Yao Wang, Chair of Graduate Committee,
Dept. of Electrical and Computer Engineering, NYU-Poly
The ECE department has decided to change the Ph.D. qualifying exam format to require Ph.D. students to participate in research before taking the qualifying exam and to replace the current written and oral exam with a core course requirement and an oral exam focusing on evaluating the student’s research capability and communication skills. The new exam format is effective immediately, and there will be no written exam offered in Jan. 2013. Students can schedule the oral exam when they meet the criteria stated below and are ready to take the oral exam.
A. Requirements to be satisfied before taking the oral exam
- A student must have registered at NYU‐Poly for at least one semester and taken at least 3 graduate level courses and the student’s cumulative GPA should be 3.5 or above.
- A student must have completed at least 2 core courses (See Item 13), with GPA over the core courses being 3.5 or above, and each core course earning a grade of B or above.
- A student must have completed a research project under the supervision of a project advisor. The advisor can be any faculty member associated with ECE department (An external researcher may serve in this role, subject to approval by the chair of the ECE Graduate Curriculum and Standards Committee (to be referred as the Graduate Committee subsequently). The project can be literature survey of a certain topic, reading and understanding of a certain set of papers, or implementation and evaluation of a few algorithms/ideas in existing literature or suggested by the advisor or the student. Novel contribution by the student worthy of publication is not required. The project advisor should ensure that the project topic is appropriate for evaluating the student’s potential for Ph.D. research. It is the student’s responsibility to identify and secure a project advisor.
- A student should have also secured a ECE faculty member (or an external member approved by the Chair of the Graduate Committee) who agrees to be his/her Ph.D. advisor if the student passes the oral exam. The project advisor does not have to be the Ph.D. advisor. The prospective Ph.D. advisor is not obligated to provide financial support for the student.
B. Oral exam
- The oral exam committee will include the prospective Ph.D. advisor, two other ECE faculty members chosen by the student in consultation with the Ph.D. advisor, and another faculty member from the Graduate Committee assigned by the Chair of the Graduate Committee.
- A student must send in an official application for taking the oral exam to the Chair of Graduate Committee, at least one month before the target date of the oral exam, with two faculty members in the oral exam committee secured. Upon being notified of the fourth member assigned by the Chair of the Graduate Committee, the student is responsible to find a time at which all committee members can attend. Download the application form here: DOC / PDF.
- The student must submit a written project report to the exam committee at least one week before the exam date. The report should be written following the standard format of a conference paper, with 4-6 pages in double column, font size 11.
- During the exam, the student should give a 30‐minute project presentation, followed by questions from the committee members, which can be either directly related to the project or regarding fundamental knowledge underpinning the project topic.
- The committee will provide a written evaluation of the student’s potential for Ph.D. research (in terms of technical ability, and oral and written communications skill) to the department. The committee members can seek input from the prospective Ph.D. advisor when making such evaluation, but the advisor is excluded from participating in formulating the written evaluation.
- The ECE department will make the final decision of pass or fail based on the exam committee’s report.
C. Timelines and Repeat of Oral Exam
- Students should take the first oral exam no later than one year (two years for part‐time students) after starting in the Ph.D. program. If a student does not meet the requirement for taking the exam by this deadline, the student will be disqualified from the program.
- Repeat oral and disqualification: Students who failed the first oral exam but otherwise successfully met the requirement for taking the oral exam can repeat the exam at most once, which should be completed within one year. Students who failed to pass the oral exam after two years in the Ph.D. program (three years for part time student) will be disqualified from the program.
D. Course Requirements
- Four Core Courses: A student, in consultation with and upon approval by the Ph.D. advisor, should choose at least 4 EL courses (12 credits) offered at NYU‐Poly among courses with numbers EL6xxx,EL7xxx,EL8xxx, as their core courses. To graduate, each course must have a grade of B or above and the average grade of the four courses must be 3.5 or above. The student must have completed at least 2 such courses with the average grade of taken courses being 3.5 or above, before taking the oral portion of the Ph.D. qualifying exam. A student passes the qualifying exam once he/she passes the oral exam. The remaining core courses must be completed before graduation.
- Two Non‐EL Courses: A student must choose at least 2 non‐EL graduate‐level courses (6 credits or more) that are in either Science or Engineering discipline. Courses taken at NYU will be counted towards this requirement. Transferred courses taken at other accredited graduate programs are subject to approval by the Ph.D. EE program director. Please note that this requirement replaces the previous minor requirement for Ph.D. EE, which requires the student to take at least 3 courses in a chosen minor area.
- Other courses: The degree requires a total of 75 credits with at least 21 Ph.D. dissertation credits taken at Poly. A student must take a minimum of 42 credits in formal courses (as distinct from “independent study” credits such as reading, project or thesis), with a minimum of 24 course credits in EL courses. The student has freedom in choosing courses, provided he or she satisfies the requirements specified in 13) and 14) and has at least 24 EL course credits (some could be approved transferred courses). The student should consult with his/her Ph.D. advisor or academic advisor in devising a course plan as early as possible so that the course work covers sufficient depth for the student’s chosen area of research and related field, as well as sufficient breadth.
- Transfer credits: According to the general university Policy, a Ph.D. student can transfer up to 48 credits. However, the Ph.D.EE degree requires a minimal of 33 credits taken at NYU‐Poly (21 thesis credits plus 12 credits for meeting the core course requirement). Therefore a student can transfer at most 42 credits. A student with a prior MS degree from an accredited graduate program in any Engineering or Science major can apply for a blanket transfer of 30 credits. These 30 credits can count towards the 24 EL credits only if the previous MS degree is in Electrical Engineering or Computer Engineering. Courses individually transferred cannot include MS thesis, Ph.D. dissertation, or other guided projects or readings. Only courses earning a grade B or above can be transferred.
- GPA requirement: As with all the graduate programs at NYU‐Poly, a student must maintain a GPA of 3.0 or above among all courses taken at Poly. A student with GPA below 3.0 has up to two semesters on probation. If at the end of the second semester on probation, the GPA is still below 3.0, the student will be disqualified from the program. The Ph.D. EE program further requires that a student must have a GPA of 3.5 or above among all formal courses (not including dissertation or other independent studies) taken at NYU Poly to graduate, in addition to the GPA requirement for the core courses as specified in Item 13).
E. Other requirements for obtaining a Ph.D. degree
- A student, in consultation with the Ph.D. advisor, should secure all members of his or her Ph.D. guidance committee within 6 months of passing the qualifying exam, following the rules regarding the committee composition posted in the Graduate Student Manual.
- A student should pass the area exam after no more than 12 dissertation credits have been taken.
- A student must register for the seminar course (EL9990) for at least 4 semesters. To receive a satisfactory grade, a student must attend at least two thirds of the seminars during the semester registered. A PhD student must register and obtain satisfactory grade for at least four semesters. This requirement can be waived for students who work full‐time.
- A student must have submitted at least one journal paper on the Ph.D. research topic. If there is no accepted journal paper, the student should have at least one accepted conference paper that appeared in conference proceedings.
- A student must submit a bounded thesis and successfully pass the Ph.D. dissertation defense.
F. Special provisions for students who started the Ph.D. program in Fall 2012 or before
- These students must take the first oral exam no later than 1/15/2014. Students who failed the first exam must complete and pass the repeat exam no later than 8/15/2014.
- These students have the choice of following either the previous course requirement (no core courses, 3 courses in a single minor area in science or engineering, up to 48 transfer credits), or the newly revised requirement (4 core courses in EL subjects at NYU‐Poly, 2 non‐EL courses, up to 42 transfer credits). However, the student must have a GPA of 3.5 or above among regular courses taken at NYU‐Poly to graduate.
- For students who plan to take the oral exam before Spring 2013 semester, the department will waive the core course requirement, but the student must satisfy all the other requirements.
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