The Ph.D. Degree in Electrical Engineering

The Doctor of Philosophy Degree (or Philosophical Doctorate) is the highest degree awarded by any university. The degree does involve coursework beyond the M.S./M.Eng. level, but the Ph.D. is primarily a research/dissertation driven degree. As such, it is critical for incoming students to begin their research as soon as possible by choosing a Ph.D. dissertation advisor and a dissertation topic. The Ph.D. work culminates in a published dissertation and a public dissertation defense. Typically, students must also submit at least one first-author published conference or journal paper, but typically write several publications from their dissertation work.

Degree requirements for the Ph.D. degree include (but are not limited to):

    • 30 hours  beyond the M.S. with a minimum of 15 hours of coursework and the remaining hours  Dissertation Research (ECE 700). Students must identify a Ph.D. advisor in ECE and complete the Ph.D. committee form when they begin the program.
    • Students  must pass the written candidacy qualifying exam that requires achieving at least at 85 on the comprehensive final of three ECE 500 or ECE 600 level courses identified by the student’s advisor and listed on the PhD plan checksheet form.  Meeting all the above course requirements and passing the written qualifying exam allows the student to enter into candidacy. The oral candidacy qualifying exam is optional and is taken only on request of the student’s advisor.
    • Students then must submit a written dissertation proposal and pass an oral defense of their proposal to their Ph.D. committee.
    • Students must have a minimum of at least one first author conference or journal publication from their completed research.
    • Finally, a candidate must write a dissertation and defend it publically (and in the presence of their committee). The committee assesses the suitability of the accomplished research and recommends the candidate for the Ph.D. degree. The actual degree is conferred by the board of trustees, upon the recommendation.


    Admission Requirements

    Unconditional admission into the program will require an earned electrical engineering master's degree and the following credentials:

    A recommended undergraduate GPA of 3.0/4.00

    At least two letters of recommendation from persons familiar with the applicant's academic work and who can address the applicant's ability to perform independent research.

    While no fixed minimum score on the Graduate Record Examination is required for admission, experience has shown that a combined score of 295 (verbal + quantitative) on the GRE is highly recommended as a good indicator of success in a graduate program in Electrical Engineering. For students whose native language is not English or who received an undergraduate degree from a non-English speaking university, the TOEFL or IELTS test is required. It is highly recommended that an applicant have a TOEFL score of 550 on the paper-based test or a score of at least 213 on the computer-based test or at least 80 on the internet-based test.  For the IELTS, a minimum score of 6.5 is recommended.

    Students must have a master's degree in electrical engineering or similar degree, such as electrical systems or computer engineering. Upon being recommended for unconditional admission by the department and accepted by the Graduate School, a student will select a dissertation advisor and, with the guidance of the advisor, form an advisory committee which will be chaired by the dissertation advisor within the first semester. The student in conjunction with their advisor will also submit their PhD plan checksheet form to the ECE Director of Graduate Studies within their first semester of enrollment.

    Program changes approved summer 2016
    Updated: 03/02/17