Key PhD Program Activities and Time Limits

First Semester Registration

Complete the online orientation to obtain your registration PIN.

Work with your major professor or a professor in your primary area to determine suitable courses.

During the First Semester

  • Register for at least one credit hour of ECE 69200 or ECE 69900.
  • Satisfy the English proficiency requirement and all other admission conditions (such as presentation of your official transcript and diploma to the Graduate School).
    • Note that the English proficiency requirements must be fulfilled before the end of your third semester.
  • Select an academic advisory committee of three members.
  • Submit a preliminary plan of study (prior to registration for the second semester).
    • All PhD preliminary plans of study must be submitted directly to the ECE Graduate Office. Use the purple form available in the racks outside of the Graduate Office or this electronic preliminary plan of study form.
  • Satisfy the ECE 69400 Graduate Seminar requirement. If you do not satisfy this requirement in the first semester, do so in the earliest semester possible. 

Before Registration for 4th (with MS) or 6th (direct PhD) Semester

Before Completion of 6th (with MS) or 8th (direct PhD) Semester

Two semesters before You Expect to Graduate

  • Review your plan of study to verify that all degree requirements, including residency hours, are or will be met. 

During Final Semester

  • Declare candidacy by completing the candidate survey you receive by email.
  • Schedule your Final Examination

Allowable Time Limit for Completion of the PhD Degree

The time-limit policy of the School of Electrical and Computer Engineering provided below is to ensure timely academic progress. This policy applies to all students in the PhD program, including those on research in absentia.

Time limit: Students entering the PhD program with a Master’s degree are to complete all degree requirements within six equivalent full-time years from the beginning of their first semester registration. Those entering as direct PhD students have seven years to complete their degree requirements.

Only full semesters are counted toward the time limit. Summer sessions are not counted even if a student registers for one or more summer sessions. Most students will complete taking the preliminary and final examinations before a formal review is implemented. A student who is not in good standing with regard to the cited time limit will not be allowed to register for the following semester without the approval of the ECE Associate Head of Graduate and Professional Programs.

Extension requests: Students may request, in writing, an extension to the cited time limit. The first one-year extension beyond the cited time limit, an extension recommended by the student’s doctoral advisory committee, may be granted by the ECE Associate Head of Graduate and Professional Programs without a formal review examination. Further extensions recommended by the student’s doctoral advisory committee will only be granted after a formal review examination and the approval of the ECE Associate Head of Graduate and Professional Programs.