Doctor of Philosophy Degree Requirements
Students are required to successfully complete an approved program of study. Successful completion of the doctoral program of study is indicated by a grade point average of 3.0 or better on a 4.0 grading scale with no more than two grades below B-. Typically, a minimum of 24 credits beyond the MS requirement or 54 credits beyond the BS is expected (exclusive of dissertation research). Although it is not necessary to obtain the MS degree before proceeding in the PhD program, the MS core courses and specialization or thesis requirements must be fulfilled either through the program of study at the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth or through prior graduate studies at another institution.
PhD students must pass either the Electrical Engineering or the Computer Engineering PhD qualifying examination. The examination, which is based on both the broad background of the undergraduate electrical engineering or computer engineering program and the more in-depth and specialized introductory graduate level course work, verifies that the student is sufficiently prepared to continue advanced graduate studies in support of a general PhD research area. Typically, students entering the program with the BS take the qualifying examination after completing at least 24 course credits. Students entering the program with an MS degree would normally take the examination in the first year of admission.
For the Electrical Engineering Option, the topics on the undergraduate section of the qualifying exam are (relevant courses are listed in parentheses): (a) Fields and Waves (ECE 335, 336), (b) Electronic Devices and Circuits (ECE 311, 312), (c) Signals and Linear Systems Theory (ECE 321, 322), and (d) Digital Logic and Computers (ECE 260, 263). The four topics on the graduate section of the qualifying exam for the Electrical Engineering Option are: (a) ECE 521 (Random Signals), (b) ECE 581 (Mathematics of Systems Analysis) or other appropriate math course (selected by the student at the time that seating for the examination is requested), and (c) Two of the following six courses—ECE 574 (Discrete-Time Signal Processing), ECE 557 (Fundamentals of Acoustics), ECE 540 (Electromagnetics), ECE 571 (Digital Communications), ECE 561 (Computer Systems). The student specifies the two courses from list (c) when sitting for the examination is requested.
For the Computer Engineering Option, the topics on the undergraduate section of the qualifying exam are (relevant courses are listed in parentheses): (a) Computer Systems Software (ECE 367), (b) Electronic Devices and Circuits (ECE 311), (c) Fundamentals of Computing (ECE 264, 350), and (d) Digital Logic and Computer Architecture (ECE 260, 263). The four topics on the graduate section of the qualifying exam for the Computer Engineering Option are: (a) ECE 560 (Computer Systems Performance Evaluation), (b) ECE 562 (Advanced Computer Architecture), (c) ECE 565 (Computer Operating Systems), and (d) ECE 581 (Mathematics of Systems Analysis), CIS 560 (Theoretical Computer Science) or other appropriate math course selected by the student when sitting for the examination is requested.
PhD candidates must also pass the PhD comprehensive examination. This examination verifies that the student is sufficiently prepared to conduct scholarly research in the selected area of the PhD dissertation. Consequently, the PhD comprehensive examination focuses on advanced graduate studies and a formal PhD research proposal.
The comprehensive examination is conducted in two parts: a written examination followed by an oral examination. The oral examination will be scheduled within four weeks of successful completion of the written examination. The form and content of both parts of the examination are set by the student’s committee. The oral examination is nominally two hours. The comprehensive examination is scheduled by the student at the convenience of the committee members, administered by the major advisor, and is composed by the committee members. Successful completion of both the written and oral examination is determined by the unanimous consent of the committee. Students failing to give satisfactory performance on either part of the examination are allowed a single re-examination of either all or a portion of either examination as determined by the committee.
PhD candidates must successfully complete a PhD dissertation. Successful completion of the PhD dissertation is indicated by the satisfactory oral defense of a written dissertation that represents an original contribution to the scholarly research literature of the field. The dissertation normally involves 18 credits of PhD dissertation research (ECE 701).