Doctoral Programs

Doctor of Philosophy Programs

  • Doctor of Philosophy Program in Electrical Engineering (EE)
  • Doctor of Philosophy Program in Computer Engineering (CP)


The primary goal of the Ph.D. in Electrical and Computer Engineering is to provide a research intensive program with the rigorous course work to strengthen the student's knowledge in the fundamentals of Electrical and Computer Engineering.  The programs include advanced graduate coursework in Electrical/Computer Engineering and allied subjects and research culminating in a doctoral dissertation.

A complete description of the doctoral programs are found in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering Doctoral Student Handbook which is updated annually and available from the department office.

Admission Requirements

Applicants must have a BS or MS degree in Electrical Engineering or Computer Engineering or their equivalent from a recognized college or university with an acceptable quality of prior academic work. Applicants must submit official transcripts of all prior undergraduate and graduate courses. Each applicant must submit an official report of Graduate Record Examination (GRE) General Test scores. The TOEFL exam is required for students from abroad whose native language is not English.

Plan of Study

Each student entering the program must develop a plan of study in consultation with his/her advisor.

Visit the ECE Graduate Website.

Program Duration

The time for graduation for full-time students is expected to range from a minimum of three and a half years to a maximum of five years after BS Engineering and a minimum of two and a half years to a maximum of four years after MS Engineering.

Transfer Credit

Up to 24 semester credits in graduate courses in Electrical/Computer Engineering and allied subjects are transferable to the doctoral program upon approval by the Doctoral Committee of the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering.

Candidacy Requirements

  1. Qualifying Examination  - The qualifying examination is a written exam will be held twice a year at the beginning of each semester. A PhD candidate has 2 chances to pass the exam. IF the student fails the exam twice, then they are dismissed from the program and are not eligible to be re-admitted to the Department. If the student wishes to appeal this they can follow the guidelines provided in the Graduate Policies -  University Appeals process. The exact dates will be announced on the website and in the ECE office. A doctoral student must take this examination no later than the first year of study at UML as an EE/CP doctoral student. So, if a student is accepted into the Doctoral Program in the Fall, the student must take the exam in the following Spring semester. If a student is accepted into the Doctoral Program in the Spring, the student must take the exam in the following Fall semester. The doctoral committee reserves the right to drop from the program those students who do no comply with the requirements of this clause. A doctoral student who fails at the first attempt will be allowed one more opportunity to retake this examination. The second attempt must be done the next time the qualifying exam is offered.  So, if the student fails the exam in the Fall, he/she must retake the exam in the Spring OR if the student fails the exam in the Spring, then he/she must retake the exam in the Fall.
  2. Thesis Proposal and Oral Exam - Having passed the qualifying examination, a student may submit his/her dissertation proposal and defend the proposal before the Doctoral Committee. The proposal examination will also include an oral examination on topics connected with the student’s area of research. On passing this examination, the student’s name will be submitted to the College Doctoral Committee and the Registrar's Office for acceptance as a candidate for the Doctor of Philosophy Degree. Admission to candidacy status does not guarantee the obtaining of the degree.
  3. Final Defense of Dissertation  - This is the final oral examination, conducted by the Doctoral Committee. The membership of the committee may be augmented by non-voting faculty. The candidate has to submit a written Dissertation based on the research during the period of the Ph.D. degree. After receiving the approval of the advisor and the Doctoral Committee, the final oral examination shall be conducted. In order to pass, the candidate may not receive more than one dissenting vote from the membership of the examination committee.

Academic Requirements

1. Credit Requirement

  • The Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) degree requires completion of a minimum of 63 semester hours of academic credit beyond the Bachelor of Science degree. A typical program consists of the following:
ECE and Allied Subjects30
Courses/Thesis *12
Graduate Seminar ** (16.601/602)0
Total credit hours63

* Graduate level engineering courses including associated science and math course OR Dissertation credits approved by faculty advisor and dissertation committee.

**All Doctoral students (Ph.D.) who have been admitted Fall 2012 or later must take the Graduate Seminar course for a total of TWO semesters during their doctoral studies. This course is mandatory for doctoral students.

For more information, pleased go to this link: Graduate Seminar.

2. Core Requirement

The core courses are beginning graduate courses. They emphasize the fundamentals, concepts, and analytical techniques relevant to Electrical/Computer Engineering. They also help the student prepare for the qualifying examination.

Required Core Courses for Ph.D. degree in Electrical Engineering: (choose three courses)

Students in Electrical Engineering must take three courses of the above courses.

Required Core Courses for Ph.D. degree in Computer Engineering: 

3. Grade-Point Average (GPA) Requirement

To successfully complete the program, a student must achieve a cumulative grade-point average (GPA) of at least 3.25 in all course work.