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.
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.
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 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 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.