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  Nov 22, 2017
 
 
    
2016-2017 Graduate Catalog [Not Current Academic Year. Consult with Your Academic Advisor for Your Catalog Year]

Electrical Engineering, PhD


Colleges  > Cullen College of Engineering  > Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering  > Electrical Engineering, PhD

 

PATHS TO THE PhD DEGREE

There are two Paths to the PhD Degree:
  1. BS to PhD - Direct from BS to PhD, bypassing the MS degree, or by
  2. MS to PhD - Obtaining an MS degree first at UH (or elsewhere).
     

General Degree Program Requirements and Policies 

General Policies    
  Transfer of Credits Change of major
  General Requirements Advising Notes
  Enrollment Hours Breadth Requirement
  Cumulative Grade Point_Average (GPA)  
  Major Grade Point Average (MGPA)  
  Reduced Course Load  
  Dissertation Information  
  Qualifying Exam (QE)  
  Change of degree objective plan within the department
 
     
General Course and Program Requirements
Curricular Practical Training (CPT)
 
  Optional Practical Training (OPT)  

 

Transfer of Credits

A student may transfer up to 6 hours of graduate-level work completed elsewhere or at the University of Houston upon the approval of the Director of Graduate Studies.  The student will need to file a general petition within one semester after admission to graduate program.

(Courses in Technology programs cannot be transferred.)

General Requirements Advising

The faculty member charged with supervising your dissertation will be your official advisor.  The Graduate Director will serve as your default advisor during the first year if you have not found an advisor.  Students must declare an official advisor on a general petition at the end of the second semester.

If a student is interested in working with another advisor, the original advisor must approve and sign the general petition, which is then submitted to the Graduate Office for approval.  Graduate advising is mandatory upon admission into the graduate program in Electrical and Computer Engineering.  The dissertation advisor should approve all proposed coursework during registration cycles before each academic semester.  

If your advisor has a joint appointment, he/she must have ECE research/dissertation hours set up with the Department prior to the registration cycle each semester.  Research and dissertation course numbers are unique to the professor who will supply the numbers to students  for enrollment.

Doctoral students are expected to be enrolled in consecutive long semesters (i.e., fall and spring semesters) until the degree program is completed and the degree is awarded.

Enrollment Hours

Updated information on supported enrollment hours can be found at the following college web site:

http://www.egr.uh.edu/graduate/policies/?e=gradpolicies1

 

Be aware that courses taken for personal enrichment will not be counted towards the degree plan and must be approved by the advisor and the Director of Graduate Studies prior to enrollment.  Enrichment hours cannot be used towards the required total number of hours when an assistantship is being received.

  • Non-supported (US/Int’l.) students:  Must maintain enrollment of at least 3 hours (US) or 9 hours (international) during each Fall/Spring semester.  Summer enrollment is not necessary (no special permission is required).
  • Supported (US/Int’l.) students:  Must enroll full time in each semester (i.e., Fall, Spring - 12 Hours, and Summer - 6 Hours).

http://www.egr.uh.edu/graduate/policies/?e=gradpolicies1

Requests to enroll below the minimum number of hours required may be granted in the following circumstances:

  • Non-supported students, with a filed and approved degree plan showing that all degree requirements (except thesis or dissertation) have been met, and who will defend their thesis or dissertation no later than the 12th day of class (approximately September 5, February 1, and June 10).  Students must supply the following supporting documents:
    1. A copy of the dissertation defense announcement
    2. An approved degree plan for graduation
    3. An approved statement of your timeline for defense and graduation
    4. Reduced course load form from ISSSO office

Please note that full-time enrollment prior to the start of the semester is required for all students seeking an exception to enrollment requirements.  The Department will adjust the enrollment once the petition to enroll below the minimum hours has been approved.

Cumulative Grade Point Average (GPA)

This average is on all courses attempted at the university during the graduate program.  Students must maintain an overall GPA of 3.0 or better in order to remain in good academic standing for the graduate program.  An academic stop will be placed on the student record when he/she fails to maintain this average.  The student will receive an academic letter from the department outlining the reinstatement procedure each semester until the GPA has reached 3.0 or better.  At that time, he/she must seek the academic advisor’s assistance on the removal of this stop for future enrollment.

  • Cumulative Grade Point Average (GPA) for supported students:
    • The cumulative GPA must be 3.0 or better at all times in order to maintain eligibility for assistantships or in-state tuition waivers when applicable.
  • Cumulative Grade Point Average (GPA) for scholarship students:
    • The cumulative GPA must be 3.0 or better at all times in order to receive the in-state tuition waiver.  If you do not meet this requirement, you will lose the scholarship and no longer be eligible for in-state tuition.  If you drop below the 3.0 GPA in the first semester, you may not receive the 2nd installment of the scholarship.

Major Grade Point Average (MGPA)

This average is only on courses that are on the student’s degree plan.  Students must maintain a MGPA of 3.0 prior to applying for graduation.

Reduced Course Load

Non-supported students, with a filed and approved degree plan showing that all degree requirements (except dissertation) have been met, and who will defend their dissertation no later than the 12th day of class (approximately September 5, February 1, and June 10) may apply for reduced course load.  A copy of the dissertation announcement, plus a signed letter from the dissertation advisor confirming the date of the defense must accompany the request.

Change of degree objective/plan within the department

Students seeking a change in degree plan will need to submit a general petition to officially request such a change.  The current advisor must initially approve the general petition.  The general petition must be submitted way in advance for the plan change and will only be effective in the upcoming semester.  A petition will not be processed once a new semester has already begun.

Change of major

Students who have an interest in another major must file an approved general petition from the other Department to the ECE Department in order to have files transferred to the new Department.  An academic stop will remain on student’s record until this procedure is completed.

Curricular Practical Training (CPT)

The purpose of curricular practical training (CPT) is to gain practical insight into the student’s academic program; therefore, it must be considered as “an integral part of an established curriculum.”

The ECE Department will allow up to six (6) hours of CPT (“internships”) in the following situations:

  1. Ph.D. students who need to be employed by an outside agency in order to collect data for their thesis.
  2. A general petition is submitted before the start of the semester in which the student intends to participate in an internship.  The petition must include a formal job offer on the hiring company’s stationary, a description of the work to be performed, a beginning and ending date, and the salary offered.  Ph.D. candidates must obtain approval from their dissertation advisor as well.
  3. The work must be related to the practice of electrical and/or computer engineering.
  4. Only half-time employment is allowed during Fall and Spring semesters. Full-time employment is allowed during the Summer semester.
  5. Ph.D. students can substitute OPT credit for up to six hours of research courses (ECE 8x98).
  6. Ph.D. students will not be allowed to apply for graduation during the semester of CPT.
  7. CPT candidates must officially return to campus prior to the beginning of the new semester.
    CPT will not be approved under any other circumstances.  All procedures must be approved by the ECE department prior to any other offices.  CPT COOP is not part of the Ph.D. degree program.

For more information on the College and University requirements regarding CPT, please review websites indicated below.

http://www.issso.uh.edu/f1/test7.html

http://www.uh.edu/gs/current-students/gps-policy/index.php

http://www.egr.uh.edu/graduate/policies/?e=gradpolicies1 

Optional Practical Training (OPT)

(FOR INTERNATIONAL STUDENTS WITH F-1 VISA ONLY)
OPT allows international students to gain practical training in their related major field.  The College of Engineering guidelines are as follows:

  • OPT request forms and checklist are due to the ECE Department along with the graduation application according to deadline stated for that semester.  For further details, please refer to web sites for more information.

 Notes

The student should refer to the Graduate and Professional Studies Catalog for other requirements and regulations such as course load, time limitations, 4-C rule, etc. Nothing in this document is intended to supersede or supplant the regulations set forth by the University of Houston in the Graduate and Professional Studies Catalog.

B.S. to Ph.D.


 

Admission Requirements
  1. BS in electrical or computer engineering.
  2. Have the background to obtain a Ph.D. in an area of research supported within the UH-ECE Department, and contact with potential dissertation advisor has been established.
  3. GPA ≥ 3.3/4.0; TOEFL ≥92 (TOEFL for international students only).  Typical GRE profile:  V ≥151, Q ≥159, W ≥ 4.0.  (While no minimum GRE scores are used to exclude students, students entering the program typically have GRE scores greater than these values.)
  4. Three letters of recommendation on official letterhead with mailing address, phone and fax numbers, and e-mail address of the recommender.
     
 Degree Requirements
  1. At least 84 semester hours of graduate credit beyond B.S., with at least 36 hours in structured course work, and at least 36 hours in research or dissertation (enroll in ECE 6x98 until 30 semester hours of course work and research have been accumulated).  The remaining 12 hours can be used for additional course work (electives) or research.  When selecting the courses, keep in mind that:
    • At least 24 of the 30 hours should be strictly 6000-level or higher ECE courses.  Non-ECE courses related to the field of study, and approved by the student’s advisor and the Director of Graduate Studies, must be at the 6000-level or higher.
    • The 12 hours of electives should be strictly 6000-level or higher courses when inside ECE, or 4000-level or higher courses when outside ECE.  No more than 6 hours at the 4000-level will count towards the degree.
    • The student needs to be enrolled in ECE 8399  when defending the dissertation proposal.  During consecutive semesters, the student remains enrolled in ECE 8399  until 12 hours of dissertation have been accumulated.  In case the dissertation has not been successfully completed before this milestone is reached, the student continues to enroll in ECE8x98 until all requirements for graduation have been met.
    • Course(s) that do not receive a letter grade, but are graded S, U, or W will not be counted towards the degree plan.
    • Students enrolled in this program will be classified as M.S. for the first 30 credit hours.  The student needs to file a general petition to change the classification to DR once 30 credit hours have been accumulated.
  2. Breadth requirement
  3. Qualifying exam
  4. Preparation of a written dissertation and an oral defense thereof

M.S. to Ph.D.


 

ADMISSION REQUIREMENTS
  1. M.S. in electrical or computer engineering or a closely related field.
  2. Have the background to obtain a Ph.D. in an area of research supported within the UH-ECE Department, and contact with potential dissertation advisor has been established.
  3. GPA ≥ 3.3/4.0; TOEFL ≥ 92 (TOEFL for international students only).  Typical GRE profile:  V ≥151, Q ≥ 159, W ≥ 4.0.  (While no minimum GRE scores are used to exclude students, students entering the program typically have GRE scores greater than these values.)
  4. Three letters of recommendation on official letterhead with mailing address, phone and fax numbers, and e-mail address of the recommender.  A letter from the student’s Master Thesis advisor, if applicable, is especially desirable.
PROGRAM REQUIREMENTS
  1. At least 54 semester hours of graduate credit, of which at least 15 hours should be in structured course work and at least 39 hours in research (ECE 8x98) or dissertation (ECE 8399 ).  When selecting the courses, keep in mind that:
    • All of the 15 hours in coursework must be from courses at the strictly 6000-level or higher.
    • At least 9 of the 15 hours must be from ECE courses.  The remaining courses can be taken outside ECE with the approval of the student’s advisor.
    • The student needs to be enrolled in ECE 8399  when defending the dissertation proposal.  During consecutive semesters, the student remains enrolled in ECE 8399  until 12 hours of dissertation have been accumulated.  In case the dissertation has not been successfully completed before this milestone is reached, the student continues to enroll in ECE 8x98 until all requirements for graduation have been met.
  2. Breadth requirement
  3. Qualifying exam
  4. Preparation of a written dissertation and an oral defense thereof.

Dissertation


DISSERTATION COMMITTEE

After the student passes the Qualifying Examination, the Dean, upon the recommendation of the Director of Graduate Studies, will appoint a Dissertation Committee to guide the student’s future study and research. 

This committee should consist of:

  • An ECE chair,
  • 2 additional ECE members, and
  • 2 outside members. Outside members within the College of Engineering must have regular or research appointment. The sole outside member allowed must have a Ph.D. or equivalent.  Additional committee members are allowed with approval of the Director of Graduate Studies.

The dissertation committee form must be submitted well before the proposal defense is scheduled, since the latter cannot take place unless the thesis committee has been formally approved by the ECE Department and Engineering Dean’s Office.  Enrollment is not required; however, the student must follow the deadline stated on the department calendar to form such committee.

In the event that some members of the previously approved committee have to be replaced, the student must submit an updated committee form listing all committee members.  Only the new member(s) have to sign the form.  Appropriate forms for committee approval can be obtained from the Electrical and Computer Engineering Graduate Admissions Office.

DISSERTATION PREPARATION AND DEFENSE

The student should prepare a written proposal, outlining the scope of the dissertation research.  This proposal should contain at least a statement of the objectives, a review of the relevant literature, and a description of the principal methods to be used.  Copies of this proposal should be provided to the members of the Dissertation Committee, and an oral defense should be scheduled at a mutually agreeable time.  Once the committee approves the proposal, a copy is provided to the Director of Graduate Studies, together with two signed copies of the Proposal Approval Form.  The latter can be obtained from the Electrical and Computer Engineering Graduate Admissions Office (and from our web-site).

Since the Dissertation Committee may request substantial changes in the research objectives, the proposal should be prepared during the early stages of the dissertation research.
In no case will the proposal and dissertation defense be allowed to occur in the same semester.  Enrollment in ECE 8399  is required for the proposal defense.

PREPARATION FOR DISSERTATION WRITING

Students must follow the current guidelines of the College of Engineering and the University of Houston while preparing their dissertation.
The link below contains official guidelines for students to follow.  Each dissertation student will be required to attend at least one department and college thesis/dissertation writing workshop.
http://www.egr.uh.edu/graduate/policies/?e=gradthesis

DISSERTATION PREPARATION AND DEFENSE

When a student has completed most of the research required for the dissertation, he/she should inform each member of the Dissertation Committee of the main results obtained.  The student should also describe plans for the contents and structure of the dissertation.  A student may request the members of the committee to review and comment on a preliminary version of the dissertation.  This procedure is encouraged, since it should provide the student with ideas of how to enhance the quality of the dissertation and should facilitate its acceptance.

The student should provide the members of the committee with the final version of the dissertation no later than two weeks prior to the dissertation presentation and defense.  The student should be aware that he/she may be required to make substantial changes in the dissertation in order to satisfy the requirements of the committee.
The dissertation should be at such a level as to be a significant contribution to the field of knowledge in electrical and computer engineering, and worthy of publication in one of the recognized professional journals.  Each candidate is required to present and defend his/her dissertation at a public meeting.  The student must be enrolled when defending the dissertation. The Dissertation Committee will make the final judgment of the acceptance of the defense of the dissertation.

DISSERTATION SUBMISSION FORM

Upon successful defense of the dissertation, and once all signatures of the committee members have been obtained, the student must submit one copy of the dissertation to the Director of Graduate Studies for review.  A dissertation submission form and this copy, together with the correct number of signature pages, must be submitted to the ECE front desk before the deadline stated in the Department calendar.  

OBTAINING ECE DEPARTMENT’S CHAIR SIGNATURE

Once the dissertation has been approved by the Director of Graduate Studies, dissertation and official signature pages will be submitted to the Chair for his/her signature.  The student will be notified by staff for pick up.  The Department process for dissertation submission is now complete.  Students must now submit an approved dissertation submission form with appropriate documents to the Dean’s office for review.  In some cases, departmental review and Dean’s office review can be done at the same time.

OFFICIAL DISSERTATION SUBMISSION FOR BINDING

The College web site listed below provides instructions on how to submit the dissertation once the Dean’s office has given approval for binding.  Once the student is at this stage, he/she must submit a copy of the dissertation binding agreement received from the Dean’s office to the ECE Department so that appropriate letter grade(s) can be awarded.  Visit the college website:  http://www.egr.uh.edu for more information.

Qualifying Exam (QE)


  • Ph.D. students must pass a qualifying exam (QE), consisting of an oral and/or written component. The exact format of the exam is defined by the research groups and the advisor will inform the student what format is to be used. The qualifying exam is to be administered prior to the fourth long semester for a B.S.-Ph.D. student and prior to the third long semester for a M.S.-Ph.D. student. The qualifying exam committee must be approved by the Director of Graduate Studies before the QE can take place. Once the QE has taken place, the Chair of the QE committee will inform the student and the Director of Graduate Studies on the outcome of the exam. If a student chooses to change advisors and has completed the qualifying exam, it is up to the new advisor to choose to accept the status or request that the student repeat the exam.

    There are currently two exam formats, the General and the Electromagnetics formats. Please ask your advisor which you are to follow.

    General Qualifying Exam Instructions

    The exam committee will consist of the advisor and two additional members of the research group. The chair of the committee will be one of the members other than the advisor. The advisor, in consultation with the other committee members, will assign a small research project to the candidate, who may also receive an initial selection of relevant literature. The project should be assigned no later than the beginning of the semester in which the exam is to take place and should be designed to test the candidate’s ability to independently conduct research at a level commensurate with his/her education.

    The candidate will prepare a written report and an oral presentation of the project results. The advisor may provide feedback during the preparation of the written report, but the report should be substantially the student’s own work. The report should include a critical review of the relevant literature, a statement of the problem, methods, results, and discussion. The length of the report should be similar to a standard journal paper. The report, copies of the most relevant literature, and a list of courses completed by the candidate should be given to the committee two weeks prior to the oral exam. The oral exam consists of a public presentation of the project, followed by a closed-door oral examination.

    The candidate will either pass or fail the exam, and this decision, based on a majority vote of the committee, will be communicated to the candidate immediately after the conclusion of the exam. Failing students may request a second attempt. In that case, the committee will assign additional work, which should be completed (and presented) at the end of the next long semester. Should the student fail the second attempt as well, he/she will be dropped from the ECE department’s Ph.D. program. Once the student passes, he/she may proceed with the preparation of the dissertation proposal. Please note that the student’s dissertation advisor is not required to continue serving in that role after the student passes the qualifying exam.

    Qualifying Exam Instructions for Students Studying Electromagnetics

    The Applied Electromagnetics (EM) Group requires students do an oral examination as part of the department qualifying examination. As per department regulations, the exam should be taken before the end of the third semester of graduate work. The following guidelines should be followed in the administration of the exam.

  1. The examination committee should consist of three or four faculty members, including the student’s advisor and the Chair of the Committee (the chair should be different from the advisor).
  2. The exam should test over material covered in the following courses:
  • General electro- and magneto-statics, electromagnetic waves, and applied mathematics
  • ECE 6340 (Intermediate Electromagnetic Waves)
  • ECE 6351 (Microwaves) or ECE 6352 (Antennas)
  • If the student has had both ECE 6351 and ECE 6352, then the student may choose which course the test will cover.
    No materials are brought to the oral exam.

  1. The oral exam normally lasts two hours, and is interactive between the committee members and the students.
  • The outcome of the examination is either pass or fail, and this decision will be communicated to the candidate immediately after the conclusion of the oral exam. A majority vote is needed to pass the student (two out of three or three out of four). Students who fail the oral exam may request a second and final attempt, which must be taken before the end of the next long semester.

Breadth Requirement


Each Ph.D. student should complete, with a B or better, at least two graduate-level courses in Electrical and Computer Engineering outside their area of research.  These courses should be selected from the approved list of breadth courses.  Courses taken by the student as an M.S. candidate (while at UH or elsewhere) will be considered.