Doctor of Engineering in Software Engineering via DL from SMU?

Discussion in 'General Distance Learning Discussions' started by Arcadio, Jan 7, 2009.

  1. Arcadio

    Arcadio New Member

    According to this:

    Southern Methodist University offers the Doctor of Engineering in Software Engineering via distance learning. However, when I go to the "Graduate Request" page at:

    to get more info, the "Distance Learning" selection is not available under "Study Format" when I select "Ph.D/D.E." under "Degree Plan". For that matter, when I select "Ph.D/D.E." under "Degree Plan", then select "On Campus Full Time", "Software Engineering" isn't even listed under "Area of Interest".

    E-mails to SMU's Distance Education staff have gone unanswered so far, but I'm guessing this is because they might still be on break. If I recall correctly, classes don't start back up until Jan 20th there, so I guess I should be more patient and wait at least another 2 weeks.

    I'm looking to obtain an M.S. in Software Engineering via distance learning, and I've narrowed my choices down to either University of Michigan Dearborn or SMU. If there's a chance I can go on to earn a D.Eng. in SE via distance learning, then it might be less hassle to take the masters at SMU (I wouldn't have to worry how classes from another school will transfer over and so forth).

    However, if that PDF file is mistaken and in fact SMU does not offer the D.Eng. in Software Engineering via DL then I'd rather take the masters at the University of Michigan Dearborn simply due to the reputation of the school. From what I understand, SMU isn't really known for engineering, at least when compared to UMD. Tuition costs for both schools, however, are comparable (i.e. both expensive as hell!) so cost can't be used as a deciding factor here.

    I'm questioning that PDF file because the "Graduate Request" page doesn't list the D.Eng. in SE being available via DL ... hell it doesn't even list the D.Eng. in SE being available at all! Of course, this could just mean the "Graduate Request" page is out dated.

    Does anybody here have any more info regarding earning the D.Eng. in SE from SMU via DL? It would be a dream to earn that doctorate! I'm getting ready to just call them up, but was wondering if anybody here has an insight.

    TEKMAN Semper Fi!

    Wow! Good catch, I didn't aware that they offer Doctoral of Engineering degree via Distance Learning. You should contact Mrs. Krys Benson, she is the admission specialist. Let me know if you want me contact them because since I am currently a student there.
  3. Arcadio

    Arcadio New Member

    Thanks for the name drop! I'll e-mail her directly today.
  4. tcmak

    tcmak New Member

    Cool, look forward to seeing your findings too~
  5. Arcadio

    Arcadio New Member

    I e-mailed her this morning ... no response yet :(. They could just be on break though. I don't know if I should give them a call tomorrow or just wait a week or so. Or maybe Tekman can contact her...

    TEKMAN Semper Fi!

    No, They are not on break. Usually it takes her 48 hours to answer my email.
  7. Arcadio

    Arcadio New Member

    Oh. That's a little disheartening to hear, then, because my other e-mails to the distance education staff have gone unanswered which means I can only conclude that they're ignoring me. LOL!

    I'll give it another day then before I bug her with a phone call.
  8. Arcadio

    Arcadio New Member

    Update ...

    Abigail finally got back to me today. According to her, all the course work can be done via distance learning. However, there *may be* a need to show up on campus for meetings with your advisor to discuss your praxis project. Actually, her exact words were "there would be an on campus component". I then asked her about the possibility that this on campus component could be conducted entirely on the phone, and her response implied that it would be up to the advisor. She gave me the name of a Dr., and I'm going to try to contact him/her about the possibility of minimizing the need to come to campus or eliminate it entirely.
  9. Arcadio

    Arcadio New Member

    Update #2 ...

    Ok, I'm frustrated. Turns out the name that Abigail Smith gave me was for the guy who is the director for the SYSTEMS Engineering program and not SOFTWARE. Abigail was confused. She said that only the D.Eng. in systems engineering is offered via DL and not software engineering. Which is odd, because:

    1) there is absolutely no indication any where on the web site that the D.Eng. in Systems Engineering is offered via DL
    2) there is absolutely no indication any where on the web site that a doctorate of any sort is even offered for the field of Systems Engineering

    Abigail said that at this time, the D.Eng. in Software Engineering is not offered via DL from SMU.

    So I call up (not e-mail ... which I actually already did several weeks ago with no response) Debra McDowell who is the distance learning secretary for the College of Computer Science and Engineering at SMU. She said "yes" that that the D.Eng. in Software Engineering is offered via DL. However, I wasn't very satisfied with her answer. For one, she said "in general 7000 and 8000 courses are available at a distance". Which means that "yes", the course work for the degree (at least most classes), can be done via DL. But what about the praxis project? I asked her and she said "sure", but judging from her tone it seemed to me she was just guessing and wasn't really sure.

    So I e-mail Dr. Sukumaran Nair who is the chair for the department. If anybody would know, he would right? No response yet. I'm not really expecting one too.

    LOL! What the hell is going on here? I got one person who says "no", another person who says "yes", a PDF file from the web site that says "yes", and their Graduate Request information page which implies "no". And they have staff that apparently doesn't like to answer e-mails too. This level of incompetence does not instill a great deal of confidence in me with the university.

    Aiming for a doctorate is a major commitment, and I'd really hate to to put forth all of this effort only to have them say "oh ... we don't do the D.Eng. via DL ... sorry!". I'm on the verge of just saying "screw SMU, I'm taking my tuition money elsewhere" because all of this drama just to get a simple "yes" or "no" answer is ridiculous.

    TEKMAN, do you think you can get in touch with Krys Benson for me? Maybe they give people who are already students of the university higher priority.
  10. redhorse

    redhorse New Member

    Who is in charge

    ...that is the question. Last Spring I enquired about the DE in Software Engineering, and it took several weeks to get the name of the "right" person to talk to about the program. The person (at least then) is Teresa Harvey. After communicating with her briefly via email, the following is the essence of the situation:

    "You are correct, the class hours for the DE can be taken via the distance program. You do not need to come to campus to take them. The praxis may require some on-campus work, but that would be up to your advisor and supervisory committee. This degree was really set up to allow it to be done via distance so you should not have any trouble."

    I think a person needs to set an appointment to talk to faculty there who would be willing to support your application and later praxis report. Otherwise, I think you will spend time and money on the application only to fail to obtain admission.

    The key requirement is that your undergraduate school be ABET accredited. If not, then it might be a hurdle. Mine was not, but I already have a MS in Software Engineering. That helps my case, but this is what I was told about applying (while stating that I did not want to waste my time if there was no chance I would be considered:

    "I completely understand that you don't want to waste your time either.
    Your folder has to go through several people so the best way to start is to include a resume and use the Statement of Purpose to expand on your background and your goals. That gives everyone reviewing the folder the opportunity to see all the information. If you think letters of recommendations will help shed some light on your ability to complete the program successfully then you can include those as well. They are not required for the distance program, but if they are in the file then the reviewers will read them.

    If the program director did reject your application you could file an appeal. At that point I would suggest talking to him directly.
    Unfortunately he has to have all of your information before making a decision and the only way to do that is actually apply."

    Teresa's email is [email protected]
  11. redhorse

    redhorse New Member

    SMU Reputation

    All things change, but SMU is considered to have excellent engineering and business schools. Historically, many of the TI (Texas Instruments) engineers received their degrees there. Also, Lockheed, Raytheon and a number of other 'hard core' engineering entities in the Dallas areas have employees who graduated from SMU, or obtained graduate degrees there.

    SMU is a name recognized school across the US and abroad; likewise there are few DE degrees for any subject in the US, and as far as I know this is the only one for Software Engineering -- distance learning or otherwise. The DE in SE program developed from the needs of the high-tech companies in that area.

    Most universities these days have poor staff people. If universities had to be competitive in the area of customer support and general competency outside the classroom, most of the would go out of business. The bigger and more famous the school, the worse they seem to be in terms of focus on the student. You get more of that at the smaller state universities.
  12. Ian Anderson

    Ian Anderson Active Member

    I find the SMU website lacking in information. For example I could not find any information on their MS in Applied Science. Nor could I find their catalog.
  13. MadCoder

    MadCoder New Member

    I found the SMU Graduate catalogs at the following URL:

    I was lead to there from the registrar's office link. However, I quickly checked the Lyle School of Engineering catalog and couldn't see anything related to an M.S. in Applied Science, even though it says here:

    that it is offered.
  14. Arcadio

    Arcadio New Member

    FWIW, Teresa is apparently no longer with the Lyle School of Engineering at SMU. I sent her some e-mail a while back because she was listed as the point of contact, and I got an automated reply saying that she's longer with the college.

    The information you have posted is pretty much what Abigail said, except for Systems Engineering. The coursework can be taken via DL, but the praxis project may or may not have an on-campus component. That's something that you would need to talk over with your advisor. Perhaps Abigail was painfully confused and she really meant to say Software Engineering despite explicitly saying not Software Engineering but Systems Engineering. My dad is a retired professor, and he told me that with his PhD students he never had to actually meet them in person for their dissertation; all correspondence was easily handled via e-mail.

    So, did you ever get acceptance into the D.Eng. in S.Eng. program at SMU? I'm curious as to what the praxis project actually entails. The catalog seems to imply it's just a Really Big Project(tm) that presumably utilizes all the software engineering knowledge you were to have supposed to learn up until that point. With any luck, I can use a project from work as the praxis project; kill two birds with one stone.

    Based on what you have said here and what you have said regarding SMU's engineering reputation, I think I'd rather enroll at SMU now than UMD for my M.S. in Software Engineering. If I go onto the D.Eng., it would really make things a lot easier because I wouldn't have to worry about how classes transfer.
  15. TEKMAN

    TEKMAN Semper Fi!

    As much as I love SMU, but the administrative services for distance learning is less than wonderful. I took Accounting for Engineering, and the professor required all students take the exam the same time as on campus. The didn't send out the exam until 8:00 a.m on the day of the exam. My program department coordinator was out of the office on the midterm and final. I had to email her several times before my proctor recieved the exams at 4 P.M, and the exam must completed and turned in by 10 P.M Central Time. Otherwise, the student will receive an "F." It scared the heck out of me.

    Yeah, for Football...we won one game out of entire season. GO JUNE JONES. :)
  16. Arcadio

    Arcadio New Member

    They sent it out on the *day* of the exam? Thats crazy! How far away from SMU were you? Or did they not send the exam via snail mail, but by e-mail instead?
  17. TEKMAN

    TEKMAN Semper Fi!

    Nope, all the exams are sent to the proctors via email. Yup, all the exams are sent out on the day of the exam. Most of the courses students have two weeks to take the exam. Some crazy Professors expect the students to take the exam on the same day. All instructors have different policy and grading scales and course design. Some of them use the Blackboard and some use their own things. One of the good thing that all SMU Intructors and Professors have Ph.D degree(s). Hopefully I graduate by the end of Summer or Fall 2009 semester.
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 3, 2009
  18. friedrich

    friedrich New Member

    "Most of the courses students have two weeks to take the exam. Some crazy Professors expect the students to take the exam on the same day."

    Sorry for lurking, but this seems to a common practice for distance universties that operate globally.

    I.E. USQ where I sometimes proctor exams sends out the exams three weeks in advance and makes sure every proctor got them. The exam itself is held on one day only.

    At the Heriott Watt MBA ( the students themselves imply a 24 H rule to avoid discussing the topics while the exam travels "around the world in one day".
  19. Arcadio

    Arcadio New Member

    Interesting. I was planning to take exams at my local community college, which offers an Other School Testing service for $30 a test. Looking at the community college's web page regarding this service, they say:

    "The Student, two days before the exam, should verify that the AACC Testing Office has received the exam."

    So ... the testing center I plan to use wants the exam two days before you're supposed to take it. However, some SMU profs send out the exam on the day of the exam and want you take it that same day? There seems to be some logistical issues here.

    If I get a prof that gives me two weeks to take the exam, then there's no problem. However, if I get a crazy prof then what then? Hopefully he/she would be reasonable and be able to work something out. If not, I could potentially be out $3k worth of tuition money for that class because I would surely fail (and it really wouldn't surprise me if the prof couldn't give two rat's asses about that too)! Perhaps I should e-mail the prof and talk about his/her distance learning exam policy before registering for his/her course.
  20. Ted Heiks

    Ted Heiks Moderator and Distinguished Senior Member

    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 8, 2009

Share This Page