The Tickle College of Engineering offers a Ph.D. in Electrical Engineering to qualified applicants. Candidates for the PhD program are expected to possess a Bachelor of Science or Master of Science degree in Electrical Engineering or related field. Students in the PhD program will be required to demonstrate general competence in Electrical Engineering by completing a comprehensive examination as described below.
Energy Science and Engineering
- Exceptional students holding the bachelor’s degree may be admitted to the doctoral program without first obtaining a master’s degree.
- 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.
- Applicants who hold the bachelor’s degree in fields other than electrical or computer engineering will be required to take selected undergraduate courses as determined by the applicant’s prior education and experience.
- The student will be admitted under non-degree status until the required undergraduate courses are successfully completed with a grade of B or better.
Credit Hours Required
- Students holding only a BS degree, as well as students who receive a concurrent MS degree in Electrical Engineering, Computer Engineering, or Computer Science while enrolled as a PhD student, must take a minimum of 72 total graduate credit hours, including a minimum of 39 graduate course credit hours.
- Students holding an MS degree in Electrical Engineering, Computer Engineering, or Computer Science from UT will be required to take a minimum of 48 total graduate credit hours, including at least 15 credit hours of graduate coursework beyond those applied to their MS degree.
- Students with MS degrees from other fields or universities will be required to take a minimum of 48 total graduate credit hours, including at least 24 credit hours of graduate coursework.
- For all students, at least half of the course credits must be fulfilled by ECE or COSC courses at or above the 500-level.
- Coursework requirements may not be fulfilled by research or dissertation credit or seminar courses.
- The student’s major professor, with the concurrence of the dissertation committee, will prepare a curriculum plan outlining precisely what courses will be taken.
- At least half of the course credit hours must be fulfilled by ECE or COSC courses at or above the 500-level selected in consultation with major professor and/or committee.
- A minimum of 6 credit hours or coursework must be ECE or COSC courses numbered at or above the 600-level.
- For students holding an MS degree, a maximum of 6 credit hours of graduate courses at the 400-level may be applied toward the PhD degree. Other students may apply 12 credit hours of graduate courses at the 400-level selected in consultation with major professor and/or committee. All 400-level courses applied towards the degree must be listed in the Graduate Catalog.
Energy Science and Engineering Concentration (in addition to above)
Knowledge Breadth Curriculum (3 credit hours): select one courses to support learning in the following three areas:
- Political, social, legal, ethical, and security issues related to energy (e.g., POLS, PHYS, ESE)
- Entrepreneurship, leadership, and management (e.g., IE, ME, MGT, ESE)
- Additional courses may be selected in consultation with the Bredesen Center’s Director
Knowledge Specialization Curriculum for Domain Science (6 credit hours) select two courses from participating departments to support one of the following research areas as defined in the Bredesen Center Graduate Student Handbook:
- Bioenergy and biofuels (e.g., EEB, MICR, BCMB, CBE, LFSC, PLSC)
- Cross-cutting energy sciences (e.g., MICR, ECE, CHEM, PHYS, MATH, STAT)
- Distributed energy and grid management (e.g., ECE)
- Energy conversion and storage (e.g., CBE, CHEM, ME, MSE, PHYS)
- Energy materials (e.g., MSE, PHYS)
- Environmental and climate sciences related to energy (e.g., GEOL, MICR, BCMB, EEB, ESS, FORS, GEOL, LFSC, MICR, PLSC, ENVE, FWF)
- Nuclear energy (e.g., NE, CHEM, ME, PHYS)
- Renewable energy (MATH, CBE, ENVE, ME, STAT)
- Transportation sciences (e.g., CBE, CE, ECE, ME)
- Additional courses may be selected in consultation with the major professor or research advisor
Core Curriculum for Energy Science (6 credit hours):
Power Electronics Concentration (in addition to above)
Select 4 courses from the following:
- Satisfactory performance on a qualifying examination. The qualifying examination consists of
- A written critical review of current literature on a research topic approved by the administering faculty.
- A presentation on the approved topic including an oral examination covering the topic and related fundamental knowledge.
- A student must take the qualifying examination within twelve months of entering the Ph.D. program. A second and final attempt is allowed within 24 months of entering the Ph.D. program. Attendance of the examination is limited to the student and the administering faculty.
- 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:
- The written part includes a complete review of the literature in the student’s dissertation topic, a review of the major tools to be used in the dissertation work, and proposed research.
- 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
- 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.
- The comprehensive exam must be completed within five years of the date of the student’s first enrollment in this program.
- Successful public defense of the dissertation by the student.
- A minimum of 6 months must separate the comprehensive examination and the dissertation defense.
- Participation in departmental seminars.