PhD in Electrical & Computer Engineering

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The Ph.D. degree program is designed for individuals interested in fundamental research and those planning to pursue academic research and/or industrial research and development careers.

Students may directly pursue the Ph.D. degree after completing the bachelor’s or master’s degree. Students pursuing the Ph.D. degree begin in pre-candidacy, with formal Ph.D. candidacy achieved after passing the Ph.D. Qualifying Examination and having an approved Research and Study Program. Specific Ph.D. degree requirements are detailed in the Department Graduate Policy and summarized below.

Admission to Candidacy

To be formally admitted into Ph.D. candidacy, students must successfully complete the Ph.D. Qualifying Examination and have an approved Research and Study Program.

Qualifying Examination

The qualifying examination is comprised of written and oral components, it is administered once a year, and it must be completed within two years of admission.

Written Component. The written component assesses comprehensive knowledge of the material covered in Foundation courses. 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.

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.

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 a 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).

 ECE PhD: Forms & Resources

PhD Requirement Check Sheet (For students without a Master's Degree)

Please utilize this information when planning your program.

PhD Requirement Check Sheet (For students *with* a Master's Degree)

Please utilize this information when planning your program.

Exit Procedure Form for Graduate Students & Visiting Scholars

Should be completed by each graduate student, post doc, and visiting scholar before leaving UD.
Steps to complete the Ph.D. Degree
Complete the Application for Advanced Degree. The deadline for this application is:

September 15 for December degree conferral

December 15 for winter degree conferral

February 15 for May degree conferral

May 15 for August degree conferral

Please complete the form, have your advisor sign it, and bring the form to Gwen Looby. She will get the other required signatures and email you when this has been done, then bring the completed form to the Office of Graduate & Professional Education with your check.

Please follow the Office of Graduate & Professional Education Step by Step Guide to Graduation.

  • Be sure to make an appointment with Mary Martin in the Office of Graduate & Professional Education on or before the deadline to submit the required documents for your Ph.D. Dissertation. Check the website above to see what you need to bring to the meeting. Deadline dates are provided on the OGS web page above.

Please complete steps 2-5 about one week prior to your meeting with OGS. In addition to the OGS requirements, our department requires that you provide the following materials:

  • One copy on plain white paper (to be read by those providing signatures – this can be printed double-sided).
  • Four copies (or more -1 for our dept.; 3 for the Office of Grad Studies) of the signature pages printed on bond paper. These should be signed by your advisor and all of your committee members. Also, please be sure to include Dr. Barner’s middle initial, E. (Kenneth E. Barner, Ph.D.)

After obtaining the signatures of your advisor and your committee members:

  • Bring the above to Gwen Looby. She will check the format and get Dr. Barner to sign your dissertation. Gwen will take your dissertation to the Dean’s office for his signature. She will email you when this is complete.
  • When you pick up your completed signature pages, pick up a Request for a Copy of Signature Pages Form from Gwen Looby (blue paper – bring this form to your meeting in OGS with Mary Martin).

After your dissertation has been approved by the Graduate Office, please submit the following to Gwen Looby:

  • One copy on bond/watermark paper (to be bound for our Depts. library – this must be printed single-sided).
  • Email a PDF copy of your dissertation to her at

Once these steps are complete, your dissertation will be sent for printing and binding. You will receive one copy of your dissertation printed with the blue soft cover and your advisor will also receive one copy. The department will cover the cost for these.

Since you are finishing your degree and will be leaving the University of Delaware soon, please be sure to do the following:

  • Please stop by to see me before leaving.
  • If you have a department credit card please return it to Karen DiStefano, room 136 Evans Hall.
  • Return all keys for the refund of your deposit to Wendy Scott, room 201 Evans Hall.
  • Email your new address to me so we can forward important mail to you.
  • Complete Exit Procedures form.

If you have any questions, please contact Gwen Looby in Room 140, Evans Hall, email to or at telephone ext. 2406.