Ph.D. Degree

Faculty Advisor | Individual Development Plan | Supervisory Committee | Leave of Absence Policy | Official Minor | Written Qualifying Exam | Oral Qualifying Exam | Status Meeting | Final Exam & Submission

Course Requirements and Period of Concentrated Study

For the Ph.D. degree, at least 90 credit hours beyond the bachelor’s degree are required. These hours include master’s degree work taken at the University of Florida or, if appropriate, up to 30 hours of master’s degree work in ECE earned at another approved university outside UF. The hours accumulated for the Ph.D. degree have the following restrictions:

  • Ph.D. Coursework Requirement‐ At least 24 hours of 5000, 6000, or 7000 level College of Engineering (COE), Math, Statistics, and/or Physics letter graded courses are required. Of these 24 coursework hours, at least 15 credits of graduate level letter graded coursework hours must be taken in the ECE department. CDA 5636 (Embedded Systems) can be used toward this 15 credit ECE coursework requirement by exception. Students must receive a grade of “B” or better in the 24 credit hour courses. These 24 coursework credit hours must be approved by the student’s faculty advisor and supervisory committee. Students will need to work in conjunction with their faculty advisor and supervisory committee to determine which courses will be most relevant to their research topic. Individual work/independent study hours (i.e. EEL 5/6905), EEL 6065, EEL 6933, and EEL 6940 cannot be used to fulfill this 24 coursework credit hour requirement. ECE courses taken in a master’s program at UF are automatically included. This course requirement can only be fulfilled by completing ECE coursework at the University of Florida. This coursework requirement must be completed before the status meeting with the student’s supervisory committee (one year before graduation).
  • PhD students in ECE are required to complete six credit hours from the below listed courses for professional development:
    1. One credit of EEL 6933 (REQUIRED)
    2. and: EEL 6940‐ Supervised Teaching (up to five credits)
    3. EGN 6933‐ Engineering Faculty Development
    4. EGS 6050‐ Foundations in Engineering Education
    5. and/or any combination of the three courses that currently make up the Engineering Innovation Certificate (EGN 6640, EGN 6642, EGS 6039)

    NOTE: EEL6940‐ This course exposes Ph.D. students to the rigors of teaching in a higher education setting. Students will be paired with a faculty member and will help manage, teach, grade, interact with students outside of class and, if appropriate, will give a lecture in the course

  • Up to 18 hours of Special Topics (EEL 5934, 6935, and 7936) may be applied toward the degree. Up to six hours of unstructured credit hours total (EEL 5905, EEL 6905 or EGN 5949) may be applied toward the degree. Students can count a maximum of 3 credits of EGN 5949 toward their degree program.
  • All EEL 7980 (Research for Doctoral Dissertation) credit hours are counted. Students cannot register for EEL 7980 hours until they have been officially admitted to candidacy (passed written and oral qualifying exam). Students must be admitted to candidacy for a minimum of two semesters before graduation. Students can count the semester that they are admitted to candidacy if they complete their oral qualifying exam by the midpoint deadline of a semester. The midpoint of the term is determined by the Graduate School and is published in its “Deadline Dates.”
  • Fifty percent of all hours accumulated have to be in ECE at the 5000, 6000 or 7000 level (including EEL 7979 & 7980).
  • Only 30 hours from a Master’s degree not awarded by the ECE department at UF may be counted toward the Ph.D. degree (see Transfer of Credit section of Administrative Procedures for more information).

Candidates for the doctoral degree must satisfy the minimum requirements for a period of concentrated study, beyond the first 30 semester hours counted toward the doctoral program. Students must complete 30 credits enrolled at the University of Florida campus or the Graduate Engineering and Research Center (REEF). Courses at the 1000 or 2000 level will not be counted toward the concentrated study requirement.

Ph.D. Faculty Advisor

All Ph.D. students must identify a faculty advisor during their first year of study. A preliminary program of study signed by the faculty advisor must be submitted to the SSO no later than the mid‐point of the first summer semester as a Ph.D. student. Ph.D. students are not permitted to register for doctoral research hours (EEL 7979, EEL 7980) until they have submitted their preliminary program of study signed by their faculty advisor.

Individual Development Plan

The Individual Development Plan (IDP) is a series of documents that each doctoral student at UF must complete with her or his faculty advisor each year. It is designed to identify students’ professional and personal goals, highlight are as of weakness, and help students work with their advisors to create attainable steps for fulfilling long-term goals.

The IDP is housed in Canvas, the University of Florida’s e-learning management system.

Appointment of Supervisory Committee

The supervisory committee is a group of faculty members who supervise and approve qualifications for the Ph.D. degree. The committee should be appointed as soon as possible, but no later than the midpoint of the second fall semester enrolled as a Ph.D. student. A hold may be placed on the student’s record if they do not meet this requirement. The committee consists of four or more graduate faculty members with at least two of the members having Graduate Faculty status in the ECE department. The committee chairperson must have Graduate Faculty status and be from the ECE department or have an appointment in the ECE department. One member of the committee must be from a discipline outside of the department and must maintain graduate faculty status in their respective department.

After the committee has been determined, in consultation with the faculty advisor, the student should obtain a Supervisory Committee Form from the Student Services Office (Larsen 230) and have the professors sign the form indicating that they are willing to serve on the committee.

Leave of Absence Policy

A doctoral student who will not be registered at UF for a period of more than one semester needs to request written permission from his/her faculty advisor for a leave of absence for a designated period of time. A copy of the written permission memo must be taken to the Student Services Office and placed in the student’s file.

Official Minor

With the approval of the supervisory committee, a student may choose one official minor field (minimum 12 graduate credit hours). Official minor coursework cannot be counted toward the 24 hour ECE coursework requirement.

Minor work may be completed in any department, other than ECE, that is approved for master’s or doctoral degree programs as listed in the University of Florida Graduate Catalog and supports a program that is related to the student’s Ph.D. research area. If an official minor is chosen, the supervisory committee must include a representative from the minor field.

If an official minor is chosen, a representative of the minor department, who may or may not be on the supervisory committee, shall designate at least one 6‐hour graduate course sequence in the minor field for written qualifying examination. It is the student’s responsibility to schedule the exam with the professor in the minor department. The student must pass this exam in order for the minor to be valid. The official minor exam must be completed before the student can be admitted to candidacy.

Written Qualifying Exam

The written qualifying exam comprises a survey covering key literature in an ECE research topic. The external Ph.D. committee member is not required to participate in this process. This is a critical review of the research topic, merely summarizing a set of papers is not enough to count as a Ph.D. survey. The write-up should include clear identification of the main research problems in the field and the main suggested approaches (with their advantages and disadvantages, qualitatively and quantitatively compared). The survey paper should aim to be of good quality that would be appropriate for publication in a well reputed journal or technical magazine. The written qualifying exam should be completed as early as possible but no later than the end of the second spring semester enrolled in the PhD program.

For further details, please see the Graduate Guidelines.

Oral Qualifying Exam

The Ph.D. oral qualifying exam (i.e. oral proposal) must be completed by the end of the second spring semester enrolled as a Ph.D. student. The oral qualifying exam consists of:

  • Presenting his/her written research proposal
  • Answering questions asked by the supervisory committee and others present

The Student Services Office must be notified at least one week in advance of the oral qualifying examination so the Announcement of Examination form can be mailed and the Admission to Candidacy form prepared. This form should be taken to the qualifying exam by the student, signed by the supervisory committee and returned to the Student Services Office for processing. If the student fails the oral portion of the qualifying exam, s/he may retake it only once and it must be retaken within two semesters. If a student fails the oral qualifying exam for a second time, the Graduate School will be notified. A re‐examination may be requested but it must be recommended by the student’s supervisory committee and approved by the Graduate School. At least one semester of additional preparation is considered essential before re‐examination.

Between the date of completion of the qualifying exam and the date of the degree, there must be a minimum of two semesters if the candidate is in full‐time residence or a calendar year if the candidate is in attendance on less than a full‐time basis. The semester in which the qualifying examination is completed is counted provided that the exam is completed before the midpoint of the term. No more than five years may pass between the completion of the qualifying exam and the conferring of the degree.
The doctoral student becomes a doctoral candidate when the following requirements are satisfied:

  • The student academic record is satisfactory
  • Half (12 credits) of the Ph.D. coursework credit hour requirement is complete
  • The Supervisory Committee certifies that the student has made satisfactory progress to be admitted to candidacy
  • The student has a dissertation topic approved by his/her supervisory committee
  • The student has passed both the written (including the official minor exam if applicable) and oral portions of the qualifying exam
  • The Admission to Candidacy form has the required formal approvals

Status Meeting with Supervisory Committee

A status meeting with the student’s supervisory committee must be held at least two semesters before graduation and no sooner than the second semester after the oral proposal. Students will present their current progress on their dissertation to their supervisory committee. The supervisory committee will review the procedure, progress, and expected results of the dissertation topic and may make suggestions for completion of the dissertation. Students are expected to have completed their 24 credit Ph.D. coursework requirement as well as half of their dissertation before the status meeting can be scheduled.

The Student Services Office must be notified at least one week in advance of the meeting so the appropriate paper work can be prepared. This paper work should be taken to the status meeting by the student, signed by the supervisory committee and returned to the Student Services Office for processing. A draft of the dissertation, formatted according to the Graduate School Editorial Office’s specifications, will need to be provided to committee members at least two weeks in advance of the status meeting. Formatting requirements and technical assistance are available at the Academic Technology Office.

Final Examination and Submission of Dissertation

The Ph.D. final exam consists of an oral defense of the research results that are described in the doctoral dissertation. This exam is given within six months of graduation, after the first submission of the dissertation, and the completion of all other prescribed work for the degree.

Students must submit the dissertation electronically. Students should refer to the Graduate School Editorial Office for more information regarding their dissertation submission.

Electronic submission requires a signed ETD Submission Approval Form (submitted directly by student), Final Exam Form and Signature Page to the Student Services Office. The Student Services Office should be informed of the examination one week prior to the defense date in order to process the Final Exam Report form and send out notices. Copies of the student’s dissertation must be given to the supervisory committee members at least two weeks in advance of the final examination. Graduation may be delayed for those who do not adhere to this rule.

At the time of the defense, all committee members should sign the signature pages in the dissertation and sign the Final Exam Report form which is to be returned to the Student Services Office. Students are also required to complete an Exit Survey during the semester they plan to graduate. Students can find more information about the Exit Survey in the Student Services Office.
All work for the Ph.D. degree must be completed within five calendar years after the completion of the Ph.D. qualifying exam.