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Ph.D. Program Requirements

Several requirements exist to earn a Ph.D. from the School of Electrical and Computer Engineering at Cornell.

Degree Requirements

  • Course / Credit Hour Requirements for ECE Ph.D. Students
  • One Semester Residency Requirement at the Cornell Ithaca Campus
  • Advisor / Committee Chair Selection
    • Special Committee Membership Selection
  • Examinations
    • ECE Qualifying Examination
    • Admission to Candidacy Examination – A Exam
    • Ph.D. Thesis Defense – B Exam

      Course/Credit Hour Requirements for ECE Ph.D. Students

      All incoming ECE Ph.D. Students will be required to enroll in at least Eight (8) Credit Hours of ECE Courses, earning a Letter Grade of “B” or better in each of them.

      1. Each of these ECE Courses should be at the 4000 Level or Above.
      2. At least Three (3) Credit Hours should be at the 5000 Level or Above.
      3. Courses being used to satisfy a Minor Requirement (whether they be for an ECE Course or for another Graduate Field) will not be allowed to satisfy the Course Requirements.
      4. Students must complete their Eight (8) Credit Hour Course Requirement prior to the scheduling and completion of their Admission to Candidacy Examination (A Exam).
      5. Transfer of Credit Hours from courses taken at another University will not be allowed.

      One Semester Residency Requirement at the Cornell Ithaca Campus

      1. All incoming Students will be required to enroll at the Cornell Ithaca Campus and take courses for their First Semester in the ECE Ph.D. Program.
      2. Ph.D. Students will initiate their Advisor / Committee Chair Selection Process from the members of the ECE Graduate Field Faculty located at either the Ithaca Cornell Ithaca Campus or the Cornell New York City Tech Campus.
      3. Ph.D. Students who choose to work with an Advisor / Committee Chair at the Cornell New York City Tech Campus will be allowed to relocate to New York City as early as the beginning of their Second Semester of enrollment in the ECE Ph.D. Program.

      Advisor/Committee Chair Selection

      • All ECE Ph.D. Students are encouraged to make their formal selection of their Advisor / Committee Chair from the members of the ECE Graduate Field Faculty by the end of their first semester of enrollment.
      • All ECE Ph.D. Students are required to make their formal selection of their Advisor / Committee Chair from the members of the ECE Graduate Field Faculty by the end of their first year of enrollment, in order to be considered making the necessary academic progress as determined by the Field.

      See the PhD Advisor / Committee Chair and Special Committee Minor membership Selection page for more details.

      Special Committee Membership Selection

      • All ECE Ph.D. Students are required to complete the formal selection of their Special Committee Membership prior to the completion of their Third Semester of Enrollment.
        • o The First Member will be the Advisor / Committee Chair.
        • o The Second Two will be the Minor Committee Members.

      See the PhD Advisor / Committee Chair and Special Committee Minor membership Selection page for more details.

      Examinations

      ECE Qualifying Examination

      The Qualifying Examination is an assessment of incoming graduate students in the Field of Electrical and Computer Engineering. The outcome of the Qualifying Examination is determined during the Graduate Annual Review (GAR) with input from all ECE Graduate Field Faculty and will holistically consider the following components to determine the outcome:

      • Results of a set of Subject Examinations
      • Grades in all Graduate Level Coursework to date
      • Performance in Research and Teaching (if applicable)

      The two possible outcomes as determined during the GAR are either Pass or Fail.

      See the Ph.D. Examinations page for details.

       

      Admission to Candidacy Examination: A Exam

      Students are considered for Doctoral Candidacy after successfully completing a comprehensive examination administered by their Special Committee Membership.

      • The A Exam may be taken after Two (2) Semesters of registration have been completed in the ECE Ph.D. Program.
      • The A Exam must be successfully completed PRIOR TO THE BEGINNING of a student’s Seventh Semester of registration.

      See the Ph.D. Examinations page for details.

       

      Ph.D. Thesis Defense: B Exam

      • Doctoral Student Candidates must successfully complete their Ph.D. Thesis Defense upon completion of all requirements for their degree.

      • A Minimum of Two (2) Semesters of Registration must be completed between passing the A Exam and the scheduling of the B Exam.

      See the Ph.D. Examinations page for details.