Ph.D. Electrical Engineering Handbook

 

Contents

  • Basic Requirements for the Ph.D. Degree
  • Supervisory Committee
  • Program of Study
  • Ph.D. Program Requirements
  • Amendment to Planned Program of Study
  • Coursework Guideline Criteria
  • Examinations
  • Ph.D. Qualifying Examination
  • Ph.D. Research Comprehensive Exam (Dissertation Proposal)
  • Dissertation Defense
  • Dissertation Requirements
  • Ph.D. Forms

 

Basic Requirements for the Ph.D. Degree

This schedule summarizes the requirements and due dates for the Ph.D. degree. Students who have not completed requirements or submitted required forms to the Graduate Coordinator by the due dates may be dropped from the program. All students who are on visas must be registered for at least nine credit hours of coursework in every semester (excluding summer), including their final semester, unless they receive permission from the Department Graduate Committee prior to the beginning of the semester.

Requirement

Process

Due Date

Supervisory Committee

5 members

The chair of the committee must be a regular ECE faculty member; the majority of the members must be ECE faculty; at least one member must be from outside the department

Submit a Request for Supervisory Committee form to the ECE Office

Full time: drop deadline of second semester of study

Part time*: drop deadline of third semester of study

Program of Study

At least 42 semester hours of coursework beyond B.S. degree, 4 hours of graduate seminar, and 36 hours of research

Students with a previous Master’s degree will receive credit for 30 hours of coursework and 2 hours of graduate seminar toward the Ph.D.; these students must take at least 12 hours of coursework, 36 hours of research, and 2 hours of graduate seminar for their Ph.D. program (supervisory committees may require more coursework).

Submit a form Program of Study for the Ph.D. Degree to the ECE Office

Full time: drop deadline of second semester of study

Part time*: drop deadline of third semester of study

Amendment to Program of Study

Submit an Amendment to Planned Program of Study form to the ECE Office for approval prior to registering for added courses

Changes must be made before an added class is taken; classes cannot be dropped after they have been completed

SPEAK Test

Yes

Contact Testing Center to make arrangements; requires request form from Graduate Coordinator

Drop deadline of second semester of study

Proficiency Requirement

Yes

Must satisfy the ECE proficiency requirement

Submit a form Fulfillment of Proficiency Requirements to the ECE Office

Full time: drop deadline of third semester of study

Part time*: drop deadline of fourth semester of study

Residency Requirement

At least one year (two consecutive semesters) of full-time academic work; a full load is 9 credit hours

Qualifying Exam

Yes

Make arrangements with Graduate Coordinator during first week of semester in which exam is taken

During second semester of study

Research Comprehensive Exam

(Dissertation Proposal)

Yes

Pass a Research Comprehensive Exam administered by the supervisory committee (including defense of a written formal dissertation proposal)

Notify the Graduate Coordinator in the ECE Office at least one week prior to the date of the exam

No later than fifth semester of study (may not be taken in the same semester as the dissertation defense)

Dissertation

Yes

At least 36 hours of thesis research

Dissertation Final Exam

Yes

Notify the Graduate Coordinator in the ECE Office at least one week prior to the date of the exam

Defend the dissertation at the end of coursework requirements; the defense must be done at least two semesters after the comprehensive exam

*Please note that international students must be full-time students.

 

 

Supervisory Committee

The Ph.D. supervisory committee consists of five faculty members. At least three of the committee members must be regular ECE faculty members, and at least one must be from outside the ECE Department. The committee conducts the student’s written and oral Qualifying Examinations, the Research Comprehensive Examination, and the dissertation defense.

Each student forms a supervisory committee whose members guide the student’s graduate program. Students must form this committee by the beginning of the second semester of study.

Any regular Electrical & Computer Engineering faculty member may serve as a supervisory committee chair. After the faculty members have agreed to serve on a supervisory committee, the student should file a completed Request for Supervisory Committee form with the Graduate Coordinator in the ECE Office. A committee may be revised, if necessary, by submitting a Request to Change Supervisory Committee Personnel form.The Graduate Committee approves all supervisory committee forms; final approval is granted by the Dean of the Graduate School.

Faculty outside of the ECE Department may supervise a student, but the student must have a regular ECE faculty member serve as co-chair. Individuals who are not faculty members may serve on a supervisory committee if approved by the supervisory committee chair and the Graduate Committee. A current vita for any non-university member must be submitted with the Supervisory Committee form.

 

 

Program of Study

After consulting with the approved supervisory committee chair, the student must plan a program of study and complete and submit the Program of Study for the Ph.D. Degree form.

Approval signatures of the supervisory committee members are to be obtained by the student. Completed and signed forms must be submitted to the Graduate Coordinator in the ECE Office by the drop deadline of the second semester of study. After approval of the Department Graduate Committee, the program of study is submitted to the Graduate School for their approval.

The program of study must be filed prior to taking the Qualifying Exam and the Comprehensive Exam (dissertaion proposal).

Ph.D. Program Requirements

  1. All coursework is to be completed within seven consecutive calendar years.
  2. Coursework listed on the program of study must consist of:
    1. A minimum of 42 hours of graduate courses (5000 level or above) beyond the B.S. degree, in engineering and allied fields. Students with a prior Master’s degree will receive credit for 30 hours of coursework and must take at least 12 hours of coursework for their Ph.D. coursework hours (supervisory committees may require more coursework hours).
    2. 4 semesters of Graduate Seminar (ECE 6900, 6910, 7900, and 7910) or 2 semesters of Graduate Seminar (ECE 7900, 7910) for students with a prior Master’s degree.
    3. At least 36 semester hours of thesis research (ECE 7970).
  3. The 42 hours of required coursework may not include faculty consultation or thesis research.
  4. Ph.D. students may take up to three semester hours of ECE 7950 (Special Studies) which will count toward the required 42 coursework hours. If a student has taken three hours of Special Studies for their Master’s degree, they may not take more hours of Special Studies for their Ph.D. degree. Students cannot register for Special Studies without prior permission from the Graduate Committee. Permission is obtained by completing and filing the Special Studies Request form with the Graduate Coordinator. The general guidelines state that for every hour of credit, a course generally requires two hours of study per week outside of class. Therefore, it will be understood that for every credit hour of Special Studies, the student will be expected to spend three hours per week on the activity. Special studies courses from other departments cannot be used for the program of study. Special Studies may not include the material of any class taught by the Electrical & Computer Engineering Department.

All students who are on visas must be registered for at least nine credit hours of coursework in every semester (excluding summer) unless they receive permission from the Department Graduate Committee prior to the beginning of the semester.

 

 

Amendment to Planned Program of Study

Modifications to the Program of Study may be made by filing an Amendment to Planned Program of Study form with the supervisory committee and obtaining required approval before enrollment in any added courses. Completed courses cannot be deleted from the program of study. Credit towards obtaining a degree will not be granted for classes taken prior to approval of the form, unless the student is changing degree status.

 

 

Coursework Guideline Criteria

A minimum GPA of 3.0 on coursework listed on the program of study with no grade lower than C- is required for graduation. A student who receives a grade lower than C- in a course listed on the program of study must repeat that same course and receive a higher grade. Courses cannot be deleted from the program of study after they are taken.

  1. The coursework to be taken for the Ph.D. degree is decided and must be approved by the student’s supervisory committee. The 42 hours of required courses are not to include faculty consultation (ECE 7980) or thesis hours (ECE 7970).
  2. Coursework cannot be used for more than one degree on the same level.
  3. A course taken for 5000-level credit cannot be taken again for 6000-level credit.
  4. Cross-listed courses must be registered through the ECE course numbers.
  5. Where a course has both a 5000- and 6000-level number, the 5000-level version is intended for undergraduates and the 6000-level version for honors and graduate students. The two versions of the class will meet together, but extra work will be expected of honors and graduate students.
  6. Students may only register for thesis research after they have set up a supervisory committee.
  7. No Graduate Seminar course (ECE 6900, 6910, 7900, 7910) may be taken more than once to satisfy the requirement. Each seminar course has different requirements and may not be substituted for each other.
  8. Students who receive an “Incomplete” grade in a class must complete the class by the following semester, even if the semester is the summer semester.

 

 

Examinations

Students must be registered for at least three credit hours in the semester in which they take an exam. The Research Comprehensive Exam and Final Oral Exam (oral dissertation defense) may not be done during the same semester. The defense must be done at least two semesters after the comprehensive exam.

Ph.D. Qualifying Examination

All Ph.D. students must pass a Qualifying Examination, as specified by the Graduate School. The Qualifying Exam consists of a written part and an oral part. Students must take the Qualifying Examination during the second semester of study.

Procedure:

  1. A candidate forms a supervisory committee and discusses his/her field of study with the advisor(s) no later than the 2nd semester after admission into the Ph.D. program.
  2. A candidate enters the program with a Masters degree takes the qualifying exam no later than their 3rd semester after admission into the Ph.D. program.  A candidate that enters the program with a Bachelor’s  degree takes the qualifying exam no later than their 4th semester after admission into the Ph.D. program.
  3. By the third week of the semester in which the qualifying exam will be taken, the Supervisory Committee chooses two papers for the candidate to study. At this time, the committee should also discuss whether or not the candidate’s program of study is appropriate and convey the outcome of that discussion to the candidate.
  4. Within five weeks (three weeks in summer), the candidate submits a report that contains a critical analysis identifying the strengths and weaknesses of the papers.

    a. The Supervisory Committee will have two weeks to determine whether or not the written report is satisfactory.

    b. If the Supervisory Committee deems the report to be satisfactory, the candidate will schedule the oral exam.

    c. If the report is deemed unsatisfactory the student will have three weeks (2 weeks in the summer) to redo the report. The candidate will then schedule the oral exam.

  5. The candidate then takes the oral examination with all members of the Supervisory Committee except the advisor. If the candidate is co-advised, neither advisor will be present for the oral examination. Advisors are invited to participate in the deliberations that take place immediately after the oral examination.

    a. In both the written component and the oral presentation, the candidate must address the following points for each study paper:

    i. The methods, results, and significance of the paper

    ii. The completeness of the paper and what follow-on research could be performed

    iii. The relationship of the paper to the candidate’s intended field of study.

    b. The student will have the equivalent of 30 minutes of uninterrupted time to present. The total time for the oral exam should not exceed 2 hours.

    c. The candidate should be prepared to answer questions from the committee regarding:

    i. Items covered in the written summary

    ii. Items specific to the two papers

    iii. The general field of study relevant to the student’s area of research. The general field refers to one of the five curriculum subcommittee areas that exist within the department (e.g. control systems and power engineering or microwaves and optics).

    d. Based upon the written report and oral examination, the committee will recommend Pass, Fail, or Retry. In the event of a Retry, the candidate must repeat the process the following semester, even if that semester is summer. Only one Retry will be allowed. No retries will be allowed if a candidate fails the Qualifying Exam.

 

 

Research Comprehensive Examination (Dissertation Proposal)

Ph.D. candidates must take a Research Comprehensive Examination (dissertation proposal) to be administered by their supervisory committee at a time determined by that committee, but no later than the fifth semester of study.

The candidate writes a proposal on their research in the NSF or NIH format which would include only the technical proposal and the vita sections. The page limit for the proposal should be 15 pages for Ph.D. students.

The choice of which format to use would be based on the area of research. The faculty advisor would help the student choose. The following are the links to the NSF and NIH websites for their format information.

NSF Grant Proposal Guide

NIH Grants

This proposal should be submitted to the members of the candidate’s supervisory committee at least two weeks before the comprehensive exam.

Students must notify the ECE Graduate Coordinator at least one week before they are going to take the Research Comprehensive Examination.

 

 

Dissertation Defense

The Final Oral Examination (oral dissertation defense) is conducted by the supervisory committee according to Graduate School regulations. A student will be passed only if the committee is satisfied that the dissertation research and documentation are unquestionably of the quality that will bring distinction to the candidate and the department. The committee may request further work of the candidate before a final decision is made.

All students must understand that they are responsible for ensuring that the submitted dissertation meets the requirements of the Graduate School for proper format. Ample help is available from the Graduate School Thesis and Dissertation Editor in the form of a Style and Format Guide as well as seminars. Dissertations with improper format will be rejected.

The student must provide the ECE Graduate Coordinator with the following information at least one week before the date of the dissertation defense: the defense date and time, room, and a copy of the abstract and title of the dissertation. A “Report of the Final Oral Examination for the Ph.D. Degree” form will be completed by the ECE Graduate Coordinator for approval signatures during the defense, and the Graduate Coordinator will submit the form to the Graduate School.

 

 

Dissertation Requirements

The supervisory committee must give preliminary approval of the dissertation prior to the defense. The defense can be scheduled after this approval. The student must provide one copy of the dissertation to the chair of the supervisory committee at least three weeks before the defense, and one copy to each of the other committee members at least two weeks prior to the defense.

After successfully defending the dissertation, the student must obtain approval by having their committee members sign the Supervisory Committee Approval and Final Reading Approval forms. The student should prepare at least three copies of each form. The forms are submitted to the Graduate Coordinator for the Department Chair’s signature. The student must then submit the forms to the Thesis Editor with a draft of the final dissertation. The due date of the final dissertation to the Thesis Editor may be found at http://gradschool.utah.edu/thesis/.

Detailed policies and procedures concerning the dissertation are contained in A Handbook for Theses and Dissertations published by the Graduate School.

 

 

Ph.D. Forms

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