Doctor of Philosophy - Electrical Engineering

Spotlight on Our Graduate Electrical Engineering Faculty


William Hoff

Associate Professor

Joined CSM in 1994

Research Interests:

Computer vision, image understanding, medical imaging

The Ph.D. Engineering degree requires 72 credit hours of course work and research credits. There are two emphasis areas in Electrical Engineering: (1) Information and Systems Sciences, and (2) Energy Systems and Power Electronics. Students are encouraged to decide between emphasis areas before pursuing an advanced degree. Students are also encouraged to speak to members of the EE graduate faculty before registering for classes and to select an academic advisor as soon as possible. The following set of courses is required of all students.

Courses within one track (Information and Systems Sciences or Energy Systems and Power Electronics) 12
EGGN504 Engineering (Electrical) Seminar 1
Technical Electives (approved by thesis committee) 35
EGGN707 Graduate Research Credit 24
Total credit hours 72

Lists of courses within these categories can be found below.

PhD Qualifying Exam

Students wishing to enroll in the Electrical Engineering PhD program will be required to pass a Qualifying Exam. Normally, full-time PhD candidates will take the Qualifying Exam in their first year, but it must be taken within three semesters of entering the program. Part-time candidates will normally be expected to take the Qualifying Exam within no more than six semesters of entering the program.

The purpose of the Qualifying Exam is to assess some of the attributes expected of a successful PhD student. The objectives are to assess the students in the following three categories.

  • To determine the student's ability to review, synthesize and apply fundamental concepts.
  • To determine the creative and technical potential of the student to solve open-ended and challenging problems.
  • To determine the student's technical communication skills.

The Electrical Engineering Qualifying Examination includes both written and oral sections. The written section is an open book, 4 hour exam, consisting of 12 problems based principally on materials from undergraduate courses in electrical engineering related to either the Energy Systems and Power Electronics track or the Sensing, Communication and Control track. Students must pass at least 8 out of the 12 problems in order to pass the exam. Students will be provided with detailed syllabi, textbook information, chapters and reading assignments from the textbooks, and sample tests/quizzes/ examples from the relevant courses so they can prepare for the written test.

The oral part of the exam covers either two of the track courses (of the student's choice), or a paper from the literature chosen by the student and the student's advisor (recommended). The student's advisor and two additional electrical engineering faculty members, typically from the student's thesis committee representing their track, administer the oral exam.

Ph.D. Qualifying exams will typically be held in each regular semester to accommodate graduate students admitted in either the Fall or Spring. In the event of a student failing the Qualifying exam, she/he will be given one further opportunity to pass the exam in the following semester. A second failure of the Qualifying Exam would lead to removal of the student from the Ph.D. program.

Admission to Candidacy

Full-time students must complete the following requirements within two calendar years of enrolling in the Ph.D. program:

  • Have a Thesis Committee appointment form on file in the Graduate Office
  • Complete all prerequisite and/or core courses in their chosen track
  • Have passed the Ph.D. Qualifying Exam demonstrating adequate preparation for, and satisfactory ability to conduct doctoral research.

Upon completion of these requirements, students must complete an Admission to Candidacy form. This form must be signed by the Thesis Committee and the EECS department head and filed with the Graduate Office.

All required forms are available at:

Optional Ph.D. Minor

A minor consists of 12 credit hours of coursework (typically four 3-credit hour classes).

Thesis Committee

The Ph.D. Thesis Committee must have at least four members in addition to the Advisor (or co-Advisors), including one member from outside the department. A minor Advisor is required for students fulfilling the Ph.D. minor requirement.

Thesis Proposal

After passing the Qualifying Examination, the Ph.D. student is allowed up to 18 months to prepare a written Thesis Proposal. This proposal will describe the proposed research in sufficient detail for the committee to form an impression of its originality and feasibility. The student will give an oral presentation of the proposal to the committee and other interested parties. At the oral presentation, the committee will have the opportunity to question the candidate on any aspect of the proposal ranging from in-depth technical issues to feasibility and timing of completion. If the committee has concerns, the candidate may be asked to modify the proposal and schedule a second meeting with the committee. A candidate will usually be allowed no more than two attempts to present a satisfactory proposal.

Oral Thesis Defense

At the conclusion of the Ph.D. program, the student will be required to present the thesis in hard copy to the Thesis Committee at least two weeks before the oral presentation where the candidate will make a formal presentation and defense of his/her thesis research. Further rules for the thesis defense can be found in the Graduate Bulletin.

Electrical Engineering Courses

Required Core: Energy Systems and Power Electronics Track

Choose at least 4 of the following:

  • EENG-472: Practical Design of Small Renewable Energy Systems
  • EENG-570: Advanced High Power Electronics
  • EENG-571: Modern Adjustable Speed Electric Drives
  • EENG-572: Renewable Energy and Distributed Generation
  • EENG-573: Electric Power Quality
  • EENG-580: Power Distribution Systems Engineering
  • EENG-581: Power System Operations and Management
  • EENG-582: High Voltage AC and DC Power Transmission
  • EENG-583: Advanced Electrical Machine Dynamics

Required Core: Information and Systems Sciences

All students must take

  • EENG-515: Mathematical Methods for Signals and Systems

and choose at least 3 of the following:

  • EENG-509: Sparse Signal Processing
  • EENG-510: Image and Multidimensional Signal Processing
  • EENG-517: Theory and Design of Advanced Control Systems
  • EENG-519: Estimation Theory and Kalman Filtering
  • MATH-534: Mathematical Statistics I

Other EE Courses:

  • EENG-472: Practical Design of Small Renewable Energy Systems
  • EENG-512: Computer Vision
  • EENG-513: Wireless Communication Systems
  • EENG-535: RF & Microwave Engineering
  • EENG-589: Design and Control of Wind Energy System
  • EENG-617: Intelligent Control Systems
  • EENG-618: Nonlinear and Adaptive Control
  • EENG-683: Computer Methods in Electric Power Systems

Course descriptions of both graduate level courses and senior level courses are available for you to review.

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