Academics - Graduate Program
Graduate Program Policy
The following graduate studies policies are in addition to those established by the University.
- Graduate Degrees Offered
- Graduate Admission Criteria
- Hold a BS in electrical or computer engineering, or a related field, such as math, physics, or computer science. Applicants are expected to have an undergraduate grade-point average in engineering, science, and mathematic courses of 3.0 on a 4.0 scale .
- All applicants are required to submit Graduate Record Examination (GRE) scores. The Department requires a combined score of the verbal and quantitative sections in excess of 1050, with a quantitative score in excess of 600.
- The Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) is required for students whose first language is not English and who have not received a degree from a college or university in which English is the sole language of instruction. International applicants from countries that do not have English as the primary language must submit TOEFL scores. The Department requires a minimum TOEFL score of 550/213/79 (papers/computer examination/IBT) for admission and a minimum score of 600/250/100 for consideration as a Teaching Assistant (TA).
- Applicants are expected to have an undergraduate grade-point average in engineering, science, and mathematic courses of 3.0 on a 4.0 scale.
- Administration Of The Graduate Program
Master of Science in Electrical and Computer Engineering (M.S.E.C.E.)
Authorized: 2002 (Permanent)
(Replaces Master of Electrical Engineering (M.E.E.), Authorized: 1941)
Doctor of Philosophy in Electrical and Computer Engineering (Ph.D.)
Authorized: 2002 (Permanent)
(Replaces Doctor of Philosophy in Electrical Engineering (Ph.D.), Authorized: 1986, which replaced Doctor of Philosophy in Applied Science [Ph.D.], Authorized: 1960)
The requirements for admission to the master's and/or doctoral program in electrical and computer engineering are:
Admission is selective and meeting the minimum requirements of the Department does not guarantee admission. The number and quality of other applicants as well as the availability of faculty supervision and laboratory space affect the number of students offered admission. The Department may find it appropriate to consider admitting an applicant who does not meet all of the admission requirements as stated if it is clear that other strengths identified in the applicant's admission information outweigh the stated minimum requirements for admission.
- Electrical and Computer Engineering Graduate Committee
The graduate program in Electrical and Computer Engineering is administered by the faculty in Electrical and Computer Engineering through its Graduate Committee. This committee is to have representation from each of the major research concentration areas within the Department. The Department faculty elects members serving on the committee. The chairperson of the Departmental Graduate Committee is responsible for day-to-day administration of graduate programs in Electrical and Computer Engineering.
- Faculty Advisors
Each graduate student must have a faculty advisor. For beginning students, the faculty advisor works with the student in planning his/her program, monitors student progress, and is available to advise and help the student. Once students begin their thesis and/or dissertation research, the faculty advisor becomes their research advisor.
Each student in the thesis M.S.E.C.E. and Ph.D. programs must select, by mutual agreement and shared research interests, a faculty advisor during the first year of study. Students that have not secured a faculty advisor after a year of study will be assigned an advisor by the Graduate Committee. With the approval of the Graduate Committee, a student may select a qualified individual from outside the Department as his/her research supervisor. Students with a research supervisor outside the Department must also have a co-advisor within the Department. Students in the non-thesis M.S.E.C.E. program must select an advisor within the Department.
- Rules Applicable to All Degree Programs
The following rules are applicable to all the degree programs:
- A grade of B- or better is required for a course to count toward a degree requirement. A student who receives a grade less than B- must either take the course over to raise the grade, or take another course approved by his/her advisor to replace it in meeting the degree requirement.
- Graduate students must maintain an overall grade point average of 3.0 or higher for all graduate work. Students with an overall grade point average below 3.0 are not eligible for any form of University financial aid.
- No course used to meet degree requirements may be taken Pass/Fail.
- At most 9 credits approved for transfer from another institution may be used to meet degree requirements. Credit transfers must be approved by the Graduate Committee and University's Office of Graduate Studies.
- At most 6 credits of independent study and/or special problems may be used to meet degree requirements.
- Research credits may not be used to meet degree requirements. Research credit grades are, however, included in grade point average calculations.
- All students in residence who have not been given sustaining status must enroll, each regular term, in at least one advanced technical course (for credit) and the research seminar in their area of concentration.
Master's Degree (Thesis Program)
The thesis master's degree program is designed for individuals who want to broaden their electrical and computer engineering foundation knowledge while also conducting an in-depth research project. All master's degree students receiving financial aid, at any point in their program, must take the thesis option.
The master’s program requires 30 credit hours including at least 24 graduate course credits and at least 6 credits for master's thesis (ELEG 869).
The 24-credit course program of each student must include:
- Six (6) credits of electrical and computer engineering Foundation courses. (A list of currently offered Foundation courses is attached.)
- Eighteen (18) credits of advanced technical courses (level 600 or above) related to the student's area of interest. At most twelve (12) credits of these can bear non-ELEG/CPEG numbers and at least three (3) credits must be of 800 level electrical and computer engineering courses.
All students in the thesis master's degree program will carry out original publishable research in collaboration with their advisor and, possibly, other collaborators. Masters’s candidates must write a thesis describing their contributions to this research. Theses must follow the University's rules and those accepted in the profession for the presentation of original work. Master's theses will have two faculty readers, the advisor and one additional reader approved by the faculty advisor and Graduate Committee. The Department Chairperson, upon recommendation of the readers, approves theses.
Master's Degree (Non-Thesis Program)
This program is intended to satisfy the continuing education needs of working engineers and recent graduates who want to broaden their electrical and computer engineering foundation before starting an industrial career. University financial aid is not available to students taking this program. Students receiving financial aid, at any point in their program, must enroll in the thesis master's degree program.
Credit Requirements (on-campus program):
The non-thesis master's program requires 30 credit hours of course work.
The 30-credit course program of each student must include:
- Six (6) credits of electrical and computer engineering Foundation courses. (See the attached appendix for a list of currently offered Foundation courses.)
- Twenty-four (24) credits of advanced technical courses (level 600 or above) related to the student's area of interest. At least six (6) credits of these must be 800 level electrical and computer engineering courses and at most twelve (12) credits can bear non-ELEG/CPEG numbers.
Credit Requirements (online program):
The online non-thesis master's program requires 30 credit hours of course work.
For course information, visit the online program courses page
The Ph.D. degree program is designed for individuals interested in fundamental research on novel aspects of electrical and computer engineering. The degree is intended for individuals planning to pursue academic research and/or industrial research and development careers. All students pursuing the Ph.D. degree are initially entered in pre-candidacy (G1 status). Formal entry into the Ph.D. program, or candidacy (G2 status), is granted following the successful completion of the Ph.D. Qualifying Examination and approval by the Graduate Committee of the student's Research and Study Program. The specific Ph.D. degree requirements are detailed below.
Admission to Candidacy:
To be formally admitted into Ph.D. candidacy (G2 status), students must successfully complete the Ph.D. Qualifying Examination and have a Research and Study Program approved by the student's advisor and the Department Graduate Committee.
- Qualifying Examination. Candidates must have completed at least four ELEG/CPEG graduate courses and have a minimum 3.25 GPA to sit for the Qualifying Examination. The GPA requirement is based on all ELEG/CPEG graduate courses taken by the candidate, excluding special problems and independent study courses. The qualifying examination is comprised of written and oral components.
- Written Component. The written component assesses comprehensive knowledge of the material covered in Foundation courses. Foundation courses are offered in each of the major research areas within the Department. The examination is comprised of questions in each area. Students must successfully answer questions in: (1) his/her area of concentration and (2) at least one area outside his/her concentration.
- Oral Component. The oral component consists of a closed question and answer session. Questions may cover foundation course material and current research topics in the student's area of concentration.
The Qualifying Examination is administered once a year, must be completed within two years of admission, and can be taken at most twice.
- Research and Study Program. Students must submit a Research and Study Program (RSP) prior to taking the Qualifying Examination. The RSP details: (1) all courses taken by the student, (2) all future courses planned to be taken in fulfillment of the degree requirements, (3) an abstract of the research to be undertaken in fulfillment of the degree requirements, and (4) a list of the individuals that have agreed to serve on the student's dissertation committee.
- Ph.D. Committee. The Ph.D. committee must consist of at least four individuals. The committee is chaired by the student's faculty research advisor and must include at least two additional faculty members from the Department. Moreover, the committee must have at least one faculty member from a different academic unit, or an equivalently qualified individual from outside the University.
Research Program and Dissertation:
Following formal admission to candidacy, students must complete: (1) Pre-Dissertation Examination, (2) Ph.D. Dissertation, and (3) Final Oral Examination.
- Pre-Dissertation Examination. The pre-dissertation examination is an in-depth written document and presentation of the student's thesis proposal to members of his/her committee. The proposal must present sufficient evidence to justify accepting the proposal as a dissertation topic. The proposal must include, therefore, the need for the proposed research, existing methods and techniques, the proposed new methods and techniques, and the expected benefits. Candidates must complete the pre-dissertation examination within one and a half (1.5) years of passing the Ph.D. Qualifying Examination and having an approved RSP. The written proposal must be distributed to the committee members for review no less than two weeks prior to the scheduled proposal presentation.
- Ph.D. Dissertation. Candidates must carry out a program of substantial original research on a topic agreed upon by his/her committee and the Departmental Graduate Committee. This research forms the basis of a written dissertation that must be read and approved by the student's committee as adequate for the Ph.D. degree. The dissertation must be prepared in accordance with the rules of the Graduate Office. The dissertation research should form the basis of several research papers in refereed professional journals.
- Final Oral Examination. The written dissertation must be distributed to the committee members for review no less than two weeks prior to the scheduled final oral examination. In the final oral examination, the student presents the results of his/her dissertation research to members of the faculty. The format of the presentation is that of a seminar in which questions from the audience take the place of formal exam questions. The student's committee meets afterwards, in closed session, to decide if sufficient research progress has been made to warrant the granting of the Ph.D.
General Requirements: In addition to the specific requirements noted above, the following General Requirements must be satisfied by all candidates
- Candidates are required to complete one continuous academic year of full-time study as a residency requirement.
- Candidates must complete the course requirements for the thesis master's degree, or have been awarded a master's degree in electrical or computer engineering or closely related field.
- Candidates must take at least two foundation courses outside their area of concentration.
- Candidates must take at least 9 credits of Doctoral Dissertation (ELEG 969).
A number of fellowships, research assistantships, and teaching assistantships are awarded on a competitive basis each year to full-time graduate students in the Department. In addition, the University awards various competitive fellowships each year to particularly outstanding students. Both entering and continuing graduate students are eligible for financial aid. If awarded financial aid, students entering with a bachelor's degree are typically supported for a maximum of two years for a master's degree, or a maximum of five years total if they continue for the Ph.D. degree. Students entering with a master's degree are typically supported for a maximum of four years for the Ph.D. degree.
Candidates for graduate degrees must maintain a cumulative average of 3.0 or better to remain in good standing. The Graduate Committee will review the progress of all master and Ph.D. students at the end of each term. Only students in good standing, and who are making adequate progress on their research, are eligible for financial aid.
The thesis master's and Ph.D. degrees in electrical and computer engineering are research degrees. Each student is required to participate in publishable research in one of the areas of departmental concentration, or in some other area with the prior approval of their research advisor and the Graduate Committee.
Publication of research is an important requirement for graduate thesis and dissertation research. Each candidate shall prepare one or more papers with his/her advisor describing his/her research and submit these papers to appropriate refereed journals. These papers will provide the basis for the student's thesis and/or dissertation.
Each student is also expected to present the results of his/her research in the appropriate departmental research seminar and, where feasible, at appropriate professional meetings.