College of Graduate Studies

Engineering Ph.D. Admission Requirements

A graduate program leading to a Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) degree in Engineering is offered by the College of Engineering. When applying for admission, a student must state on the application the major area of study for which admission is requested.

The basic admission standards for the Ph.D. program are:

The basic admission standards for the Ph.D. program are the same as for the MS programs, except that, additionally, an applicant is expected to have completed an MS degree in an academic area appropriate to the proposed area of study and to have earned an MS GPA of at least 3.5 on a 4.0 scale.

Though the general requirement for admission to the Ph.D. program is a master's degree in an appropriate discipline, students with a bachelor's degree may be admitted to the Ph.D. program directly on exceptional basis, provided the applicant has a record of excellent academic performance in an appropriate engineering program undergraduate program. The applicant's test scores, personal recommendations, and relevant work experience must indicate a high potential for success in doctoral studies and research. In addition, factors such as appropriateness of the applicant's research objectives to the research interests of the program faculty, availability of faculty to supervise the applicant's research, and prior research accomplishments of the applicant will also influence the admission decision.

Fulfilling the minimum requirement does not guarantee admission; an applicant who does not meet the above minimum, but appears to have reasonable potential for success as a Ph.D. student, may be admitted to provisional standing. His/her status may be changed to full standing after satisfying requirements specified by the Associate Dean of Engineering for Graduate Studies and Research, in consultation with the appropriate departmental chairperson, at the time of admission.

If admitted in provisional standing at either the MS or Ph.D. level, the student must remove all deficiencies and apply for reclassification to full standing prior to the completion of 15 graduate hours.

Sometimes a master's-level student takes more graduate-level courses than are required for the degree because the student is expecting to continue on to the Ph.D. program and hopes to use the extra courses to satisfy the Ph.D. coursework requirement. When this is the case, the student can request when registering for the course(s) that the course(s) be "banked" for the Ph.D. program. If the student lacks no more than 12 semester hours on the master's degree, he/she may accumulate a maximum of nine (9) semester hours which may be applied toward the Ph.D. When this is the case, the student's advisory committee must initiate approval via memo with consensus of the departmental chairperson, dean of the college, and the Director of Graduate Studies. Banked courses then show up on the student's transcript as courses taken for the Ph.D. rather than being shown as a part of his/her M.S. program. Banking course does not guarantee admission to the Ph.D. program, or, if admitted, that the student's Ph.D. advisory committee will approve the course as part of the student's Ph.D. program of study.

Degree Requirements for the Ph.D. Degree in Engineering

The Ph.D. is a research degree. The minimum requirements for a Ph.D. degree in Engineering are the same for all departments.  Each department may include additional stricter degree requirements for students pursuing specialization in that department. 

Students Admitted with a Master's Degree

  1. A minimum of 48 credits of course work and doctoral research and dissertation as follows:
    1. A minimum of 18 semester credits of course work beyond the master’s degree, including 6 semester credits of 7000-level course work acceptable to the student's advisory committee. Additional six semester credits of either graduate level course work or research experience as per the policy of the student's major department. No 5000-level courses are to be used to meet the minimum requirements of course work.
    2. The equivalent of 24 semester credits of doctoral research and dissertation built upon the student’s course of study and making a significant contribution to the state of knowledge or to the art of the engineering profession is required; not more than 9 credits may be earned in a particular semester.
  2. Residence of four (4) semesters beyond the master’s degree, with at least two semesters in continuous residence, is required. All requirements, including the dissertation, must be completed within a period of eight consecutive years.
  3. Maintenance of a minimum quality point average of 3.0 and adherence to the general regulations of the Graduate School are expected.

All students in the program must follow a plan of study and research developed in conjunction with an advisory committee, satisfactorily complete a comprehensive examination, achieve candidacy, and satisfactorily defend the dissertation.

Students Admitted Directly from the Bachelor's Degree

A student admitted with a bachelor's degree on exceptional basis, must successfully complete a qualifying examination based mostly on undergraduate materials before the end of the second semester of enrollment. This examination will be aimed at determining the student's mastery of the basic concepts in the discipline and the potential for successfully conducting research at the doctoral level. Based on the student's performance on the qualifying examination, the student may be (i) permitted to continue in the Doctoral Program, or (ii) advised to transfer to a MS Degree program in an appropriate discipline in the College, or (iii) recommended for termination from the graduate program of the College.

If permitted to continue in the doctoral program, the student, as described elsewhere in the catalog, will select a research advisor, form an advisory committee, and submit a program of study satisfying the following requirements.

The program of study should have a minimum total of 72 semester credit hours of academic work, consisting of course work and dissertation work, beyond baccalaureate work, subject to the following:

  • The program of study should include a minimum of 42 semester credits of appropriate graduate level course work consisting of a minimum of 6 semester credits at the 7000-level and a maximum of 9 semester credits at the 5000-level, acceptable to the student's advisory committee.
  • It should also include an additional 6 semester credits of either graduate level course work or research experience as per the policy of the student's major department.
  • A minimum of 24 semester credit hours of doctoral research and dissertation, built upon the student's course of study and making significant contribution to the state of knowledge and the art of the engineering profession, is required; no more than nine credit hours may be earned in a particular semester.

The other requirements, such as residency, grade point average, comprehensive exam, and dissertation are the same as those for students admitted with a master's degree, as described in the catalog.