PhD Qualifying Process and Achieving Candidacy

Overview

The ECE PhD Qualifying Process is primarily designed to provide admitted PhD students (1) opportunities to demonstrate their technical and research abilities to ECE faculty and (2) diagnostic feedback on improving upon their preparation for taking on PhD research. Failure to satisfy the requirements of the ECE PhD Qualifying Process results in removal of the student from the PhD program. The ECE PhD Qualifying Process requires the admitted PhD student to satisfy a Technical Preparation Criterion (TPC) and a Research Preparation Criterion (RPC).

Resources

Technical Preparation Criterion (TPC)

Post-bachelor’s PhD Students

  • Required to obtain a GPA of at least 3.7 in 4 ECE graduate courses. One of them should have a significant component involving formulation, analysis, and solution of mathematical models.
  • TPC must be satisfied within the first 3 full academic semesters in order to achieve PhD candidacy.

Post-master’s PhD Students

  • Required to obtain a GPA of at least 3.7 in 2 ECE graduate courses. One of them should have a significant component involving formulation, analysis, and solution of mathematical models.
  • TPC must be satisfied within the first 2 full academic semesters in order to achieve PhD candidacy.

Courses and TPC Criterion

Research Preparation Criterion (RPC)

All PhD Students

  • A successful RPC exam is required to qualify as a PhD candidate. The RPC exam consists of oral and written components based on a research paper of the student’s choosing from the student’s intended field of PhD research. The oral component consists of  1.5–2 hour examination in which 3 ECE faculty members assess the research abilities of the student in the context of the article. The presentation of the research article provides a starting point for the committee to explore the student’s knowledge of the general research area. The student is expected to know the research context of the article, be able to demonstrate an understanding of the general field, and be able to suggest and evaluate some potential research directions. The written component consists of a 2-page report.
  • The department typically schedules RPC at the end of their second academic semester (May). However, PhD students have the option of completing an EARLY RPC exam at the beginning of their second semester (February-March).
  • Students who do not pass an RPC exam on their first attempt are allowed a second attempt later that same summer.  RPC must be satisfied by the end of that summer to achieve PhD candidacy and remain in the PhD program.

Achieving Candidacy

PhD candidacy is achieved upon satisfying both the TPC and the RPC and submitting the PhD Candidacy Application to the ECE department. To apply for PhD candidacy, please complete the PhD Candidacy Application below and submit it to your Academic Programs Manager.