Ph.D. Degree Requirements
The qualifying examination is a written examination and consists of the following nine areas:
Currently Approved ESE Qual Areas
Courses to Serve as Qual
1. Linear Systems
|2. Probability||ESE 530|
|3. Electromagnetics and Optical Fields||ESE 510|
|4. Solid State Physics and Devices||ESE 521|
|5. Communications||ESE 576|
|6. Networking||ESE or TCOM 501|
|7. Optimization||ESE 504|
|8. VLSI and Microelectronics||ESE 572|
|9. Systems Science and Engineering||ESE 590|
Students must pass in three areas by the end of the spring of the second academic year of their doctoral study.
Towards the end of each semester, the ESE Graduate Chair will send email regarding registering for the Qual exams. Students who wish to take the Qual will submit the online registration. The Graduate Chair will assign these students a number to be used on the exam(s) instead of their name. This is to ensure impartiality in the grading of the Qual. Enrollment in the relevant course is not necessary to register for the Qual.
The department will appoint a two-member committee for each of the courses, with the instructor for the current year acting as the head of the committee. Each committee will finalize and publicly announce the course syllabus by the second week of the semester. These syllabi will serve both as plans for the courses and as reading lists for the corresponding sections of the Qual. All Qual courses will have written in-class final exams, taking place during the usual university final examination period. Note that in order to accommodate the diversity of student populations, the final exams for students opting for qualifiers may be allowed to be slightly different from that for the rest of the students, though the two question papers will have a strong correlation. The extent of the difference will be determined by the committee supervising the specific Quals area in question. Notwithstanding such a difference, the qualifier examination will be strictly limited to the material covered in the corresponding course. The final exams for courses offered in the summer will not be used to meet the Qual requirement.
The qualifiers will be set and graded by the same two-member faculty committee that also set the syllabus. The committee will then determine precisely the minimum performance on each specific exam that would constitute a Qual pass. The Qual results are separate from the grade in the course; i.e., the complete courseload (e.g., homeworks, projects, midterms, quizzes). Thus the criteria for obtaining the grade in the course are set separately from the Qual passing criteria. The results will be announced to the students by the graduate chair/coordinator.
Students submit the Qual exams anonymously. The identity of the students will not be known to the examiners until after decisions are made about what constitutes passing or failing in a specific Qual exam. Copies of the previous years' exams along with past relevant course handouts, exams, etc., may be found on the department's Qual resources page.
The faculty will meet once a year to review the performance of the doctoral students in the first and the second year. Continuations in the program will be determined in these meetings.