Ph.D. in Electrical Engineering Program Requirements

Ph.D. Program Requirements

The curriculum incorporates uniform requirements for the Ph.D. program that apply to all students in the department regardless of their area of study. The curriculum allows flexibility in the selection of courses by students and their faculty advisers, in an effort to promote and encourage multi-disciplinary education and research.

The selection of courses is tailored to the student’s professional objectives and must meet the minimum requirements stated below. The courses should be selected and approved in consultation with the student’s faculty adviser. Departures from the stated requirements are considered only in exceptional cases and must be approved by the Department’s Vice-Chair of Graduate Advisor.

Normally, a student will take additional courses to acquire deeper and broader knowledge in preparation for the thesis research. The minimal requirements for the Ph.D. Program are as follows:

  1. Prerequisite: M.S. degree in electrical engineering or related field granted by UCLA, or an institution recognized by the UCLA Graduate Division.
  2. All Ph.D. requirements should be completed within 5 academic years from admission into the Ph.D. graduate program in the Henry Samueli School of Engineering and Applied Science.
  3. Students must maintain a minimum GPA of 3.5 in the Ph.D. program.
  4. Students must complete at least the following requirements:
    • Four (4) formal graduate courses chosen in consultation with the faculty adviser.
    • One (1) graduate seminar series course EE297.
    • One (1) technical communications course such as EE295.
    • The student may not apply any EE500-level courses, other seminar courses, or the courses EE296 and EE375, toward the course requirements.
    • Pass the Ph.D. Preliminary Examination, which is administered by the department and takes place once every year. In case of failure, the student may be re-examined only once subject to approval by the Vice-Chair of Graduate Affairs.
    • Pass the Ph.D. Oral Qualifying Examination, which is administered by the doctoral committee.
    • Complete a Ph.D. Dissertation under the direction of the student’s faculty adviser.
    • Defend the Ph.D. Dissertation in a public seminar, with the doctoral committee present.
  5. A formal graduate course is defined as any 200-level course excluding seminar courses. Formal graduate courses taken by the student to meet the M.S. degree requirements cannot be applied toward the Ph.D. course requirements.
  6. At least two of the formal graduate courses must be in electrical engineering.
  7. Within 2 academic years from admission into the Ph.D. program, all courses should be completed and the Ph.D. Preliminary Examination should be passed. It is strongly recommended that students take the Ph.D. Preliminary Examination during their first academic year in the Ph.D. program.
  8. The Ph.D. Oral Qualifying Examination must be taken when all required courses are complete, and within one year after the student has passed the Ph.D. Preliminary Examination.
  9. Students admitted originally to the M.S. program in the Electrical and Computer Engineering Department must complete all M.S. program requirements with a GPA of at least 3.5 in order to be considered for admission into the Ph.D. program. Only after admission into the Ph.D. program can students take the Ph.D. Preliminary Examination.
  10. Students must nominate a doctoral committee prior to taking the Ph.D. Oral Qualifying Examination. The doctoral committee consists of a minimum of four members. Three (3) members, including the chair, are inside members and must hold appointments in Electrical and Computer Engineering at UCLA. The outside member must be a UCLA faculty member outside Electrical Engineering. By petition, one of the minimum four members may be a faculty member from another UC campus.

All requirements must be completed within five academic years from admission into the Ph.D. program.

Minor in Electrical Engineering

Ph.D. students from other engineering departments or programs wishing to pursue a minor in electrical engineering are advised to select a sequence of three graduate courses from within one of the established tracks defined under the M.S. program requirements, or according to an approved ad-hoc track. At least two of the selected courses must be Electrical Engineering courses. The list of selected courses for the minor must be approved by the Vice-Chair of Graduate Affairs.
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Advancement to Candidacy

Students are advanced to candidacy upon successful completion of the Ph.D. Preliminary and Oral Qualifying Examinations.

Doctoral Dissertation

Every doctoral degree program requires the completion of an approved dissertation that demonstrates the student’s ability to perform original, independent research and constitutes a distinct contribution to knowledge in the principal field of study.

Defense of the Dissertation (or Final Oral Examination)

Required for all Ph.D. students in the program.

  • Email for the required template upon which to format your Ph.D. Defense information on.
  • Once all the committee members agree on a date for the defense seminar, check the online conference room to find out if the time and date your committee has agreed to are available in one of the two conference rooms (57-124 EIV or 67-124 EIV).
  • If there is a room available, email your request to When making a room reservation request, all of the following information must be included in order to reserve the room:
  • Title
  • Name of Speaker
  • Abstract
  • Biography
  • Date
  • Time requested
  • Room requested
  • Advisor Name
  • Formatted flyer on template
  • Once your room is reserved, email the Graduate Student Affairs with your name, UID, date, time, location, and title of your dissertation. This should be done at least one week prior to your defense.
  • Once all this information is received your room will be reserved and the information will be announced. Please note that all weekly newsletter entries need to be in by NOON Friday.