Enterprises Architecting Laboratory (SEAL) provides both onsite and online platforms for advanced innovation and research. The combined team room and computer lab hosts state-of-the-art engineering tools for requirements management and systems engineering; the “war room” ambience enables intensive, collaborative teamwork. The online environment—supported by two advanced videoconferencing facilities—enables the virtual collaboration among students, faculty, and industry for which the Systems Engineering & Engineering Management is renowned. In the industrial arena, SEAL often serves as an off-site retreat for systems architecting and design teams, as well as a place for collaboration among faculty, corporate/government users, and tool vendors.

Alumni Accomplishments

Stevens Ph.D.s in systems engineering have gone on to successful careers at internationally recognized universities, the U.S. Department of Defense, and many major defense contractors. One serves with distinction as senior researcher for Warwick University Medical School (U.K.).


To enter the Systems Engineering program at Stevens, you must submit the following:

  • Completed application
  • Application fee
  • Official college transcripts from all colleges attended
  • Official or attested conferment of bachelor’s degree
  • Three letters of recommendation
  • Personal Statement
  • Writing Sample
  • Official GRE score

International applicants (who are not U.S. citizens or permanent residents) must also submit:

  • Official TOEFL score, sent to School Code #2819
  • Financial Verification Form or I-134

Degree Requirements

You must earn 84 graduate credits* to complete the doctoral program. Of these credits, 15 to 30 must be earned through course work, and 30 to 45 via dissertation work. You may apply up to 30 credits from a master’s program toward your doctoral degree.

Within two years of your admission, you must take a written qualifying examination to test your communication skills and your ability to conduct independent research associated with your general dissertation topic area. After passing the qualifying examination and completing the required course work, you must take an oral preliminary examination to evaluate your aptitude for advanced research and your understanding of the subjects associated with your dissertation topics. Upon satisfactory completion of this oral examination, you become a doctoral candidate and start your dissertation research.

Doctoral research must be based on an original investigation, and the results must make a significant, state-of-the-art contribution to the field, worthy of publication in current professional literature. At the completion of the research, you must defend your thesis in a public presentation.

*If you entered the PhD program before the Fall 2012 semester, you must earn 90 credits to complete your degree.