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Program Requirements

Course And Research Requirements

Once admitted into the program, a student will have to satisfy all of the required course and research requirements to earn a Ph.D. degree. This includes exams, meetings, coursework and research as described below. Additional details regarding program requirements can be found in the Microsystems Engineering Ph.D. Student Manual.

  1. A total of 66 semester credit hours
    1. A minimum of 39 of graduate-level coursework credit hours
    2. A minimum of 18 semester research credit hours
  2. Pass the Qualifying Examination. In consultation with their advisor and the Program Director, the student may take the exam during the summer of their first year (preferred), their first Fall-Spring intersession, or their second Fall-Spring intersession.
  3. Pass the Candidacy Examination (before the end of third year and no less than 12 months before the Dissertation Defense Examination)
  4. Hold a Research Review Milestone meeting (at least 6 months before the Dissertation Defense Examination)
  5. Publish two papers (including at least one referred journal paper) based on dissertation research
  6. Pass the Dissertation Defense Examination

The Qualifying Examination

Every graduate student pursuing a Microsystems Engineering Ph.D. degree must take the Qualifying Examination. The Qualifying Examination tests the student's ability to think and learn independently, to critically evaluate current research work in the field of Microsystems Engineering, and to use good judgment and creativity to determine appropriate directions for future research work. The exam must be completed successfully before a student can submit a thesis proposal and attempt the Ph.D. Candidacy Examination.

The Research Proposal

A research topic is chosen by the student and his/her research advisor, which will be the basis for the dissertation.  The research proposal sets forth both the exact nature of the matter to be investigated and a detailed account of the methods to be employed. In addition, the proposal should contain material supporting the importance of the topic selected and the appropriateness of the research methods to be employed. 

The Candidacy Examination

The Candidacy Examination is an oral examination based on the dissertation research proposal.  The purpose of the exam is to allow the committee to judge the student’s ability to execute a research task and to communicate the results.  The exam also serves to evaluate the proposed topic to ensure that, if completed as posed, it constitutes an original contribution to knowledge.

The Dissertation Examination

The culmination of a student’s hard work toward his/her Ph.D. is the publication of their research.  In addition to developing experimental and technical skills during the creation of research, a student needs to acquire the necessary literary skills to communicate results to others.  The preparation of the proposal and dissertation is the vehicles through which these skills are demonstrated.  It is also expected that these skills are developed through the publication of technical papers and communications.  Adherence to a set of guidelines is necessary so that any research can not only be presented to others but so that it can also be critically reviewed.  The faculty of the Microsystems Engineering Ph.D. program has developed a set of guidelines that students should follow as they prepare their dissertation manuscript.