Electrical Engineering PhD

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College : Engineering and Computer Science Degree :PHD
Department : Electrical and Computer Engineering Option : Dissertation
Program Websites : http://www.ece.ucf.edu/


The Electrical Engineering PhD (one of the three PhD programs offered by the School of EECS) prepares students for careers in research or academia with specializations including Communications, Digital Signal Processing/Image Processing, Controls and Robotics, Electromagnetics, Electro-Optics, Photonics, Power Electronics and Electronics, Solid-State/Microelectronics, and VLSI Design.

The specific research that each one of the EECS faculty conduct can be found at the School of EECS website (www.eecs.ucf.edu).


The Electrical Engineering PhD degree requires a minimum of 72 credit hours beyond the bachelor’s degree. Of these 72 hours, a minimum of 36 credit hours must be formal coursework, exclusive of independent study coursework. A minimum of 15 credit hours with up to a maximum of 24 credit hours of dissertation hours can be credited toward the degree. No more than 12 credit hours of Independent Study are allowed. The remaining hours can be a combination of formal coursework and/or pre-candidacy doctoral research.
Total Credit Hours Required:
72 Credit Hours Minimum beyond the Bachelor's Degree

Formal coursework required is 36 credit hours, exclusive of independent study and research.  A minimum of 15 credit hours of dissertation hours are required. All other credit hours will be determined with a faculty adviser. Students admitted with an earned master's degree may request to have up to 30 of those credit hours counted toward their doctoral program. The student’s doctoral adviser in conjunction with the graduate office will determine the precise number of hours to be counted subject to Graduate Studies regulations.

The Program of Study (POS) form must be approved by an adviser in the selected specialization area no later than the end of the second semester after admission. The program of study must meet all the university requirements specified in the graduate catalog. Details about this program are located in the Electrical Engineering PhD Handbook.

Articulation Courses

Undergraduate articulation courses are required to be completed prior to admission for students who do not hold a Bachelor of Science degree in Electrical Engineering. In particular, the articulation courses specified below, plus all of the prerequisite string which any of them require, must be completed prior to admission. Grades of "B" or higher must be obtained in each articulation course specified below. Articulation courses are not eligible for inclusion on a graduate Program of Study.

  • EEL 3123C Network and Systems
  • EEE 3307C Electronics I
  • EEL 3470 Electromagnetic Fields
  • EEL 3552 Signal Analysis and Communications
  • EEE 3350 Semiconductor Devices I

In addition, choose one of the following:

  • EEL 3657 Linear Control Systems
  • EEE 4309C Electronics II
  • EEL 4750 Digital Signal Processing Fundamentals

Required Courses—36 Credit Hours

  • Suggested courses listed below. 

Elective Courses—12-21 Credit Hours

  • May include formal coursework, directed research hours, doctoral research hours, dissertation research, and no more than 12 credit hours of Independent Study.
  • Suggested courses listed below.

Suggested Courses for Doctoral Program

The Electrical Engineering Program supports a number of specialization areas. These technical areas are (in alphabetical order): Electromagnetics and Optics (EO), Signal Processing and Systems (SPS), and Micro-Systems and Nano-Systems (MNS). The Micro-Systems and Nano-Systems area covers the typical Electrical Engineering topic areas of Electronics, Power Electronics and Micro-Electronics, while the Signal Processing and Systems area covers the typical electrical topic areas of communications, controls, and signal processing. Please contact your graduate program assistant Nicole Mitchell at nicole@eecs.ucf.edu or 407-823-0378 for a list of faculty within each specialization area.

For each one of these areas there is a suggested list of courses stated below. Students are also allowed to take courses from other specialization areas, but the majority of their courses should be chosen from courses in their specialization area.

Suggested Courses for Electromagnetics and Optics (EO) 

  • EEE 5542 Random Processes I(3 credit hours)
  • EEE 5557 Introduction to Radar Systems (3 credit hours)
  • EEL 5437C Microwave Engineering (4 credit hours)
  • EEL 5439C RF and Microwave Communications (3 credit hours)
  • EEL 5462C Antenna Analysis and Design (3 credit hours)
  • EEL 5432 Satellite Remote Sensing (3 credits)
  • EEL 6425C RF and Microwave Measurement Techniques (3 credit hours)
  • EEL 6463 Antenna Analysis and Design II (3 credit hours)
  • EEL 6482 Electromagnetic Theory I (3 credit hours)
  • EEL 6488 Electromagnetic Theory II (3 credit hours)
  • EEL 6481 Numerical Techniques in Electromagnetics (3 credit hours)
  • EEL 6489 Advanced Topics in Electromagnetics (3 credit hours)
  • EEL 6504 Communication System Design (3 credit hours)
  • EEL 6530 Communication Theory (3 credit hours)
  • MAP 5426 Special Functions (3 credit hours)
  • MAP 5435 Advanced Mathematics for Engineers (3 credit hours)
  • MAP 6424 Transform Methods (3 credit hours)
  • OSE 5041 Introduction to Wave Optics (3 credit hours)
  • OSE 5414 Fundamentals of Optoelectronic Devices (3 credit hours)
  • OSE 6111 Optical Wave Propagation (3 credit hours)
  • OSE 5115 Interference and Diffraction (3 credit hours)
  • OSE 6143 Fiber Optics Communications (3 credit hours)
  • OSE 6225 Radiometry and Detection (3 credit hours)
  • OSE 6143 Fiber Optic Communications (3 credit hours)
  • OSE 6211 Fourier Optics (3 credit hours)
  • OSE 6445 High Speed Photonics (3 credit hours)
  • OSE 6455C Photonics Laboratory (3 credit hours)
  • OSE 6615L Optoelectronic Device Fabrication Laboratory (3 credit hours)
  • OSE 6525 Laser Engineering (3 credit hours)

Suggested Courses for Micro-Systems and Nano-Systems (MNS) 

  • BME 5572 Biomedical Nanotechnology (3 credit hours)
  • EEL 5245C Power Electronics (3 credit hours)
  • EEE 5332C Thin Film Technology (3 credit hours)
  • EEE 5352C Semiconductor Material and Device Characterization (3 credit hours)
  • EEE 5353 Semiconductor Device Modeling and Simulation (3 credit hours)
  • EEE 5356C Fabrication of Solid-State Devices (4 credit hours)
  • EEE 5370 Operational Amplifiers (3 credit hours)
  • EEE 5378 CMOS Analog and Digital Circuit Design (3 credit hours)
  • EEE 5390C Full Custom VLSI Design (3 credit hours)
  • EEE 5555 Surface Acoustic Wave Devices and Systems (3 credit hours)
  • EEE 6317 Power Semiconductor Devices and Integrated Circuits (3 credit hours)
  • EEE 6358 Advanced Semiconductor Device I (3 credit hours)
  • EEL 6246 Power Electronics II (3 credit hours)
  • EEE 6326C MEMS Fabrication Laboratory (3 credit hours)
  • EEE 6338 Advanced Topics in Microelectronics (3 credit hours)
  • EEE 6371 Advanced Electronics I (3 credit hours)
  • EEE 6372 Advanced Topics in Electronics (3 credit hours)

Suggested Courses for Signal Processing and Systems (SPS) 

  • EEE 5513 Digital Signal Processing Applications (3 credit hours)
  • EEE 5542 Random Processes I (3 credit hours)
  • EEE 5557 Introduction to Radar Systems (3 credit hours)
  • EEE 6504 Adaptive Digital Signal Processing Applications (3 credit hours)
  • EEE 6508 Advanced Topics in Digital Signal Processing (3 credit hours)
  • EEL 5820 Image Processing (3 credit hours)
  • EEL 5825 Pattern Recognition (3 credit hours)
  • EEL 5630 Digital Control Systems (3 credit hours)
  • EEL 5173 Linear Systems Theory (3 credit hours)
  • EEL 6504 Communication  System Design (3 credit hours)
  • EEL 6530 Communication Theory (3 credit hours)
  • EEL 6590 Advanced Topics in Communications (3 credit hours)
  • EEL 5820 Image Processing (3 credit hours)
  • EEL 6823 Image Processing II (3 credit hours)
  • EEL 5825 Pattern Recognition (3 credit hours)
  • EEL 6812 Introduction to Neural Networks (3 credit hours)
  • EEL 5630 Digital Control Systems (3 credit hours)
  • EEL 5173 Linear Systems Theory (3 credit hours)
  • EEL 6619 Nonlinear Robust Control (3 credit hours)
  • EEL 6621 Nonlinear Control Systems (3 credit hours)
  • EEL 6662 Design of Robot Control Systems (3 credit hours)
  • EEL 6667 Planning and Control for Mobile Robotic Systems (3 credit hours)
  • EEL 6671 Modern and Optimal Control Systems (3 credit hours)
  • EEL 6674 Optimal Estimation for Control (3 credit hours)
  • EEL 6616 Adaptive Control (3 credit hours)
  • EEL 6680 Advanced Topics in Modern Control Systems (3 credit hours)
  • EEL 6683 Cooperative Control of Networked Autonomous Systems (3 credit hours)
  • EEL 6812 Introduction to Neural Networks (3 credit hours)
  • EEL 6823 Image Processing II (3 credit hours)
  • EEL 5669 Autonomous Robotic Systems (3 credit hours)
  • EEL 6026 Optimization of Engineering Systems (3 credit hours)
  • CAP 5015 Multimedia Compression in the Internet (3 credit hours)
  • CAP 5415 Computer Vision (3 credit hours)
  • CAP 6419 3D Computer Vision (3 credit hours)
  • CAP 6411 Computer Vision Systems (3 credit hours)
  • CAP 6412 Advanced Computer Vision (3 credit hours)

Dissertation—15-24 Credit Hours

  • XXX 7980 Dissertation Research (15 credit hours minimum). 
  • The program will only allow students to complete up to 24 hours of dissertation coursework in XXX 7980.

The College of Engineering and Computer Science requires that all dissertation defense announcements are approved by the student's adviser and posted on the college's website, www.cecs.ucf.edu/graddefense, at least two weeks before the defense date.

Qualifying Review

The Qualifying Review relies on annual appraisals of the student’s progress conducted by the student’s research/academic adviser and advisory committee, once formed. The student’s appraisal template that the adviser completes will assess the student’s academic performance (course performance) and research performance. On an annual basis, and based on the completed PhD Student Annual Review template, as well as additional student documentation attached with approval of the adviser, the EECS Graduate Committee will rate the student’s performance as “Above Expectation,” “At Expectation,” or “Below Expectation” toward the completion of the PhD degree. 

Students must pass the Qualifying Review no later than the deadline, which is the semester in which they complete 24 credit hours after admission or within two calendar years after admission, whichever occurs later. If a student has passed the Qualifying Review, then the student is eligible to continue PhD studies. However, a student who does not pass the Qualifying Review by the deadline will be dismissed from the degree program and will be given the opportunity to complete a master’s degree (if applicable). 

Dissertation Committee

PhD Dissertation Committees for this degree program must have all of the below characteristics:

  • consist of at least five committee members including the committee chair
  • the committee chair must be either a Regular Appointment faculty member in EECS or a Secondary-Joint Appointment faculty member in EECS
  • at least 50% of committee members (when tabulated including the chair) must be EECS regular faculty
  • the majority of committee members must vote in favor of passing for the student to Pass
  • in addition to the above, all college and university requirements (such as one member outside of EECS) must be met.

Joint faculty members may serve as committee chairs, but graduate faculty scholars may not serve as committee chairs.

Candidacy Examination

After passing the Qualifying Review, students are required to successfully complete the candidacy examination in order to demonstrate readiness for preliminary research in a chosen field of study. This exam is administered by the student’s dissertation advisory committee. Preparedness for taking the candidacy examination requires the acceptance of a professional paper by a peer-reviewed conference or journal that is deemed acceptable by the student’s advisory committee. Candidacy is normally attempted at the completion of required coursework and must be passed before registering for doctoral dissertation hours (EEL 7980). Continuous enrollment in at least 3 hours of doctoral dissertation hours is required once a student starts taking dissertation credits.

Admission to Candidacy

The following are required to be admitted to candidacy and enroll in dissertation hours.

  • Completion of all required formal coursework, except for dissertation hours.
  • Successful completion of the candidacy examination.
  • The dissertation advisory committee is formed, consisting of approved graduate faculty and graduate faculty scholars.
  • Submission of an approved program of study.

Signed and well-formed Doctoral Committee Candidacy Status form and associated paperwork (dissertation advisory committee and program of study, etc.) must be submitted to the Electrical and Computer Engineering Graduate Office for processing on or before the last day to defend Dissertation during the semester prior to enrolling in dissertation credits.

Dissertation Proposal Exam

After passing the candidacy examination, the student will write a dissertation proposal and present it to the dissertation advisory committee for approval. The proposal must include a description of the research performed to date and the research planned to be completed for the dissertation. The presentation of a written dissertation proposal must be deemed as passing requirements by the majority of the dissertation committee.  

Equipment Fee

Students in the Electrical Engineering PhD program pay a $90 equipment fee each semester that they are enrolled. Part-time students pay $45 per semester.

Independent Learning

The Independent Learning Requirement is met by successful completion of the student's candidacy and dissertation defense examinations.

Application Requirements

For information on general UCF graduate admissions requirements that apply to all prospective students, please visit the Admissions section of the Graduate Catalog. Applicants must apply online. All requested materials must be submitted by the established deadline.

The College of Engineering and Computer Science strongly encourages prospective applicants to request a free pre-screening (www.cecs.ucf.edu/prescreen) of their qualifications prior to submitting an online application for graduate admission. However, a pre-screening is not required; rather, it is offered as a courtesy to all prospective applicants before they commit to submitting a complete online application and paying an application processing fee.

Admissions decisions are made on the basis of a complete online application only, and not on the basis of any pre-screening. Prospective applicants who are encouraged to apply to their intended graduate program based on the information provided for their pre-screening are not assured of admission or financial assistance when they submit a complete online application. Although it is possible, it is not likely, that prospective applicants who are discouraged from formally applying to a graduate program at the pre-screening stage will be admitted if they elect to submit a complete online application anyway.

In addition to the general UCF graduate application requirements, applicants to this program must provide:

  • One official transcript (in a sealed envelope) from each college/university attended.
  • Official, competitive GRE score taken within the last five years.
  • Bachelor's or Master’s degree in Electrical Engineering or a closely related discipline.
  • Résumé.
  • Statement about educational, research, and professional career objectives.
  • Three letters of recommendation.

Faculty members may choose to conduct face-to-face or telephone interviews before accepting applicants into their research programs.

Additional courses may also be required to correct any course deficiencies. Students should contact the graduate program director for further information.

Application Deadlines

Electrical Engineering PhD *Fall Priority Fall Spring Summer
Domestic Applicants Jan 15Jul 15Dec 1


International Applicants Jan 15Jan 15Jul 1


International Transfer Applicants Jan 15Mar 1Sep 1


*Applicants who plan to enroll full time in a degree program and who wish to be considered for university fellowships or assistantships should apply by the Fall Priority date.


Graduate students may receive financial assistance through fellowships, assistantships, tuition support, or loans. For more information, see the College of Graduate Studies Funding website, which describes the types of financial assistance available at UCF and provides general guidance in planning your graduate finances. The Financial Information section of the Graduate Catalog is another key resource.


Fellowships are awarded based on academic merit to highly qualified students. They are paid to students through the Office of Student Financial Assistance, based on instructions provided by the College of Graduate Studies. Fellowships are given to support a student’s graduate study and do not have a work obligation. For more information, see UCF Graduate Fellowships, which includes descriptions of university fellowships and what you should do to be considered for a fellowship.