The Doctor of Philosophy Program
The purpose of the Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) program in electrical and computer engineering Is to produce graduates who think independently and solve engineering problems based on first principle scientific and mathematical concepts. The training involves the in-depth study of a challenging research problem that has not been previously solved to a desired level of effectiveness.
Many ECE professors are renown worldwide as some of the top experts in their field. The programs of study they offer provide students with the chance to work on groundbreaking research, helping to advance society as a whole.
ECE PhD Degree Requirements
The ECE department offers two different tracks to pursue a PhD:
- Direct PhD from BS degree
- PhD after the MS degree
Summary Requirements for the ECE PhD Degree
Direct PhD from BS requirements
1. Course requirements include:
- At least 30 graduate course credits beyond the bachelor’s degree are required. Of the 30 graduate credits of coursework, at least 28 must be letter-graded courses. At least 21 credits must be letter-graded ECE courses and up to 9 credits can be graduate courses in a related field.
- Of the 21 ECE letter-graded graduate course credits, 6 must be associated with an area of concentration outside the student’s primary area of study.
- Two (2) of the letter-graded ECE courses must be Ohio State ECE 6000+ for students beginning the PhD program in autumn 2019 and after.
- Of the required 30 graduate credits of coursework, in addition to 28 letter-graded courses, 1 credit must be ECE 7080 or PHILOS 7080, and 1 credit can be ECE 8193, individual studies. ECE 7080 or PHILOS 7080 is waived for Ohio State University graduates who completed ECE 3080 or PHILOS 1332.
2. Transfer credit:
- Up to 24 graduate course credits and up to 24 dissertation credits (for a maximum of 48 credits) can be transferred from another institution into the direct PhD program subject to the approval of the ECE Graduate Studies committee.
3. Dissertation research requirements:
- A minimum of 50 research credits (ECE 8999) leading to a dissertation embodying a significant original research contribution.
PhD after MS requirements
1. MS degree counts for 30 credits.
2. Course requirements include:
- In addition to the MS degree, 14 credits of graduate coursework of which 12 must be letter-graded courses.
- The student must have taken at least 21 semester credits of letter graded ECE courses. These 21 credits can come from either the master’s or PhD program. The ECE courses from a non-Ohio State master’s must be approved by the Graduate Studies committee as being equivalent to ECE courses at OSU.
- Two (2) letter-graded ECE courses must be OSU ECE 6000+ for students beginning the PhD program in autumn 2019 and after.
- Six (6) of the 21 ECE credits must be associated with an area of concentration outside the student’s primary area of study.
- One (1) credit must be ECE 7080 or PHILOS 7080, and 1 credit can be ECE 8193, individual studies. ECE 7080 or PHILOS 7080 is waived for OSU graduates who completed ECE 3080 or PHILOS 1332.
3. Transfer credit
- Up to 9 PhD graduate coursework credits and up to 10 dissertation credits (for a maximum total of 19 credits) past the master’s degree from another institution can be transferred to Ohio State subject to the approval of the ECE Graduate Studies committee.
4. Dissertation research requirements:
- A minimum of 36 research credits (ECE 8999) leading to a dissertation embodying a significant original research contribution.
Summary of Additional Requirements in the ECE PhD Program
(Both Direct from BS and from MS)
1. The PhD plan of Study must be submitted by the end of the first semester.
2. PhD students must have a permanent advisor by the end of the second semester.
3. PhD students are expected to maintain a minimum GPA of 3.5.
4. Graduate seminar (ECE 8891): at least two credit hours is required. Credit for these seminars is in addition to the 80 credit degree requirement.
5. The PhD proposal is submitted at the time of the candidacy examination. Two attempts are allowed
6. Submission of at least one substantial, original paper based on the dissertation research is required.
9. Successful completion of the dissertation (PhD thesis) and final oral examination complete the degree requirements.
- The doctoral student is expected to obtain a commitment from a faculty advisor and submit the PhD Plan of Study by the end of the first semester in the PhD program.
- The PhD Plan of Study will define an ECE primary research area of emphasis, an ECE secondary research area of emphasis and other graduate courses approved by the advisor and the ECE Graduate studies committee.
- By graduation, students must have completed at least two primary area courses and 6 credits in the secondary research area.
- If a student has earned a master’s degree from another institution, a transcript must accompany the Plan of Study form.
- Two faculty signatures are required to approve the plan prior to submission: the faculty advisor and a secondary area faculty.
The PhD Qualifying Examination (QE) serves as one of the key filters in allowing a student to pass from simple admission to the PhD program to regular doctoral student status.
The QE is designed in accordance with the following principles:
- The purpose of the Qualifying Exam is to test the fundamental knowledge acquired by the student over prior coursework and assess the ability to apply this fundamental knowledge to approach research questions/problems.
- Both BS to PhD and MS to PhD students are required to take the QE in the first semester of their second year.
- Two (2) attempts are allowed. The second attempt must be during the time window in the semester following the semester of the failed attempt. If a student fails after two attempts, the student is no longer in the PhD program and can earn an MS degree after completing MS requirements. If the student does not take the QE during the semester he/she is required to take it, this will be considered a failed attempt.
- Effective autumn 2019: Students starting the ECE PhD program in autumn 2019 and after must complete three graduate letter-graded ECE courses by the scheduled exam term, including during the semester when the QE is administered. At least two of the three courses must be in the student's primary research area. ECE 5000 - level courses will meet the ECE QE course requirement.
- Failure to do so will be considered a failed attempt.
The Candidacy Examination is intended to establish the student’s preparation and readiness for independent doctoral level research by assessing the following:
- Intellectual independence of the candidate.
- Familiarity of the candidate with the literature relevant to her/his research area(s).
- The ability to formulate a meaningful research problem and a corresponding research plan.
The Candidacy Examination is comprised of a research proposal, a written exam and an oral exam. The candidacy exam is usually taken in the third year in the PhD program after all coursework is completed.
Please visit the ECE Graduate Handbook for more information about the candidacy exam process.
Research conducted by students in the PhD program culminates in a dissertation that must be defended orally before the advisor and two other Dissertation Reading Committee members.
Submission of at least one substantial, original paper based on the dissertation research to a refereed, archival journal is required before approval of the final defense of the dissertation is granted. A signed Submission of Paper form by the faculty advisor must be provided with the Application to Graduate at the beginning of the semester of graduation. If the paper has not yet been published, the student must provide a copy of the email acknowledging the acceptance or submission of the paper to the journal. Typically, advisors expect two or more journal papers from their PhD students.