Doctor of Philosophy in Computer Engineering

The doctoral degree in computer engineering is awarded in recognition of mastery in the field of computer engineering and upon demonstrating the ability to make fundamental contributions to knowledge in that field. The Ph.D. recipient will be capable of making a continuing effort toward the advancement of knowledge and achievement in research and other scholarly activities. This program is appropriate for those students with a master’s degree in computer and/or electrical engineering who are interested in pursuing an academic or industrial research career.

The Ph.D. program requires a minimum of 72 credit hours beyond the bachelor’s degree, including the master’s degree studies. A minimum of 24 credit hours are devoted to the student’s research work, and a minimum of 15 credit hours are devoted to coursework in computer and electrical engineering and in basic sciences, such as computers, mathematics, and physics. The selection of courses is considered and approved by the student’s adviser and the department’s graduate program director on the basis of relevance of course content, rather than along a predetermined sequence announced by the department.

Generally, it takes a minimum of three years of study beyond the master’s degree to obtain a Ph.D.

Upon admission to graduate study leading to the Ph.D. degree, each student is assigned an academic adviser, who may eventually serve as the thesis adviser and guide the student’s research. The department requires a qualifying examination within the first three semesters of full-time Ph.D. study. This is a written examination covering topics in the area of digital and computer systems and at least one minor area in the field of electrical engineering. This examination is intended to explore both the depth and breadth of the student’s academic abilities.

At an early stage in the student’s research program, and usually about a year after passing the qualifying examination, a comprehensive examination is held in the area of specialization. The comprehensive examination takes the form of a defense of a thesis research proposal. At this time a thesis committee is appointed by the graduate program director, in consultation with the thesis adviser, to guide the remainder of the program. A written dissertation, oral defense, and publication requirement constitute completion of the Ph.D. degree. The defense takes place no earlier than one year after passing the comprehensive examination. Dissertation format and deadlines are established by the Graduate College.


Minimum Degree Credits 72
Maximum 400-Level Credit 12
Minimum 500-Level Credit 15
Maximum 700-Level Credit 6
Maximum Transfer Credit 36
Ph.D. Research (24-25)
ECE 691Research and Thesis for Ph.D.24-25
Transfer Coursework (0-36)
Transfer up to 36 credit hours0-36
General Electives (15-48)
Select 15-48 credit hours of electives from ECE 400-599, ECE 601-699, and ECE 700-799 to fulfill minimum total credits15-48