The College of Engineering at the University of Louisiana received approval for a Ph.D. in systems engineering from the state Board of Regents in September.

"It’s the first Ph.D. in systems engineering in the state," said Dr. Mark Zappi, dean of Engineering.

Systems engineering is a multi-disciplinary engineering field that incorporates technology development, design and project management skills. Graduates are trained to find solutions to large, complex engineering systems such as coastal ecosystems, water treatment facilities, computer networks, aircraft and fiber optic networks.

All five engineering departments at UL – chemical, civil, electrical, mechanical and petroleum – will participate in this degree offering, said Zappi.

"The curriculum will involve two components: a systems engineering core and an engineering concentration core. This will allow students to maintain their discipline specialty by selecting a technical concentration while gaining expertise in systems engineering," he said.

Unique aspects of the program include mandatory leadership training and possible commercialization of research discoveries.

"We wanted a degree that industry will look at and say 'That’s what we want right now,'" said Zappi. "We feel like this is another offering that Louisiana can use to attract Fortune 500 companies in our state."

At least 10 current engineering students are ready to enroll in the new graduate program.

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