Doctorate of Philosophy Requirements

Doctorate of Philosophy Degree Requirements

  1. A PhD student must form a Supervisory committee within the first semester in the graduate program. This committee consists of 5 members: a chairman or major professor, and 4 other members. One of these members must be outside of the Electrical and Computer Engineering Department.

  2. Successful completion (GPA of 3.0 or higher) of 90 semester credits beyond a BS degree and 60 semester credits beyond an MS degree with a C or better in each course at or above the 5000 level.

  3. PhD course work requirement will be a minimum of 21 credits past the master’s degree. The total number of credits will be determined by the supervisory committee after a meeting of the committee and the student together. The Program of Study (POS) will be designed to help the student to master at least ONE of the ECE Department graduate study areas of emphasis and should include the emphasis area of the student’s intended area of dissertation research. This meeting must take place within the first semester of study.

  4. PhD dissertation credit requirement will be a minimum of 12 credits past the master’s degree. The total dissertation credits required will be the 60 credits past the master’s degree minus the course work credits in #3 above.

  5. Up to 18 credits of course work beyond the BS degree can be taken outside the ECE department.

  6. The student will be required to pass a Dissertation Research Proposal Defense after completing a minimum of 18 hours of course work (post MS). The formal presentation to the student’s supervisory committee should be held approximately the same semester as the student passes the comprehensive exam. The following requirements must be met:
    1. Written proposal due at time of proposal defense.
    2. Must have a signed title page by the student’s supervisory committee.
    3. Should be 15-20 pages.
    4. Must include a thorough literary search bibliography.
    5. Student must be able to answer questions from literary search at proposal defense.
    6. Proposal should be of a quality that would allow submission to a funding agency.

  7. The student will be required to pass a comprehensive exam over the content of the student’s POS. It will consist of:
    • A 7-hour (with a 1-hour break) written exam created by the student’s committee, and reviewed and administered by the Graduate Committee based on the student’s POS. The content of the exam will be determined by the supervisory committee and questions will be drawn from a pool of questions created by the faculty at large. All faculty members in the department will be required to submit 3 questions (with answers) in their area of specialization or area of course work teaching each year to create and maintain the pool of questions.
    • The student will be required to pass an oral portion of the exam covering the content of the student’s POS with special emphasis on the dissertation research area. The exam will be given a short time after the written exam is completed successfully (typically 1-2 weeks). The oral exam will be 2 hours long and be given by the faculty on the student’s supervisory committee (a minimum of 3 members, one of whom should be the chairman or major professor).
    • The exam will be taken after a minimum of 18 hours of course work is completed (post MS, excluding dissertation credits).
    • The comprehensive exams for all PhD students will be administered on the same day, typically during the third week of January in the Spring semester. This will allow first-year PhD students to meet the requirement for course work above during their first year and be able, after passing the exam, to move on to their dissertation research in earnest.
    • The student must apply to the Graduate Committee for approval to take the exam no later than 4 months (September) before the exam is given.
    • The purpose of the exam is twofold - to determine if the student has mastered the course work material and has made the synthesis between topics from different courses that is expected from a PhD graduate from our program, and to determine that the student has mastered the course work material sufficiently to be successful in the dissertation research.

  8. The student will be required to pass a defense of the original, publishable dissertation research.

  9. PhD students are required to have peer-reviewed publishable papers for the PhD degree. The number and suitability will be set by the Student’s Supervisory Committee.

Revised 11-12-2009

Copyright © 2006, Utah State University, College of Engineering. All Rights Reserved. | Webmaster