May 30, 2024  
2010-2011 Graduate Catalog 
2010-2011 Graduate Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Electrical Engineering Major, PhD

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The PhD is offered with a major in electrical engineering. Exceptional students holding the bachelor’s degree may be admitted to the doctoral program without first obtaining a master’s degree. Candidates holding the MS must satisfy requirements 2 through 7 below while candidates holding only the BS must satisfy requirements 1 through 7. Applicants are required to submit scores from the general Graduate Record Examination (GRE) within the past three years and to have these scores sent to the Office of Graduate Admissions. A TOEFL score of 550 on the written exam or 80 on the Internet-based Test is required for non-native speakers of English, including those who have earned degrees at U.S. institutions. The score must be no more than two years old from the requested date of entry. Applicants who have received a degree from an accredited U.S. institution within  the past two years are exempt from the TOEFL requirement. Specific departmental requirements for the PhD include the following.

  1. For students holding only a BS, a minimum of 48 course hours is required. Exceptional PhD students may request that course hour requirements of 48 hours beyond the BS degree be reduced to a lesser number, but not less than 39 hours beyond the BS. Request for this reduction is to be initiated by the student’s PhD dissertation committee. The student’s major professor, with the concurrence of the dissertation committee, will prepare a curriculum plan showing exactly what courses will be taken and provide a justification as to why a reduced course hour requirement is appropriate. The request will be submitted to the Graduate Committee for approval. The Graduate Committee may approve/deny or modify the requested reduction. Any reduction in course hours granted will be contingent upon successful completion of all other PhD requirements under the supervision of the major professor and dissertation committee in place at the time of the request for reduction in course hour requirements. An approved reduction in course hour requirement will be automatically rescinded, unless reinstated by the Graduate Committee, if the student makes a subsequent change in the dissertation committee. The minimum dissertation hours required of students receiving approval for reduced course hours (normally 24) will be increased by exactly the amount of the reduction in required course hours. The first 24 hours should satisfy
    1. 6 semester hours of mathematics at the 400-level* or above, approved by the graduate committee; or 6 semester hours of Electrical and Computer Engineering courses at the 500-level or above; or 6 semester hours of non-Electrical and Computer Engineering courses approved by the student’s master committee and the graduate committee. 
    2. An additional 18 semester hours of 400-level* or above work in electrical and computer engineering, with at least 6 hours of 500-level or 600-level work in each of two areas of electrical and computer engineering. In addition, the student must satisfy requirements 2 through 7 below.
  2. For students holding an MS, a minimum of 24 semester hours of course work, excluding research and dissertation credit or seminar courses, must be taken at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. These hours must include the following.
    1. A minimum of 12 semester hours in electrical and computer engineering at the 500- and 600-levels.
    2. A minimum of 9 semester hours of 600-level course work. At least 3 hours of this work must be in an area other than the student’s major area.
    3. A minimum of 6 semester hours of mathematics (offered by the Mathematics department) at the 500-level or above and approved by the graduate committee. 
  3. Satisfactory performance on a qualifying examination. The qualifying examination is prepared by the Electrical Engineering and Computer Science faculty and consists of a written examination covering courses required in the undergraduate curriculum. Information concerning the qualifying examination is available in the departmental office. A student needs to pass the qualifying examination before the end of their first year to remain in the program (the first year begins the first day of classes at UT).
  4. Satisfactory performance on a comprehensive examination administered by the student’s committee. The exam results are reported to the graduate committee for approval and the exam is filed in the department. The comprehensive exam is given when the student is ready to apply for admission to candidacy. The comprehensive examination consists of both written and oral parts. The written part consists of a complete review of the literature in the student’s dissertation topic and a review of the major tools to be used in the dissertation work. The student’s committee may require additional written sections. The student must demonstrate a mastery of the dissertation area, ability to think analytically and creatively, skill in using academic resources, and ability to complete the dissertation satisfactorily. The oral part of the comprehensive examination consists primarily of a professional presentation of a proposal for dissertation work and its defense. The committee may cover additional topics in the oral part. 
  5. Participation in departmental seminars. 
  6. A minimum of 24 hours of doctoral dissertation. 
  7. Successful public defense of the dissertation by the student. A minimum of 6 months must separate the comprehensive examination and the dissertation defense.

NOTE: *At least two thirds of the minimum required hours must be taken in courses numbered at or above the 500 level.

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