Joint Doctoral Program

Engineering Science (Electrical and Computer)

Program Overview

Degree Learning Outcomes

Graduates with the Doctoral Degree in Engineering Science (Electrical and Computer Engineering) will demonstrate:

  • an in-depth understanding of the basic and advanced topics in electrical and computer engineering,
  • the ability to use common tools and techniques in electrical and computer engineering,
  • the ability to create and perform independent research on an original and novel topic in electrical and computer engineering,
  • effective professional skills including oral and written communication, leadership, independence, teamwork, and ethics,
  • the ability to function as part of a multi-disciplinary team in industry or in academia, and
  • the qualifications to be hired in industry or in academia.

Course Requirements

JDP students are required to satisfy course requirements at both institutions. Preparation for the Departmental Qualifying Examination involves twelve graduate courses taken at UCSD (or SDSU if approved by faculty co-advisors and by the Department) and grouped into five focus areas. Depending on focus area, up to three of these graduate courses can be replaced by upper-division undergraduate courses after approval by the co-advisors and by their Departments. No more than eight units of ECE 299 may be counted towards the elective requirement. An overall graduate GPA of 3.5 is required for continuation in the program.

Departmental Qualifying / Comprehensive / Ph.D. Preliminary Exam

The student must pass the departmental comprehensive examination not later than the end of the Fall Quarter of their second year of study. The comprehensive examination consists of a written examination, possibly followed by an oral examination. Students that pass the written examination with a sufficiently high score during the Spring Quarter of their first year will not be required to take the oral exam. Students not meeting this threshold but who still pass at the Ph.D. level will be required to take the oral exam. The oral exam must be taken not later than the end of the Fall Quarter of their second year of study. The oral exam, if necessary, will be administered by a committee of four members, three chosen by the student in consultation with the primary co-advisors, and one appointed by the Chair of the UCSD Department. At least one (the SDSU advisor), but not more than two, of these members are from SDSU.

Senate Qualifying / Ph.D. Candidacy Exam

The Ph.D. Candidacy Examination is an oral examination that includes presentation of a plan for the dissertation research project. The examination is designed to test the ability of the student to conduct original dissertation research, and must be taken within four years after admission to the doctoral program.

The Joint Doctoral Committee consists of at least five officers of instruction, with two members from SDSU, two members from UCSD, and one tenured UCSD member from outside the Department of the candidate. At least two members should represent specialties different from the student’s chosen field. The two co-advisors, one from each institution, serve as co-chairs of the Joint Doctoral Committee. The Joint Doctoral Committee administers the qualifying examination. Students must maintain a GPA equivalent to 3.5 or better in order to take the qualifying examination and advance to candidacy.

Doctoral Dissertation Defense

The Dissertation Defense is the final Ph.D. examination. Upon completion of the dissertation research project, the student writes a dissertation that must be successfully defended in an oral examination and public presentation conducted by the doctoral committee. The final examination may not be conducted earlier than three quarters after the date of advancement to doctoral candidacy.