May 22, 2024  
General Catalog 2014/2015 
General Catalog 2014/2015 [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Electrical Engineering, Ph.D.


Admission to the Program

A bachelor’s or master’s degree in electrical engineering or a closely related discipline from an ABET-accredited institution is required for admission to the PhD program; international students may have a master’s degree from a recognized international institution. A GPA of 3.3/4.0 on all baccalaureate course work and any graduate work attempted and a GRE score of 1100 are also required. These are minimums and are normally surpassed by successful applicants. International students, in addition, must have demonstrated a minimum achievement of 550 on the TOEFL. Each successful applicant will be expected to have a faculty sponsor who will help the student to establish a plan of study.

Students with a bachelor’s degree in a field other than electrical engineering may be required to complete a department-designated sequence of undergraduate courses with grades of “B” or better prior to attempting graduate electrical engineering work.

Diagnostic Examination

The student who has been admitted to work toward the doctoral degree will be required to take a departmentally administered diagnostic examination before the end of the second semester of postbaccalaureate study. It will be designed to appraise the student’s ability to pursue the doctor of philosophy degree in the field and to facilitate counseling in the development of the student’s program of studies.

Admission to Candidacy

The PhD program is logically divided into two parts: namely, requirements for a student to be formally admitted to candidacy for the degree and requirements for students to satisfactorily complete the degree program.

In order to formally become a candidate and pursue research for the PhD degree, students must have demonstrated that they have a sufficient academic foundation in electrical engineering, an understanding of the research process and enough knowledge about their chosen field of research to proceed with a reasonable assurance of success. If the student is successful in demonstrating these attributes, then he/she may be admitted to candidacy for the PhD degree and may begin formal research leading to the dissertation. The elements of this process are the following:

Doctoral Preliminary Examination

The Preliminary Examination is the final requirement for doctoral candidacy. This exam is taken over a five-week period. It must be successfully completed by the student’s fourth semester (for the BS-to-PhD track), or third semester (for all the other tracks). The student is allowed to retake the exam only once.

In the semester the student intends to take the Preliminary Examination, he/she needs to register for the 0-credit hour EEL 8964 Preliminary Doctoral Examination (0) . This registration must be done only once.

In preparing for the Preliminary Examination, the student shall present to the committee an approximately 40-page research review report demonstrating an understanding of the theoretical framework in the area of research based on an in-depth literature review. In demonstrating an understanding of the literature, the student must include a discussion that identifies the knowledge gaps in their research area. Upon submission of the research review report, the committee will respond to the student with questions based on the literature review and research area. The following is a schedule of events for the successful completion of the Preliminary Examination:

  • The student must make arrangements with the adviser to schedule a five-week time period for the examination. The examination committee should contain at least three faculties with GFS status from the ECE Department.
  • With the consultation of the adviser, the student will submit a research review report to the examination committee.. The topic of the report should be determined by the major adviser of the student. The student is encouraged to submit the research review report by the middle of the semester for which he/her registered for the Preliminary Examination. The student should abide by the IEEE plagiarism policy.
  • The committee will submit written questions to the adviser for collection by the student two weeks after submission of the research review report. These questions will relate to the research review report.
  • The student will have two weeks to develop written responses to the questions in preparation of the oral exam. These responses will be submitted to the adviser, who will then distribute the responses to the committee members. The student should submit a complete set of answers to each committee member; the answers should be given as separate appendices to the original (or revised) research review report.
  • The oral examination will be held within one week of submission of the written responses. This examination will be primarily related to the research area and the student’s written responses. Appropriate related fundamental concepts may also be covered. During the final oral presentation the student should give a short summary of the research report and address the questions of the committee on separate slides.
  • Pass/fail is determined on the combined written and oral responses to committee questions. A majority of committee votes and a pass vote by the committee chair is required to pass.
  • After the examination is completed the Preliminary Examination Report Form should be filled and submitted to the ECE Graduate Coordinator. A student who passes the examination will be recognized as a candidate for the PhD Degree.

Prospectus Examination

After passing the PhD Preliminary Examination, the student should pass the Prospectus Examination. This examination is usually passed by the end of the 3rd year and needs to take place at least 8 months before the graduation date. The student must submit a Prospectus Examination Application/Approval Form to the ECE Graduate Committee. The student’s advisory committee administers this exam, which may be in the form or a written or a combination of written and oral examination. The content and scope of the exam are at the discretion of the committee. The Prospectus Examination represents the defense of the Dissertation Proposal.

Dissertation Defense Announcement

It is the student’s responsibility to post the dissertation defense announcement within the department and the College of Engineering at least 2 weeks prior to the defense. The announcement should include: dissertation title; student’s name; student’s department; major professor and committee members; date; time and location of the defense. Academic courtesy requires that the dissertation be submitted to each member of the supervisory committee at least 4 weeks before the date of the oral examination.


The dissertation must be an achievement in original research constituting a significant contribution to knowledge and must represent a substantial scholarly effort by the student. Upon the student’s completion of the dissertation, an oral defense is required, which consists of a public presentation of the work to the department and the supervisory committee. Students must register for EEL 8985 Dissertation Defense (0) , before the defense presentation. If the defense is satisfactory, the committee may then recommend award of the degree. Publication of the complete dissertation is required. This may be done in scholarly journals or via University Microfilms.

Course Work Requirements

There are no specific courses required for the program. Each student’s courses are defined by the plan of study, which is approved by the supervisory committee. The general requirements are as follows:

A doctoral degree candidate in electrical engineering must complete a total of seventy-two (72) semester hours of course work beyond those applied to the satisfaction of a bachelor degree:

  1. Completion of a minimum of thirty-six (36) semester hours beyond those applied to the satisfaction of the bachelor degree. A minimum of thirty (30) semester hours must be completed on a letter grade basis; up to six (6) semester hours can be completed on a S/U basis for a total of thirty-six (36) semester hours (minimum). All course work completed to satisfy Ph.D. degree course work requirements must be 5000 level or above. These must include six (6) semester hours in advanced mathematics or advanced courses (5000 level or above) in an area outside of electrical and computer engineering beyond those semester hours applied towards any other degrees;
  2. Completion of three (3) semester hours of course work in EEL 5910 Supervised Research , to demonstrate the ability to perform independent research prior to registration for dissertation research credits. This requirement may be waived at the recommendation of the major professor if the student has completed a master’s degree with a thesis option, and the major professor agrees that this satisfies the objective;
  3. Completion of thirty-three (33) semester hours (minimum) of dissertation research, EEL 6980 .

Graduate Seminar Requirement

All full-time Ph.D. candidates are required to enroll in the graduate seminar, EEL 6932 , for each semester that they are enrolled in the graduate program. The details of the seminar are given below under “Graduate Course Descriptions.”

Supervisory Committee

The supervisory committee will consist of a minimum of three (3) members of the graduate faculty who have doctoral directive status, one of which is a representative-at -large of the graduate faculty drawn from outside the student’s department. Additional members may be appointed if deemed desirable. The committee should consist of at least one (1) major advisor and/or a co-major advisor from the ECE graduate faculty. At least half of the committee members must be faculty members from the ECE Department.

Journal Paper Submission Requirement

All Ph.D. students are required to publish or submit and have under review at least one refereed journal article to a journal in their field of interest before their graduation will be approved.

Dissertation Defense Announcement

It is the student’s responsibility to post the dissertation defense announcement within the department and the College of Engineering at least one week prior to the defense. The announcement should include: thesis title; student’s name; student’s department; major professor and committee members; date; time and location of the defense.

Note: The graduate program in electrical engineering continues to evolve. Candidates are urged to contact the department to obtain the latest information regarding requirements and courses.