The Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) degree program prepares students for a research career in academia or industry. The Ph.D. degree program consists of formal courses and original research conducted under the guidance of a faculty advisor, leading to a dissertation. Students in the Ph.D. program complete a Master of Science (M.S.) degree as part of their program; the Electrical and Computer Engineering department does not admit students for a terminal MS degree. Financial support is available for this program.
Students are admitted to the Ph.D. program only in the fall semester. Electrical and Computer Engineering Ph.D. students move through the program in stages, starting as a first-year student, advancing to M.S. candidate, Ph.D.-qualified student, and Ph.D. candidate; each advancement requires the approval of the Electrical and Computer Engineering Graduate Committee. Students entering with previous graduate work may follow a hybrid program developed in consultation with the faculty and the Graduate Committee.
The first academic year concentrates on foundation coursework and developing a research area. Each student must successfully complete a project, ELEC 599, in his or her chosen area of research in lieu of an oral or written qualifying exam. In addition to enabling the faculty to evaluate the student’s research potential, the project encourages timely completion of the M.S. degree. The student must complete a master’s thesis and successfully defend it in an oral examination. Students who have already acquired a master’s degree elsewhere must also complete the ELEC 599 project, after which acceptance of their previous master’s degree will be determined by the Graduate Committee. No course in which the student earned a grade lower than a B- may count toward an M.S. or Ph.D.
Candidacy and Completion Overview
A candidate for the Ph.D. degree must demonstrate independent, original research in Electrical and Computer Engineering. After successful completion of all coursework, a student is eligible for Ph.D. candidacy. The student then engages in full-time research, culminating in the presentation of the Ph.D. research proposal and then the completion and public defense of the Ph.D. dissertation.