Electrical and Computer Engineering Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) Degree

Ph.D.s in electrical and computer engineering are explorers of the information age who transform the world by leading trailblazing research that expands and create knowledge.


Overview

  • Knowledge and Skills to Form Successful Researchers: A plan of study that consists of course work and research. Do research under the guidance of the world-class researchers that comprise our faculty.
  • Forming Independent Researchers to Transform the World: World-class research in: (1) architectures and devices for computing; (2) communications, networking, and security; (3) machine learning and artificial intelligence; and (4) cyber-physical and embedded systems.

This is an exciting time in electrical and computer engineering. Harnessing electricity not only provides humanity with a transformative form of energy, but it also leads to the development of digital technologies, which have forged our Information Age as a time of revolutionary advances developed at an unprecedented pace.

The 21st century has witnessed such advances as the Smart Grid, ubiquitous fast internet access through wireless networks, artificial intelligence and machine learning technologies that rival humans in performance, the Internet-of-Things, cloud computing, fiber-optic networks capable of transmitting trillions of bits per second, new computing paradigms such as quantum or neuromorphic computing, and many more. None of these advances would have happened without the dedication of researchers in electrical and computer engineering.

Offered jointly by the department of electrical and microelectronic engineering and the department of computer engineering, students in RIT’s Ph.D. in electrical and computer engineering learn to become independent researchers by conducting research under the guidance of the world-class researchers that comprise our faculty. This research is often associated with some of the many centers and laboratories across RIT, including the Center for Human-aware AI (CHAI) and the Global Cybersecurity Institute.

The curriculum for the Ph.D. in electrical and computer engineering provides the knowledge and skills to form successful independent researchers by providing disciplinary and interdisciplinary courses, research mentorship, and seminars.

Research Assistantships

Research assistantships are available to doctoral students. Learn more about the college's research assistantship opportunities and how you can apply.

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Research

Advancement of world-class impactful research is the ethos of the Ph.D. in electrical and computer engineering. The program forms a dynamic and collaborative environment where our students and faculty are developing the next wave of transformational technologies for our society by conducting research in the following areas:

Featured Profiles

Latest News

  • September 9, 2021

    person using a laptop computer.

    RIT launches workshop series on sustainable computing

    What if computing materials were sourced in conflict areas? Or manufactured in facilities that emit higher than average toxic emissions? Researchers today are examining the development of computing systems from a different perspective, one more in line with sustainability rather than just power, performance and speed.

  • July 23, 2021

    Neural network cognitive engine.

    RIT engineering researcher and alumna granted patent for invention

    Dr. Andres Kwasinski, a professor in RIT’s Kate Gleason College of Engineering, and Dr. Fatemeh Shah-Mohammadi, an alumna of RIT's engineering Ph.D. program, have been granted a patent for the invention of a radio spectrum sharing leveraging link adaptation in primary network.

Curriculum for Electrical and Computer Engineering Ph.D.

Electrical and Computer Engineering, Ph.D. degree, typical course sequence

Course Sem. Cr. Hrs.
First Year
ENGR-701
Inter-disciplinary Research Methods
This course emphasizes collaboration in modern research environment and consists of five modules. Students will introduced to the concepts of inter-disciplinary and trans-disciplinary research conducted from both a scientific and an engineering perspective. Students will learn how to write a dissertation proposal, statement of work, timeline for their program of study and the elements of an effective literature review. Students will develop skills related to reviewing and annotating technical papers, conducting a literature search and proper citation. Students will demonstrate an understanding of (a) ethics as it relates to the responsible conduct of research, (b) ethical responsibility in the context of the engineering professions, (c) ethics as it relates to authorship and plagiarism, (d) basic criteria for ethical decision making and (e) identify professional standards and code of ethics relevant to their discipline. Students demonstrate an ability to identify and explain the potential benefits of their research discoveries to a range of stakeholders, including policy makers and the general public. Lecture 3 (Fall).
3
ENGR-702
Translating Discovery into Practice
This course provides graduate students with the professional skills needed by PhD graduates within their major research focus area to move the results of their research from the lab into practice. Students will demonstrate a strong contextual understanding for their research efforts. Students will learn professional skills related to Teamwork; Innovation, Entrepreneurship and Commercialization; Research Management; Policy and Societal Context; and Technical Writing. (This class is restricted to degree-seeking graduate students or those with permission from instructor.) Lecture 3 (Spring).
3
ENGR-795
Doctoral Seminar
This seminar course presents topics of contemporary interest to graduate students enrolled in the program. Presentations include off campus speakers, and assistance with progressing on your research. Selected students and faculty may make presentations on current research under way in the department. All doctoral engineering students enrolled full time are required to attend each semester they are on campus. (Graduate standing in a technical discipline) (This class is restricted to degree-seeking graduate students or those with permission from instructor.) Seminar 1 (Fall, Spring).
2
ENGR-892
Graduate Research
Doctoral-level research by the candidate on an appropriate topic as arranged between the candidate and the research advisor. Students may count a maximum of 9 credits of ENGR-892 towards degree requirements. If the student enrolls cumulatively in more than 9 credits of ENGR-892, the additional credits above 9 will not be counted towards the degree. Research 3 (Fall, Spring, Summer).
3
 
Engineering Foundation 1, 2*
6
 
Discipline Concentration 1, 2†
6
Second Year
ENGR-795
Doctoral Seminar
This seminar course presents topics of contemporary interest to graduate students enrolled in the program. Presentations include off campus speakers, and assistance with progressing on your research. Selected students and faculty may make presentations on current research under way in the department. All doctoral engineering students enrolled full time are required to attend each semester they are on campus. (Graduate standing in a technical discipline) (This class is restricted to degree-seeking graduate students or those with permission from instructor.) Seminar 1 (Fall, Spring).
1
ENGR-892
Graduate Research
Doctoral-level research by the candidate on an appropriate topic as arranged between the candidate and the research advisor. Students may count a maximum of 9 credits of ENGR-892 towards degree requirements. If the student enrolls cumulatively in more than 9 credits of ENGR-892, the additional credits above 9 will not be counted towards the degree. Research 3 (Fall, Spring, Summer).
6
 
Discipline Concentration 3†
3
 
Focus Area Elective 1, 2, 3, 4‡
12
Third Year
ENGR-890
Dissertation and Research
Doctoral-level research by the candidate on an appropriate topic as arranged between the candidate and the research advisor. Students must successfully pass the PhD Candidacy examination prior to enrolling in this course Research 3 (Fall, Spring, Summer).
21
Total Semester Credit Hours
66

 

*Engineering Foundation Electives:

EEEE-707/ENGR-707
Engineering Analysis
The course trains students to utilize mathematical techniques from an engineering perspective, and provides essential background for success in graduate level studies. The course begins with a pertinent review of matrices, transformations, partitions, determinants and various techniques to solve linear equations. It then transitions to linear vector spaces, basis definitions, normed and inner vector spaces, orthogonality, eigenvalues/eigenvectors, diagonalization, state space solutions and optimization. Applications of linear algebra to engineering problems are examined throughout the course. Topics include: Matrix algebra and elementary matrix operations, special matrices, determinants, matrix inversion, null and column spaces, linear vector spaces and subspaces, span, basis/change of basis, normed and inner vector spaces, projections, Gram-Schmidt/QR factorizations, eigenvalues and eigenvectors, matrix diagonalization, Jordan canonical forms, singular value decomposition, functions of matrices, matrix polynomials and Cayley-Hamilton theorem, state-space modeling, optimization techniques, least squares technique, total least squares, and numerical techniques. Electrical engineering applications will be discussed throughout the course. (Prerequisites: This course is restricted to graduate students in the EEEE-MS, EEEE-BS/MS program.) Lecture 3 (Fall, Spring).
EEEE-709/ENGR-709
Advanced Engineering Mathematics
The course begins with a pertinent review of linear and nonlinear ordinary differential equations and Laplace transforms and their applications to solving engineering problems. It then continues with an in-depth study of vector calculus, complex analysis/integration, and partial differential equations; and their applications in analyzing and solving a variety of engineering problems especially in the areas of control, circuit analysis, communication, and signal/image processing. Topics include: ordinary and partial differential equations, Laplace transforms, vector calculus, complex functions/analysis, complex integration, and numerical techniques. Electrical engineering applications will be discussed throughout the course. (This class is restricted to degree-seeking graduate students or those with permission from instructor.) Lecture 3 (Fall, Spring, Summer).
CMPE-610
Analytical Topics in Computer Engineering
This course begins by reviewing signal and system analysis techniques for analyzing linear systems. It includes Fourier techniques and moves on to present fundamental computational techniques appropriate for a number of applications areas of computer engineering. Other topics include symbolic logic and optimization techniques. (Prerequisites: CMPE-480 and (MATH-251 or 1016-345) or graduate standing in the CMPE-MS program.) Lecture 3 (Fall, Spring).

 

† Discipline Concentration: Any graduate level course offered by the departments of Electrical and Microelectronic Engineering of Computer Engineering, exclusive of capstones.

‡ Focus Area Elective: Any graduate level course offered by the Kate Gleason College of Engineering, exclusive of capstones.


Info graphic showing the process for earning a Ph.D., as described in the curriculum table above.

The curriculum for the Ph.D. in electrical and computer engineering provides the knowledge and skills to form successful independent researchers by providing disciplinary and interdisciplinary courses, research mentorship, and seminars. Courses are organized into three categories: core, discipline concentration elective, and focus area elective courses. In addition, the plan of study includes three major research-based milestones: the doctoral qualifying exam, the doctoral candidacy exam, and the doctoral dissertation defense.

Core Courses
Core courses are usually completed during the first two semesters of the program since they serve as foundational preparation for other elective courses. Core courses develop core competency skills for research, introducing the research landscape in electrical and computer engineering, and helping to prepare students for the qualifying exam.

Discipline Concentration Elective Courses
The discipline concentration elective courses provide rigorous education in a student’s specific field of research in electrical and computer engineering. Students choose courses in consultation with the dissertation and research advisor. Graduate courses offered by the department of electrical and microelectronic engineering (courses code EEEE-6/7/8xx) or the department of computer engineering (courses code CMPE-6/7/8xx).

Focus Area Elective Courses
Focus area elective courses provide the curriculum flexibility for students to engage in trans-disciplinary learning. In consultation with the dissertation and research advisor, students choose graduate courses offered by any department in the Kate Gleason College of Engineering. In addition, and subject to the approval of the Ph.D. program director, students may choose graduate courses offered by any of RIT’s colleges.

Qualifying Exam
Students complete a qualifying exam at the end of their first year of study. The exam evaluates the student's aptitude, potential, and competency in conducting Ph.D.-level research.

Dissertation Proposal and Candidacy Exam
Students must present a dissertation proposal to their dissertation committee no sooner than six months after the qualifying exam and at least twelve months prior to the dissertation defense exam. The proposal provides the opportunity for students to elaborate on their research plans and to obtain feedback on the direction and approach to their research from their dissertation committee.

Dissertation Presentation and Defense
Each doctoral candidate prepares an original, technically rigorous, and well-written dissertation that describes the candidate’s research body of work and novel contributions to the discipline of electrical and computer engineering that have resulted from the doctoral studies. In this culminating milestone, each doctoral candidate presents and defends their dissertation and its accompanying research to their dissertation committee.

Admission Requirements

To be considered for admission to the doctorate program in electrical and computer engineering, applicants must complete a graduate application and fulfill the following requirements:

  • Complete a graduate application.
  • Hold a baccalaureate degree (or equivalent) from an accredited university or college in electrical or computer engineering or in a related field in science, engineering, or computing.
  • Submit official transcripts (in English) for all previously completed undergraduate and graduate course work.
  • Have a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.0 (or equivalent).
  • Not all programs require the submission of scores from entrance exams (GMAT or GRE). Please refer to the Graduate Admission Deadlines and Requirements page for more information.
  • Submit a Statement of Purpose for Research. The Statement of Purpose for Research is an important document because it is from where we learn the most about you as a prospective researcher. In the statement, we look for
    • your ability to present your thoughts in a clear, concise way,
    • evidence of your maturity and commitment to conduct research (you will be making contributions of worldwide impact in projects at the cutting edge of technology)
    • your understanding of what studying for a Ph.D. means,
    • your awareness of technological advancement in the field of electrical and computer engineering, and
    • your vision for specific areas where you would like to do research
  • Submit a current resume or curriculum vitae highlighting educational background and experiences.
  • Submit at least two letters of academic and/or professional recommendation. Letters for doctoral candidates must be confidential and must be submitted directly from the referee to RIT.
  • Participate in an on-campus or teleconference interview (when applicable).
  • International applicants whose native language is not English must submit official test scores from the TOEFL, IELTS, or PTE. A minimum TOEFL score of 94 (internet-based) is required. A minimum IELTS score of 7.0 is required. Students below the minimum requirement may be considered for conditional admission. Refer to Graduate Admission Deadlines and Requirements for additional information on English requirements. International applicants may be considered for an English test requirement waiver. Refer to Additional Requirements for International Applicants to review waiver eligibility.

Learn more about graduate admissions