Ph.D. Program Requirements

All Ph.D. requirements should be completed within five (5) academic years. Students who have not yet completed their M.S. will also have two (2) additional academic years to complete their M.S. degree requirements. Ph.D. students must maintain a minimum GPA of 3.5 through all stages of their graduate program.

M.S./Ph.D. Students

Ph.D. students admitted without an M.S. degree must complete their M.S. degree before beginning their Ph.D. program requirements. The only exception to this rule is the Ph.D. Preliminary Examination, which may be taken while a Ph.D. student is completing M.S. degree requirements.

Ph.D. Course Requirements

Ph.D. course requirements must be completed before a student takes their Oral Qualifying Examination. It is by this point that Ph.D. students are expected to complete a Ph.D. Program of Study that has been approved by their advisor. The Ph.D. course requirements are as follows:

  1. Four (4) formal graduate courses chosen in consultation with a student’s faculty advisor.
  2. At least two (2) of the four formal graduate must be from the Electrical and Computer Engineering Department.
  3. The EC ENGR seminar series course EC ENGR 297. (The course must be taken once per degree level, even if it was previously taken to satisfy M.S. degree requirements.)
  4. The EC ENGR 295 Technical Writing Course

A formal graduate course is defined as any 200-level lecture course taken for a letter grade. Formal graduate courses taken by the student to meet the M.S. degree requirements cannot be applied toward the Ph.D. course requirements. Additionally, Ph.D. students may not apply 500-level courses, 400-level courses, 300-level courses, undergraduate courses, or other seminar courses toward their course requirements.

Ph.D. Preliminary Examination

All Ph.D. students must pass the Ph.D. Preliminary Examination within their first two years of beginning their Ph.D. Program Requirements. For Ph.D. students who do not hold an M.S. degree, this time limit does not begin until after the completion of their M.S. degree. The Ph.D. Preliminary Examination administered by the department and takes place once every year. In the event that a student does not pass the examination, the student may be re-examined only once, subject to approval by the Vice-Chair of Graduate Affairs.

The Ph.D. preliminary examination lasts two days. It is during these two days that students may be examined by six (6) faculty members assigned to them.

The ECE Office of Graduate Student Affairs sends more information regarding the Ph.D. Oral Qualifying Examination during the middle of the Fall quarter. It is during the final month of the Fall quarter that the application for the Ph.D. Preliminary Examination becomes available for students.

Ph.D. Oral Qualifying Examination

Students must pass the Oral Qualifying Examination either within their first three academic years in the Ph.D. program or within one year of passing the Ph.D. Preliminary Examination (whichever comes first).

To take the Oral Qualifying Examination, a student must have passed the Ph.D. Preliminary Examination, completed all Ph.D. course requirements, and nominate a doctoral committee. As doctoral committees require the approval of the Graduate Division, our department requires that students notify our office of their committee members at least three weeks prior to the proposed that of their Oral Qualifying Examination. Doctoral committees must abide by the following guidelines:

  • Two of the three doctoral committee members from UCLA must hold the rank of professor or associate professor (regular or in-residence series).
  • The Chair always must hold a current UCLA Academic Senate faculty appointment per #1 above in the same department or IDP as the graduate student. If a committee has co-chairs, at least one must be from the student’s major department or IDP at UCLA
  • It is not required that doctoral committees consist of at least one outside member. It is possible for the four committee members on a standard doctoral committee to be from the ECE Department

A full list of policies regarding doctoral committees may be found the Graduate Division’s website.

The student’s doctoral committee evaluates their performance in the Oral Qualifying Examination. A successful result on the examination confers upon the student the title of doctoral candidate.

Ph.D. Final Oral Examination

After passing their Oral Qualifying Examination, Ph.D. students are expected to defend their dissertation in a Final Oral Examination. If their doctoral committee has changed since their Oral Qualifying Examination, the student must follow the appropriate procedures for reconstituting their committee and must notify the ECE Office of Graduate Student affairs at least three weeks prior to the anticipated date of their Final Oral Examination.

After passing the Final Oral Examination, Ph.D. students must file their dissertation by the filing deadline of the given quarter. The filing deadline is the final day of the quarter at 5:00 p.m. For their dissertation to be considered filed, students must submit their dissertation through the Graduate Division’s Electronic Thesis and Dissertation (ETD) portal and receive approval from all committee members.