Jul 17, 2024  
Rensselaer Catalog 2024-2025 
Rensselaer Catalog 2024-2025

Electrical, Computer and Systems Engineering, Ph.D.

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Advanced study and research for a Ph.D. degree is conducted under the guidance of a thesis adviser representing the department. The student formulates an individual Plan of Study in consultation with the adviser. Major milestones for the Ph.D. program in ECSE include passing a doctoral qualifying exam (DQE), a doctoral candidacy exam (DCE), and successfully defending the dissertation in an open presentation to thier committee. The doctoral degree requirements include 72 credits for students entering the graduate program with a bachelor’s degree or 48 credits for students entering with a master’s degree. The Ph.D. dissertation must be scholarly, creative, and original. The department expects the Institute requirements for candidacy and residency to be satisfied. In addition to the institute requirements and those listed above, students pursuing a Ph.D. degree thesis in Electrical Engineering (ELEC) or Computer and Systems Engineering (CSYS) must complete the following requirements: 

  • Two thirds of total credit hours (excluding thesis credits) at the 6000-level
  • No more than fifteen 4000-level credits 
  • A minimum of 12  and a maximum of  36  dissertation credits 
  • At least one Math elective (3-4 credits) with MATH or MATP prefix
  • No more than 3 credits of Independent Study
  • No more than 24 transfer credits (for students joining without an M.S. degree)
  • No 1000- or 2000-level courses may be applied towards the degree.

Outcomes of the Graduate Curriculum

Students who successfully complete this program will be able to:

  • develop and demonstrate substantial breadth and depth of knowledge beyond the bachelor’s degree with a focus on one area of ECSE.  [Coursework and DQE.]
  • demonstrate an expertise in the student’s thesis area that covers both the background and current research in that area. [DCE and defense.]
  • create substantial original knowledge in an advanced area of ECSE. [DCE, defense, and thesis.]
  • clearly and thoroughly document both the state of the art and the student’s own research in the form of a dissertation. [Candidacy proposal and thesis.]


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