The doctoral student is required to complete the diagnostic examination requirement during the first year beyond the M.S. degree (or equivalent number of credits, for students admitted directly to the Ph.D. program) with a grade of Pass. The diagnostic examination is scheduled with the student’s Research Advisor and Committee. Prior to scheduling the diagnostic examination, a student must have a completed Research Advisor and Committee Selection form on file in the ECE department.
The diagnostic examination is administered by the student’s Research Advisor and at least one member of the Committee. Full participation of the Committee is recommended. At the discretion of the research advisor, additional faculty outside of the student’s committee may also participate in the diagnostic examination. The diagnostic examination is intended to be an opportunity to evaluate the student’s level of academic preparation and identify any shortcomings in the student’s background upon entrance to the PhD program. The format and duration of the diagnostic examination is at the discretion of the student’s Research Advisor and Committee. The examination may be written or oral and may include questions to test the general background of the student as well as questions specific to the student’s intended area of research.
The Research Advisor and Committee determine the outcome of the diagnostic examination (Pass, repeat, or Fail) and any required remediation intended to address shortcomings identified in the student’s background. A grade of Fail will result in dismissal from the graduate program. A grade of Repeat requires the student to reschedule and retake the diagnostic examination. A grade of Pass is expected to also include a summary of any prescribed remediation including, but not limited to, coursework, reading assignments, and/or independent study. Irrespective of outcome of the examination, a diagnostic examination completion form, signed by the student’s Research Advisor and committee, must be filed with the ECE department upon completion of the examination.
Upon successful completion of the Diagnostic Examination, each doctoral student must submit a program of study to the ECE Department Graduate Secretary for approval by the student’s research advisor, the ECE Department Graduate Program Committee and the ECE Department Head. The program of study should be completed in consultation with the student’s research advisor and should include specific course work designed to address any shortcomings identified in the student’s background during the Diagnostic Examination.
The doctoral student is required to pass the area examination before writing a dissertation. The area examination is intended to be an opportunity for the student's Advisor and Committee members to evaluate the suitability, scope, and novelty of the student's proposed dissertation topic. The format of the area examination is at the discretion of the student's Advisor and Committee but will typically include a presentation by the student describing the current state of their research field, their planned research activities, and the expected contributions of their work.
Students are eligible to take the area examination after they have successfully completed the diagnostic examination and have completed at least three semesters of coursework in the graduate program. All PhD students are required to successfully complete the area examination prior to the completion of their seventh semester in the graduate program. Failure to successfully complete the area examination prior to the end of the student's seventh semester will be considered a failure to make satisfactory academic progress.
The Research Advisor and Committee determine the Pass/Fail outcome of the area examination. A grade of Fail will result in dismissal from the graduate program. Area examination completion forms must be signed by the student's Research Advisor and Committee Members and filed with the ECE department upon completion of the examination.
All Ph.D. students must complete and orally defend a dissertation prepared under the general supervision of their Research Advisor. The research described in the dissertation must be original and constitute a contribution to knowledge in the major field of the candidate. The Research Advisor and Committee certifies the quality and originality of the dissertation research, the satisfactory execution of the dissertation and the preparedness of the defense.
The Graduate Secretary must be notified of a student's defense at least seven days prior to the date of the defense, without exception. A student may not schedule a defense until at least three months after they have completed the area examination.