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Requirements for ECE Dissertation Committees


The candidate's dissertation committee, especially the chair, has overall responsibility to provide technical, organizational, ethical and administrative guidance for the student for the duration of the doctoral program. These responsibilities should not be taken lightly. The dissertation committee should work well as a team; good communication among all members of the committee is important to insure that the research remains "on track" and the candidate has a satisfying educational experience. 

In line with this, the candidate is required to make regular oral reports at a meeting of the dissertation committee following the student's advancement to candidacy so that all members are kept up to date with the research progress. (Quarterly reports are suggested as a guideline.) The chair of the dissertation committee is responsible for convening these meetings.

Administrative Responsibilities

The chair of the dissertation committee shall maintain up-to-date contact information (including full postal addresses, telephone numbers, and email addresses) for all committee members and shall be responsible for convening the dissertation committee when and as required. The chairman will also provide this contact information to the ECE Departmental Ph.D. Committee for their file concerning this student.

The chair of the dissertation committee shall provide copies of all written (and electronic) communication related to the candidate’s progress to the ECE Departmental Ph.D. Committee. Such communication includes (but is not limited to) appointment and changes of committee members, memos to and from the academic council, and notification of meetings, especially the qualifying exam and defense. Failure or refusal to provide copies of such communication may place the candidate’s program in jeopardy.  

Qualifying Exams

The candidate must take both written and oral qualifying exams. Although the Academic Council Policy Manual provides that the administering of these exams is the province of the departmental Ph.D. Committee, the ECE Departmental Ph.D. Committee normally relegates these exams to the candidate's dissertation committee. 

The dissertation committee will give notice to the ECE Departmental Ph.D. Committee specifying the technical areas for the written and oral exams and the names of persons writing the questions for the written exam. If there are any abnormal situations such as a substitute oral examiner who is not a member of the dissertation committee, then this should also be stated and must receive approval from the ECE Departmental Ph.D. Committee. Qualifying exams must be in accordance with the general description provided under ECE Ph.D. Program: Information for students and others. A written report signed by all members of the dissertation committee must be submitted at the conclusion of the exam (see Information for students and others).

Proposal and Advancement to Candidacy

Advancement to Candidacy requires approval of a dissertation topic. Specifically, a written proposal shall be prepared by the candidate and be accepted by all members ofthe dissertation committee as a prerequisite for advancement to candidacy. (It is recommended that this proposal be completed as soon as possible after the passing of the oral qualifying exam.) A copy of the proposal must be forwarded to the ECE Departmental Ph.D. Committee. The proposal should contain as a minimum:

  • substantial preliminary results
  • outline of research proposed and plan for achieving
  • substantial bibliography

Upon acceptance of the proposal the dissertation committee will prepare and forward a memo to the Academic Council, via the ECE Departmental Ph.D. Committee, stating that all requirements have been met and the student is being nominated for advancement to candidacy.


The defense should be scheduled only after all  dissertation committee members agree that the research is complete. The candidate must prepare a final draft of the thesis and deliver it to all members of the committee no later than two weeks prior to the scheduled date of defense.

The defense shall be announced and posted in ECE Department headquarters at least two weeks prior to the scheduled date. All members of the ECE department  shall be invited. Others may also attend as per section 5.4.12 of the Academic Policy Manual.

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