Ph.D. Degrees

Current Students Ph.D. Degrees

The following requirements include the course hours normally accumulated during the student's master's degree. 



Group I: ECE 6000 level classes in one or two TIAs:


Three classes in a combination of one or two technical interest areas of the student's choosing (All for letter grade credit).
Group II: ECE 6000-level classes


Nine hours of classes, all of which must be outside of and not cross-listed with the TIA(s) above. All for letter grade credit.
Group III: Minor in an area outside ECE


Nine hours of classes in a single discipline outside of ECE. All for letter grade credit.
Group IV: Electives


(Up to 12 M.S. thesis hours, recorded as such on an official transcript, may be used in this area)
ECE 8022 Professional Communications Seminar


Pass/fail. Permit required. Pass the preliminary examination to receive a permit.
PHIL6000 Responsible Conduct of Research


Pass/fail. Students entering the Ph.D. program in Fall 2011 or later and M.S. students who were admitted for Fall 2011 or later and then transition to Ph.D. must take an RCR course to fulfill this requirement.
Total hours required



In addition, there are a number of requirements imposed by the Institute. These include:

  • Student must pass a Comprehensive Examination. In ECE, this is the combination of the Ph.D. Preliminary Examination and the dissertation proposal.
  • Student must have at least two semesters of full-time, on-campus enrollment.
  • A minimum of 9 hours for letter grade must be taken at Georgia Tech.
  • The training in the Responsible Conduct of Research consists of two parts: an online training (to be completed in the first 90 days of the program) and a class (PHIL 6000).
  • The student must complete and defend a dissertation, for which prior approval of the topic is necessary.
  • Once admitted to candidacy, the student must complete all degree requirements within 7 years. 
  • Student must maintain a 3.0 GPA. 

Minor Field of Study: The minor is most often in mathematics or in computer science; a list of Math courses and a list of Computer Science courses acceptable for a Ph.D. minor can be found on the "Minors" tab in the Courses and Coursework Planning section. Minor courses in another area will be considered; however, minor courses in non-technical areas (for example, management) will not be approved.

Details of the degree requirements are in the ECE Graduate Student Handbook. To assist with planning when to take courses, visit the projected schedule of graduate classes page on the ECE website and search for details about ECE classes on the ECE Course Information page.

All Ph.D. students must complete the Institute's Responsible Conduct of Research requirements.

A Scientific Writing for International Students class is offered to our international Ph.D. students twice a semester during the spring and the fall terms. It is a non-credit course and cannot be found on OSCAR. The class is advertised every semester by the Graduate Office and participants are selected on a first-come, first-served basis. See a brief description of the class. For more information, please contact Dr. Daniela Staiculescu in the Graduate Office.

The Ph.D. Coursework Completion form must be completed on the ECE secure website, prior to the submission of the Ph.D. Proposal.

Students who wish to count course credit earned at other universities toward their Ph.D. degree requirements should complete this form during their second term. The classes have to be graduate or senior undergraduate level. No classes that were used to satisfy an undergraduate degree can be used toward the Ph.D. degree. Up to 30 hours of credits earned toward a graduate degree with a grade of C and above at a different institution can be used towards the Ph.D. degree. M.S. Thesis can be used in Group IV (electives) for a maximum of 12 credit hours. The approved classes will only count toward the Ph.D. degree course requirements and will not be transferred on the Georgia Tech transcript.

The following package needs to be submitted to the Academic Office for evaluation and approval:

Copy of the Coursework Completion form, filled out entirely. The classes have to show the institution name, number, and title. If the coursework is not completed at the time of the submission, future classes need to be included for a total of 43 hours. The future classes can be later changed to other eligible classes. Please use the classes taken at Georgia Tech in Groups I, II, and III as much as you can.

Non-official transcript from the institution where the classes have been taken. The transcript needs to show that the classes have been used toward a graduate degree and whether the institution has semester or quarter system.

Syllabi/course descriptions for all the classes to be used in Groups I, II, and III.

A soft copy of the M.S. thesis (if used in the coursework plan).

All students who wish to take the preliminary examination have to register for the exam. Preliminary exam registration starts after the closing of Phase II Registration and lasts about three weeks. Exact dates are communicated at the beginning of each semester by the Graduate Office.

ECE graduate students (M.S. and Ph.D.) have to register for the Preliminary Examination online

Non-ECE students and ECE undergraduate students have to register using the registration form.

Approved Calculators for use on the Preliminary Exam 

Students wishing to use calculators that are not on this list must file a request through the "Contact Us" site a minimum of one week in advance of the exam. Include in your request a link to the website where the model and features of the calculator to be considered are described. Approval will be considered for any calculator that has the capabilities up to and including two-line alphanumeric displays, function/integral/derivative solvers, complex number calculations, and octal/hex conversions.

You MAY NOT use calculators with graphing capabilities; matrix or differential equation solvers; or advanced programming capabilities, including loops, function calls, memory stacks, etc.

Your calculator will be examined prior to the exam. Only those listed at the above website or pre-approved by the ECE Graduate Affairs Office will be allowed during the exam. The exam proctors will be strictly enforcing this policy during the test period, and the use of such calculators during the exam will be considered a violation of exam policies and result in failure.

Ph.D. Preliminary Exam Study Guide 

List of student study suggestions

Past Exams and Solutions

Fall 2014 Exam

Fall 2014 Solutions

Spring 2015 Exam

Spring 2015 Solutions

Fall 2015 Exam

Fall 2015 Solutions

Spring 2016 Exam

Spring 2016 Solutions

Fall 2016 Exam

Fall 2016 Solutions

Spring 2017 Exam Spring 2017 Solutions

Fall 2017 Exam

Fall 2017 Solutions

Spring 2018 Exam

Spring 2018 Solutions

Proposal Guidelines 

ECE Ph.D. Proposal Review Committee Form – hard copy to be submitted to the Academic Office 

Ph.D. Admission to Candidacy Form – soft unsigned copy to be submitted to the Academic Office; to be signed by student, advisor, and reading committee members after successful completion of the oral examination.

Disclaimer Statement – hard copy to be submitted to the Academic Office

Ph.D. Proposal Evaluation Forms – to be completed and signed at the time of the oral presentation. The Committee Chair has to provide these forms together with the Admission to Candidacy form at the time of the examination. Students are strongly encouraged to bring a backup copy.

Full Committee Evaluation Form

Individual Evaluation

Documents needed to schedule the Ph.D. defense:

Reading Committee Form (Requires original signature by Ph.D. thesis advisor and reading committee members) – needs to be submitted to the Academic Office no later than two weeks before defense date

Schedule Defense Form – needs to be submitted to the Academic Office no later than two weeks before defense date

Documents needed to be signed at the time of the Ph.D. defense:

The Certificate of Thesis Approval needs to be typed and signed by ALL of the committee members at the time of the Dissertation Defense.

Ph.D. dissertation evaluation form – to be filled out by EACH member of the Ph.D. defense committee at the time of the Dissertation Defense.

All Institute resources for the Ph.D. defense:

Thesis manual, Certificate of Thesis Approval form, enrollment waiver, and all other documents and manuals can be found on the Graduate Studies’ website.

Thesis Deadlines 

Ph.D. students are required to submit an Online Application for Graduation (OAG)

Students who have completed all degree requirements prior to the graduation term (including distance learning students) and wish to use the enrollment waiver in the graduation term should complete and submit the enrollment waiver request form.

All of the documents that need to be submitted to the Graduate Studies office before the Thesis Submission Deadline are found at the graduate forms page

The procedures below are to be followed for M.S.E.C.E. students who wish to change their major from M.S.E.C.E. to Ph.D. in ECE:

Must pass Preliminary Exam – Graduate Office will verify.

Minimum GPA of 3.5 – Graduate Office will verify.

Find a Ph.D. research advisor - submit Ph.D. advisor selection form and proof of funding.

Statement of Purpose (must be typed):  To be considered for the Ph.D. program in ECE, you must submit the internal application with a new statement of purpose, indicating the reasons for changing degree status from M.S. to Ph.D. 

Recommendation Letter:  The student's advisor must provide a letter recommending the student for the Ph.D. program in ECE. Additional recommendations in support of the student's plans are encouraged. The letter can be submitted in person to the Academic Office in Van Leer W208 or online at Contact the Graduate Affairs Office.

When the items above are received, the ECE Graduate Committee will review the student's request.  If your request is approved, you will be required to submit a change of major form to change your status from M.S.E.C.E. to Ph.D. in ECE.

For International Students, if your request is approved, you will be required to change your I-20 or DS 2019 to reflect your current program of study as Ph.D.

Proof of funding will be required to process your new I-20 or DS 2019.

The School of Electrical and Computer Engineering participates in the Interdisciplinary Bioengineering Graduate Program, which is housed in the College of Engineering. The program offers advanced courses in bioengineering, engineering specialties, and life sciences combined with research and development of new or improved physical and mathematical concepts and techniques, which may be applied to problems in medicine and biology.

The bioengineering program offers master's and doctoral degrees through participating schools in the College of Engineering and the College of Computing. Interested applicants with an electrical and/or computer engineering background apply for admission in the bioengineering program through ECE. Once admitted, students follow the bioengineering program degree requirements and curriculum.

Additional information on the bioengineering program, including how to apply and a comparison between the bioengineering program and traditional engineering programs, can be found on the Georgia Tech Bioengineering Interdisciplinary Program website.

This interdisciplinary Ph.D. program offers coursework covering mechanics, controls, perception, artificial intelligence, and autonomy. The program also features a strong multidisciplinary research component. Learn more about the Ph.D. Program in Robotics.

The School of Electrical and Computer Engineering participates in the interdisciplinary Machine Learning Ph.D. Program. The Machine Learning (ML) Ph.D. program is a collaborative venture between Georgia Tech's colleges of Computing, Engineering, and Sciences.

The program seeks to create students who are able to integrate and apply principles from computing, statistics, optimization, and engineering in order to create machine learning models, and apply them to solve important, real-world, data-intensive problems.

Additional information on the Machine Learning Ph.D. Program including how to apply, can be found on the Machine Learning Ph.D. website.

Last revised April 19, 2018