May 30, 2024  
2017-2018 Graduate Catalog 
2017-2018 Graduate Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Electrical Engineering, Ph.D.

Admission Requirements

  1. An M.S. degree in electrical engineering or in a closely related discipline from a U.S. college or university accredited by a regional accrediting association or completion of an international degree that is equivalent to a U.S. master’s degree from a college or university of recognized standing.
  2. Excellent academic performance in all completed coursework, with a minimum GPA 3.000 on a 4.000 scale.
  3. Submission of a complete application, including a statement of purpose, official transcripts for all previous undergraduate and graduate studies and payment of appropriate application fee.
  4. Official GRE graduate school admission test quantitative score of 151 or greater (revised scale).
  5. Three letters of recommendation from individuals who can judge the applicant’s potential success as a doctoral student.
  6. Graduates from foreign countries are required to submit a notarized financial certification form. All international students whose native language is not English and who have not graduated from an American university must submit a minimum TOEFL English language proficiency score before being considered for admission:
    • 550 – paper-based examination.
    • 213 – computer-based examination.
    • 80 – Internet-based examination.

Degree Requirements

In addition to meeting the Lyle School of Engineering requirements for the Ph.D. degree, candidates are required to satisfy the following:

Supervisory Committee. The supervisory committee plays an important role in guiding the student and monitoring his or her progress at all stages of the Ph.D. program. As such, the committee should be constituted as early as possible after the student has begun doctoral work and before he or she has completed the coursework. The committee will be selected by the student in consultation with the dissertation director, who must be a member of the regular (tenure-track) faculty of the Electrical Engineering Department. The committee chair must be a member of the regular faculty of the department and will normally be the dissertation director. The committee must have a minimum of five members of the regular faculty of the University and will consist of at least three faculty members from the Electrical Engineering Department (including the chair and the dissertation director, if different from the chair), as well as one member from each minor field.

Qualifying Examination. The qualifying examination for admission to candidacy for the Ph.D. degree consists of both written and oral parts. The written part will be administered by the Doctoral Program Committee of the Electrical Engineering Department and will normally be scheduled once each fall and spring term on dates to be announced by the committee. The exam must be taken on or before the third scheduled offering after the student begins the Ph.D. program. The exam is based on coursework in the student’s major area. A student who desires to take the written exam in any term must file a registration form with the doctoral program committee prior to the deadline specified each term. The student is required to pass the exam in one area to be chosen from the list below:

  • Circuits
  • Communications
  • Digital signal processing
  • Electromagnetic theory and optics
  • Solid-state devices and materials
  • Systems and control

Each exam will be three hours in duration and will typically be closed book. The determination as to whether a student has passed the written exam will be made by the department faculty based on recommendations from the doctoral program committee.

  1. A student who does not pass the exam can take it a second time.
  2. A student who fails the exam both times will not be permitted to continue in the Ph.D. program.
  3. A student who repeats an exam must do so at the earliest possible time after the first attempt.
  4. If, after passing the written exam, the student decides to change his or her research area, he or she will be required to pass another written exam in the new area.

The oral qualifying exam will be administered by the student’s supervisory committee. The exam will be taken after the student has passed the written exam and has completed most of the required coursework, but no later than one year after completing all coursework. A student who does not meet the deadline must petition the doctoral program committee for permission to take the oral exam.

The main focus of the oral exam will be on the research the student proposes to conduct for his or her dissertation. The student is expected to write up a description of the research problem, the previous results, and the approach or approaches he or she proposes to consider in the investigation. The write-up must be made available to the supervisory committee at least two weeks prior to the scheduled date of the exam, and it should clearly indicate the significance and originality of the research, the proposed approaches and the expected results.

The student will be admitted to candidacy upon passing the oral qualifying exam. A student who does not pass the oral exam may be permitted by the supervisory committee to retake it once. If, after admission to candidacy, the student decides to change his or her research area, he or she will be required to take the qualifying exam again and be readmitted to candidacy before being permitted to complete the dissertation.

Final Examination. Upon completion of all other requirements, the student is required to take a final examination conducted by his or her supervisory committee, in which he or she will present the dissertation. The student will notify the Lyle School of Engineering Graduate Division in advance of the date, time and place of the exam so that it can be publicized on campus. The student should provide copies of the complete draft version of the dissertation to the supervisory committee at least three weeks prior to the date of the final exam. It is recommended that students submit the results of their research for publication at conferences or in journals before taking the final exam.

The supervisory committee may ask questions and make comments or require changes in the dissertation to satisfy itself that the quality of the work is in keeping with the highest standards of research. If the dissertation requires substantial changes, the student should submit the revised dissertation to the supervisory committee for re-examination.