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:
- Brunel University London: Master of Science in Engineering Management
- Brunel University London: Master of Science in Advanced Manufacturing Systems
- Chalmers University: Master of Science in Product Development
- Cranfield University: Master of Science in Global Product Development and Management
- Cranfield University: Master of Science in Systems Engineering
- KIT: Master of Science in Management of Product Development
- KTH: Master of Science in Sustainable Production Development
- KTH: Master of Science in Production Engineering and Management
- MSOE University: Master of Science in Engineering Management
- MSOE University: Master of Science in New Product Development
- RIT: Master of Science in Product Development
- SDU: MSc in Engineering – Product Development and Innovation
- University of Applied Sciences Upper Austria: Master of Science in Innovation and Product Management
- UCL: Master of Science in New Product Development
- UCL: Master of Science in Systems Engineering Management
- Luxembourg University: Master of Science in Engineering – Sustainable Product Creation
- University of Bath: Master of Science in Innovation and Technology Management
- University of Liverpool: Master of Science in Product Design and Management
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.
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