Doctor of Philosophy Degree Requirements
Students are required to successfully complete an approved program of study, satisfy the PhD Qualifying Requirements, pass the PhD Comprehensive Exam, and meet the PhD Dissertation and Oral Defense requirements.
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-. A minimum of 18 credits beyond the MS requirement or 48 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 Graduate Academic and Research Skills components of the Ph.D. Qualifier can be met in the course of completing an MS at UMass Dartmouth. If a student enters with a BS or an MS from another institution he or she must explicitly meet the Ph.D. Qualifying requirements in one of the ways described below.
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.
PhD students should complete and pass the PhD qualifying requirements appropriate to their option (Electrical Engineering or Computer Engineering) by the end of their first year of study if they enter the program with an MS or at the completion of 30 credits if they enter the program with a BS. The qualifying requirement has three components:
Undergraduate Academic Fundamentals: This component can be satisfied by presenting evidence of a BS in the option major (e.g., BS in EE for the electrical engineering option). If the student does not have a BS in the major, they can petition the department to accept equivalent professional experience in electrical or computer engineering as sufficient qualifying background. Alternatively, their program of study must document which undergraduate courses will be taken to address deficiencies.
Graduate Academic Fundamentals: This component can be satisfied by taking the required graduate courses in the MS major (Electrical Engineering or Computer Engineering) and obtaining a GPA ≥3.5; passing a written exam based on the required courses; or passing a written exam based on three courses in the student’s area of specialization.
Research: This component can be satisfied by completing an MS thesis at UMass Dartmouth with the recommendation of both the MS and PhD advisors; passing an oral exam based on research completed at another institution; or passing the course ECE 602 Research Skills for which successful completion requires an oral defense of a research project in front of at least three ECE faculty.
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 scheduled by the student’s major advisor at the convenience of the committee members, administered by the major advisor, and is conducted by the committee members. The comprehensive examination consists of two parts: a written examination followed by an oral examination. The oral examination is scheduled within four weeks of successful completion of the written examination, with two weeks’ notice to the UMass Dartmouth community. The form and content of both parts of the examination are set by the student’s committee. Doctoral students receive a P in Predissertation Research (ECE 603) upon successful completion of both the written and oral examination, as 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.
Dissertation and Oral Defense
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 and approval of the written document by all committee members. The dissertation requires 18 credits of PhD dissertation research (ECE 701).
More specific information about each requirement can be found in the ECE Department Graduate Handbook.