Ph.D. Requirements

Approved by Graduate Council on August 28, 2007

      1. The recipient of a Ph.D. degree in Electrical and Computer Engineering (ECE) has demonstrated critical thinking and powers of imaginative synthesis, as evidenced by original contributions to knowledge in his or her chosen field of study in ECE. Consideration for program admission requires three letters of recommendation, GRE scores, and Office of Graduate Studies application.
      2. The Ph.D. degree requirements meet the criteria specified by Graduate Council under Plan B. Formal requirements for the degree are completion of an approved Doctoral Program of Study, satisfactory performance on the Doctoral Preliminary Evaluation and Doctoral Qualifying Examination, completion of an acceptable Doctoral dissertation, an ECE Doctoral exit seminar, and satisfaction of the residence requirement.
  2. Ph.D. PROGRAM   
    1. Doctoral Program of Study
      1. Doctoral students must acquire both a broad knowledge of the theoretical and practical aspects of their field of study, and in depth knowledge in a specialty area within their field. A Doctoral Program of Study must contain (exclusive of EEC 29X seminar series and EEC 299 courses) at least 45 units of graduate and upper-division undergraduate courses not including any course required for the ECE undergraduate degree or any of the following courses: EEC100, EEC110A/B, EEC130A/B, EEC140A/B, EEC150A/B, EEC170, 172, and EEC180A/B. At least 24 units must be from the ECE discipline and at least 9 units must be from outside the ECE discipline. Among the total number of units listed in the Program of Study, at least 24 units must be taken at the Davis campus. For courses listed on the Program of Study, a grade point average of at least 3.5 is required. The doctoral program of study may include courses taken in a master's program.
      2. In-depth knowledge can usually be obtained by completion of at least 30 units, of which 21 must be from graduate courses, in one specialty area, the major. The requirement of breadth may be obtained by the completion of at least 15 units, of which 9 must be from graduate courses, in another area, the minor. The courses in the minor should form a coherent set which complements the major. Examples of appropriate minors are: a subfield within the ECE program, computer science, mathematics, statistics, and physics.
      3. A Doctoral Program of Study must be approved by the Major Professor, the PhD Guidance Committee, the ECE Graduate Advisor, and the ECE Graduate Study Committee. The Doctoral Program of Study form must be completed and submitted within the first 7 days of the Fall quarter immediately following the passing of the Doctoral Preliminary Examination.
      4. All graduate students are required to take EEC290, ECE Graduate Student Seminar each Fall Quarter.
      5. Program of Study Form
    2. Doctoral Preliminary Evaluation Process
      1. The purpose of the Ph.D. preliminary evaluation process is to determine a student's potential for independent research. All students are encouraged to take the preliminary evaluation as soon as possible after entry into the graduate program. Students admitted to the Ph.D. program who already have an M.S. degree in ECE must pass the preliminary evaluation within two years of admission. Students not in possession of an M.S. degree in ECE when admitted must pass the evaluation within their first three years. To participate in the Ph.D. Preliminary Evaluation Process, a student must be in good academic standing, have full-time status, and have a Major Professor who signs a statement indicating his/her willingness to supervise the student provided that the student secures a ''clear pass'' in the evaluation process. A student may not participate in the evaluation more than twice.
      2. The Ph.D. preliminary evaluation process is based on an oral examination and a letter of support from a Major Professor if the result of the oral examination is intermediate. Each preliminary evaluation period takes place during the Winter quarter.
      3. (For more information on exam scheduling and topics, please see: Doctoral Preliminary Oral Examination)
      4. 1.  Oral Examination
      5. The examination will be given by two faculty members in each of the following six areas: (1) physical electronics, (2) signals and systems, (3) electromagnetics, (4) active and passive circuits, (5) systems and software, and (6) digital systems. Students are required to take the examination in at least two and no more than three areas. Scores of two areas leading to the best outcome will be used. One of these two areas should be a research area of their Major Professor. The faculty examiners will restrict themselves to questions on the topics described in the document "Preliminary Examination Topics" which will be available each year during the Fall Quarter. Nevertheless, since the purpose of the examination is to assess research potential, the questions may be significantly less structured than questions on written examinations, and the follow-up questions may range over a broad spectrum of related material. Each examining panel can decide the length of its exam but it must be between 15 and 30 minutes long. The oral exams will be finished by the end of the third week of the Winter quarter.
      6. Each of the two examiners present will assign a score from 1 to 4, with fractional scores allowed. Generally, `1' means a clear fail, `2' means a marginal fail, `3' means a marginal pass, and `4' means a clear pass. A total score of 16 is possible and the maximum exam score of each area, which is the sum of two individual scores, is 8. The following determinations are made from scores of four examiners in two areas:  
        1. Clear Pass if all of the following holds: the sum of all four scores is at least 12, the exam score of each area is at least 5, and no individual score (from any of the four examiners) is less than two.
        2. Intermediate result if the student does not get a clear pass but the exam score of each area is at least 4.
        3. Clear Fail if the student does not achieve either a clear pass or an intermediate result.
      1. 2.  Letter from Major Professor
      2. A student who secures a ''clear pass'' has no other requirements and is allowed to proceed with his/her Ph.D. program. However, for a student in the intermediate range, a letter of support from the Major Professor is needed. It is understood that in order for a student to pass, the letter will have to be stronger if the student did poorly on the oral examination. The student should discuss what information his/her Major Professor will require him/her to provide in order to write the letter. The letter should not be more than two pages long and should be received by the Graduate Student Coordinator by the end of the sixth week of the Winter quarter.
      3. The Ph.D. Preliminary Evaluation Committee will make a recommendation on each intermediate result case by the end of the eighth week of the Winter quarter. The ECE Graduate Program faculty vote will determine the final outcome, either pass or fail, by the end of the Winter quarter.
    3. Doctoral Qualifying Examination
      1. The purpose of the Doctoral Qualifying Examination is to determine the student's preparation to pursue his or her proposed research. It should be scheduled at the time when the student has completed all of the necessary course work and the preparation for doctoral research.
      2. To be eligible for examination, the student must have completed all courses in their approved Doctoral Program of Study and remedial requirements (if applicable), and passed the Doctoral Preliminary Evaluation. A grade point average of at least 3.5 in courses on the Ph.D. Program of Study is required. At least one month before the qualifying examination is taken, a student must contact an ECE Graduate Advisor who will confirm that all the PhD course requirements have been met and the selection of a PhD Qualifying Examination Committee will be initiated.
      3. Students must have full-time status during the quarter in which they take their Qualifying Examination. The Qualifying Examination must be taken as soon as coursework has been completed. In no instance can the exam be taken later than two quarters before the completion of the doctoral program. The student must submit a research proposal to each committee member. The format of the research proposal is flexible, but the proposal should clearly indicate the problem under study, the progress made toward a solution, the work remaining to be done, and the methods to be used in the remainder of the work. The oral examination will focus on the major and minor areas of the student's Doctoral Program of Study. The examination is not strictly limited to these areas, as the examination is intended to test the student's mastery of a large field of knowledge and potential for scholarly research, which is generally broader than the dissertation field.
      4. The doctoral qualifying examination may be used to fulfill certain requirements for the MS Plan II degree; see Master of Science Degree Requirements.
      5. Qualifying Exam Application Form
    4. Advancement to Candidacy
      1. Within one month after successful completion of the qualifying examination, the student must file an application for advancement to candidacy. Your Qualifying Exam Chair will sign this form when you've passed your exam.  You will then need to get the signature of the Graduate Adviser.  You are then required to take the form to Dutton Hall to pay your advance to candidacy fee ($95).  Then bring the form back to your Graduate Program Coordinator who will route the form to Graduate Studies along with your Pass report.
      2. Ph.D. Advancement to Candidacy-Plan B
    5. Doctoral Dissertation
      1. The doctoral dissertation should be an original and substantial contribution to knowledge in the student's major field. It must demonstrate the ability to carry out a program of original research and to report the results in accordance with standards observed in recognized scientific journals. ECE requires an exit seminar. The exit seminar is open to the public. At least 3 members of the Ph.D. Reading Committee or the Qualifying Examination Committee must be in attendance. Upon completion of the exit seminar, students must submit an Exit Seminar Verification form. This form (and the seminar) must be completed before the dissertation can be filed.
      2. An exit seminar notice will go out to graduate program members and graduate students in the department. Please email the Graduate Coordinator your confirmed date, time, location, major professor and abstract one week prior to the seminar.
      3. A Ph.D. dissertation will be prepared, submitted and filed according to information found at the Office of Graduate Studies web site. The dissertation is filed with the Office of Graduate Studies.
      1. The student must select a Major Professor from the members of the ECE Graduate Program by the end of the first quarter of enrollment. In the case of a change in Major Professor, signatures of the previous and new Major Professor are required acknowledging the change. The Vice Chair for Graduate Studies will serve as the interim advisor to the new students during the process of selecting a Major Professor.
      2. Change of Major Professor Form
      3. See more information of major professor selection at:
      1. The student must declare a PhD Guidance Committee after passing the PhD Preliminary Evaluation. This committee is chaired by the Major Professor and is made up of at least two other members. The majority of this committee must be members of the ECE Graduate Program. The responsibility of this committee is to guide the student through their program of study until the PhD Qualifying Examination is taken.
      1. The Qualifying Examination Committee consists of five faculty members, appointed by the Dean of the Graduate Studies, including the Major Professor and at least one member from the student's minor area. The majority of this committee must be members of the ECE Graduate Program. At least one member must be from outside the ECE Graduate Program. The chair must be someone other than the student's Major Professor. Graduate Studies Application for Qualifying Exam Committee.
      1. After advancing to candidacy the student will declare a PhD Dissertation Reading Committee. The chair of this committee is the student's Major Professor. It consists of at least three members whose task is to read the PhD dissertation and approve its technical content and presentation. The majority of this committee must be members of the ECE Graduate Program. On the advice of the Major Professor, the ECE Graduate Advisor will nominate the committee.
      1. All full-time students must be enrolled in a minimum of 12 units each quarter. For the Ph.D. degree, the student must be in residence for a minimum of six quarters. Two regular six-week summer sessions may be counted as the equivalent of one quarter, provided that the student is enrolled in at least two units during both sessions. Arrangements can be made to satisfy part of the residence requirement by study on another campus of the University of California.
      1. Students working toward a PhD degree are not permitted to take any courses, normally offered for grade, on a Satisfactory/Unsatisfactory basis.
      1. Only courses in the 100 and 200 series in which the student receives grades of "A", "B", or "S" (29X series) may be counted in satisfaction of the requirements for the Ph.D. degree. A course in which a student receives a "C+" or lower cannot be used to satisfy the unit requirement for the Ph.D. degree but will count in determining the grade point average.
      2. Candidates are required to maintain a grade point average of at least 3.0 in all upper division and graduate courses taken during their residence as graduate students at the University of California. For coursework used in the Ph.D. Program of Study, a grade point average of 3.5 is required.
      3. The ECE Department does not normally permit graduate students to repeat a course for credit. In unusual circumstances, a student may be permitted to repeat a course for credit in accordance with campus regulations, which allow graduate students to repeat up to nine units of courses in which a grade of C, D, F, or U was received.
      1. Students with a background other than electrical or computer engineering will meet with the ECE Graduate Advisor during their first quarter of residence to determine the required sequence of remedial courses. Students must demonstrate competency by completing the remedial course requirements, obtaining a grade of B or better in six of the courses listed below or their equivalents. The six courses must be selected from at least three of the six areas listed.
        1. Active and Passive Circuits:
          EEC110A Electronic Circuits I
          EEC110B Electronic Circuits II
        2. Electromagnetics:
          EEC130A Introductory Electromagnetics I
          EEC130B Introductory Electromagnetics II
        3. Physical Electronics:
          EEC140A Principles of Device Physics I
          EEC140B Principles of Device Physics II
        4. Signals and Systems:
          EEC150A Introduction to Signals and Systems I
          EEC150B Introduction to Signals and Systems II
        5. Computer Engineering:
          ECS30 Introduction to Programming and Problem Solving
          ECS40 Introduction to Software Development
          EEC70 Computer Structure and Assembly
        6. Digital Systems:
          EEC170 Introduction to Computer Architecture
          EEC180A Digital Systems I
          EEC180B Digital Systems II
        7. None of these courses can be counted toward an ECE graduate degree.
      1. The PELP application must be routed through the ECE Graduate Program Coordinator for the ECE Graduate Advisor's approval. University employment of graduate students on PELP is against department and university policy. In some cases, a one-time only exception can be made. ECE students may not be on PELP status any longer than three academic quarters. In the event that a PELP expires, it will be necessary to file a readmission application.
      1. In order to be approved for filing fee status, a student must submit the filing fee request along with signatures of at least two members of the PhD Dissertation Reading Committee stating that they have received an acceptable working draft of the dissertation. ECE students may not be on filing fee status any longer than two academic quarters. This application must be routed through the ECE Graduate Program Coordinator for the ECE Graduate Advisor's approval and then must be filed with Graduate Studies. In the event that filing fee status expires, the student must file a readmission application.
      2. Required forms: ECE Filing Fee Form and Graduate Studies Filing Fee Form.
      1. Upon re-admission, an ECE student will be held to new program requirements.
      1. Academic Quarter
        Select a Major Professor 2
        Complete the Ph.D. Preliminary Evaluation 3
        Select a Guidance Committee 4
        Submit a Program of Study 4