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University Degrees in Product Lifecycle Management

Lionel Grealou PLM Talents 3 minutes

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Image Credit: PEXEL

There are no holistic undergraduate degrees dedicated to the PLM discipline (as far as I can tell). There are however several specialized courses and higher-level education programs in product development or Industry 4.0 related subjects, including postgraduate degrees provided by a number of universities. These programs are often extensions of undergraduate engineering or other STEM-related degrees, targeting experienced engineers, scientists, economists, managers and technical professionals, with a view to broaden their knowledge into complexity management, delivery models, supply chain integration, innovation, digitalization, sustainability, supply chain networks, etc. Such degrees are often leveraging selected IT platforms to provide hands-on illustration of concepts, while remaining vendor agnostic.

Arguably, none of these postgraduate degrees directly or solely refer to “PLM” as such, but rather focus on broader “lifecycle management”, “product development”, “production development”, or even “sustainability” in the context of the above subjects.

In this post, I discuss the relevance of university degrees in the context of PLM, illustrating the point with sample postgraduate programs (non-exhaustive list). 

It is not a surprise that PLM does not have a “dedicated” degree… As a matter of fact, PLM does not fit in one “professional” box, hence it can be controversial to define or study it formally. This was discussed at length in a previous post about “career paths for PLM professionals”.

Nevertheless, there are many PLM related subjects which are taught as part of university postgraduate degrees. They cover ranges of courses along the lines of the following topics:

  • Product design engineering
  • Product innovation
  • New product introduction
  • Engineering management
  • Technology management
  • Systems engineering
  • Sustainable development
  • Production optimization
  • Manufacturing systems
  • Advanced systems
  • Complexity management

The broader PLM discipline refers to all above subjects, and more. Based on the role, these subjects will need to be covered in more or less details. Having a broad understanding of these topics, coupled with in-depth knowledge of one or more of them, is what makes great versatile PLM experts. Many so-called “PLM managers” typically come from one sub-domain as their background (e.g., from a technology angle), though they can struggle to understand the big picture if they are not exposed to other PLM perspectives.

Refer to the following list for sample MSc programs offered by a number of universities:

The above list is not an exhaustive review of possible degrees related to PLM; sample degrees have been listed for illustration only. These were identified by keyword searches from the program titles and descriptions, and this post does not constitute endorsement or recommendation for such programs.

Note: if you would like to highlight relevant undergraduate or postgraduate degrees not mentioned above which could benefit a student in their formal education towards becoming a PLM professional, feel free to get in touch via this contact form.

What are your thoughts?

This post was originally published on Momentum-PLM on 7 January 2021.

Disclaimer: articles and thoughts published on v+d do not necessarily represent the views of the company, but solely the views or interpretations of the author(s); reviews, insights and mentions of publications, products, or services do neither constitute endorsement, nor recommendations for purchase or adoption. 

About the Author

Lionel Grealou


Lionel Grealou, a.k.a. Lio, helps original equipment manufacturers transform, develop, and implement their digital transformation strategies—driving organizational change, data continuity and process improvement, managing the lifecycle of things across enterprise platforms, from PDM to PLM, ERP, MES, PIM, CRM, or BIM. Beyond consulting roles, Lio held leadership positions across industries, with both established OEMs and start-ups, covering the extended innovation lifecycle scope, from research and development, to engineering, discrete and process manufacturing, procurement, finance, supply chain, operations, program management, quality, compliance, marketing, etc.

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