Doctor of Philosophy in Electrical Engineering

The GRE requirement has been waived (and extended) for all engineering master’s applicants applying through Fall 2026!


Important: Some courses might have changed prefix from EEL to EEE. If you cannot find an EEL course please search for EEE instead.

The Department offers a Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) degree in Electrical Engineering. Depending on the university, interested students should also consult the FAMU or FSU Graduate Student Handbook.


To be considered for admission, candidates must have earned a bachelor of science or a master degree (or equivalent) in electrical engineering, or in a closely related discipline, from an Accreditation Board of Engineering and Technology (ABET)-approved program, a grade point average (GPA) of at least 3.3 on a 4.0 scale on all baccalaureate course work and any graduate work attempted, and a minimum score of 151 points for the quantitative section and 145 points for the verbal section of the GRE test.

International candidates must also obtain at least:

  1. 80 points on the internet-based TOEF exam or 550 points on the paper-based TOELF exam,
  2. 6.5 points in the IELTS,
  3. 55 points in the Pearson's PTE academic examination,or
  4. 77 points in the MELAB examination.


Students with a bachelor's degree in a field other than electrical engineering may be required to complete a department-designated sequence of undergraduate courses with grades of B or better prior to attempting the graduate electrical engineering work.

Students interested in obtaining a teaching assistantship should submit the TA/Grader Application Form as soon as they have been admitted to the program. Students who are not native speakers of English should take the speaking section of the TOELF test (and have a score of 26 points or higher) or the SPEAK test at FSU (and have a score of 45 points or higher) in order to be eligible to apply to for a teaching assistantship. More information about teaching assistantships can be found on the TA/Grader Application Form.

Application Deadlines

The ECE department application deadlines are March 1st for the Summer, July 1 for the Fall, and  November 1st for the Spring semester. International students are encouraged to apply earlier so that they can have sufficient time to get their visa.

To be considered for department financial assistance such as Teaching Assistantships, the last date for receiving a complete application is  March 1 for the Fall term. Generally, department funding such as Teaching Assistantship is not available for students starting in Spring and Summer.

Course Work Requirement

The course work requirement depends on the previous degree obtained by the student. Thus, we distinguish 5 tracks:

  1. BS-to-PhD: if the student has a BS degree in EE or related areas.
  2. MS/EE-to-PhD: if the student has a MS degree in electrical engineering or equivalent.
  3. MS-to-PhD: if the student has a MS degree in Physics, Mathematics, or other Engineering Fields.
  4. MS/Thesis-to-PhD: if the student has a MS degree in EE from the FAMU-FSU College of Engineering and has graduated with the thesis option.
  5. MS/NonThesis-to-PhD: if the student has a MS degree in EE from the FAMU-FSU College of Engineering and has graduated with the non-thesis option.

The default track for students enrolling in the PhD program is BS-to-PhD. PhD students that want to follow a different track need to fill in PhD Track Approval Form at the beginning of their program. The number of credits required for each of the 5 tracks is summarized in the table below:

The list of core courses is given in the Graduate Courses section. At least 6 credit hours of the elective courses should be from the area of specialization of the student.

Graduate Seminar Requirement

All full-time PhD candidates are required to enroll in the graduate seminar, EEL 6932, for each semester that they are enrolled in the graduate program.

In addition, all the PhD candidates need to make at least one oral presentation about their research in the Graduate Seminar, after passing the PhD Preliminary Examination and before graduation. To register for the presentation, the PhD students should contact the faculty in charge with the Graduate Seminar to set a date for the presentation by the end of the second week of their last semester. Students graduating in the summer semester should make the oral presentation during the Spring semester or before.

Adviser and Supervisory Committee

The Graduate Coordinator is by default the initial adviser of all incoming graduate students, however, students are strongly encouraged to select another adviser among the current faculties as soon as they arrive in the ECE Department by filling in the Adviser Form. The student should be in contact with the adviser on a regular basis and all the decisions related to the course work and the plan of studies development of the student should be approved by the adviser. The student's adviser also will assist the student in forming the Student's Supervisory Committee (also called dissertation committee) by the end of the first year of studies.

The Supervisory Committee of a doctoral's degree thesis program student must have at least at least four members with Graduate Faculty Status (GFS). Three of the four members must be faculty members from the student's home department. The fourth member, the University Representative, must be a tenured member of the faculty holding GFS from outside the ECE department.

The chair of the Supervisory Committee must have experience in chairing a master's thesis committee or serving on a doctoral dissertation committee prior to earning the privilege of chairing a dissertation committee. Granting of this privilege requires an affirmative majority vote of the GFS faculty of the department and approval by the department chair. Faculty holding this privilege will be reviewed periodically by the department chair. Those not meeting performance expectations may have this privilege revoked upon recommendation of the department chair, an affirmative majority vote of the GFS faculty of the department, and approval of the academic dean. FSU Panama City Campus faculty with GFS cannot serve as a chair of a doctoral dissertation committee.

The Supervisory Committee must be entered in GST as soon as students form their committee, and updated regularly as changes occur. No changes to the committee should occur after the second week of the semester of defense, except under emergency circumstances.

PhD Preliminary Examination

Template for the Preliminary Examination report

The Preliminary Examination is the final requirement for doctoral candidacy. This exam is taken over a five-week period. It must be successfully completed by the student's fourth semester (for the BS-to-PhD track), or third semester (for all the other tracks). The student is allowed to retake the exam only once.

In the semester the student intends to take the Preliminary Examination, he/she needs to register for the 0-credit hour EEL 8964 (Prelim Exam). This registration must be done only once.

In preparing for the Preliminary Examination, the student shall present to the committee an approximately 40-page research review report demonstrating an understanding of the theoretical framework in the area of research based on an in-depth literature review. In demonstrating an understanding of the literature, the student must include a discussion that identifies the knowledge gaps in their research area. Upon submission of the research review report, the committee will respond to the student with questions based on the literature review and research area. The following is a schedule of events for the successful completion of the Preliminary Examination:

  • The student must make arrangements with the adviser to schedule a five-week time period for the examination. The examination committee should contain at least three faculties with GFS status from the ECE Department.
  • With the consultation of the adviser, the student will submit a research review report to the examination committee. A Microsoft Word template of the report can be downloaded from here. The topic of the report should be determined by the major adviser of the student. The student is encouraged to submit the research review report by the middle of the semester for which he/her registered for the Preliminary Examination. The student should abide by the IEEE plagiarism policy.
  • The committee will submit written questions to the adviser for collection by the student two weeks after submission of the research review report. These questions will relate to the research review report.
  • The student will have two weeks to develop written responses to the questions in preparation of the oral exam. These responses will be submitted to the adviser, who will then distribute the responses to the committee members. The student should submit a complete set of answers to each committee member; the answers should be given as separate appendices to the original (or revised) research review report.
  • The oral examination will be held within one week of submission of the written responses. This examination will be primarily related to the research area and the student's written responses. Appropriate related fundamental concepts may also be covered. During the final oral presentation the student should give a short summary of the research report and address the questions of the committee on separate slides.
  • Pass/fail is determined on the combined written and oral responses to committee questions. A majority of committee votes and a pass vote by the committee chair is required to pass.
  • After the examination is completed the Preliminary Examination Report Form should be filled and submitted to the ECE Graduate Coordinator. A student who passes the examination will be recognized as a candidate for the PhD Degree.



Prospectus Examination

After passing the PhD Preliminary Examination, the student should pass the Prospectus Examination. This examination is usually passed by the end of the 3rd year and needs to take place at least 8 months before the graduation date. The student must submit a Prospectus Examination Application/Approval Form to the ECE Graduate Committee. The student's advisory committee administers this exam, which may be in the form or a written or a combination of written and oral examination. The content and scope of the exam are at the discretion of the committee. The Prospectus Examination represents the defense of the Dissertation Proposal.

Dissertation Defense Announcement

It is the student's responsibility to post the dissertation defense announcement within the department and the College of Engineering at least 2 weeks prior to the defense. The announcement should include: dissertation title; student's name; student's department; major professor and committee members; date; time and location of the defense. Academic courtesy requires that the dissertation be submitted to each member of the supervisory committee at least 4 weeks before the date of the oral examination.

Dissertation & Defense

The Ph.D. dissertation must be an achievement in original research constituting a significant contribution to knowledge and represent a substantial scholarly effort on the part of the student. It is the responsibility of the major professor to supervise the preparation of the prospectus and the dissertation. The manuscript must be prepared according to the style and form prescribed by the department and must conform to the University requirements regarding format.

In the semester the student intends to defend, he/she needs to register for the 0-credit hour EEL 8985 (Dissertation Defense). The student must submit a PhD Presentation & Defense Application/Approval Form to the ECE Graduate Committee. Please refer to the Graduate Student Handbook from your university for further details.

The defense of the dissertation will be oral. All committee members and the student must attend the entire defense in real time, either by being physically present or participating via distance technology.

Student Evaluations

Doctoral students are evaluated every year to assure that they have the opportunity for scholarly engagement and continue to make timely progression toward completion of the degree program. The evaluation usually takes place in the second part of the spring semester.

Transfer of Credits

A maximum of 6 credit hours of graduate courses not counted toward a previous degree from another regionally accredited graduate school may be transferred from another academic institution(s) to the student's current doctoral degree program, with the approval the ECE Departmental Graduate Committee. A grade of "B" or better is required on all transfer credits.s.

Scholarly Engagement Requirement

Doctoral students are required to interact with faculty and peers throughout their program. In particular, doctoral students are required to:

  • enroll in courses and take a minimum number of credit hours as specified by the PhD track;
  • enroll and attend the weekly graduate seminar in ECE every semester;
  • finally, publish or have accepted for publication at least one refereed article to a journal in their field of interest before before their graduation will be approved (Journal Paper Submission Requirement).

In addition to the above requirements, doctoral students are strongly encouraged to attend seminars, symposia, and conferences, engage in collaborative study and research beyond the university campus, and utilizing the library, laboratories, and other facilities provided by the university. The purpose of the Scholarly Engagement Requirement is to ensure that doctoral students are active participants in the scholarly community. The goal is to prepare students to be scholars who can independently acquire, evaluate, and extend knowledge, as well as develop themselves as effective communicators and disseminators of knowledge.