Ph.D. in Electrical and Computer Engineering

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Admission Requirements 

General requirements for admission are described in the Admissions section of the Graduate Catalog.  Specific admission requirements for the Ph.D. in Electrical and Computer Engineering are described below.

  1.  Graduate degree in Electrical or Computer Engineering or a related field from an ABET* accredited institution in the United States, or proof of equivalent education from an international institution with a GPA of 3.3/4.0 (or its equivalent from an international institution). Undergraduate students with GPAs above 3.5/4.0 may enter the Ph.D. program immediately upon completion of the bachelors degree.
  2. Demonstration of academic achievement and potential as indicated by the results of the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) and upper-level undergraduate and graduate coursework (normally 3.5/4.0 GPA in both).
  3. Three letters of recommendation and any other evidence of background, knowledge, research and scholarship, or work experience in Electrical and Computer Engineering that may be relevant.
  4. A written statement of interest, describing his/her career goals and describing his/her vision of the path to those goals (including a summary of previous preparation and of his/her expectations from the graduate program).

Conditional acceptance may be offered to students who do not meet all of the specific criteria for full admission but who show promise of success in graduate studies. Following US government visa policy, conditional admission to the Ph.D. Program in Electrical and Computer Engineering is not offered to international students.

The ECE Committee of Graduate Studies will review applications after they are released by the Graduate School. Application documents are released to the Department once Graduate School verify that the all required application documents have been received. The ECE Committee of Graduate Studies will review the application documents and provide one of the following recommendations to the Graduate School: admission, conditional admission, or rejection of the application.

Degree Requirements  

General Track

Each student must complete 72 semester credit hours beyond the bachelor's degree or 42 hours beyond the master's degree. Students entering the doctoral program directly after the bachelor degree must complete 72 semester credit hours, including: 1 credit hour of graduate seminar EE 6195; 33 credit hours of approved graduate coursework with at least 24 credits in ECE graduate courses; 32 credit hours of EE6X94 Graduate Research or EE 6392 or EE 5392 Research Methods or other courses to strengthen the student research skills with prior approval of the Graduate Program Director; and 6 credit hours of EE 6398/EE 6399 Dissertation. Students entering the doctoral program with a master’s degree must complete 42 credit hours, including: 1 credit hour of graduate seminar EE 6195; 18 credit hours of approved graduate coursework with at least 12 credits in ECE graduate courses; 17 credit hours of EE 6X94 Graduate Research or EE 6392 or EE 5392 Research Methods or other courses to strengthen the student research skills with prior approval of the Graduate Program Director; and 6 credit hours of EE 6398/6399 Dissertation.

Specific coursework to meet degree coursework requirements will be selected by the student in consultation with the dissertation advisor and the ECE Graduate Advisor to meet and support the student professional and research interests and to meet program requirements.

Industrial and Systems Engineering (ISE) Specialization Track

The Industrial & Systems Engineering (ISE) requires nine (9) credit hours of Industrial, Manufacturing or Systems Engineering graduate courses and allows ECE doctoral students to specialize in ISE-related research. The track is designed to equip students with knowledge and skills of modern industrial and systems engineering, as well as state-of-the-art knowledge and experience in design, implementation, and evaluation of processes. Students will apply their understanding of advanced technologies and integration of knowledge from diverse fields to develop ISE engineering approaches for complex problem-solving in industry, academia and government. Please see the Industrial, Manufacturing and Systems Engineering (IMSE) Department section of the catalog for course descriptions.

Each student must complete 72 semester credit hours beyond the bachelor's degree, or 42 hours beyond the master's degree. Students entering the doctoral program directly after the bachelor degree must complete 72 semester credit hours approved by the Graduate Advisor, which include 1 credit hour of graduate seminar EE 6195; 18 credit hours of approved  ECE graduate concentration coursework;  ECE ; 9 credit hours of approved ISE graduate concentration coursework; 6 credit hours of approved  ECE graduate coursework not in the concentration area; 32 credit hours of EE 6X94 Graduate Research or EE 6392 or EE 5392 Research Methods or other courses to strengthen the student research skills with prior approval of the Graduate Programs Director; and 6 credit hours of EE 6398/EE 6399 Dissertation. Students entering the doctoral program with a master’s degree must complete 42 credits including: 1 credit hour of graduate seminar EE 6195; 12  credit hours of approved ECE graduate concentration coursework; 6 credit hours of approved ISE graduate concentration coursework 17 credit hours of EE 6X94 Graduate Research or EE 6392 or EE 5392 Research Methods or other courses to strengthen the student research skills with prior approval of the Graduate Programs Director; and 6 credit hours of EE 6398/6399 Dissertation.

Specific coursework to meet degree coursework requirements for the ISE Track will be selected by the student in consultation with the dissertation advisor and the-ECE Graduate Advisor to meet and support the student professional and research interests and to meet program requirements.

Committees

Admission into the program is awarded by the Graduate School upon recommendation from the ECE Committee of Graduate Studies. The committee is composed of the ECE Chair, the ECE Graduate Advisor, and three faculty members elected from the ECE Graduate Faculty.

For each Ph.D. student, a  Dissertation Committee will be formed consisting of a Dissertation Advisor and at least  three additional faculty members with expertise in areas related to the student's program of study and research.  At least one committee member must be from a department other than Electrical and Computer Engineering.At least one member of the committee must be and ECE Graduate Faculty Member with appointment in ECE.  The dissertation advisor must be a member of the ECE Graduate Faculty. The Dissertation Committee will be appointed in consultation with the student after two semesters of enrollment. The appointment must be approved by the Graduate Programs Director  The   Dissertation Committee will provide mentorship to the student during dissertation research, Dissertation Proposal defense and the final Dissertation Defense. In addition to guiding the student in research efforts, the committee may recommend or require (1) coursework in addition to the degree requirements specific in the catalog, and (2) submission of the articles to peer-reviewed journals or conference proceedings prior to completing the dissertation or dissertation proposal. Requirements beyond those in the catalog need to be approved by the ECE Committee of Graduate Studies.

Examinations

Upon entering the Ph.D. program each student will be required to take a Qualifying Examination.  To pass this examination, a student must demonstrate both competency in the fundamentals of Electrical and Computer Engineering, and the ability to conduct research in the selected discipline of study.  The Qualifying Examination will consist of two sections: (1) Electrical and Computer Engineering Fundamentals, , and (2) Research Competency.  A passing grade in the Qualifying Examination indicates that the student is allowed to continue with his/her studies in the Ph.D. program, while a failing grade will result in dismissal from the program.   Failure to take a given examination at the scheduled time without prior authorization from the Graduate Programs Director, will result in forfeiting the attempt.

The objective of Section 1 of the Qualifying Examination, ECE Fundamentals,  is to have the student demonstrate mastery of the fundamental areas in Electrical and Computer Engineering.  To successfully complete this section of the examination, a student must be able to pass tests related to at least five of the areas representing "ECE Fundamental Knowledge." Ordinarily, each student will be required to take this examination at the beginning of the second semester of enrollment.  If the student does not pass the initial examination, he/she will be allowed to retake it a second time.  Failure to pass the exam after the second attempt may result in dismissal from the program. A third and final attempt may be permitted for students who demonstrate significant progress in their research work. A third and final attempt request needs to be endorsed by the student’s doctoral committee and approved by the Department Committee of Graduate Studies.

In the  ECE Fundamentals  section, the student chooses to be examined in at least five of the following areas :

  1. Digital Design (EE 2369 Digital Systems Design I)
  2. Electric Circuits (EE 2350 Electric Circuits I)
  3. Electronics (EE 3338 Electronics I)
  4. Electronic Devices (EE 3329 Fund. of Semiconductor Dev)
  5. Electromagnetics (EE 3321 Electromagnetic Field Theory)
  6. Microprocessor Systems (EE 3376 Microprocessor Systems I)
  7. Probability Theory (EE 3384 Probabilistic Methods-Engr/Sci)
  8. Signals and Systems (EE 2353 Cont. Time Signals & Systems)
  9. Software Design (EE 2372 Software Design I)
  10. Systems Engineering* (EE 5341/SE 5341 Systems Engr Fundamentals).  Available only for the ISE/ECE Ph.D. Track students.

The exam will take place during the beginning of the semester. The student will receive a letter grade (A, B, C, D, F) for each area exam. A minimum grade of C is required to pass one area and an overall GPA of at least 3.0 is required to pass the fundamental section of the Qualifier after combining the grades of the five area exams. A student may attempt more than five topics. Only the best five grades will be counted for the overall passing grade.

The objective of Section 2,  of the Qualifying Examination Research Competency is to have the student demonstrate skills required in research. .  Each student will be required to successfully complete the Research Competency Section by the fourth semester of enrollment.   In consultation with the Student's  Dissertation- Committee and the Graduate Programs Director the  research competency that can be satisfied with  one of the following options:

  1. Submission of a  paper to a peer-reviewed journal  The paper should be reviewed and approved by the dissertation committee. Dissertation committee review and approval is waived if the peer-reviewed journal paper is published. The paper has to be in the area related to Electrical and Computer Engineering.
  2. Completion of a master’s thesis at UTEP I Electrical and Computer Engineering, along with submission of a paper to be peer-reviewed journal or conference based on the thesis work.
  3.  Pass EE 5392 or EE 6392 Research Methods with A.

Dissertation Proposal Defense

All doctoral students are required to complete a dissertation proposal. The dissertation proposal must demonstrate both the ability to conduct independent research and the competence in scholarly exposition. It should present original investigations at an advanced level of a significant problem in Electrical and Computer Engineering and should provide the basis for publishable contributions to peer-reviewed journals in the field.

The dissertation topic is developed by the student and the research advisor in collaboration with the dissertation committee. A Dissertation Proposal must be prepared and defended. The Dissertation Proposal Examination consists of (1) an evaluation of a dissertation document prepared by the student, and (2) an oral examination including and oral presentation of the dissertation proposal by the student. The student must submit draft of the dissertation proposal with the approval of the dissertation advisor, to the Dissertation Committee, and to the ECE Graduate Advisor at least two weeks before the Dissertation. A student can only prepare and defend a dissertation proposal after passing the qualifier examination. The student can apply to the graduate school for Ph.D. candidacy after successfully defending the dissertation proposal. A dissertation proposal defense must be announced to the ECE faculty and graduate students at least one week before it takes place. Dissertation proposal defenses are open to the academic community.

Dissertation Defense

The Doctoral student can enroll in EE 6398 Dissertation for the first time during the semester that the proposal examination will take place. The student will be allowed to enroll in EE 6399 if the proposal defense is successfully completed and will need to continuously enroll in EE 6399 until completion and successful defense of the dissertation.

After completion of the proposed dissertation research, the student will be examined with regard to the dissertation research outcome in the Dissertation Defense. The Dissertation Defense consists of evaluation of a dissertation document prepared by the candidate, and an oral examination including an oral presentation of the dissertation by the student.

The student must submit the draft dissertation document, with the approval of the dissertation advisor, to the Dissertation Committee, to the department  and to the Graduate School at least  two weeks before the Dissertation Defense. A dissertation defense must be announced to the ECE faculty and graduate students at least one week before it takes place. Dissertation defenses are open to the academic community.

Doctoral candidates are expected to have published multiple peer-reviewed publications by the time they defend their dissertation. Successful publication of peer-reviewed publication is a form of validation of the work by the scientific community. Although it is not a program requirement, individual dissertation committees may require peer-reviewed publications as part of the instruments used to assess the contribution of the candidate’s research work.

Degree Plan

Ph.D. in Electrical & Computer Engineering

Required Credits: 72

PhD in Electrical/Computer Engineering (All courses require a grade of C or better)
Research:
Select thirty three credit hours of the following:33
EE 6192
EE 6193
Graduate Research
Doctoral Seminar
EE 6197
Graduate Research
EE 6311
EE 6313
EE 6321
EE 6325
EE 6326
EE 6351
EE 6352
EE 6357
Special Topics
Individual Studies
Research Methods
Graduate Research
EE 6494
Graduate Research
Graduate Research
Dissertation:
EE 6398Dissertation3
EE 6399Dissertation3
Course Work:
Select 33 credit hours of approved ELCE graduate coursework. The specific coursework required of each student will be determined by his/her Doctoral Advisory Committee33
Laboratory for EE 5318
Individual Studies
EE 5192
EE 5194
EE 5197
EE 5291
EE 5294
Probability & Random Processes
Computational Methods for EE
Linear Systems Analysis
Antenna Theory
Semiconductor Device Physics
EE 5312
Modern Semiconductor Devices
Electronic Material Processing
Nanoelectronics
EE 5321
Adv Digital Communications
Statistical Detection/Estimate
Telemedicine & Imaging Informa
BME Dev Design & Regulation
Data Communications
EE 5332
Data Compression
Adv Fiber Optic Communications
Systems Engineering Fundamtls
Systems Engineering Mgmt
Requirements Engineering
Integratn, Verifictn, Validatn
Practicum in Elect & Comp Eng
EE 5351
Med Diag & Theraptc Instrmtn
Biomed Signal & Image Process
EE 5354
EE 5355
Biomechatronics
Computer Vision
Fuzzy Logic & Engineering
CMOS Digital Circuit Design
Operating Systems
Digital Signal Processing
Image Processing
EE 5374
EE 5375
Computer Architecture I
EE 5377
Advanced VLSI Design
Network Protocols
Energy Sustainability
Smart Grid Fundamentals
Control of Electric Power
High Frequency Power Converter
Power System Operations
Radar Signal Processing
Special Topics Electrical Engr
Individual Studies
Research Methods
Graduate Research
Graduate Projects
Graduate Projects
EE 5494
EE 5594
EE 5694
EE 6192
EE 6193
Graduate Research
Doctoral Seminar
EE 6197
Graduate Research
EE 6311
EE 6313
EE 6321
EE 6325
EE 6326
EE 6351
EE 6352
EE 6357
Special Topics
Individual Studies
Research Methods
Graduate Research
EE 6494
Graduate Research
Graduate Research
Total Hours72

Ph.D. in Electrical & Computer Engineering - Industrial & Systems Engineering

Required Credits: 84

PhD in ECE (Industrial & Systems Track) (All courses require a grade of C or better)
Required Courses:
EE 6195Doctoral Seminar1
ECE Courses:
Select six courses of the following:18
Probability & Random Processes
Linear Systems Analysis
EE 5332
Data Compression
Adv Fiber Optic Communications
Digital Signal Processing
Image Processing
EE 5375
Graduate Research
ISE Track Courses:
Select three courses of the following:9
Systems Engineering Fundamtls
Systems Engineering Mgmt
Requirements Engineering
Integratn, Verifictn, Validatn
Linear and Combin Optimiz Meth
Design/Analysis Indust Exprmnt
Computer Simulation Appli
Advanced Quality Control
Special Topics Industrial Engr
Design for Manufacturability
Strategic Design-Mfg Processes
Modeling/Analysis-Mfg Process
Reliability & Maintainability
Computer-Aided Manufacturing
Systems Engr Fundamentals
Systems Engr Management
Systems Requirements Analysis
Sys Intgrtn, Verfctn, & Valdtn
Sys Engr Project Practicum
Systems Architecture & Design
Systems Engr Processes
Systems Modeling & Simulation
Systems Engr Special Topics
EE Electives:
Select five hours of the following:15
EE 5095
Laboratory for EE 5318
Individual Studies
EE 5192
EE 5194
EE 5195
EE 5197
EE 5291
EE 5294
Probability & Random Processes
Computational Methods for EE
Linear Systems Analysis
Antenna Theory
Semiconductor Device Physics
EE 5312
Modern Semiconductor Devices
Electronic Material Processing
Nanoelectronics
EE 5321
Adv Digital Communications
Statistical Detection/Estimate
Telemedicine & Imaging Informa
BME Dev Design & Regulation
Data Communications
EE 5332
Data Compression
Adv Fiber Optic Communications
Systems Engineering Fundamtls
Systems Engineering Mgmt
Requirements Engineering
Integratn, Verifictn, Validatn
Practicum in Elect & Comp Eng
EE 5351
Med Diag & Theraptc Instrmtn
Biomed Signal & Image Process
EE 5354
EE 5355
EE 5356
Biomechatronics
Computer Vision
Fuzzy Logic & Engineering
CMOS Digital Circuit Design
Operating Systems
Digital Signal Processing
Image Processing
EE 5374
EE 5375
Computer Architecture I
EE 5377
Advanced VLSI Design
Network Protocols
Energy Sustainability
Smart Grid Fundamentals
Control of Electric Power
High Frequency Power Converter
Power System Operations
Radar Signal Processing
Special Topics Electrical Engr
Individual Studies
Research Methods
Graduate Research
Graduate Projects
Graduate Projects
Thesis
Thesis
EE 5494
EE 5594
EE 5694
EE 6192
EE 6193
Graduate Research
EE 6197
Graduate Research
EE 6311
EE 6313
EE 6321
EE 6325
EE 6326
EE 6351
EE 6352
EE 6356
EE 6357
Special Topics
Individual Studies
Research Methods
EE 6494
Graduate Research
Graduate Research
Dissertation Research:
EE 6394Graduate Research (Complete eleven semesters)33
Thesis:
EE 6398
EE 6399
Dissertation
and Dissertation
6
Total Hours82