Rice University logoGeorge R. Brown School of Engineering
Electrical and Computer Engineering


Rice University Publishes its “General Announcements” (GA) each year. These are the official rules of the university and include the honor code that every student agrees to abide by, as well as forms and research information. They can be found at ga.rice.edu. Two sections of this are of particular importance to graduate students in ECE. The first is the section titled “Graduate Degree Programs." This outlines the basic rules and expectations for all graduate students at Rice University. The second, titled “Programs of Study,” is the department-specific information. This information covers the degree requirements for the M.S./Ph.D., and more information is found in section V. The ECE PhD requirements from this section are reproduced below.

Graduate Degree Program
The Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) degree program prepares students for a research career in academia or industry. The PhD degree program consists of formal courses and original research conducted under the guidance of a faculty advisor, leading to a dissertation. Students in the PhD program complete a Master of Science (MS) degree as part of their program; the Electrical and Computer Engineering department does not admit students for a terminal MS degree.

Information on admission to graduate programs is available from the Electrical and Compute Engineering Graduate Committee and on the Electrical and Computer Engineering website External Link. Students must achieve at least a B (3.0) average in the courses counted toward a graduate degree.

Program Learning Outcomes for the PhD Degree in Electrical and Computer Engineering
Upon completing the PhD degree program in Electrical and Computer Engineering, students will be able to:

Identify and define relevant research topics in Electrical and Computer Engineering and conduct independent research with results that advance the state of the art in the field.
Lead research and design groups by communicating innovative ideas effectively.
Solve real-world problems by integrating knowledge gained in courses and through independent study.

Requirements for the PhD Degree in Electrical and Computer Engineering
For general university requirements, see Graduate Degrees.

Students are admitted to the PhD program only in the fall semester. Electrical and Computer Engineering PhD students move through the program in stages, starting as first-year student, advancing to MS candidate, PhD-qualified student, and PhD candidate; each advancement requires the approval of the Electrical and Computer Engineering Graduate Committee. Students entering with previous graduate work may follow a hybrid program developed in consultation with the faculty and the Graduate Committee. The first academic year concentrates on foundation coursework and developing a research area. Each student must successfully complete a project, ELEC 599, in his or her chosen area of research in lieu of an oral or written qualifying exam. In addition to enabling the faculty to evaluate the student’s research potential, the project encourages timely completion of the MS degree. The student must complete a master’s thesis and successfully defend it in an oral examination. Students who have already acquired a master’s degree elsewhere must also complete the ELEC 599 project, after which acceptance of their previous master’s degree will be determined by the Graduate Committee. No course in which the student earned a grade lower than a B- may count toward an MS or PhD.

A candidate for the PhD degree must demonstrate independent, original research in Electrical and Computer Engineering. After successful completion of all coursework, a student is eligible for PhD candidacy. The student then engages in full-time research, culminating in presentation of the PhD research proposal and then the completion and public defense of the PhD dissertation. Details of the PhD program requirements, the phases of study, and a timetable may be found on the Electrical and Computer Engineering website External Link.