Course Work

Course requirements, including at least 48 hours of graduate coursework (excluding dissertation research), are defined in the Program of Study. A maximum of 6 semester hours credit in thesis/research work from the master’s degree may be allowed to count toward the 48 hour requirement. Students must also register for a minimum of 18 semester hours of dissertation research. Students must register for dissertation research each semester in which they receive faculty supervision. The approval of the Program of Study should be accomplished as early as possible, but no later than one year after admission to the PhD program and passing the preliminary exam. Once approved, the program may be amended only by the Supervisory Committee upon submission of the appropriate form.

Major and Minor Subjects

A defined major subject or field of specialization is required of all candidates for the PhD degree. The candidate must also have at least two minor subjects chosen with approval of the candidate’s Supervisory Committee. One of the minors must be mathematics, and/or engineering mathematics as defined by the student’s department. All students must complete at least 48 semester hours of graduate coursework, and 18 hours of dissertation coursework. At least 24 semester hours must be in work within related departments, including credits for the major. Of these 24 semester hours, at least 18 must be within a defined major. Of the remaining 24 semester hours, a minimum of 12 semester hours of work is required for each of the two minors.

Degree Requirements

Applicants admitted to the PhD program must pass a written Preliminary Examination to remain in the program. At the end of the coursework, PhD students must pass a Qualifying Examination. Finally, a student must write an acceptable dissertation which must be publicly defended in front of the Supervisory Committee.
Unconditional Admission Requirements

The PhD in Computer Engineering in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering unconditional admission requirements are:

  • A Bachelor’s degree from an accredited electrical or computer engineering program or a bachelor’s degree in a related program acceptable to the CPE graduate faculty.
  • A GRE score of at least 150 on the verbal and a score of 155 on the quantitative sections.
  • A minimum TOEFL score of 18 on each section of the exam for international students whose native language is not English.
  • An overall grade point average of at least 3.0 on a 4.0 scale, or at least 3.0 for the last 60 semester hours completed.
  • Three letters of evaluation concerning the applicant’s previous academic and professional work. Conditional admission may be granted to individuals who fail to meet one or more requirements for unconditional admission.

More Information

Students having a bachelor’s degree in a field not related to electrical or computer engineering may be required to complete prerequisite courses in such areas as:

  • Programming in C, C++, or Java (CPE 112)
  • Data Structures (CPE 212)
  • Discrete Structures (CS 214)
  • Algorithm Design and Analysis (CS 317)
  • Operating Systems (CPE 434)
  • Computer Architecture (CPE 431)
  • Probability and Statistics (ISE 390)
  • Calculus (MA 201)
  • Linear Algebra (MA 244)

Course of Study

The course of study leading to the PhD in Computer Engineering will include the following elements:

  • A major consisting of a minimum of 18 semester hours of approved coursework in Computer Engineering;
  • A minor consisting of a minimum of 15 semester hours of approved coursework in mathematics, theoretical, or formal methods as related to Computer Engineering;
  • A minor consisting of a minimum of 12 semester hours of approved coursework in Electrical or Computer Engineering;
  • Additional coursework consisting of a minimum of 3 semester hours of approved coursework in supportive fields;
  • Successful completion of a Qualifying Examination with a presentation of the dissertation topic;
  • A research dissertation consisting of a minimum of 18 semester hours in Electrical and Computer Engineering;
  • Successful completion of a final examination consisting of a presentation of the dissertation.


Since this PhD program is shared with the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB), one Supervisory Committee member must come from the UAB ECE Department.

Have questions? Contact your coordinator!

Aleksandar Milenkovic

Aleksandar Milenkovic

ECE Graduate Program Coordinator

Engineering Building Room 217L