College of Engineering

Ph.D. Program of Study: What to Expect

The Ph.D. is a research degree. The general requirements for earning a Ph.D. in Engineering are the same for all departments, with some having additional requirements for students pursuing a concentration in that department.

» Students admitted with a master's degree
» Students admitted directly from a bachelor's degree program into Ph.D. degree program
» Students admitted directly from a bachelor's degree program earning a non-thesis master’s degree en-route

Learn More:
» Advisory Committee
» Program of Study
» Comprehensive Examination and Admission to Candidacy

Advisory Committee

Each Ph.D. student's advisory committee will have a minimum of five (5) voting members with at least three members from the student's major department and at least one (1) member from outside the department. The College of Engineering's Associate Dean for Research and Innovation or his/her designee may serve as an ex officio, nonvoting member as deemed necessary by the academic department. The student is responsible for identifying, in consultation with the departmental chairperson or Associate Dean, a faculty member who is willing to chair his/her advisory committee. The chairperson of the committee, and the student are responsible for identifying the other faculty members required/desired and determining if they are willing to serve.

Changes in a Ph.D. advisory committee must adhere to all policies and procedures governing graduate study at the University. Failure to be able to form a committee is a cause for transfer to non-degree status. Further regulations concerning the membership, appointment, and responsibilities of the advisory committee are given in other sections of the catalog, including the sections on "Organization of the College of Graduate Studies" and "Degree Requirements."

Program of Study

The Ph.D. student’s Advisory Committee shall formally meet with the student to assess the student's knowledge relative to the field of study. A program of study based on this assessment must be completed before the end of the second semester of enrollment for the degree or completion of 15 credit hours of graduate courses, whichever comes first.

All courses shown on the program of study, including background courses, are indicators of the student’s depth and breadth of knowledge in the discipline and shall be considered by the committee when designing the written part of the student’s comprehensive examination. In determining the time limits for taking the comprehensive examination, for earning the degree and for determining eligibility for financial aid, the time that the background courses were completed shall not be considered.

Each proposed program of study must be approved by the student’s advisory committee, the departmental chairperson, the Associate Dean of Engineering for Research and Innovation and the Dean of College of Graduate Studies.

Comprehensive Examination and Admission to Candidacy

The comprehensive examination will consist of a written portion and an oral defense of the written research proposal. The written examination will consist of several parts related to the major discipline and the research area. This examination will test the student's breadth of knowledge in the discipline, depth of knowledge in selected areas and the ability to integrate the knowledge acquired from several courses. This examination must be given after the student has completed at least eighty (80) percent of the coursework beyond the master's degree, as prescribed in the program of study, and completed before the end of the semester following completion of coursework.

All parts of the written examination should be completed within a period of two weeks.

The written research proposal should, as a minimum, consist of the development of the research problem from the extant knowledge in the area, the approach and methodology to be followed, the expected original contribution to the extant knowledge and the expected timeline for the completion of the research. The student should submit copies of written proposal to the committee within thirty (30) days from the date of taking the final part of the written examination, and the proposal defense will be scheduled shortly thereafter. The student will be informed of the results of the entire comprehensive examination (written part and proposal presentation) at the end of the defense of the research proposal.

On passing the entire comprehensive examination, the student will become an official candidate for the doctoral degree.


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