The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga


First UTC research doctorate approved by SACS

The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga has gained final approval from The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS) to offer the Ph.D. in Computational Engineering beginning fall 2004.

“SACS approval was required for this program because it represents the first research doctorate to be offered by UTC. We are very pleased that the University will begin admitting students to the program immediately and hopes to award its first Ph.D. degree by 2006," according to Dr. John Friedl, UTC Provost.

The doctoral degree program will draw from the resources of the UT SimCenter at Chattanooga, created by the Lupton Renaissance Fund. “The SimCenter is the most advanced computational modeling and simulation center in the nation, with outstanding teaching and research faculty,” according to Dr. Skip Fletcher, a THEC site visitor from Texas A &M University.

The emerging field of computational engineering builds on the fundamentals of traditional undergraduate engineering programs with strong support from mathematics and computer science. Graduates will help supply the nation's future needs for computational engineering professionals capable of working in cross-disciplinary teams to develop and apply advanced computational simulation and design software for real-world engineering analysis and design problems.

“As one of our SimCenter Board members said, ‘Now the real work begins—generating alumni and the contributions they provide,’" said Dr. Dave Whitfield, Director, UT SimCenter at Chattanooga. “In our business, education and research are symbiotic. We now have both ingredients, and to these we need to add work and then mix vigorously. From dream to reality, the establishment of the Ph.D. in Computational Engineering was the result of a shared vision by many people."

The University of Chattanooga Foundation, the University of Tennessee System, the City of Chattanooga, Hamilton County, local industry, elected city, state and national government officials; and private philanthropy have all participated in representing UTC in the establishment of the Ph.D. in computational engineering.

UTC’s innovative doctoral program is needed because computational tools are becoming critically important for the analysis and design of future engineered products and systems in a competitive global marketplace. The new program will advance the University mission “to serve as a national model for an engaged metropolitan university’” with a goal to enhance the intellectual and economic vitality of the Chattanooga metropolitan area and the State of Tennessee.

“It is anticipated, and certainly it is our intent, that the PhD in Computational Engineering will be beneficial not only to the SimCenter itself, the Graduate School of Computational Engineering, and the College of Engineering and Computer Science, but also to the UTC campus and the entire UT System,” Whitfield said.

Eighteen research and teaching faculty will contribute to the Ph.D. program in computational engineering. They are members of the graduate faculty and they are housed in the Graduate School of Computational Engineering within the College of Engineering and Computer Science.

Collaborative research projects are expected to include the Tennessee Valley Authority, the Oak Ridge National Laboratory, and industries in the Tennessee Valley Corridor.

The new program will accept highly qualified students for the fall 2004 semester. Prospective students should apply to the UTC Graduate School using the form on line at and may want to discuss the program further with Dr. Roger Briley at (423)425-5487 or Roger Briley. Information about the Ph.D. program and activities can be found at UT SimCenter at Chattanooga.