Program Specifics

The D.Eng. was designed to provide a level of expertise and depth comparable to that of a traditional PhD, adapted to meet the needs and experience of the working professional. A direct comparison is presented in the Table below. In the initial 2 years of a conventional JHU PhD, students predominantly engage in advanced coursework. As such, admission to a WSE PHD program does not require a master’s degree. In contrast, applicants to the D.Eng. program must have completed a master’s degree in an engineering or technical discipline prior to matriculation in the program. For D.Eng. students, we consider their master’s degree to be equivalent to the initial PhD advanced coursework stage.

In the third year of many conventional PhD programs, students undertake a course-based oral examination. Correspondingly, within the first year of the D.Eng. program, we stipulate an oral exam focused on novel subject matter jointly determined by the JHU advisor and the D.Eng. student. This new material typically comprises a blend of perusing pertinent journal papers, studying book chapters, and engaging with specific lectures. The preparation for the D.Eng. oral exam does not typically involve formal coursework. The D.Eng. oral exam is typically concluded within the sixth month of the program.

In both the D.Eng. and PhD programs, a comprehensive thesis proposal must be formulated and presented by the student to their respective thesis committees for endorsement. The final phase of both programs encompasses two years dedicated to immersive research, culminating in a public defense of the research outcomes.

Year D.eng PhD
1 NA Courses
2 NA Courses
3 Oral Exam, Thesis Proposal Oral Exam, Thesis Proposal
4 Research Research
5 Research Research

The D.Eng. program is non-residential program catered towards mid-career applicants in a technical leadership role in industry or the public sector. The program is designed to be completed in three years.

We recommend that all prospective applicants initiate their search for a primary JHU advisor well in advance of submitting an application. To begin, consider perusing departmental websites and reviewing faculty profiles. Exploring faculty profiles within research centers and institutes within the Whiting School of Engineering could also prove beneficial.

View a comprehensive list of these centers and institutes.

Upon compiling a shortlist of potential advisors, it is advisable to initiate contact with each one via a concise email conveying your interest and background. It would be advantageous to briefly outline the specific sub-field or project you intend to pursue. Subsequently, consider asking to schedule Zoom conversations to further discuss your interests. If you have successfully identified a suitable JHU primary advisor, you can then commence the process of drafting a research proposal tailored to your intended area of study. This proposal is a mandatory component of the application to the D.Eng.

No. Any faculty member authorized to guide PhD candidates is eligible to assume the role of primary advisor for D.Eng. students. This category encompasses all tenure-line faculty, such as Assistant, Associate, and Full Professors. It also includes Research Professors appointed by a department in the Whiting School of Engineering.

The external co-advisor may not be someone who either reports directly or indirectly to you. In exceptional cases where a student is a CEO or Entrepreneur, etc., an external advisor may be someone from another company, or an exception can be made to have all the advisors be from within JHU.  Any co-advisor assignment requests or modifications need to be approved by the D.Eng. Oversight Committee.

Yes. Potential co-advisors from the applicant’s place of employment are vetted at the same time as the applicant at the time of application review by the D.Eng. Oversight Committee. In particular, we are looking for co-advisors with a track record of research, predominantly holding a doctorate in a technical discipline relevant to the project. The potential co-advisor’s CV/resume should be submitted to the D.Eng. Oversight Committee as part of the applicant’s application.

The D.Eng. program is designed for individuals with substantial work experience. Specifically, D.Eng. students are anticipated to possess proficient professional development competencies encompassing communication, project management, time management, and problem-solving. As a result, a D.Eng. student can be likened to a senior-level PhD candidate who is well-prepared to engage in research immersion and adeptly balance their time to achieve productivity in both their thesis pursuits and workplace responsibilities.

JHU Primary advisors are not obligated to provide financial support to D.Eng. students, which includes covering expenses such as tuition, salary, benefits, and life insurance. Instead, they are allocated discretionary funds to fulfill their role as your research supervisors.

The standard composition of a D.Eng. student’s committee is (1) a primary faculty advisor who is a JHU engineering professor, (2) a co-advisor from the student’s company/agency, and (3) a third committee member who is also a JHU professor. We have already planned for some modest modifications of this structure as we are open to flexible arrangements. For example, we may be able to consider a modification of (2), if you are seeking a committee member from another university that isn’t an employee of your sponsoring company. Committee composition and requests for committee composition modifications (with an included written explanation for the modification request) must be submitted to the D. Eng. Oversight Committee, which will issue final composition approval decisions.

Learn about the program and advantages for employers.

Furthermore, companies should perceive this program as an avenue for cultivating valuable connections with JHU WSE faculty, tapping into their profound expertise across diverse engineering domains. Numerous companies actively sponsor faculty members, often at levels of $100K/year. In the D. Eng program, a company secures the commitment of a JHU faculty member on an ongoing basis, diverging from the approach of engaging them purely as consultants. Moreover, the D.Eng. program’s tuition is notably lower than the typical contracts established between companies and JHU faculty. Additionally, the participating employee attains a doctoral degree within a three-year timeframe.

The answer is that we can work with projects that have classified applications, but the work itself must be open. It’s a bit of a balancing act. For example, the work of the JHU Human Language Technology Center of Excellence is for classified purposes, but the technology developed is freely available on the center’s website. So, the algorithms, code, mathematical advancement, etc. is open, but the data to which it is applied is not. If your project can be segmented in such a way, then we can work with you and your company. Please contact us to discuss your specific circumstances.

Every dissertation must be the independent work of an individual student. In cases where the projects of two students exhibit synergy, a PI may choose to provide guidance to both. However, each student’s undertaking must possess intrinsic merit and present a distinctive, original contribution worthy of constituting a doctoral thesis.

D.Eng. students are nonresidential and therefore have little opportunity to interact with each other. However, they are expected to come to Baltimore for the semi-annual Doctor of Engineering Conferences held in June and January every year. The various milestone examinations take place during these conferences. D.Eng. students are strongly encouraged to attend public portions of each other’s oral examinations (proposal and project defense). In addition, the conferences provide opportunities for social networking amongst the students as well as professional development programming.

If a student is unable to attend a conference in-person due to extenuating circumstances, every effort will be made to help the student interact and engage remotely as fully as possible. Students should inform their advisor and the D.Eng. Academic Administrator as soon as they know they cannot attend in-person.


Johns Hopkins’ Doctor of Engineering program is structured as a research collaboration between the student’s employer and the Whiting School of Engineering. The annual program fee—usually paid by the student’s employer—covers expenses associated with the research (notably, the faculty mentor), as well as all courses the student takes.

Please note that if a Doctor of Engineering project requires extensive or expensive use of JHU facilities, those costs will also be covered by the student’s employer.

See details about the program costs.

The annual program cost is billed over two installments (fall and spring).

Presently, we do not authorize students to personally cover tuition expenses. The program operates as a collaboration between the WSE and the Company. However, if an applicant possesses a startup company and intends to utilize company funds for tuition payment, this might be allowed, subject to approval from the program director. Should this circumstance arise, students are required to establish a thesis committee comprising all three JHU faculty members.

D.Eng. students are fulltime, nonresident graduate students in a STEM/engineering graduate degree program, and therefore may be eligible to apply on their own to external fellowships typical to engineering graduate students; with the caveat that the D.Eng. funding model does currently not allow for any tuition or stipend funding to be fronted by the university as a condition of any fellowship. There is no internal JHU funding available to a D.Eng. student by the Whiting School of Engineering/Johns Hopkins University. While some external fellowships can be applied, this is not a PhD program and not every external graduate fellowship can be applied to this program. If a student is awarded external funding and is also receiving support from their employer, it would be prudent to have a preemptive discussion about any conflict of interest/intellectual property issues if applicable. Students may be admitted to the D.Eng. while funding details are being resolved, however, they cannot start their program until funding is secured. They may file for a deferral for up to a year. Applicants and students are encouraged to contact the program director with any questions.


Undergraduate GPA – the committee takes this into account while also considering improvements during your master’s program.

Masters GPA – the committee places significant emphasis on this.


  • Clear description of the engineering problem
  • Innovative approach
  • Substantial advancement justifying a doctoral dissertation
  • Clear and concise writing

Letters of recommendation – the committee seeks letters that vouch for your professional development skills

Company sponsor’s letter indicating commitment to support your research and cover tuition expenses.

Applicants are evaluated on their achievements (both educational and work), the strength of their research proposal (applicants must come to us with a basic project in mind), and on the commitment of support from their employer sponsor. Applications are evaluated by both our D.Eng. Oversight Committee as well as the JHU faculty members you indicated as possible primary and co-advisors in your application packet.

The program is not tied to any specific engineering discipline. Students apply to the program with a project in mind and having identified a JHU engineering professor with whom they wish to work. That professor can be in any of our WSE departments.


A master’s degree is required for admission to the D.Eng. program, so typically our D.Eng. students do not have an interest in pursuing a second master’s degree or a certificate when they are enrolled in the program. Additionally, most WSE master’s programs require 8-10 full-semester length courses, and certificates typically require 4-6 full-semester length courses, which doesn’t typically mesh well with the accelerated timeline of the D.Eng. program (which is designed to be completed in just three years). That said, if a student is interested in completing a second master’s or certificate in an area in which they do not already have a master’s or certificate, and their JHU advisor feels that they can complete the additional degree/certificate without impeding their timely progress in the D.Eng. program, and the student’s employer sponsor is aware that the student wishes to pursue a second degree/certificate while pursing the D.Eng. then students may apply for admission to the master’s/certificate program. Note that only two courses can be double counted across graduate degrees and certificates, admission is not guaranteed, some masters programs have residency requirements, and that students will still be held to the normal progress expectations and timeline of the D.Eng. degree while pursuing a second degree/certificate.

Yes. Applicants are responsible for reaching out and confirming the faculty member’s willingness to serve as primary advisor.

No. The D.Eng. program is focused on engineering at the doctoral level, and we require candidates to have a background in relevant technical graduate courses before enrolling.

As the program is research-based, there are no required courses except for the mandatory research course each term. However, you can take as many non-research courses from the Whiting School at no additional charge if your JHU primary advisor believes that the courses would benefit your research.


There is no need or ability to transfer credits into the D.Eng. program as the program doesn’t require coursework apart from research, and the research must be unique to this degree.

You will need to inform the D.Eng. Oversight Committee and your JHU advisors, then get buy-in from your new employer and adjust your research appropriately. You will also need to select a new co-advisor from the new employer.

The D.Eng. program is completely designed around a research partnership between JHU Engineering and the D.Eng. student’s employer.


Unfortunately, even though the D.Eng. is a fulltime program, it is classified as non- residential. This means we cannot sponsor student visas for students to come to the US to pursue this degree.


There are three overarching educational objectives for D.Eng. students: (1) The ability to acquire new, advanced knowledge, (2) The ability to formulate a research problem/program and (3) Execution of the proposed research.

In addition to several WSE-wide graduate student requirements, there are three milestone examinations designed to ensure these educational objectives have been met:

Preliminary Examination
Proposal Presentation and Examination
Project Defense followed by dissertation/final portfolio submission.
Peer-reviewed journal articles could very well satisfy the research requirement, but we are open to other possibilities (e.g., patent applications, prototypes, simulations, etc.).

Please visit the D.Eng. Student Advising Manual for more information on requirements.