Engineering Joint Doctoral Program

Our Programs

San Diego State University, in collaboration with the University of California, San Diego, offers four doctoral degrees (Ph.D.) in:

Each of the distinctive programs involves graduate level courses and research projects under the supervision of SDSU faculty in the fields of Aerospace, Civil, Construction, Electrical and Computer, and Mechanical Engineering with cooperating faculty from the University of California, San Diego. The Ph.D. degree is awarded jointly by the two institutions.

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Program Interest Form

Additional Information

Applicants must have a bachelor's degree or master's degree from an accredited institution and must meet the requirements for classified graduate admission to both SDSU and UCSD. A minimum grade point average of 3.0 in the major field for students with a B.S. and 3.5 for students with the M.S. degree is required.

The Graduate Record Examination (GRE) is required with the following minimum scores:

  • Quantitative: 159
  • Verbal: 153
  • Analytical Writing: 4.0

The GRE is required to have been taken within the last 5 years.

The Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL), the International English Language Testing System (IELTS), or Pearson English Language Test (PTE) is required for all applicants who did not earn a degree from an English-speaking university. Please note that while Duolingo English Test is acceptable for other programs, it is not for the Engineering Joint Doctoral Program. Only the TOEFL, IELTS, and PTE exams are accepted.

TOEFL minimum score is 80 on the Internet Based Test (IBT) or 550 on the Paper Based Test (PBT).

IELTS minimum score is 6.5.

PTE minimum score is 58.

TOEFL, IELTS, and PTE tests must have been taken within the last 2 years to be accepted.

  • Applications for Fall 2022 are: CLOSED
  • Applications for Fall 2022 were accepted from: OCTOBER 1, 2021 to DECEMBER 15, 2021
  • Applications for Fall 2023 will be accepted from: OCTOBER 1, 2022 to DECEMBER 15, 2022

Spring, Summer, and Winter admissions are not offered.

A complete application must be submitted by the December 15 deadline.

A complete application to the Engineering JDP includes:

  1. Online California State University graduate application and Interfolio supplemental application by December 15, 2021

    a. Select San Diego State University for campus and one of the four JDP engineering degrees:

    • Engineering Sciences (Bioengineering)
    • Engineering Sciences (Electrical and Computer)
    • Engineering Sciences (Mechanical and Aerospace)
    • Engineering Sciences (Structural)
  2. Payment of application fee (This fee cannot be waived for international applicants)
  3. Official transcripts from all previous institutions attended sent to SDSU Graduate Admissions Office
  4. Official certificates of all degrees earned sent to SDSU Graduate Admissions Office
  5. Official GRE and English language proficency (if applicable) scores sent to SDSU Graduate Admissions Office
  6. Resume/CV uploaded to SDSU supplemental application
  7. Statement of Purpose uploaded to SDSU supplemental application
  8. Three letters of recommendation uploaded to SDSU supplemental application
  9. Acceptance by an SDSU faculty member to serve as advisor with confirmation sent to SDSU Program Manager
  10. Online UCSD graduate application between January 20, 2022 and February 16, 2022

Steps 1 and 2 are completed via the California State University graduate application.

Steps 3 and 4 are completed by mailing official documents to the SDSU Graduate Admissions Office:

Graduate Admissions Office
San Diego State University
5500 Campanile Drive
San Diego, CA 92182-7416

If any documents are in a language other than English, they must be translated either by the issuing institution or a translation company selected by the applicant and the original language document must be included with the translation.

Note: Any document submitted to SDSU cannot be returned. This includes personal copies of diplomas.

Step 5 is completed by sending official scores from ETS to SDSU (ETS Code: 4682). For more details on language test submission, see the next drop down section titled "International Transcript and English Proficiency Test Information".

Steps 6, 7, and 8 are completed by submitting documents via the SDSU Interfolio supplemental application. Be aware that the California State University graduate application must be completed at least one week earlier (December 8) to receive your SDSU ID which is necessary to submit a supplemental application.

Step 9 is completed when the potential SDSU faculty advisor has informed the SDSU Program Manager of his or her acceptance of the applicant by email. Completing this step is required before an application will be reviewed. Applicants may contact faculty members directly to inquire about serving as their advisor. A listing of faculty, their research, and contact info can be found on each departmental website:

Step 10 is completed via the UCSD graduate application between January 20, 2022 and February 17, 2022 and only if recommended for acceptance by SDSU first.

Admission occurs when the applicant is formally accepted by the graduate divisions of both SDSU and UCSD and then affirms their intent to enroll.

For more information contact:

Donovan Geiger, Joint Doctoral Program Manager
Email: [email protected]

Applicants who have previously attended institutions outside the United States may have different document requirements.

For evaluation purposes, unofficial documents can be submitted. Copies of transcripts and diplomas/degree certificates can be uploaded through your SDSU WebPortal account under Upload Admission Documents. If transcripts and diplomas/degree certificates are not issued in English, applicants must submit a certified literal English translation of each document. The translated documents must be from the university or a certified translator and should contain all information shown on the original language documents and in the same format.

If admitted, official documents will be required prior to enrollment and must be sent directly from the institution(s) in a sealed envelope and signed or stamped by the appropriate official at the university. Please do not send your only original academic record(s) and/or diploma(s)/degree certificate(s). All documents received become property of SDSU and will not be returned.

Requirements by Country Listing

In addition, all applicants (regardless of citizenship status) applying to SDSU from an international institution where the medium of instruction was not English, must submit one of the following as proof of English proficiency:

  1. TOEFL minimum score of 80 iBT/ 550 PBT: Score can be sent electronically from Educational Testing Service (ETS) using the SDSU institution code: 4682. Test score must be from within the past two years.
  2. IELTS overall score of 6.5 or higher: Score report must be submitted directly to the SDSU Graduate Admissions Office. Test score must be from within the past two years.
  3. PTE minimum score of 58 or higher: Score report must be submitted directly to the SDSU Graduate Admissions Office. Test score must be from within the past two years.
  4. Official transcripts have been received indicating English as the principal language of instruction.

Please note that while Duolingo English Test is acceptable for other programs, it is not for the Engineering Joint Doctoral Program. Only the TOEFL, IELTS, and PTE exams are accepted.

When a student is admitted to the Doctoral Program, the directors of the Engineering Joint Doctoral Program at SDSU and UCSD will appoint a three member Advising Committee consisting of at least one member from each institution.

It is the responsibility of this committee to develop in consultation with the student a course of study and plan of preparation for the Doctoral Qualifying Examination. The qualifying examination should be taken as soon as possible after the two years of study at the two institutions. Students with advanced standing may be capable of taking the exam earlier.

Upon the student's successful completion of the examination, the Advising Committee will recommend the membership of the student's Doctoral Committee, which upon appointment, will supersede the Advising Committee and be responsible for the student's program of study and dissertation research. The Doctoral Committee will consist of three members from each institution with one being from a department outside the student's research area.

The normative time for the Engineering Doctoral Program is five years. The regulations concerning the normative time are described in the SDSU and UCSD general catalogs and are initiated at the time the student is admitted to the program. Students are expected to make continuous, satisfactory progress and to remain in good standing at both institutions while enrolled.

The degree of Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) in Engineering Science (Aerospace and Mechanical), Engineering Science (Bioengineering), Engineering Science (Electrical and Computer), or Engineering Science (Structural) are awarded jointly by the Trustees of The California State University and the Regents of the University of California.

The laboratories of the engineering departments involved in the program are fully equipped for modern research in different areas of engineering science. Major items include sub- and supersonic wind tunnels, a low speed water channel, shake tables, an acoustic visualization system, soil mechanics laboratory, powder technology laboratory, microelectromechanical laboratory, and a biodynamics laboratory. Research support, machine shops, and numerous computational facilities are also available; SDSU is also a member of the regional CRAY Supercomputer Consortium and is the only participant in The California State University System.

As of fall 2021, JDP tuition per semester at SDSU is:

California resident Student:
Basic tuition: $2,082
Mandatory fees: $1,197

Non-resident/foreign student:
Basic tuition: $2,082
Non-resident tuition: $2,376
Mandatory fees: $1,197

Tuition waivers are competitive and limited. If granted, tuition waivers are issued for one year at a time and not guaranteed to renew. Applicants are advised to have appropriate financial savings to cover tuition costs for the duration of their studies.

Students should be aware that tuition waivers do not cover mandatory student fees. As of fall 2021, they total $1,197 per semester. Students must be prepared to cover these fees unless prior arrangements have been made with their adviser.

Apart from tuition costs, faculty advisers strive to provide adequate financial support for their students so that full time can be devoted to research and graduate level study. Teaching and research assistantships are approximately $22,900 per year with benefits. Students are also expected to obtain teaching experience which will be carried out under the supervision of faculty members participating in the program.

San Diego has a very high cost of living and applicants should calculate anticipated costs to support their desired standard of living before attending.

Administration

SDSU Program Director - Temesgen Garoma, PhD
619-594-0597, [email protected]

SDSU Program Manager - Donovan Geiger, MBA
619-594-6079, [email protected]

UCSD Program Director - Kal Seshadri, PhD
858-534-4876, [email protected]

UCSD Program Manager - Gary Henderson
858-822-4536, [email protected]

Mailing Address

For program inquiries:

Engineering Joint Doctoral Program
College of Engineering, MC 1326
San Diego State University
5500 Campanile Drive
San Diego, CA 92182-1326

To submit official documents as part of an application:

Graduate Admissions Office
San Diego State University
5500 Campanile Drive
San Diego, CA 92182-7416

Frequently Asked Questions for Prospective Students

San Diego is located on the coast of southern California, about two hours south of Los Angeles by car. San Diego is a major metropolitan city with over 1.3 million residents, making it the 2nd largest city in California and the 8th largest in America. It is home to many beautiful beaches, mountains, and a year-round warm Mediterranean-style climate. San Diego also supports a vibrant economy and world-class entertainment, historical, and sporting venues.

SDSU is located about 10 minutes east (by car) from downtown San Diego and is served by the San Diego Trolley and several bus lines. UCSD is located about 15 minutes north by car of downtown San Diego and is served by several bus lines and a local university shuttle.

The cost of living in San Diego is very high being in the top 10 most expensive cities in the US. Housing costs (rent, utilities, and taxes) are more than double the national average. A small 1 bedroom apartment rents for over $1,700 a month with rent climbing to over $2,200 a month for a 2 bedroom and over $3,000 a month for a 3 bedroom apartment.

The cost of food, transportation, and entertainment are also above the national average.

Applicant should inquire with potential SDSU advisers regarding funding. It can vary from adviser to adviser and their sources of funding which typically comes in the form of a teaching assistantship or research assistantship.

Typically the first two years will be spent primarily at UCSD as students complete a full load of coursework which is on average 2 courses per quarter for a total of 9 to 12 courses. However, some time will be spent in SDSU labs working on research or other tasks at the direction of advisers.

This will shift after the completion of coursework where time is mostly spent in labs at SDSU completing research. However, students always have access to both institutions (labs, facilities, libraries, etc) and go back and forth as needed.

Absolutely. JDP participants are students at both SDSU and UCSD for the duration of their studies. In fact, it is mandatory that students remain enrolled in units at both institutions every quarter/semester. If regular coursework is complete, students will enroll in research units.

Some activities are program requirements such as annual orientation/information sessions and the annual JDP Research Symposium. Advisers may require their students to participate in other events such as conferences, symposia, and meetings. There are also optional social events, mixers, and associations that students may attend.

As of fall 2021, there are 69 students enrolled in the Engineering Joint Doctoral Program:

  • 38 in Mechanical and Aerospace
  • 22 in Electrical and Computer
  • 6 in Bioengineering
  • 3 in Structural

Unfortunately, the SDSU application fee cannot be waived. However, the UCSD application fee is waived for all Engineering Joint Doctoral Program applicants.

Frequently Asked Questions for Current Students

At SDSU, contact your SDSU adviser for the schedule number to enroll in 6 units of ENGR 897 (Research) each semester. You must be enrolled in exactly 6 units at SDSU. If your adviser instructs you to enroll in a regular course ask for the appropriate number of research units so your total unit count equals 6. If you are in your last semester, you must enroll in 6 units of ENGR 899 (Dissertation) and your adviser can provide the schedule number.

At UCSD, contact your UCSD adviser and they will set up your course plan for the first two years. Normally, JDP students are expected to take at least 2 courses per quarter. After completing your regular course plan, you must enroll in at least 1 unit of research every quarter or units as directed by your adviser or departmental doctoral adviser. If you are having technical difficulties with the enrollment process, consult with the department doctoral coordinator.

  • First Exam (also called Departmental Qualifying Exam, Comprehensive Exam, or Preliminary Exam):
    • Contact your UCSD Departmental Doctoral Coordinator for the appropriate forms, committee setup/approval, and to reserve a conference room.
  • Second Exam (also called Senate Qualifying Exam or Candidacy Exam)
    • Contact your UCSD Departmental Doctoral Coordinator to complete the appropriate forms, committee confirmation/approval, and to reserve a conference room.
    • Contact SDSU Engineering JDP Program Manager Donovan Geiger to setup the JDP-3 form for your committee. You will need to include your committee members (chair/co-chair designated), their email addresses, your SDSU ID and UCSD PID, and exam date. This form is sent electronically via AdobeSign and when complete, you will receive a copy via your SDSU email.
  • Defense (also called Dissertation)
    • Contact your UCSD Departmental Doctoral Coordinator to complete the appropriate forms, confirm/approve your committee, reserve a conference room, and advertise your defense.
    • Contact SDSU JDP Program Manager Donovan Geiger to setup the JDP-5 form for your committee. You will need to include your committee members (chair/co-chair designated), their email addresses, your SDSU ID and UCSD PID, and exam date. This form is sent electronically via AdobeSign and when complete, you will receive a copy via your SDSU email.

Graduation is not automatic. You must apply to graduate and pay associated fees at both SDSU and UCSD.

Inform your UCSD Departmental Doctoral Coordinator of your anticipated graduation date, complete any required forms, and to inquire about the dissertation publishing process.

Inform the SDSU College of Graduate Studies Doctoral Coordinator Pat Walls ([email protected]) of your anticipated graduation date, complete any required forms, and to inquire about the publishing process (more info below).

Contact SDSU Engineering JDP Program Manager Donovan Geiger to arrange participation in the SDSU Engineering commencement ceremony held each year in May.

More details on publishing here: Ph.D. Dissertation Publication Steps

Residency for the purpose of tuition information along with contact details for requesting a determination can be found here: https://registrar.sdsu.edu/students/additional_resources_students/residency_information

Yes, there is the Graduate Student Health Insurance Program (GSHIP). More information about this program can be found here: https://grad.sdsu.edu/current_grad_students/gship

News and Awards

Fifteenth Annual Engineering Joint Doctoral Program Research Symposium

  • December 3, 2021
  • 3:30 p.m. – 3:45 p.m. Introduction
  • 3:45pm 5:30pm Student Presentations

At the Joint Doctoral Program Research Symposium via Zoom, attendees will have the opportunity to speak with students involved in the program in a casual online atmosphere. Doctoral students will report the results of their ongoing research and field questions in individual Zoom sessions.

The introduction session will feature a welcome from SDSU College of Engineering Dean Eugene Olevsky from 3:30pm to 3:45pm here: https://SDSU.zoom.us/j/87040531560

After the introduction session, attendees may join the individual Zoom sessions of doctoral students anytime between 3:45pm and 5:30pm. The listing of student sessions with Zoom links will be provided at the introduction session.

Prof. Xiaofeng Liu and JDP student Jose Moreto discuss their research: