Bobby B. Lyle School of Engineering
The Bobby B. Lyle School of Engineering traces its roots to 1925, when the Technical Club of Dallas, a professional organization of practicing engineers, petitioned SMU to fulfill the need for an engineering school in the Southwest. The Lyle School of Engineering has grown to become a thriving school, with graduate programs in a variety of areas.
Corporate support for the engineering school has generated a remarkable array of equipment and laboratories. Recent additions include a microwave lab from General Dynamics and a robotics lab from General Electric. Additional laboratories are being developed with funds from AT&T and Southwestern Bell. The Dallas area’s national prominence in high technology and research is a major benefit for the Lyle School of Engineering.
All programs of education and research in engineering and applied science are conducted through the Lyle School of Engineering. The school is organized into the following five departments: Civil and Environmental Engineering; Computer Science and Engineering; Electrical Engineering; Engineering Management, Information and Systems; and Mechanical Engineering.
Programs and Courses
All courses offered in the Lyle School of Engineering are identified by a two-, three- or four-letter prefix code, designating the general subject area of the course, followed by a four-digit number. The first digit specifies the approximate level of the course as follows: 7 – graduate and 8 – advanced graduate. The second digit denotes the credit hours associated with the course. The last two digits specify the course numbers. Thus, CS 7320 denotes a course offered by the Department of Computer Science and Engineering at the (7) graduate level, having three credit hours and having the course number 20. The prefix codes are as follows:
||Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering
||Department of Computer Science
||Multidisciplinary Programs - Design and Innovation
||Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering
||Department of Engineering Management, Information and Systems
||Department of Mechanical Engineering
||Multidisciplinary Programs - Master of Science in Data Science
Additional information is found under Interpretation of Course Numbers in the Enrollment Polices section of this catalog.
The Lyle School of Engineering offers curricula leading to M.A., M.S., Doctor of Engineering and Ph.D. degrees. The M.A., M.S. and Ph.D. degrees generally are directed toward specific branches of engineering and applied science, whereas the curricula for the professional degree of Doctor of Engineering is directed toward professional practice based on a broad range of engineering fundamentals. All graduate programs are individually designed in conference between the student and his or her supervisory committee. The following table shows the major areas in which students may major at the several graduate-degree levels:
||Degree or Diploma
||Civil and Environmental Engineering
||Sustainability and Development
||Telecommunications and Network Engineering
||Information Engineering and Management
||Manufacturing Systems Management
||Datacenter Systems Engineering
||Design and Innovation
Engineering education beyond the baccalaureate degree may have one or any combination of the following four objectives, some of which may relate only indirectly to a graduate degree:
- Upgrading: Taking advanced work to raise the level of one’s formal capabilities.
- Updating: Keeping one’s education current; for example, a person who received a B.S. degree 10 years ago may take coursework to make his or her formal education comparable to that of a person receiving a B.S. degree this year.
- Diversification: Seeking to obtain formal education in another field, but not necessarily at a higher degree level.
- Maturing: Adding new perspectives on one’s own field without raising the academic level of the education.
Applicants who hold baccalaureate or higher degrees in engineering, mathematics or the sciences from a U.S. college or university accredited by a regional accrediting association, or who have completed an international degree that is equivalent to a U.S. bachelor’s degree from a college or university of recognized standing, will be considered for admission to the Graduate Division of the Lyle School of Engineering for the purpose of pursuing work leading to an advanced degree in engineering or applied science. Each case is considered on an individual basis, and due to the wide variations in student education, past performance, age, experience and academic objective, individualized graduate-program requirements for each student may be anticipated.
Applicants for admission to the Graduate Division must have a minimum GPA of 3.000 on a 4.000 scale for all previous undergraduate and graduate studies. Three letters of recommendation are required for all doctoral applicants and for all applicants requesting financial aid. In addition, an official GRE graduate school admission test score is required in the following cases: 1) for master’s applicants in civil engineering, computer engineering, computer science, electrical engineering, environmental engineering, and mechanical engineering programs; 2) for all doctoral applicants; and 3) for all applicants requesting financial aid.
Graduate students applying for admission to the Lyle School of Engineering are required to pay an appropriate application fee, which must accompany the application. Applications will not be considered unless the complete official transcripts of the applicant’s prior undergraduate and graduate work are in the possession of the SMU Office of Admissions. The transcript is regarded as official only if it is received directly from the registrar of the institution in which the work was done, or if it is an original and authenticated transcript bearing the institutional seal. A statement of purpose is required.
Graduates from foreign countries who apply to Ph.D. programs are required to submit three letters of recommendation. A notarized financial certification form verifying sufficient assets in the form of savings accounts must be received prior to issuance of a student visa. All international students whose native language is not English and who have not graduated from an American university must submit a TOEFL English language proficiency test or its equivalent with a minimum score of 550 on the paper-based examination, 213 on the computer-based examination or 80 overall score on the Internet-based examination. A score of 6.5 or better is also acceptable on the IELTS English language proficiency test. For further information, students should write to TOEFL, PO Box 899, Princeton NJ 08541, U.S.A., or visit www.TOEFL.org.
Domestic students must apply and submit all requisite application materials by no later than July 1 for fall admission, November 15 for spring admission and April 15 for summer admission. All international students use the following dates: May 15 for fall admission, and September 1 for spring admission. Students apply for admission online at www.smu.edu/Lyle/ApplyNow.
Readmission of Students
Students who formerly attended SMU but who did not attend the immediately prior regular term or terms (not including the summer session) are considered readmission students and are required to file an application for readmission by the application deadline. If a student applies for readmission, all incomplete grades must be removed prior to readmission. The decision to re-admit or not re-admit is made by each department in consultation with the Associate Dean. Additional information is found in under Lyle Graduate Programs Policies and Procedures in the Academic Records and General and Enrollment Standards section of this catalog.
Graduate students who would like to be considered for financial aid must first be accepted for admission to the Lyle School of Engineering. For financial aid from the Lyle School of Engineering, contact the specific academic department. Requests for financial assistance from departments are reviewed during the admission process and applicants are notified at the time of admission if a department has awarded any financial assistance. For other sources of financial aid, students should apply to the Office of Financial Aid, SMU, PO Box 750196, Dallas TX 75275-0196. All applicants will be considered for Texas Tuition Equalization Grant eligibility. Additional information is found in the Financial Information section of this catalog.
Residence Hall Directorships
A limited number of residence hall directorships are offered to men and women graduate students. These positions offer room and board in a residence hall plus a monthly stipend. Students who have been admitted to the graduate school may request applications from the Office of Residence Life, Southern Methodist University, PO Box 750452, Dallas TX 75275-0452.
Scholarships are available for students whose scholastic attainments are outstanding. Holders of scholarships must maintain a grade average of B.
Graduate assistantships for teaching and research are available in the Lyle School of Engineering. These carry monthly pay and tuition benefits. The school also has a limited number of instructorships. Applications for these appointments should be submitted before March 1 to the individual department of interest.
Master of Science and Master of Arts Degrees
Admission to the Master’s Program
Admission to the Graduate Division of the Lyle School of Engineering is a prerequisite to postbaccalaureate registration for any graduate course or to any program of graduate study. A student wishing to study for a master’s degree may be admitted on either a regular or a conditional basis.
After submission of a complete application, an applicant is evaluated for regular admission. Typically, the following requirements must be satisfied for regular admission:
- Completion of a bachelor’s degree from a U.S. college or university accredited by a regional accrediting association or completion of an international degree that is equivalent to a U.S. bachelor’s degree from a college or university of recognized standing. Each program has additional information on appropriate academic backgrounds required for admission into that program.
- A minimum GPA of 3.000 on a 4.000 scale for all previous undergraduate and graduate studies.
- Submission of a complete application, including a statement of purpose, official transcripts for all previous undergraduate and graduate studies and payment of the appropriate application fee.
A score of 155 or higher (revised scale) on the quantitative portion of the GRE graduate school admission test score for the following programs:
A score at the 90th percentile or higher on the quantitative portion of the GRE graduate school admission test for the following programs:
Other Ph.D. and DE programs may have specific GRE requirements. Please see those program descriptions for specific admission requirements.
Graduates from foreign countries are required to submit three letters of recommendation and a notarized financial certification form. All international students whose native language is not English and who have not graduated from an American university must submit a minimum TOEFL English language proficiency test score before being considered for admission, as follows:
- 550 – paper-based examination.
- 213 – computer-based examination.
- 80– Internet-based examination overall score
A score of 6.5 on the IELTS English language proficiency examination is acceptable in place of the above scores for the TOEFL examination.
An applicant may be offered admission to the Graduate Division on a conditional basis to ascertain his or her ability to successfully pursue graduate work. The necessity for such a conditional admission may arise when a student’s undergraduate program, however high in quality, does not provide a completely adequate base on which to build the particular graduate program desired by the student. This may be due to a variety of reasons, of which the following are a few examples:
- The undergraduate program may have been taken so many years ago that it differs from what is offered today.
- The undergraduate degree may have been completed in a field other than that in which the master’s degree is sought.
- Despite strong evidence that the student possesses both the necessary qualities and the motivation to succeed in graduate study, his or her undergraduate record may have been undistinguished.
- The student has not been awarded a bachelor’s degree because he or she is currently enrolled in the final academic term.
A student who is admitted on a conditional basis may be required to take up to 12 credit hours of coursework beyond the minimum 30 credit hours required for the master’s degree. Although a necessary part of the student’s plan of study, such extra courses are admission requirements and cannot be counted in determining progress toward satisfaction of the minimum requirements for the master’s degree. Because they provide a connecting path between the student’s previous work and the graduate coursework, these extra courses are termed articulation courses. When the articulation coursework has been completed with an average grade of B (3.000 GPA) or better, the student’s admission classification is changed from conditional to regular.
The minimum credit hour requirement for the master’s degree in the Lyle School of Engineering is 30 credit hours beyond the baccalaureate, of which six credit hours may be in a thesis. Additional hours may be required depending on the student’s background, objectives of the degree program and the demands of the discipline.
Any student whose articulation into engineering or whose objective will require more than 12 credit hours of articulation courses will be denied admission to the Graduate Division. Such students should enroll in additional undergraduate courses until these deficiencies are removed. The major department should be consulted for counseling information.
All Lyle School of Engineering coursework satisfying degree requirements must be in graduate courses numbered 7000 and above.
All work for the master’s degree must be completed no later than seven years after matriculation.
Students must complete any required articulation courses with a minimum GPA of 3.000.
Admission to candidacy is automatically achieved when the student has obtained 12 credit hours with a minimum 3.000 GPA and that student has filed a degree plan. A student who fails to achieve this standard of performance may be required to take additional courses to satisfy the requirements of his or her degree plan and to bring his or her GPA to 3.000 or better or may be asked to discontinue graduate study.
All work attempted for the master’s degree must be completed with an overall GPA of 3.000 or better. A grade of D obtained by a student will be figured into his or her overall GPA, but cannot be applied to his or her degree plan. Specific curricular requirements for Lyle master’s degrees are detailed in departmental sections of this catalog.
The Graduate Division faculty expects its students to fully meet the rigorous demands of its program. For many students, this will mean a weekly time investment averaging at least three hours for each credit hour of graduate registration. This figure derives from experience that shows that each hour of class work generates two hours of homework. Each student should bear this in mind in working out a schedule of studies.
Students desiring special counseling concerning an appropriate study load should consult their faculty adviser or the director of the Graduate Division.
All international students are required to be full-time students, taking at least nine credit hours for each fall and spring term.
Part-time students are allowed to register for a maximum of six credit hours. Students are considered part-time if they hold a full-time job. Students who have a grade of Incomplete can register for a maximum of three credit hours until the incomplete grade is removed.
Articulation Course Requirements
A recent engineering graduate with an undergraduate GPA of approximately 3.000 or better and pursuing a master’s program in the bachelor’s degree field will have few, if any, problems articulating into the master’s program.
Engineering graduate students have a wide range of preparatory education, industrial experience, age and academic objectives. It is often difficult to articulate these highly variable factors when determining educational programs in engineering. As a result, a plan of study often includes a series of specific courses that articulate an individual student’s previous education and experience into an established educational program.
Students are required to complete these articulation courses, maintaining a minimum 3.000 GPA. The student who fails to achieve this record is automatically dropped from the graduate program, is not eligible to enroll in graduate courses and is denied the right to petition for readmission.
Students who maintain the requisite minimum 3.000 GPA in these courses may advance into the balance of their plan of study. As nearly as possible, these articulation courses should be completed before the courses in the balance of the plan of study are attempted.
Major Department Requirement
The program in the major field usually amounts to at least 18 credit hours and may vary with the discipline. These include basic curriculum core courses, plus electives in the particular area of interest to the student. In some disciplines, a thesis may be required. The courses are drawn from the various offerings of the department of the Lyle School of Engineering, as well as other departments of SMU outside the school. Specific requirements in the individual areas of concentration may be obtained from the appropriate department or the Graduate Division.
The Minor Requirement
Minor work must be in an area other than the major. This is usually associated with six to 12 credit hours of courses. In special cases, this requirement may be modified, but only with the approval of the faculty adviser, the curriculum chair and the associate dean.
For the purposes of this section, Faculty Adviser (or Academic Adviser) is the person responsible for advising on the coursework to be taken and for setting up a Thesis Committee, if the thesis option is pursued. The Thesis Adviser is the person advising on the thesis research topic. The Thesis Committee Chair is the faculty member chairing the Thesis Committee and responsible for the quality of the thesis.
When a thesis is not required by a department, the student seeking a master’s degree has the option of writing a thesis or of taking an equivalent number of credit hours of additional coursework.
The decision to choose the thesis option should be made by the student in consultation with the faculty adviser under the condition that a thesis adviser and a thesis committee chair can be identified and approved by the department chair and the associate dean. In some cases, a student may require a thesis adviser or a thesis committee chair other than the faculty adviser. The associate dean, with the advice of the major department chair, appoints the thesis adviser and the thesis committee chair.
All master’s degree candidates who present a thesis in partial fulfillment of their degree requirements must pass a written and/or oral examination, administered by an examining committee recommended by the major department chair and appointed by the associate dean. The oral examination involves, largely, a defense of the thesis, although questions may be asked in areas that relate to the student’s program of study. The examination committee should be made up of at least three members chaired by a tenured or tenure track faculty member from the candidate’s major department. One of the committee members may be chosen from outside the major area to examine the student’s general knowledge.
The thesis format must follow the University guidelines as indicated in the Guidelines for Preparation of Theses and Dissertations. After successful completion of the thesis defense, the thesis committee chair must sign the abstract original, and all the faculty members attending the final examination must sign the half-title page of the thesis. After the thesis has been checked and approved by the Lyle School of Engineering examiner, the thesis is uploaded to the SMU/UMI thesis submission website. One extra copy of the abstract signed by the committee chair and one copy of the original half-title page with signatures must be delivered to the office of the director of graduate student experience before the final examination period in a regular term and before examinations in a summer term.
An announcement of all scheduled examinations must be sent to the associate dean. Using the form provided for the purpose, the examining committee shall report in writing to the associate dean no later than one week before the time for conferring the degree whether all work has been completed in a satisfactory manner and whether, on the basis of the final examination, the student is recommended for the desired degree. In no case may this examination be scheduled earlier than six months before the degree is to be conferred.
The faculty adviser is appointed by the chair, subject to approval by the associate dean. It is the adviser’s responsibility to review and eventually approve the student’s specific plan of study, and to check on subsequent progress. It is the responsibility of the faculty adviser to secure approval of the plan of study by the Graduate Division and to arrange for the appointment of the thesis committee if there is a thesis.
Once the plan of study is approved, it becomes the curriculum for the student, and deviations are permitted only if the student obtains formal approval for the change from the faculty adviser, department chair and director of graduate studies. All such approved changes are incorporated into the student’s plan of study and are placed on file in the office of the director of graduate studies.
Probation and Suspension
A student with a GPA lower than 3.000 will be placed on probation, and his or her record will be reviewed at the closing of each term. A student on probation for two terms can be placed on suspension only to be readmitted by special approval from the faculty adviser, department chair and associate dean. A student who does not meet his or her suspension conditions in the allotted time stated at the time of acceptance will be permanently suspended.
Transfer of Credits
Official college transcripts are required for all college-level work attempted, regardless of transferability. Military transcripts are also required for students receiving VA benefits; more information is available at www.smu.edu/registrar (“Veterans Affairs” link). Students are responsible for making sure a transcript of all transfer work attempted is sent to the University Registrar’s Office immediately following completion of the work.
Generally, up to six credit hours of graduate courses may be transferred from an institution approved by the Graduate Division, provided that such courses 1) were completed in the five years prior to matriculation, 2) carried graduate credit and 3) earned grades of B- or higher.
Grades of courses transferred for credit are neither recorded nor used in computing GPAs. Acceptance of transfer credit requires approval of the student’s faculty adviser, department chair and the director of graduate studies.
The request to transfer credit must be made, using the appropriate forms, during the term of matriculation to the Graduate Division. Usually, this is done at the time the detailed plan of study is developed in consultation with the faculty adviser. The plan of study must be filed with the Graduate Division during the term of matriculation. Transfer of credit for courses that are taken at other institutions after matriculation into the Graduate Division in the Lyle School of Engineering is not normally permitted. Any deviations must be approved in writing by the adviser, department chair and the associate dean prior to such action and will be granted only under extenuating circumstances, as determined by each department.
Fast Second Master’s Degree
Students who are currently enrolled in an SMU Lyle graduate program and who are seeking a new master’s degree from SMU Lyle must take a minimum of 18 credit hours of Lyle graduate coursework for the new SMU Lyle master’s degree, and these hours will not be applied toward another SMU graduate degree. In such cases, the master’s degree will not be awarded until a minimum of 30 credit hours of graduate coursework has been completed at SMU.
Students who hold an SMU graduate degree and who are seeking a new master’s degree from SMU Lyle must take a minimum of 18 credit hours of graduate coursework for the new master’s degree, and these hours must not have been applied toward another SMU graduate degree.
The Accelerated Pathways Master’s Degree Program
The Accelerated Pathways program permits undergraduate Lyle Engineering students to take some graduate courses while an undergraduate, which will count both toward B.A./B.S. and M.A./M.S. degrees. Up to nine (9) semester credit hours of graduate course work may be permitted to be taken as an undergraduate and be applied toward fulfilling the undergraduate degree requirements. In such cases, students may fulfill both Bachelor’s and Master’s degree requirements in as few as 21 semester credit hours beyond the B.A./B.S. coursework.
Furthermore, because the graduate work is spread over two or more academic years, students have a greater selection of courses in both their undergraduate and graduate studies and are able to complete a thesis, should they so desire. The student must work closely with his or her academic adviser to ensure that the requirements of the Accelerated Pathways program, the B.A./B.S. degree, and the M.A./M.S. degree all are met.
For students admitted to the Accelerated Pathways program, up to nine (9) semester credit hours of graduate courses (7000-level and above) may be applied toward fulfilling the student’s undergraduate program requirements. The student must complete a minimum of 21 semester credit hours of graduate course work at SMU beyond the undergraduate residency requirement to satisfy the graduate residency requirement. In addition, the Accelerated Pathways program student is permitted to take additional graduate courses while an undergraduate, up to their eighth semester, that can be marked for graduate credit only. No graduate course work for graduate-only credit will be permitted after the eighth semester, although the students will be permitted to take dual-credit graduate courses (up to 9 hours) even beyond the eighth semester. Furthermore, the student must take at least one of the courses for the graduate degree while holding graduate status, i.e., after the student graduates with the undergraduate degree.
NOTE: Undergraduate students may take graduate courses only after they have reached senior status (90 or more earned credit hours).
For admission to the Accelerated Pathways program, the student must:
- Be enrolled in an undergraduate program in the Lyle School of Engineering;
- Have achieved junior-level status;
- Apply no later than the semester before they finish their undergraduate studies;
- Have an overall GPA of 3.000 or higher;
- Upon request, provide three letters of recommendation, one from the student’s academic adviser and two from other faculty members in the School of Engineering; and
- Be accepted into the desired M.A./M.S. program
Bachelor’s Degree Requirements
All undergraduate degree requirements must be satisfied, with up to 9 semester credit hours of graduate course work (7000 and above) applying toward the satisfaction of those requirements. It is important to note that the graduate courses must be taken at the 7000 level from the beginning, as no conversion from 5000 to 7000 will be permitted after the add/drop deadline in the semester the course is taken. The undergraduate adviser should be consulted on the appropriateness of the 7000 dual-counting courses for the undergraduate degree.
Master’s Degree Requirements
To receive a master’s degree under the Accelerated Pathways program, the student must have a cumulative GPA of 3.0 in the M.S. degree course work (including the graduate course work applied towards the undergraduate degree requirements), and satisfy all requirements for the master’s degree. The master’s degree requirements must be completed after the semester the student graduates with the bachelor’s degree. The designated graduate adviser should be consulted when registering for any graduate courses, to make sure that these courses satisfy requirements of the master’s degree pursued.
Graduate Cooperative Education Program
The graduate co-op program is an academic enrichment opportunity designed to give students the ability to apply their academic studies to real-world problems. Qualified students may apply to join this program and are eligible to enroll up to two terms of relevant professional work experience. The work experience must be related to the student’s major area of study and is subject to these regulations:
- Students are eligible to apply for graduate co-op only after completion of both a fall term and a spring term.
- Students must be in good academic standing to be admitted to the co-op program with a minimum GPA of 3.000.
- Students must secure their own co-op position.
- Co-op positions must be full-time, and subsequent co-op positions must be with eligible employers.
- Students may not quit co-op assignments in midterm to seek a position with a different employer.
- All paperwork must be completed prior to the deadline:
- SMU graduate co-op application (requires adviser, department chair and director’s approval).
- Legal agreement between SMU and employer (requires supervisor, Lyle dean and SMU provost approval).
- Curricular practical training request form for international students. (CPT form requires adviser, department chair and director’s approval.)
- Offer letter from employer stating beginning and ending dates, salary per hour and job description on company letterhead and signed by supervisor. The letter must also indicate that the position is full-time (40 hours per week).
- Application deadline: All co-op paperwork for the work term is due by the deadline set each term by the graduate co-op director, and the deadline is approximately eight business days before the start of the term. Note: The process to obtain an I-20 Certificate of Eligibility from English for Internationals takes five business days after the co-op paperwork has been completed.
- The duration of the co-op work term must coincide with the SMU academic term.
- Students must be enrolled in graduate co-op course ENGR 8199 while on co-op work assignments.
- Students may take no more than three credit hours (one course) during a co-op work term, and only if the course is needed to graduate on time. The course may be taken on campus or by distance learning.
- Students must complete a minimum of two, but no more than three, co-op work terms.
- Students may complete only spring/summer or summer/fall back-to-back work terms. (Fall/spring and spring/fall back-to-back work terms are not allowed.)
- Students must submit a report at the end of each work term, signed by the student’s supervisor, academic adviser and department chair, no later than two weeks after the end of the co-op work term.
- Students must read and become familiar with the graduate engineering co-op policy.
Nondegree studies are subject to the following:
- A baccalaureate degree is required for admission.
- Admission to nondegree study requires the consent of the program director who oversees the course(s) taken by the student.
- Students who apply to the Lyle School of Engineering graduate programs after the deadline for admission may be offered the nondegree option to begin their studies.
- Students applying for nondegree study must submit an application, an application fee of $75 and an official transcript from the institution that conferred the student’s baccalaureate degree.
- Students may not take more than three courses on a nondegree status.
- Students on a nondegree study plan may apply to study toward a graduate degree. All requirements for admission must be met. After a student is admitted, he or she may petition to transfer the nondegree courses subject to approval of the adviser, department chair and associate dean.
Tuition for nondegree students is the same as tuition for students who take the course toward a degree.
Off-Campus Distance Education
SMU, through its Lyle School of Engineering (Lyle), has supported distance education graduate programs for nearly 50 years. The Lyle Distance Education (DE) program is designed to provide qualified students a rewarding graduate education that fits their busy lifestyles. DE instruction has proven to be an effective education medium with advantages such as access to digital library resources and the ability to replay the lectures as many times as needed.
Lyle graduate course lectures are recorded “live” in one of the school’s state-of-the-art studio classrooms. Our classroom recordings include the lecture and all dialogue in the class between the students and the professor. The recorded lectures are then posted to a Lyle server within 24 hours of the on-campus course. Subsequently, DE students download the lecture to their computer and watch it on-demand. Course handouts, syllabi and assignments are distributed by the department or via Canvas, SMU’s learning management system. Graded coursework is returned as directed by the professor. DE students are encouraged to contact the instructor by email or telephone to ask questions and clarify points from the lecture. DE students are required to identify a proctor for all exams. Proctors are verified and vetted in accordance with SMU’s academic standards and are required to agree and abide by the SMU Honor Code.
Lyle offers DE students the opportunity to complete master’s degrees in professional and traditional engineering disciplines. Each of the programs is interdisciplinary in content and flexible in approach. The programs available via distance education are as follows:
||Manufacturing Systems Management
|Datacenter Systems Engineering
||Sustainability and Development
|Information Engineering and Management
||Telecommunications and Network Engineering
Note: Students should see specific program sections for the admission and curricular requirements for each program.
More information regarding Lyle off-campus distance education graduate programs can be obtained by visiting www.smu.edu/Lyle/Graduate/ProspectiveStudents/Lyle-Distance-Education-Program.
Most students receive a quality education and have a generally positive experience. However, in the event a California resident enrolled in an online program at public or private nonprofit colleges or universities that are physically located in other states believes the institution’s administrative processes or educational programs are compromised, DCA should be notified. A complaint may be filed by writing to DCA or calling DCA’s Consumer Information Center (CIC) at:
California Department of Consumer Affairs
Consumer Information Center
1625 North Market Blvd., Suite N-112
Sacramento, California 95834
Telephone: (833) 942-1120
Students may also:
Doctor of Engineering Degrees
The objective of a Doctor of Engineering degree is to provide students with adequate preparation to meet doctoral standards in an applied science or engineering practice. Applied science, as a focus for a doctoral degree, refers to the study of advanced theory and its application to a practical problem in order to test and verify performance and limitations. A doctorate with focus on applied science requires a high level of expertise in the theoretical aspects of the relevant scientific principles and experience with the details of the implementation of this theory on realistic problems. Engineering practice, as a focus for a D.E. degree, is the study of the different aspects that play a role in the transfer of technology from its inception in research to the intended engineering environment. This requires a high level of expertise in 1) theoretical aspects of the relevant scientific principles, 2) solving the problems and understanding the details of the transfer and application of the technology and 3) economic issues.
A D.E. degree is distinguished from a Ph.D. degree in that a Ph.D. is expected to make a significant advance to scientific knowledge, whereas a D.E. is expected to make a contribution to science by studying its implementation and participating in the transformation of knowledge into technology. Currently, D.E. degrees are offered with majors in engineering management and software engineering.
Specific degree requirements for the D.E. with a major in software engineering are found in the Computer Science and Engineering Department section of this catalog. Specific degree requirements for the D.E. with a major in engineering management are found in the Engineering Management, Information and Systems Department section of this catalog.
Sequence of Events
The following events must occur in the process of obtaining a Doctor of Engineering degree. Some events may occur concurrently.
- Acceptance into the program and assignment of an academic adviser.
- Preparation of a formal degree plan (form labeled “Degree Plan – Doctor of Engineering”) and creation of the supervisory committee (“Recommendation and Certification of Supervisory Committee”).
- Basic coursework and preliminary counseling examination (if required by the student’s department).
- Written qualifying examination.
- Submission of written proposal for praxis project.
- Oral qualifying examination and proposal presentation.
- Admission to candidacy (form labeled “Admission to Candidacy”).
- Preparation of praxis.
- Review of praxis by project supervisor and chair of committee.
- Presentation and defense of praxis to the committee (form labeled “Report on Thesis or Dissertation and/or Final Examination”).
Persons with a B.S., or equivalent baccalaureate degree, and a master’s degree may qualify for admission. The undergraduate degree must be in a technical or applied science area. This includes all engineering degrees as well as degrees in mathematics and applied sciences. The master’s degree may be in a technical area or other areas such as business administration or economics. The degrees must be from U.S. colleges or universities accredited by regional accrediting associations, or be international degrees equivalent to a U.S. bachelor’s and/or master’s degrees from colleges and universities of recognized standing. Each program has additional information on appropriate academic backgrounds required for admission into that program.
Upon acceptance into a D.E. program, the student is assigned an academic adviser. This adviser is a resident tenured or tenure-track faculty member in the student’s home department. The selection of the adviser is an administrative decision that may not necessarily be connected to the student’s academic interests. At the outset, the student should identify whether the focus of the doctorate will be in applied science or in engineering practice. The adviser and the student will prepare a formal degree plan based on the student’s academic background and declared interests and objectives. This plan of study should present clearly how past and proposed coursework will satisfy the requirements for the degree. It should also provide a term-by-term schedule for taking courses consistent with current course offering projections.
Total Academic Credit
The total credit hour requirement is 78–66 credit hours of graduate coursework and 12 credit hours devoted to the praxis project. Postbaccalaureate coursework from other institutions and other graduate degrees may be applied toward the degree requisites subject to approval of the supervisory committee. There must be a minimum of 36 credit hours of graduate coursework and a minimum of 12 credit hours of praxis project work, none of which have been nor can be applied to any other degree.
The term residence requirement refers to the minimum number of required academic credit hours a student must complete while properly enrolled at SMU. At least 18 of the 66 credit hours of coursework as well as the 12 credit hours devoted to the praxis must be taken in residence at SMU.
Recognition of Previous Postbaccalaureate Coursework
Graduate-level courses may be used to fulfill the course requirements for the degree. Any course assigned to a specific requirement must be approved by the supervisory committee.
Preliminary Counseling Examination
The preliminary counseling examination is designed to establish the academic strengths and weaknesses of the student. If required by the department, the individual department determines the format of the preliminary counseling examination. Depending on the results of the preliminary counseling examination, one of the following three actions is taken: 1) the student is allowed to take advanced courses for the degree, 2) the student is disallowed from further study at SMU or 3) remedial action in areas of academic weakness is recommended.
The Qualifying Examination
The qualifying examination marks the transition from preparation to execution of the doctoral research. Upon its successful completion, and the presentation of a research plan, the student is certified to proceed with the research directly related to the praxis. Beyond this point, the student is formally recognized as a doctoral candidate. Transition into candidacy occurs after the following three requirements are satisfied.
The Written Qualifying Examination
The written portion of the qualifying examination is composed of several tests. Members of the supervisory committee administer the tests. The supervisory committee has full discretion as to the choice of material and the format and style of the written exam. Usually, the tests are designed to measure knowledge in an area of expertise of an individual supervisory committee member or on a topic from a course taught by that member. Tests are commonly take-home exams over the course of a week or more. It is the responsibility of the student to inquire as to the nature and format of the tests and the availability of the supervisory committee members when scheduling the exam. When the student is ready to proceed with the written portion of the qualifying examination, and when all participating examiners have been consulted and have agreed on a schedule, the academic adviser issues a memorandum to all members of the supervisory committee formalizing the schedule for this portion of the exam.
The Written Research Proposal
A formal document describing in detail the proposed research project that constitutes the praxis must be submitted to the supervisory committee in time to be read prior to the oral presentation. This document outlines the responsibilities of the supervisory committee as well as presents a realistic plan and time schedule for the completion of the praxis.
The Oral Qualifying Examination and Proposal Presentation
The oral qualifying examination and the oral presentation of the research project proposal may be presented following the successful completion of the written examination and when the members of the supervisory committee have had time to review the written research proposal. The oral qualifying examination is a continuation of the written qualifying examination. At this time, the supervisory committee may proceed with an oral examination of the student. After this, the student presents the proposed praxis project. The student must be prepared to defend the proposal to the supervisory committee.
The Doctorate Praxis Project
Composition of the Supervisory Committee
The purpose of the supervisory committee is to supervise the student’s praxis project. The supervisory committee is made up of at least five members. At least four members of the committee must be resident tenured or tenure-track faculty members at SMU, three of whom must be members of the student’s home department. The chair of the committee must be a member of the resident tenured or tenure-track faculty of the Lyle School and a member of the student’s home department; however, a different committee member may act as the praxis director. Other members of the supervisory committee may come from related areas such as engineering, business or economics. One committee member can be from outside the Lyle School of Engineering. The supervisory committee must be approved by the chair of the department and the associate dean, who is an ex officio member of the supervisory committee. The supervisory committee may be modified as the student progresses in the program. The supervisory committee may add members to include faculty members from other areas of specialization or cognizant members from industry who may contribute to the praxis.
The Project and Final Defense
As a culmination of a doctoral program, the student must perform a suitable engineering praxis (practical engineering study), including both a written report and an oral presentation of the results. The scope of the praxis may be broad or narrow and may involve engineering design, development or any other major category of engineering work, typically revolving around a well-defined project relevant to current engineering practice. Good scholarship, including recognition of both previous and current work in the subject area, is required. The praxis may be conducted on campus or at an industrial location. The proposal will 1) outline the general technical scope of the project, 2) state the economic and technical relevance of the work and 3) give a time schedule for accomplishing the project. It is expected that this proposal will be worked out in close consultation with the faculty member supervising the work and cognizant industry people when the project is to be conducted off campus. Once the project is set into motion, the student is expected to adhere to the time schedule and to keep the supervisory committee informed on a regular basis of progress made. The project may focus on a well-defined practical problem or on a more general theoretical development. If the focus is a practical problem, economic considerations must also be incorporated in the praxis. If the focus is more general, the supervisory committee will determine whether or not economic aspects will be required.
The Praxis Report
The praxis report is expected to be a mature and competent piece of writing. The praxis format must follow the University guidelines as indicated in the Guidelines for Preparation of Theses and Dissertations. Upon successful completion of the praxis defense, the abstract original must be signed by the praxis director, and the original half-title page of the praxis must be signed by all the supervisory committee members attending the final examination. After the praxis has been checked and approved by the Lyle School of Engineering examiner, the praxis is uploaded electronically to the SMU/UMI Dissertation Publishing submission website. One extra copy of the abstract signed by the adviser and one copy of the original half-title page with signatures must be delivered to the director of Graduate Student Experience before the final examination period in a regular term and before examinations in a summer term.
Doctor of Philosophy Degrees
General requirements for a Ph.D. degree include the following components: 1) total academic credit, 2) residence requirements, 3) course requirements, 4) preliminary counseling examination, 5) qualifying examination, 6) admission to candidacy, 7) dissertation, 8) final examination and 9) supervisory committee. A student admitted to a doctoral program is expected to have been awarded a master’s degree in the same or a closely related program or to earn such a master’s degree during the course of the program. The following sections define and discuss these general requirements. Specific details about Ph.D. program requirements are found in the departmental sections of this catalog.
Total Academic Credit
The Lyle School of Engineering requires for a Ph.D. degree a minimum academic credit of 54 credit hours earned in coursework beyond the baccalaureate degree or 24 credit hours earned in coursework beyond a master’s degree, in addition to 24 credit hours earned in dissertation work. There must be a minimum of 24 credit hours of graduate coursework and a minimum of 24 credit hours of dissertation work, none of which have been nor can be applied to any other degree. The student’s supervisory committee determines the precise amount of course credit to be required, subject to the approval of the department chair and the associate dean. A student who is actively working on his or her dissertation must be enrolled in dissertation study each term until completion of all requirements for a Ph.D. degree.
The term residence requirement refers to the minimum number of required academic credit hours a student must complete while properly enrolled at SMU. The residence requirement is 30 credit hours of graduate credit, normally the last 30.
A Ph.D. degree is given in recognition of the highest attainment in a specific field. It requires novel, high-quality research work recognized and accepted by other scholars in the field. Due to this need for timeliness, all requirements for a Ph.D. degree must be satisfied within five years after the date the qualifying examination is passed. If such period has expired without successful completion of a Ph.D. degree, the associate dean, in consultation with the thesis adviser and the department chair, may ask the student to retake the Ph.D. qualifying examination or may disallow the student from further study.
Preliminary Counseling Examination
Upon admission of each student into the program, the associate dean, on the recommendation of the department chair, appoints a faculty adviser. The faculty adviser is responsible for providing the student with advice on a proper plan of study on fundamental courses in the discipline to prepare for the preliminary counseling examination, which is designed to establish the academic strengths and weaknesses of the student. If required by the department, the individual department determines the format of the preliminary counseling examination. The background expected for this examination is similar to that of a master’s level, and the final examination for the master’s degree may substitute for this exam for students who complete master’s degrees at SMU. Depending on the results of the preliminary counseling examination, one of the following three actions is taken: 1) the student is allowed to take advanced courses for a Ph.D., 2) the student is disallowed from further study at SMU or 3) remedial action in areas of academic weakness is recommended.
Every student who is admitted to a Ph.D. program must form a supervisory committee with the approval of the dissertation director, the department chair and the associate dean. Because the chair of this committee normally will also be the student’s dissertation director, the student should decide upon a general area of the dissertation before requesting the appointment of a supervisory committee. It is essential that the student do this quickly because there are no assurances that graduate work completed before the appointment of the committee will be accepted as part of a Ph.D. program.
The minimum academic coursework of 54 credit hours should include a major as well as a minor area of investigation. The individual departments identify specific course requirements for these areas. As a general guideline, at least 12 credit hours are required for the minor, which should be in an area providing breadth as well as support to the major field of investigation.
For a Ph.D. program, qualifying examinations and the dissertation are paramount. Course requirements are identified to facilitate the student’s training toward the qualifying examination. Of the 24 credit hours required in coursework beyond a master’s degree, 12 credit hours must be taken at SMU. Generally, up to 12 credit hours of graduate courses may be transferred into a Ph.D. program from an institution approved by the Graduate Division, provided that such courses 1) were completed in the five years prior to matriculation, 2) were taken toward a Ph.D. degree and 3) received grades of B- or higher. The request to transfer credit must be made using appropriate forms during the term of matriculation to the Graduate Division. Grades of courses transferred for credit are neither recorded nor used in computing GPAs. Acceptance of transfer credit requires approval of the student’s faculty adviser, department chair and the associate dean. Transfer of any credit for courses taken at other institutions after admission to SMU is not normally permitted.
Qualifying Examination Process
These examinations must be taken after the student has completed some of the advanced coursework in the major and minor fields of investigation.
Each department within the Lyle School of Engineering specifies the formats, schedules and areas for the qualifying examinations. The student should contact his or her department for these requirements.
This examination process is comprehensive in scope, covering the student’s entire academic career, and includes the major and minor areas planned for the Ph.D. degree. It is conducted by the supervisory committee with the aid of faculty members drawn from the major and minor areas of concentration, and it consists of both written and oral parts. As part of the oral examination, the student will be required to discuss the proposed dissertation topic. This is desirable because a student’s program of study should be supportive of his or her intended dissertation research. Successful performance on the examination results in a recommendation that the student be admitted to candidacy for a Ph.D. degree. The committee may believe that, while a student passed the major parts of the examination, his or her performance disclosed weaknesses requiring further coursework. The committee may then modify the student’s plan of study to include specific additional courses before he or she may be recommended for admission to candidacy.
Should the student fail the examination process, the supervisory committee may recommend a re-examination, subject to approval by the department chair and the associate dean. The right of re-examination is not automatic; rather, it is a special privilege recommended in those cases in which the supervisory committee believes a student has the necessary potential but needs some additional preparation.
Admission to Candidacy
A graduate student does not become a candidate for a Ph.D. degree until the formal application for candidacy has been approved. Such admission requires the approval of the student’s supervisory committee, the department chair and the associate dean. The approval is based upon 1) passing the qualifying examination, 2) the academic record of the student as attested by a 3.000 GPA or better (4.000 = A), 3) selection of a tentative title for the dissertation and 4) the student’s overall fitness as judged by the supervisory committee. The formal application for candidacy should be submitted as soon as these four requirements have been met, as judged by the supervisory committee.
The dissertation format must follow the Guidelines for Preparation of Theses and Dissertations. Each student is also expected to submit articles for publication in reputable journals and conferences appropriate to the field of research.
The most clearly distinguishing characteristic of a program leading to a Ph.D. degree is the requirement that the candidate write a dissertation embodying the results of a significant and original investigation. The dissertation is expected to be a mature and competent piece of writing and must make a significant and novel contribution to the engineering or applied science discipline. The work it reports may be basic scientific research, engineering research or creative design. The progress of the student toward a Ph.D. degree is monitored closely by the thesis adviser and the supervisory committee, with an annual report to the department chair. In the event a student is judged by the supervisory committee not to be making satisfactory progress, he or she will be placed on probation for one term, at the conclusion of which his or her progress will be reevaluated. Should the progress be found unsatisfactory, the student will be suspended.
Upon successful completion of the dissertation defense, the dissertation director must sign the abstract original, and all faculty members attending the final examination must sign the original half-title page of the dissertation. After the dissertation has been checked and approved by the Lyle School of Engineering examiner, the dissertation is uploaded electronically to the SMU/UMI Dissertation Publishing submission website. One extra copy of the abstract signed by the adviser and one copy of the original half-title page with signatures must be delivered to the director of Graduate Student Experience before the final examination period in a regular term and before examinations in a summer term.
Dissertation Research in Industrial Laboratories
Under special circumstances, some students may be permitted to undertake their dissertation in industrial laboratories in the Dallas-Fort Worth area or elsewhere. This situation may arise when the research requires special laboratory facilities that are not available at SMU but that are available elsewhere. Such an operation creates special problems for both the University and the company, particularly when the dissertation research is also the student’s work assignment as an employee of the company. From the viewpoint of the school, the principal requirement is that the particular research on which the dissertation is to be based be undeniably the individual work of the student. The second requirement on which the school must stand is that the dissertation results be available for free dissemination via open publication, whatever those results may be.
To minimize difficulties arising out of these requirements, the Lyle School of Engineering has adopted the following regulations:
- The chair of the student’s supervisory committee must be a member of the resident tenured or tenure-track faculty of the school.
- The student may register for dissertation-research credit only after appointment of a dissertation director by the department chair, subject to the approval of the associate dean.
- The supervisory committee must approve the specific character of the work to be conducted, the conditions under which it is conducted and the time schedule for completion. It is expected that the supervisory committee shall have access to the student’s experimental apparatus, and the chair of that committee shall join with the dissertation director in meeting at intervals with the student at the scene of the research to evaluate the process and the conditions under which the research is carried out.
- The dissertation director has the responsibility to ensure that the student’s work is identifiably the student’s own and that needed equipment belonging to SMU will not be diverted from the dissertation research by the company except in cases of extreme need.
The membership of the supervisory committee is selected by the student in consultation with the dissertation director. After the student has obtained the written consent of those selected, he or she must obtain the written endorsement of the department chair before transmitting the list to the associate dean for official certification. The supervisory committee is made up of at least five members. Three resident tenured or tenure-track faculty members are drawn from the student’s department, as well as one resident tenured or tenure-track faculty member from each minor field. The chair of the supervisory committee shall be a resident tenured or tenure-track member of the school faculty and shall normally be the dissertation director and a member of the student’s department. Thus, a minimum of four members must be resident tenured or tenure-track faculty of Southern Methodist University. The supervisory committee should be constituted as early as possible after the student has begun doctoral work and normally before the completion of 15 credit hours of work beyond the master’s degree (or 45 credit hours of work beyond the baccalaureate degree). The associate dean is an ex officio member of all supervisory committees and should be notified in writing, at least one week in advance, of all meetings of such committees. The associate dean may, at his or her own discretion, reconstitute any supervisory committee.
The duties of a supervisory committee shall be
- To assist the student in interpreting all regulations governing the degree sought. This duty does not absolve the student from the sole responsibility to remain informed concerning these regulations.
- To meet immediately after its appointment for the purpose of passing on the qualifications of the student, to discuss and approve a plan of study, and to set a tentative time schedule for the qualifying examination.
- To discuss and approve the dissertation project proposed by the student and the plans for implementing it.
- To participate in the qualifying examination.
- To convene whenever needed during dissertation research to review procedure, progress and expected results, and to develop suggestions for the remainder of the work. The supervisory committee may be convened by either the chair of the supervisory committee or the associate dean of graduate studies. The supervisory committee may suggest discontinuation of the student if sufficient progress toward a Ph.D. degree has not been achieved.
- To conduct the final examination.
Upon completion of all other requirements, a final examination of the candidate will be announced, registered with the Graduate Division and subsequently conducted by the supervisory committee. The candidate must make six unbound copies of the complete draft version of his or her dissertation available to the Graduate Division for distribution to the members of the supervisory committee at least three weeks prior to scheduling of the final examination. This examination, which is conducted orally, must enable the committee to satisfy itself that the dissertation is an original piece of work, either in research or creative design; that it has been carried out in keeping with the highest standards of investigation and reporting; and that it makes a contribution to knowledge that is of value to the engineering profession or scientific community. Satisfactory performance on this examination is the last requirement to be met for a Ph.D. degree. The degree may be awarded at the end of the term in which the final examination is passed, but the prospective candidate should note that at least one academic year must elapse between the passing of the qualifying examination and the conferring of the degree.
A Ph.D. degree in the Lyle School of Engineering may be pursued in areas that do not belong strictly to any one department but nevertheless are of interest to some faculty members of the school. In such cases, the composition of the supervisory committee will be made flexible in order to allow for the interdisciplinary nature of the program, with the single restriction that at least three of the five members of the supervisory committee are tenured or tenure-track faculty members in the Lyle School of Engineering. Additional information is found in the Multidisciplinary Studies section of this catalog.