Electrical & Computer Engineering, PhD

For the degree of Doctor of Philosophy: Major in Electrical & Computer Engineering


department catalog page: Electrical & Computer Engineering

department website: Department of Electrical & Computer Engineering

department faculty: Electrical & Computer Engineering Faculty

college website: Engineering

graduate college website: https://grad.illinois.edu/


Graduate Degree Programs

The department offers graduate study and research in electrical and computer engineering leading to the degrees of Master of Engineering, Master of Science, and Doctor of Philosophy. Virtually every specialty within electrical and computer engineering is represented. Courses and research opportunities exist in the following areas:

  • applied computation theory
  • bioengineering, acoustics, and magnetic resonance engineering
  • communications
  • computer-aided design and test
  • computer systems
  • computer vision and robotics
  • decision and control
  • electromagnetic fields
  • electrooptics, lasers, and plasmas
  • integrated circuits
  • microelectro-mechanical systems
  • mobile computing and communication
  • optoelectronics
  • power and energy systems
  • power electronics
  • remote sensing and propagation
  • semiconductor materials and devices
  • semiconductor physics and computational electronics
  • signal, image, and speech processing

The Master of Engineering degree in ECE is designed for students having a B.S. degree in ECE
or a related field and offers an opportunity to broaden knowledge of areas in ECE beyond what is
possible in a four-year undergraduate curriculum. The M.Eng. is a professional degree and is not
intended for students interested in obtaining research experience. Students interested in a
research-oriented career and all students interested in obtaining a Ph.D. should apply to the direct
Ph.D. program.

ECE graduate programs are purposely flexible to encourage interdisciplinary studies and
research. Opportunity also exists for specializing in:
1. computational science and engineering via the Computational Science and Engineering
(CSE) Option
2. energy and sustainability engineering via the Energy and Sustainability Engineering (EaSE)
Option.
For complete program information, visit the Electrical and Computer Engineering graduate
program Web site.

Entering with an approved Master's Degree:

ECE 599Thesis Research (min-max applied toward degree)32-40
ECE 500ECE Colloquium (registration for 0 hours every term while in residence)0
3 permanent 500-level courses in 3 different Ph.D. Breadth Requirement areas12
Elective courses (subject to Other Requirements and Conditions below)12-20
Total Hours64

Other Requirements and Conditions (may overlap)1

Up to 4 credit hours of ECE 590 (Seminar) can be applied towards Elective courses.
Up to 12 credit hours of ECE 597 (Independent Study) can be applied towards Elective courses.
Credit in ECE 415, ECE 445, ECE 596, PHYS 404, PHYS 435, PHYS 436, STAT 400 does not count toward the degree.
At least one ECE 500-level course must be taken other than ECE 590, ECE 597, and ECE 599.
No course used to fulfill any degree requirement may be taken using the "Credit/No Credit" option.
A Masters degree is required for admission to this Ph.D. program.
Ph.D. exam and dissertation requirements:
Qualifying exam2
Preliminary exam
Final exam or dissertation defense
Dissertation deposit
Minimum GPA: 3.0

Entering with an approved Baccalaureate Degree:

ECE 599Thesis Research (min-max applied toward degree)40-48
ECE 500ECE Colloquium (registration for 0 hours every term while in residence)0
3 permanent 500-level courses in 3 different Ph.D. Breadth Requirement areas12
Elective courses (subject to Other Requirements and Conditions below)36-44
Total Hours96

Other Requirements and Conditions (may overlap)1

Up to 4 credit hours of ECE 590 (Seminar) can be applied towards Elective courses.
Up to 16 credit hours of ECE 597 (Independent Study) can be applied towards Elective courses.
Credit in ECE 415, ECE 445, ECE 596, PHYS 404, PHYS 435, PHYS 436, STAT 400 does not count toward the degree.
16-credit hours must be ECE 500-level course must be taken other than ECE 590, ECE 597, and ECE 599.
No course used to fulfill any degree requirement may be taken using the "Credit/No Credit" option.
A Masters degree is required for admission to this Ph.D. program.
Ph.D. exam and dissertation requirements:
Qualifying exam2
Preliminary exam
Final exam or dissertation defense
Dissertation deposit
Minimum GPA: 3.0

Applicants must have completed an electrical engineering curriculum or a computer engineering
curriculum substantially equivalent to those of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. A
minimum grade point average of 3.00 (A = 4.00) for the last two years of undergraduate study is
required. However, because of space limitations, applicants with GPAs below 3.50 are rarely
admitted. All applicants must submit scores from the general test of the Graduate Record
Examination (GRE).
Ph.D. applicants with master's degrees are admitted only if a faculty member is willing to serve as
the Ph.D. thesis advisor. Accordingly, such applicants should write, call, or e-mail prospective
Ph.D. advisors and discuss their research interests and potential Ph.D. thesis topics well in
advance of application deadlines. Admission for the spring semester is possible, in addition to the
usual fall semester admissions.
Graduates of curricula in the physical sciences, mathematics, and computer science may be
admitted if they are judged to have the necessary background to profit from graduate work in
electrical and computer engineering.
All applicants whose native language is not English must submit a minimum TOEFL score of 96
(iBT), 243 (CBT), or 590 (PBT); or minimum International English Language Testing System
(IELTS) academic exam scores of 6.5 overall and 6.0 in all subsections. Applicants may be
exempt from the TOEFL if certain criteria are met. For those taking the TOEFL or IELTS, full
admission status is granted for scores greater than 102 (TOEFL iBT), 253 (TOEFL CBT), 610
(TOEFL PBT), or 6.5 (IELTS). Limited status is granted for lesser scores and requires enrollment
in English as a Second Language (ESL) courses based on an ESL Placement Test (EPT) taken
upon arrival to campus.
Faculty Research

Fellowships, research assistantships, and teaching assistantships (all of which include tuition and
partial fee waivers) are available for the majority of students who are admitted to the M.S. and
Ph.D. programs. International applicants generally are not awarded teaching assistantships but are
eligible for the other forms of financial aid. All applicants, regardless of U.S. citizenship, whose
native language is not English and who wish to be considered for teaching assistantships must
demonstrate spoken English language proficiency by achieving a minimum score of 24 on the
speaking subsection of the TOEFL iBT or 8 on the speaking subsection of the IELTS. For
students who are unable to take the iBT or IELTS, a minimum score of 5 is required on the EPI
test, offered on campus. All new teaching assistants are required to participate in the Graduate
Academy for College Teaching conducted prior to the start of the semester.
Please see the financial aid eligibility for the M.Eng. in Electrical and Computer Engineering
under the "Masters" tab.