The Purdue Polytechnic Institute Ph.D. program is based on practices consistent across Purdue University as well as other leading institutions. These include a requirement for a minimum of 90 credit hours above the bachelor's degree, maintenance of a B or better grade point average, and satisfactory progress each semester. At least one third of the total credit hours used to satisfy the degree requirements must be earned in continuous residence at Purdue. Historically the College’s Ph.D. was designed for individuals who entered with an obtained M.S. degree (“master’s plus Ph.D.”). However, the Polytechnic also offers a Ph.D. for students entering directly from a bachelor’s degree (“direct to Ph.D.”).

Ph.D. advisors, working interactively with the student, will consider all prior graduate coursework accepted for transfer into the program while developing the Plan of Study (POS). In addition to a technology focus, each plan of study will include a solid discovery foundation sequence of research courses and a cognate, which is designed to add depth and a second discipline’s perspective to the student’s research or professional goal-related field. A dissertation will serve as both a culminating synthesis experience and a visible demonstration of performance.

PHD Program Structure and Requirements


Direct to PhD Master's Plus

Technology (the major/field of specialization)

30 cr min 21 cr min

Discovery Foundations (research methodology, statistics and experimental design)

18 cr min 12 cr min

Cognate (from any appropriate Purdue college or school other than the Purdue Polytechnic)

27 cr min 12 cr min

Dissertation Research

15-30 cr 15-30 cr
Total Hours beyond prior degree 90 cr min 60 cr min
From master’s degree --- 30 cr max
Total Graduate Study 90 cr min 90 cr min

The Purdue Polytechnic Ph.D. requires a minimum of 90 graduate semester credit hours (beyond the bachelor degree but counting up to a maximum of 30 for an appropriate master’s degree). The table below provides a detailed listing of credit hour requirements and the four components of the degree.

Technology Major Courses

This central component of the Ph.D. program is intended to be flexible to enable a student to add depth and breadth as appropriate to meet their professional goals while maintaining consistency with the program’s mission. The Purdue Polytechnic Ph.D. Technology program seeks to develop 21st century cognitive skills by means of a ten (10) hour set of core courses and an additional set of courses creating a technology focus. In addition to the ten (10) hour core, students may take any appropriate number of other Purdue Polytechnic graduate courses to create a focus.
The core courses are:

  • IT 50700 Measurement and Evaluation in Industry and Technology (or STAT 50100 or STAT 51100 or PSYCH 601).  Many Ph.D. students take multiple statistics as advised by their committee.
  • MET 52700 Technology from a Global Perspective
  • TECH 60100 Research Seminar in Technology
  • TECH 64600 Analysis of Research in Industry and Technology

Technology Major component courses are typically 500- or 600-level courses. They may include undergraduate courses (300- or 400-level) only when followed by appropriate 500- and 600-level courses, and are subject to the approval of the student's advisory committee and the Associate Dean for Graduate Programs. Undergraduate courses used must be in excess of baccalaureate degree requirements and not already included in M.S. courses being counted toward the Ph.D. Graduate School policy stipulates that 100- and 200-level courses may not appear on a plan of study and that no more than six (6) semester hours of 300- and 400-level courses may be applied to graduate work and a grade of “B” or better is required.

A maximum of nine (9) hours of TECH 59000 or 69000 – Independent Study may be included on the plan of study. A minimum number of credit hours of TECH or Purdue Polytechnic department prefixed courses (other than TECH 69900 must be a part of the program as shown in table 4.1. Section 6.0 provides information about the requirements for independent study.

Cognate Courses

The Cognate consists of any coherent set of courses from outside the Purdue Polytechnic that creates competence in a field rationally related to the candidate’s career objective. A doctoral level graduate faculty member representing the cognate must serve on the candidate’s Ph.D. program committee. The intent of the cognate component in the Purdue Polytechnic Ph.D. program is to enable candidates to establish a support area of competence relevant to the candidate’s career objective. Typically a cognate consists of 9 to 12 semester credit hours of coherent courses. Thus a student may have multiple cognate areas. The validity of the cognate is attested to by a doctoral level graduate faculty member who serves on the candidate’s Ph.D. program committee. Some possibilities for cognate areas include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Science, Technology and Society
  • Business/Management
  • Engineering
  • Human Resource Development
  • Safety/Human Factors
  • Quality
  • Instructional Technology
  • Curriculum & Instruction
  • Higher Education Administration
  • Psychology
  • Computer Science
  • A language. Meeting (by testing or coursework) a foreign language department’s requirements for reading proficiency in a language other than the student’s native language or English will be considered the equivalent of a cognate. Students must meet overall program credit hour requirements.
  • International Studies
  • Art & Design

Discovery Foundations Courses

All Ph.D. graduates from the Purdue Polytechnic Ph.D. program are expected to not only be able to critically evaluate and utilize research, but also be able to design, conduct, and report appropriate research in the technology disciplines. To this end, students must demonstrate proficiency in research and experiment design, multivariate statistics, and various research methods. The minimum core will be supplemented by additional study relevant to the specific requirements of the candidate’s proposed dissertation research project.

The intent of the Discovery Foundations component in the Purdue Polytechnic Ph.D. program is to develop mastery of a solid set of research, knowledge development and discovery skills sufficient to enable the candidate’s dissertation research project and the critical evaluation of other’s research. Both qualitative and quantitative skills are to be developed by coursework in this component as are statistical methodologies including at least multivariate techniques. Therefore, students will take as a minimum:

  • A course in multivariate statistics
  • A course in quantitative experimental design
  • A course in qualitative research methods


The Ph.D. dissertation must demonstrate the candidate’s ability to conduct substantial and significant research in the technology disciplines and/or related disciplines that intersect with them. Candidates are expected to demonstrate mastery of the key literature in the field and use this to situate the specific project they propose.

Students enroll in TECH 69900 Ph.D. Thesis Research for a minimum of 15 semester credit hours to receive credit for their dissertation research. This enrollment is to be distributed commensurately with the amount of work performed in the semester. Continuous enrollment in TECH 69900 is required until the degree is earned.