2018-2020 Undergraduate and Graduate Bulletin (with addenda) 
    Aug 17, 2019  
2018-2020 Undergraduate and Graduate Bulletin (with addenda)

Electrical and Computer Engineering, Ph.D.

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Requirements for the Doctor of Philosophy


Graduate students who have exhibited a high degree of scholastic proficiency and have given evidence of ability for conducting independent research may consider extending their goals toward the doctorate. The Ph.D. degree is awarded after completing the program of study and research described below, and upon preparation and defense of a dissertation representing an original and significant contribution deemed worthy of publication in a recognized scientific or engineering journal.

Admission to Program

Students entering the doctoral program with a Bachelor’s degree must meet the entrance requirements for the Master’s program in the appropriate area of concentration. Students entering at the Master’s level for the Ph.D. in Electrical Engineering program are normally expected to have a Master’s in Electrical Engineering. Generally, admission to these Ph.D. programs is conditional on a student achieving a 3.5 grade point average in prior BS and MS programs. GRE is required for all applicants.

Thesis Advisor and Academic Advisor

Many factors enter into a student’s choice of an advisor for his/her research. In addition to the scientific, intellectual and personality factors which influence the pairing of student and professor, financial aspects must also be considered. For most full-time students, the ideal situation is to find an advisor who has a research topic of mutual interest, as well as funds available from research grants and contracts which can support the student as a Research Assistant (RA). A prospective student is encouraged to contact faculty members in his/her research area regarding the possibility of advising before applying to the Ph.D. program. A student who joins the Ph.D. program without securing a thesis advisor will be assigned an academic advisor, who will guide the student in terms of course selection and research activities before the qualifying exam. A Ph.D. student candidate must obtain the commitment of a faculty member in the student’s chosen area of major research interest to be the student’s thesis advisor before taking the qualifying exam.

Usually, the thesis advisor is a full-time faculty member in the Electrical and Computer Engineering Department and as such is considered chair of the student’s Guidance Committee. If a student wishes to have someone outside the ECE department to serve as his/her advisor, the student should submit the CV of the person and a letter of commitment from the person to serve as the advisor to the Ph.D. EE Program Director for approval. The thesis advisor must have a Ph.D. degree in the student’s proposed area of research.

Qualifying Examination

A Ph.D. student (referred to as the student below) must pass the Ph.D. qualifying examination before the deadline to continue in the Ph.D. program and register for Ph.D. Dissertation Credits (ECE-GY 999x). The exam is an oral exam with content described below, but the student must have completed certain course and project requirements before taking the oral exam. Results of the exam will be recorded in the student’s transcript as RE-GY 9990.Detailed information about the requirements to be satisfied before taking the qualifying exam including both course requirement, project scope and application process can be found in ECE graduate student manual, available under the ECE department webpage. Results of the exam will be recorded in the student’s transcript as RE-GY 9990 .

For students who started the Ph.D. program with prior MS degrees in electrical and computer engineering, the first oral exam should be taken no later than one year (two years for part-time students) after starting in the Ph.D. program. For students who started the Ph.D. program without a prior MS degree, the first oral exam should be taken no later than two years (three 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. Students who failed the first oral exam but otherwise successfully meet the requirement for taking the oral exam can repeat the exam at most once, which should be completed within one year after the first exam. Students who fail to pass the repeat exam will be disqualified from the program.

Guidance Committee

On passing the qualifying examination, the student should consult with his or her thesis advisor to identify additional members and form a guidance committee. The committee should be composed of at least three members with the thesis advisor usually acting as Chairperson. If the dissertation advisor is not a tenured or tenure track (T/TT) Tandon faculty member of the Department, then a T/TT Tandon faculty member of the Department in the student’s research area must be invited to serve as the Committee Chair. The committee should include at least two ECE T/TT faculty (including the advisor, and the NYUAD and NYUSH T/TT faculty), and may include at most two external members from outside the Department who are in the student’s area of major research interest. The student must submit the names of the members of his or her Guidance Committee to the Office of Graduate Studies with a copy to the ECE Graduate Office within 6 months of passing the qualifying exam. The Guidance Committee conducts the area examination and thesis defense, and approves the final thesis. The Guidance Committee appointment form can be obtained from the Office of Graduate Studies.

Registration for Ph.D. Dissertation Credits

After passing the qualifying exams, and with the agreement of the Thesis Advisor, the Ph.D. candidate may begin registration for dissertation credits ECE-GY 999x. (The student’s failure to abide by this rule may result in loss of credit for the dissertation registration.) A student must register at least 3 credits for ECE-GY999x each semester. A minimum of 21 credits is required for the Ph.D. degree. The student must register for thesis continuously, every Fall and Spring semester, unless a Leave of Absence has been granted by the Office of Graduate Studies.

Area Examination

In the area exam, the student reviews the prior research in the student’s chosen dissertation topic and presents preliminary research results and additional research plan. The area exam is conducted by the Guidance Committee, but may be open to other interested faculty and students. The Guidance Committee attends and evaluates the student’s performance and determines whether the student demonstrates the depth of knowledge and understanding necessary to carry out research in the chosen area. Results of the exam will be recorded in the student’s transcript as ECE-GY 9980.

The student must submit a written report that summarizes prior research and the future plan at least one week before the scheduled exam time. The report should follow the Ph.D. dissertation template and be at least 25 pages long. The student must take and pass the area exam within 2 years after passing the Ph.D. qualifying exam. Students who fail to pass the exam by the deadline will be disqualified from the program.

The area exam evaluation form provides further details on the evaluation criterion for passing, and can be downloaded from: http://engineering.nyu.edu/academics/departments/electrical/student-resources

Submission of the Thesis and Thesis Defense

Upon completion of the doctoral dissertation, the candidate undergoes an oral thesis defense. The defense is conducted by the Guidance Committee, but is open to all members of the ECE faculty and other invited people. The student must submit a complete draft of the dissertation to the Guidance Committee members at least one week before the scheduled defense. The student should consult the Office of Graduate Studies regarding how to submit, reproduce and bind the final manuscript.

Course Requirements

A minimum of 75 credits of academic work beyond the bachelor’s degree, including at least 21 Ph.D. dissertation credits taken at NYU is required. A minimum of 42 credits in formal courses (as distinct from “independent study” credits such as reading, project or thesis) are required. The chosen formal courses must satisfy the following:

1. Core Courses:

A student, in consultation with and upon approval by the Ph.D. advisor, should choose at least 4 ECE-GY courses (12 credits) among courses with numbers ECE-GY6xxx, ECE-GY7xxx, ECE-GY8xxx, as their core courses. Transferred courses cannot be used to satisfy the core course requirement. 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 qualifying exam. The remaining core courses must be completed before graduation. The list of core courses a student (with a prior MS degree) will register for must be approved by his or her Ph.D. advisor.

2. ECE-GY Courses:

A student must choose at least 24 credits of ECE-GY courses, including the core courses. This requirement can be satisfied by the 30 credits transferred from a prior MS degree in electrical engineering or computer engineering.

3. Non-ECE Courses:

A student must choose at least 2 non-ECE graduate-level courses (6 credits or more) that are in either Science or Engineering discipline. These courses should be chosen from areas that are distinct and yet consonant with the student’s research area. Please note the courses in management cannot be counted towards this requirement. Courses taken at other schools of NYU will be counted towards this requirement provided that the PhD advisor approves them. Transferred courses taken at other accredited graduate programs are subject to approval by the Ph.D. EE program director.

4. Other Courses:

The degree requires a total of 75 credits with at least 21 Ph.D. dissertation credits taken at Tandon. 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 ECE-GY courses. The student has freedom in choosing courses, provided that he or she satisfies the requirements specified in 1), 2) and 3). 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. Note that credits from CS5000-level courses cannot be counted towards Ph.D. EE degree.

5. GPA Requirement:

As with all the graduate programs at NYU-Tandon, a student must maintain a GPA of 3.0 or above among all courses taken at NYU. 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 to graduate, in addition to the GPA requirement for the core courses as specified in Item 1).

6. Internships:

International students must register for an internship course to do an internship. Up to 6 credits of approved internships for Ph.D. (CP-GY 9941 , CP-GY 9951 , CP-GY 9961 CP-GY 9971 , 1.5 credits each) can be applied towards the 75 credits Ph.D. degree requirement, and in particular, the ECE-GY course requirement as specified in Item 2) above. These credits can be part of the 45 credits beyond the 30 credits of a prior MS degree, which may include up to 3 credits of approved internships for MS (CP-GY 9911 , CP-GY 9921 ). For an internship to be approved for credits, the internship must provide training relevant to the student’s research area. All internship must be approved and supervised by the student’s Ph.D. advisor. The internship supervisor should submit a midterm and a final term evaluation report to the Ph.D. advisor. The student must submit a project report to the advisor upon completion of the internship for the evaluation and grading of the internship course.

Seminar Attendance Requirement

Ph.D. students are required to register for a 0-credit Research Seminar course (ECE-GY 9900 ) for at least 4 semesters. Satisfactory grade is given only if the student attends more than 2/3 of the seminars offered in a semester. Part-time students who have difficulty attending the seminar because of work conflict may be exempted from this requirement upon approval of the Ph.D. EE program director. The student should submit the approval note when applying for graduation. 

Publication Requirement

To be granted the Ph.D. degree, a Ph.D. candidate must either have a peer-reviewed journal paper (accepted or published), or have at least one paper under review by a peer-reviewed journal on the thesis research subject.

For the journal paper(s), a letter of acceptance by a journal, or a letter of submission to a peer-reviewed journal along with acknowledgment of its receipt by the journal, will constitute the required evidence. If there is no accepted/published journal paper, the student should have at least one accepted conference paper that appeared in the proceedings of a peer-reviewed conference.

Transfer Credits

For Ph.D. students entered before Spring 2015, the following policy as stated in the NYU-Tandon catalog as of Sept. 2013 are applicable: Doctoral candidates may transfer a maximum of 48 credits, including a 30-credit blanket transfer from a prior MS degree in Electrical Engineering or a closely related field, and additional courses in Science and Engineering not included in the prior MS that are individually transferred. For the blanket 30-credit transfer, the prior MS need not be a 30-credit MS, so long as an MS degree (or equivalent) was granted, and a copy of the degree and detailed transcripts are presented. Additional courses individually transferred cannot include project, thesis, dissertation, guided studies or readings, or special topics credits. Applications for transfer credits must be submitted for consideration before the end of the first semester of matriculation. The student’s major academic department evaluates graduate transfer credits, but no courses with grades less than B will be considered.

Graduate Manual:

For further information, please refer to the graduate manual, which can be found on the student resources page: https://engineering.nyu.edu/academics/departments/electrical-and-computer-engineering/student-resources

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