Information for Current ECE Graduate Students


Current Student Information


Financial Support


There are four major types of financial support for graduate students:

Masters of Science in Electrical Engineering

MS Mission Statement

The mission of the MS program in Electrical Engineering at the University of Kentucky is to provide students with an advanced education in electrical and computer engineering, with the ability to contribute to scholarly research and to new technologies, and to prepare them for successful careers.

Expected MS Outcomes:

As a part of our mission, students completing a MS in Electrical Engineering in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering will have obtained the following outcomes:

MS Degree Requirements:

The master's degree requires 24 credit hours of course work and a thesis (Plan A). A non-thesis option (Plan B) consisting of 30 credit hours is available. Enrollment in the non-thesis option requires approval of the Director of Graduate Studies and must be requested within the student's first 9 credit hours of graduate course work. All MS students must also complete 3 of the 5 core 600-level graduate courses in electrical engineering. Both Plans A and B require the student to pass an oral exam with their MS advisory committee. This exam must be scheduled through the Graduate School. Once the MS student passes their MS thesis/project defense, the MS student must also have his/her thesis or project approved by their MS advisory committee. The thesis or project will then be submitted to the graduate school, and must satisfy all formatting requirements prior to completion of his/her degree.


PhD in Electrical Engineering

PhD Mission Statement

The mission of the PhD program in Electrical Engineering at the University of Kentucky is to provide students with an advanced education in electrical and computer engineering, with the ability to identify and develop creative solutions to novel and existing problems, with the expertise to independently contribute to scholarly research and to new technologies, and to prepare them for successful careers.


Expected PhD Outcomes:

As a part of our mission, students completing a PhD in Electrical Engineering in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering will have obtained the following outcomes:

PhD Degree Requirements:

  1. Earn 42 pre-qualifying graduate credit hours taken at the University of Kentucky while in graduate standing. This would include a MS degree earned at the University of Kentucky plus an additional 18 graduate credit hours. Alternatively, this would include a MS degree earned at another accredited institution plus an additional 24 graduate credit hours.
  2. Pass the Ph.D. Qualifying Examination. See the qualifying exam requirements below.
  3. Annual Reviews. Every PhD student must go through an annual review with their PhD committee. Even first year students must complete a review. The annual review can also take place during the student's oral qualifying exam or their PhD Proposal. The student will receive written feedback from their committee regarding their annual review. Annual reviews must be scheduled through the DGS office at least 2 weeks prior to the annual review date. More details on the annual review are provided below.
  4. PhD Proposal. After completing their qualifying exam requirements, the student should be focused on a research topic. The student must complete a formal proposal for their PhD research. A written proposal must be submitted to the student's advisory committee. The student must schedule an oral presentation of their PhD proposal with their advisory committee, which will either approve or dissaprove of the proposal.
  5. Pass the Ph.D. Final Defense. Upon completion of the research, the PhD student will give an oral presentation before their doctoral advisory committee in defense of their dissertation research. The dissertation research will undergo the scrutiny of the doctoral advisory committee, who will be responsible to determine the novelty, completeness and success of the candidates research program. The PhD candidate should submit a completed copy of their dissertation no later than 2 weeks prior to the scheduled defense date.
  6. Submission of the PhD Dissertation. Upon passing the PhD defense, the student will submit the final version of their PhD Dissertation, upon approval of their PhD Advisory committee, PhD advisor, and the Director of Graduate Studies, to the Graduate School. The PhD Dissertation must meet all formatting requirements of the graduate school.

PhD Qualifying Requirements:

Starting with the Spring 2010 semester, the PhD qualifying exam will have a new format. The ECE PhD qualifying exam will consist of three parts:

  1. A formal written pre-qualifying examination testing core undergraduate concepts;
  2. Pre-Qualifying course requirement and core-courses;
  3. An oral exam.

Full details of the PhD qualifying requirements can be found here .

Students who enrolled in the PhD program prior to the Spring 2010 semester are governed by the old qualifying exam model. Details of this model are proivded here .

For all other details regarding degree requirements, please consult the Graduate School Bulletin .

PhD Student Annual Review:

As required by the Graduate School Bulletin (refer to page 43), the progress of a PhD student must be assessed annually. This assessment will be done by the students advisory committee, and must be completed at least once per year in the format of a "PhD Annual Review". The annual review will have two components:

  1. A formal written research summary detailing the students research activity
  2. A formal presentation before the student's committee (open to the public) summarizing the PhD student's research activities.

The PhD annual review must be scheduled through the DGS. This is done by submitting the PhD Annual Review Request Form to the DGS. This form must be submitted at least 2 weeks prior to the date requested for the annual review. The PhD student should submit their written research summary to their advisory committee no later than 1 week prior to the annual review. The student should prepare a presentation (power-point, or similar, based) on the order of 50 minutes that summarizes their research. The student should also be prepared to field questions from the committee about their research.

The student's written report and presentation will be assessed quantitatively by the advisory committee. The categories to be assessed can be found on the PhD student annual review checklist. The quantitative assessment will be on a scale of 1-4. Each committee member will independently assess the PhD student following a pre-defined set of rubrics . The student should familiarize themselves with the criterion to be adequately prepared.

Side notes: Pre-qualifying PhD students must also complete an annual review. The topic chosen for the research summary should be chosen in consultation with the student's graduate advisor. The presentation should be no more than 30 minutes in length. An ad-hoc committee of three members should be formed, which does not require a faculty member from outside the ECE department. For qualifying year students (typically, second-year), the oral qualifying exam serves as the student's annual review.


Special Course Enrollment





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