Electrical and Computer Engineering
MS Oral Defense/Comprehensive Exam
These procedures and additional requirements are specific to the ECE Department.
- Thesis Defense
- Comprehensive Exam (for Non-thesis Option)
A fundamental milestone in the graduation requirements is completion of the oral defense, which consists of an oral presentation by the student of her/his thesis research results, followed by questioning. The overall intention is to test the student's breadth of knowledge in the discipline, depth in the specific area of research, and ability to integrate concepts and techniques learned in the various courses. The student should schedule the thesis defense date well in advance to insure that all members of the committee are in attendance. Students must submit a draft copy of their theses to their committees and to Graduate Studies at least two weeks before the defense date. The defense begins with an open session in which the candidate makes a presentation to the committee and other faculty and students. The audience then asks questions regarding the candidate's research work. Afterward, in a closed session, the committee examines the candidate on the details of the thesis, as well as any other relevant material. Then the candidate is asked to leave the room, and the committee discusses the performance of the candidate and votes to pass or fail the candidate. The student must pass this examination by three (3) positive votes or three-fourths of the committee members eligible to vote. A signature form is then forwarded to Graduate Studies which keeps the results of the examination. If the candidate passes the exam, the committee instructs the candidate on any required changes or new work needed to complete the thesis. If the candidate fails the exam, the committee informs the candidate in writing regarding the additional work that must be undertaken before taking the examination a second time. The second attempt may be scheduled as soon as these deficiencies are rectified. However, failure on the second attempt results in dismissal from the graduate program. The requested revisions to the thesis must be made, final signatures of all committee members obtained, and two copies of the final thesis must be submitted to Graduate Studies (plus one to the Department) at least one week before graduation. Bound copies of all theses are kept on file in both the University Library and the ECE Department.
Comprehensive Exam (for Non-thesis Option)
The non-thesis option comprehensive examination is a four-hour written examination taken after completion of all core courses, consisting of two questions from each of the core courses taken by the student. These questions are prepared and graded by the professor from whom the student took that core course. The Department Chair is responsible for assembling, proctoring, and compiling the overall score on the exam. An overall score of 70 percent is required to pass. A committee signature form is then forwarded to Graduate Studies which keeps the results of the examination. If the student fails this exam, he or she will be given a written list of specific deficiencies which must be addressed prior to a second exam attempt. The second attempt may be scheduled as soon as the deficiencies are rectified. However, failure on the second attempt results in dismissal from the MSECE program.