Key PhD Program Activities and Time Limits

First Semester Registration

  • Visit with three faculty members for advice on possible courses to take in the first semester.
  • Come to the ECE Graduate Office (MSEE Building, Room 140) to register. 

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 final transcript and diploma to the Graduate School).
  • Select an Academic Advisory Committee.
  • Submit a Preliminary Plan of study (prior to registration for the second semester).
  • Satisfy the ECE 69400 seminar requirement. If you do not satisfy this requirement in the first semester, do so in the earliest semester possible. 

August after First semester (with MS) or August after 2nd semester (direct PhD)

  • Take the Qualifying Examination. 

Before Completion of 3rd Semester

  • Satisfy English Proficiency requirement. 

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

  • File final plan of study. 

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

  • Take the Preliminary Examination. 

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 on the registration form when you register for your final semester.
  • Obtain thesis format approval from the Thesis Format Advisor prior to scheduling your Final Examination.
  • Schedule your Final Examination with your Major Professor, your Doctoral Advisory Committee, and the ECE Graduate Office at least 3 weeks prior to the proposed date of the exam. The Final Examination must be completed before the semester deadline (approximately one week before the last day of classes) as indicated by the Purdue University Graduate School, but we strongly recommend you do not wait until this late date. Check the Graduate School website or in the ECE Graduate Office for the specific deadline. Those who are registered for “Exam Only” must complete their final exam by the eighth week of classes (fourth week of a summer session).
  • Distribute copies of your thesis to advisory committee members at least two weeks before the oral exam.
  • Take the Final Examination and complete thesis processing as respectively described in Subsection 7.3 and Appendix E of the Handbook.

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.

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.

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 Graduate Coordinator 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 Graduate Coordinator.

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 Graduate Coordinator.