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Graduate Program Information
Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering
University of Illinois at Chicago

This page is about Ph.D. degree requirements.
Degree Requirements - Doctor of Philosophy

Minimum semester hours required: 108 beyond the baccalaureate.

Students admitted with prior master's degree in EE, CE, or a related field:

Student admitted directly after bachelor's degree in EE, CE, or related field:

All doctoral students must:

Ph.D. Qualifying Exam

A student admitted to the Ph.D. program must pass two areas of a written qualifying examination within the first five semesters of enrollment in order to become a doctoral candidate. The first attempt must be made in the first April after your first semester of enrollment to allow for a second consecutive sitting. Qualifying exams are only offered during the Spring semester (first Friday of April).

Master's students in ECE may petition to appear in the qualifying examination if they have completed at least one calendar year of residence and have a GPA of 3.5 or higher.

Students registered for the qualifying examination can obtain copies of the past two exams in Room 1020 SEO. Solutions are not provided.

Qualifying Examination Dates Qualifying Examination Areas

Click here for more information about the Ph.D. qualifying exam.

Preliminary Examination

A Committee Recommendation Form, listing the committee members and their affiliations, must be submitted to the Graduate College three weeks prior to the exam date. If human subjects are involved, Institutional Review Board approval is required. If animals are involved, Animal Care Panel approval is required.

The chair and advisor is the primary reader of the dissertation, and must be a full member of the UIC graduate faculty. The five member examining committee must include two UIC tenured faculty, one individual from outside the degree-granting program (either a graduate faculty member in another UIC department or college, or outside the university), and at least two ECE tenure-track faculty members. If the outside member is not a UIC graduate faculty member, his/her curriculum vitae must accompany the Committee Recommendation Form to demonstrate equivalent academic standards. The faculty committee must contain at least two ECE tenure-track faculty members.

Graduate programs should strive for diversity in the composition of the preliminary examination committee. The appointment of one or two members from outside the degree-granting program or university is encouraged. The timing, content, and nature (written, oral, or both) of the preliminary examination is left to the discretion of the preliminary examination committee. The committee reports its recommendations (either pass or fail) in writing to the Dean of the Graduate College. A candidate may not be passed if more than one vote of fail is reported.

The committee may require that specified conditions be met before the passing recommendation becomes effective. The Dean, on the recommendation of the committee, may permit a second examination. A third examination is not permitted. Failure to complete the degree requirements within five years of passing the preliminary examination requires a new examination.

The Graduate College requires the preliminary examination be given after at least one calendar year of residence and one calendar year prior to the final dissertation defense.


Ph.D. candidates must register for at least zero credit hours each semester (excluding summer) after passing the preliminary examination until the final defense is made and the dissertation is submitted in compliance with department and Graduate College rules.

Ph.D. candidates are not required to register for zero hours after they successfully defend their dissertation unless registration is required to maintain a specific status (i.e., assistantship, visa, or continued use of university facilities). Until the final defense is presented, all Ph.D. candidates must choose one of the following options:

(A) Register for zero hours credit of ECE 599 thesis research every semester (excluding summer) until the degree is awarded

(B) Pay a non-refundable dissertation fee each academic year in lieu of further registration. This fee is equal to twice the amount of tuition for zero credit (Range IV) at the time of payment. Students who elect this option are ineligible for student health insurance, library and laboratory privileges, computer facilities, ID card, and loan deferment. The student must also certify to the department that he or she will not use any University facilities throughout the semester if option B is petitioned.

Option A must be petitioned each semester.

Option B must be petitioned every year.

The Graduate College will allow a doctoral defense without student registration during late registration period or the term. This is assuming the student was registered the previous term, or the previous Spring term in the case of Fall defense (which they should go by Graduate Clooege rules). The late registration period is the official first 10 days of any Fall or Spring term and the first 5 days of the Summer term. A student who defends after the 10th day (5th day in Summer) must be registered.

Time Limitation

Students admitted to the Graduate College with a master's degree or who continue in the Graduate College after completeing the master's degree at UIC must complete the Ph.D. degree requirements within seven consecutive calendar years after initial registration as a doctoral student. Students admitted to the Graduate College without a master's degree who proceed directly to the doctorate must complete degree requirements within nine consecutive calendar years of initial registration as a doctoral student. Students who fail to graduate within this time frame will be dismissed from the Graduate College for failure to progress.

Credit Hours Required by the University of Illinois at Chicago

At least 54 semester hours beyond the master's level or its equivalent must be taken at the University of Illinois at Chicago.

Transfer Credit

After admission to the Ph.D. program, students may petition to transfer a maximum of 9 semester hours earned outside the university. Transfer credit courses must be relevant to the program of study. A transcript showing the courses and grades must accompany the petition. A detailed outline of the courses, including information about the textbook and material covered, should be included. Students must also provide an official letter from the univer sity stating the courses were not used to satisfy any prior degree requirements.

Students may only petition to transfer graduate credit that was not used to fulfill course work requirements of their prior Master's degree(s).

Academic Probation

A student's curriculum should be planned in cooperation with his/her advisor. All graduate students are required to maintain a 3.0/4.0 grade point average (GPA). The GPA calculation does not include seminar, independent study, and research courses (ECE 596-599).

Graduate course work must by satisfied by a C grade or higher. If a student's GPA falls below 3.0, the Graduate College will issue a letter of warning and impose academic probation for a specified period of time. Failure to comply with the terms will likely result in expulsion from the Graduate College.

A student on probation is ineligible for department awarded financial aid, recommendation letters for F-1 practical training, or graduation.

Doctor of Philosophy Additional Regulations

Prior Publication of Research Findings

Students engaged in research are encouraged to publish certain findings that are later incorporated into the final dissertation. In such cases, appropriate acknowledgment of the earlier publication should be included in the final dissertation. The Graduate College encourages such publication, but the dissertation may not be published in its entirety before all degree requirements, including the defense of the dissertation, have been completed.

Format Guidelines

Thesis and dissertation format guidelines are described in detail in a Thesis Manual published by and available in the Graduate College. The defended and approved dissertation must be submitted to the department for a format check one week prior to the deadline set by the Graduate College.

Final Dissertation Defense

Upon completion of the dissertation, the candidate must orally defend the work before a committee. A new Committee Recommendation Form must be filed, listing the dissertation title and committee members. The committee composition requirements of the final defense committee are the same as the preliminary exam committee, except that the appointment of one member from outside the degree-granting program is mandatory. The chairperson (advisor) is considered the primary reader of the thesis. A second and/or third member of the committee may also be designated as "readers." The committee vote is Pass or Fail. A candidate may not be passed if more than one vote of Fail is reported.

Dissertation Committee Composition

The advisor is considered the primary reader of the dissertation. The dissertation committee is appointed by the Dean of the Graduate College on the recommendation of the student's department. Committee Recommendation Forms must be downloaded from the Graduate College web site, typed and submitted in room 1020 SEO at least three weeks prior to the exam date.

Five member composition of the committee is as follows:

Click here for a summary guide to the ECE Ph.D. graduation procedure and requirements.

Click here to see Frequently Asked Questions.
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Topic revision: r4 - 2010-07-08 - 19:06:06 - Main.awu5
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