A total 99 quarter credit hours of combined graduate course work and research are required for completion of the PhD degree program. This includes a minimum of 60 credit hours of coursework and a minimum of 27 hours of research credit toward the dissertation. The coursework requires a combination of 16 hours of Foundation Courses, 36 hours of major and minor technical areas courses, and 12 hours of electives courses. In addition, the student must pass the Comprehensive Exam, the Qualifying Exam, the Candidacy Exam, and the Dissertation Defense Exam for completion of degree requirements. Details of the curriculum are found in the Microsystems Engineering PhD Graduate Student Manual. The program is divided into three phases.
The first phase of the PhD program is to prepare the student with the foundation in science and engineering required for the program as well as to determine the student's ability to do independent research. This includes the Foundation and specialization courses taken during the first year together with the successful completion of the Comprehensive Exam. The Comprehensive Exam tests the students ability to think and learn independently, to critically evaluate current research work in a field of Microsystems Engineering, and to use good judgment and creativity to determine appropriate directions for future research work.
The second phase of the PhD program consists of course work in the Program of Study and preliminary dissertation research. Much of this course work will support the dissertation research to be conducted in the Third Phase. This second phase will be completed when the student has finished most of the formal course work as prescribed in the Program of Study, has prepared the Dissertation Proposal and has passed the Qualifying Examination.
The third stage of the PhD program consists of the completion of the experimental and/or theoretical work needed to complete the student's dissertation along with the required publication of results. The Candidacy Exam is taken in the Third Phase as is the Defense of the Dissertation, which consists of a public oral presentation and examination.