2014-2016 Undergraduate and Graduate Bulletin (with addenda) 
    Jul 22, 2024  
2014-2016 Undergraduate and Graduate Bulletin (with addenda) [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Electrical Engineering, Ph.D.

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Requirements for the Doctor of Philosophy


Graduate students who have exhibited a high degree of scholastic proficiency and have given evidence of ability for conducting independent research may consider extending their goals toward the doctorate. The degree of Ph.D. is awarded after completing the program of study and research described below, and upon preparation and defense of a dissertation representing an original and significant contribution deemed worthy of publication in a recognized scientific or engineering journal.

Admission to Program

Students entering the doctoral program with a Bachelor’s degree must meet the entrance requirements for the Master’s program in the appropriate area of concentration. Students entering at the Master’s level for the Ph.D. in Electrical Engineering program are normally expected to have a Master’s in Electrical Engineering. Generally, admission to these Ph.D. programs is conditional on a student achieving a 3.5 grade point average in prior BS and MS programs. GRE is required for all applicants.

The Advisor and Academic Advisor

Many factors enter into a student’s choice of an advisor for his/her research. In addition to the scientific, intellectual and personality factors which influence the pairing of student and professor, financial aspects must also be considered. For most full-time students, the ideal situation is to find an advisor who has a mutually interesting topic, as well as funds available from research grants and contracts which can support the student as a Research Assistant.  A prospective student is encouraged to contact faculty members in his/her research area regarding the possibility of advising before applying to the Ph.D. program. A student who joins the Ph.D. program without securing a thesis advisor will be assigned an academic advisor, who will guide the student in terms of course selection and research activities before the qualifying exam. A Ph.D. Student must get the commitment of a faculty member in the student’s area of major research interest to be the student’s thesis advisor before taking the qualifying exam.

Usually, the thesis advisor is a full-time faculty member in the Electrical and Computer Engineering Department and as such is considered chair of the student’s Guidance Committee. If a student wishes to have someone outside the ECE department to serve as his/her advisor, the student should submit the CV of the person and a letter of commitment from the person to serve as the advisor to the Ph.D. EE Program Director for approval. A Ph.D. in the student’s proposed area of research is a nominal requirement.

Qualifying Examination

A Ph.D. student must pass the Ph.D. qualifying examination before the deadline stated below to continue in the Ph.D. program and register for Ph.D. Dissertation Credits (EL-GY 999x). A student must have completed a research project under the supervision of a project advisor before taking the exam. The student will give an oral presentation of the project during the qualifying exam and answer questions from the exam committee members, which should cover both the topic area of the project and the fundamental knowledge in the student’s chosen research area. The student should have passed a certain course requirement as well as secured an ECE faculty member (or an external member approved by the Program Director) who agrees to be his/her Ph.D. advisor if the student passes the oral exam. The project advisor does not have to be the Ph.D. advisor. The prospective Ph.D. advisor is not obligated to provide financial support for the student.

Detailed information about the requirements to be satisfied before taking the qualifying exam including both course requirement, project scope and application process can be found in ECE graduate student manual, available under the ECE department webpage. Results of the exam will be recorded in the student’s transcript as RE-GY 9990 .

For students who started the Ph.D. program with prior MS degrees in electrical and computer engineering, the first oral exam should be taken no later than one year (two years for part-time students) after starting in the Ph.D. program. For students who started the Ph.D. program without a prior MS degree, the first oral exam should be taken no later than two years (three years for part-time students) after starting in the Ph.D. program. If a student does not meet the requirement for taking the exam by this deadline, the student will be disqualified from the program. Students who failed the first oral exam but otherwise successfully meet the requirement for taking the oral exam can repeat the exam at most once, which should be completed within one year after the first exam. Students who fail to pass the repeat exam will be disqualified from the program.

Guidence Committee

On passing the qualifying examinations, the student in consultation with the thesis advisor should identify additional members of the student’s guidance committee. The committee should be composed of at least three members with the thesis advisor usually acting as Chairman. In cases where the thesis advisor is not a full-time faculty member of the Department, then a full-time faculty member of the Department must be included on the Guidance Committee and serve as chair. At least one other member of the Guidance Committee must be in the student’s area of major research interest. This member may be from outside the School. The committee should include at least two ECE Tenure or Tenure Track faculty (including the advisor, and the NYUAD and NYUSH T/TT faculty), and the additional member can be other faculty members or external member with research expertise in the area. The student must submit the names of the members of his or her Guidance Committee to the Office of Graduate Academics with a copy to the ECE Graduate Office within 6 months of passing the qualifying exam. The Guidance Committee conducts the area examination, thesis defense and approves the final thesis.

Registration for Ph.D. Dissertation Credits

After passing the qualifying exams, and with the agreement of the Thesis Advisor, the Ph.D. candidate may begin registration for dissertation credits EL-GY 999x. A student must register at least 3 credits for EL-GY999x each semester. A minimum of 21 credits is required for the Ph.D. degree. The student must register for thesis continuously, every Fall and Spring semester, unless a Leave of Absence has been granted by the Office of Graduate Academics.

Area Examination

In the area exam, the student reviews the prior research in the student’s chosen dissertation topic and presents preliminary research results and additional research plan. The student must submit a written report that summarizes prior research and the future plan in advance of the exam. Detailed information about the report format and submission deadline can be found in the ECE graduate student manual, available under the ECE department webpage. The area exam is conducted by the Guidance Committee, but may be open to other interested faculty and students. The Guidance Committee attends the exam and evaluates the student’s performance and determines whether the student demonstrates the depth of knowledge and understanding necessary to carry out research in the chosen area. Results of the exam will be recorded in the student’s transcript as EL-GY 9980 .

The student must take and pass the area exam within 2 years after passing the Ph.D. qualifying exam. Students who fail to pass the exam by the deadline will be disqualified from the program.

Submission of the Thesis and Thesis Defense

Upon completion of the doctoral dissertation, the candidate undergoes an oral thesis defense. The defense is conducted by the Guidance Committee, but is open to all members of the faculty and other invited people. Dissertation copies should be made available to prospective examiners at least one week before the scheduled defense. The student should consult the Office of Graduate Studies regarding how to submit, reproduce and bind the final manuscript.

Course Requirements

A minimum of 75 credits of academic work beyond the bachelor’s degree, including at least 21 Ph.D. dissertation credits taken at NYU is required. A minimum of 42 credits in formal courses (as distinct from “independent study” credits such as reading, project or thesis) are required. The chosen formal courses must satisfy the following:

1. Core Courses:

A student, in consultation with and upon approval by the Ph.D. advisor, should choose at least 4 EL courses (12 credits) among courses with numbers EL-GY 6XXX, EL-GY 7XXX, EL-GY 8XXX, as their core courses. Transferred courses cannot be used to satisfy the core course requirement. To graduate, each course must have a grade of B or above and the average grade of the four courses must be 3.5 or above.The student must have completed at least 2 such courses with the average grade of taken courses being 3.5 or above, before taking the oral qualifying exam. The remaining core courses must be completed before graduation.

2. EL Courses:

A student must choose at least 24 credits of EL courses, including the core courses. This requirement can be satisfied by the 30 credits transferred from a prior MS degree in electrical engineering or computer engineering.

3. Non-EL Courses:

A student must choose at least 2 non-EL graduate-level courses (6 credits or more) that are in either Science or Engineering discipline. These courses should be chosen from areas that are distinct and yet consonant with the student’s research area. Please note courses in management cannot be counted towards this requirement. Note that credits from CS 5000-level courses cannot be counted towards the Ph.D. EE degree.

4. GPA Requirement:

The Ph.D. EE program requires that a student must have a GPA of 3.5 or above among all formal courses (not including dissertation or other independent studies) taken at NYU to graduate, in addition to the GPA requirement for the core courses as specified in Item 1.

5. Internships:

Up to 6 credits of approved internships (CP-GY 9941 , CP-GY 9951 , CP-GY 9961 CP-GY 9971 , 1.5 credits each) can be applied towards the 75 credits Ph.D. degree requirement. These credits can be part of the 45 credits beyond the 30 credits of a prior MS degree, which may include up to 3 credits of approved internships for MS (CP-GY 9911 , CP-GY 9921 ). For an internship to be approved for credits, the internship job must provide training relevant to the student’s research area. All internships must be approved and supervised by the student’s Ph.D. advisor. The internship supervisor should submit a midterm and a final term evaluation report to the Ph.D. advisor. The student must submit a project report to the advisor upon completion of the internship for the evaluation and grading of the internship course.

Seminar Attendance Requirement

Ph.D. students are required to register for a 0-credit Research Seminar course (EL-GY 9900 ) for at least 4 semesters. Satisfactory grade is given only if the student attends more than 2/3 of the seminars offered in a semester. Part-time students who have difficulty attending the seminar because of work conflict may be exempted from this requirement upon approval of the Ph.D. EE program director. The student should submit the approval note when applying for graduation. 

Publication Requirement

To be granted the Ph.D. degree, a Ph.D. candidate must have at least one submitted journal paper on the thesis research subject. Documentation in the form of a letter of submission to a refereed journal, and acknowledgment of its receipt by the journal, will constitute the required evidence. If there is no accepted journal paper, the student should have at least one accepted conference paper that appeared in conference proceedings.

Transfer Credits

Ph.D. students are allowed to transfer up to 36 credits, of which 30 credits must be from a prior MS degree in ECE or a closely related field. This means that Ph.D. students admitted without a prior MS degree can transfer at most 6 credits. For the blanket transfer of 30 credits for a prior MS degree, the student must provide an official document. For individual course transfer, the student must provide an official transcript in a sealed envelop as well as catalog descriptions of the courses to be transferred, for evaluation and approval by the department graduate advisor. The official transcript and/or diploma submitted during the student’s admission process can be used in place of new submission. Graduate courses taken at other schools of NYU or taken as an undergraduate student at NYU Tandon School of Engineering are exempt from this policy, but are subject to the general policy of the NYU Tandon School of Engineering regarding such courses. This policy is effective for students entering in Spring 2015 and later.

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