Dec 08, 2023  
2023-2024 Graduate Catalog 
2023-2024 Graduate Catalog

Electrical Engineering, Ph.D.

College of Engineering  
Department: Electrical Engineering 


The Department of Electrical Engineering offers both doctoral and masters level degrees. The major areas of research and instruction in the Department are: semiconductor materials, microelectronic manufacturing, MEMS, nanotechnology, VLSI design, digital signal processing, communication theory, wireless communications, microwave engineering, power systems and controls, network theory, cyber security, and biomedical materials and imaging. The Department’s research efforts are supported by well-equipped laboratories in the areas of silicon processing, compound semiconductors, electro-optics, IC design, thin dielectric films, communications and signal processing, power systems, nanotechnology, MEMS, micro/millimeter waves, biomedical materials and imaging, and bio-electrical engineering.

Current and previous Ph.D. dissertations explored the areas of microelectronics (materials and devices of elemental and compound semiconductors, circuit design, modeling, testing, and reliability); communications and signal processing ( communication networks, packet switching, satellite communications, communications software, and VLSI for signal processing); systems and controls; solid state material and device processing and characterization; electro-optics, electromagnetic, microwave and millimeter-wave engineering (antennas, devices, systems); and biomedical engineering. Master’s majors include options in semiconductor materials and processes, VLSI design, communications and signal processing, power systems and controls, microwave and millimeter-wave engineering, networks and machine learning, cyber systems, and biomedical engineering.

Admission Information

Must meet University Admission and English Proficiency requirements as well as requirements for admission to the major, listed below.

  • GRE (with preferred minimum scores of Q greater than 155 (61%) , V greater than146 (28%) )
  • Three (3) Letters of Reference
  • Statement of Purpose

Curriculum Requirements

Total Minimum Hours: 72 post-bacc; 42 post-masters

  • Core Requirements - 4 Credit Hours
  • Additional Required Courses - 34 Credit Hours
  • Electives/Directed Research - 14 Credit Hours
  • Dissertation - 20 Credit Hours

Note: Students entering the doctoral major with an earned master’s degree from another institution, other than USF, must take at least nine (9) credit hours of 6000 level EE courses at USF. The student’s supervisory committee is responsible for evaluating his/her overall transcript to ensure that the distributional requirements are met.  Please contact Electrical Engineering for additional information.

Core Requirements (4 Credit Hours)

Students must take the following applied mathematics courses (4 Credit Hours):

Additional Required Courses (34 Credit Hours)

Minimum 34 hours of formal regularly scheduled graduate course work, including a minimum of eight (8) hours of math post baccalaureate, in the engineering area of study, or other graduate courses associated with electrical engineering as approved by the Graduate Director, (not necessarily electrical engineering courses).

Electives/Directed Research/Independent Study (14 Credit Hours)

Students complete graduate electives, Directed Research, or Independent Study, or a combination thereof.

Comprehensive Qualifying Exam

Passing a Doctoral Qualifying Exam is required of all doctoral students by USF. The purpose of the exam is to measure the aptitude and capability of the student for productive independent research in electrical engineering, as well as to demonstrate the student’s in-depth knowledge of their chosen research domain.

The exam consists of a written research paper comprising an annotated literature survey in the student’s chosen research area, a discussion and comparison of the prior art in this field, and identification of a promising research area and problem domain(s) of interest to the student and advisor. The research paper is presented in a meeting to a Qualifying Exam examining committee that is selected by the Graduate Program Coordinator in consultation with the major professor.


After satisfactory completion of the Doctoral Qualifying Examination, the student shall submit an Application to Candidacy form to the Graduate School. Doctoral students are not allowed to register for dissertation hours until the semester AFTER they have been admitted to candidacy. Directed research hours cannot be exchanged for dissertation hours. All course work must be completed by the semester before a student is admitted to candidacy. After students are admitted to candidacy, they do not register for directed research hours again. Doctoral students must be registered the semester they apply for candidacy. No incomplete or missing grades are allowed. See the Office of Graduate Studies web site for deadlines and forms.

Dissertation (20 Credit Hours Minimum)

Each Professor will have his/her own section for dissertation hours.

Dissertation Defense

The final oral defense of the dissertation is the final exam for the Ph.D. degree. The student’s major professor is the best guide to the preparation for the defense and in preparing the student to tackle the final defense of the dissertation. The student should be aware that the defense will be graded according to the doctoral rubric and that the committee decision is to either pass or fail the dissertation defense.

Department Handbook

Full information regarding the content of the doctoral program and policies/procedures can be found in the Electrical Engineering Graduate Program Handbook.