Ph.D. degree requirements

The Ph.D. program requires a minimum of 90 graduate credits beyond the baccalaureate degree or 60 credits following the award of a master's degree. The division of these credits will be basically as follows:

  • 60 credits of pre-candidacy coursework, research, and directed study. Students with an MS degree may transfer up to 30 credits toward this requirement. These courses include
    • Graduate level courses approved by the dissertation advisor, including a minimum of 12 credits of 7000-level or above.
    • Two credits of Doctoral Seminar (ECE 9997).
    • A maximum of 12 credits of Directed Study (ECE 7990).
    • A maximum of 8 credits of Research (ECE 7996).
  • 30 credits earned in four consecutive semesters after Ph.D. candidacy has been approved. These courses include Doctoral Dissertation and Direction I, II, III and IV (ECE 9991, 9992, 9993 and 9994),

Ph.D. students must complete all of the requirements below

  • Complete the course GS090: Responsible Conduct of Research during the first year. This zero credit, one-day course is offered in both the Fall and Winter terms.
  • Every year, complete an Annual Review and Individual Development Plan.
  • Students must take the Ph.D. written preliminary exam (also called the qualifying exam) during the first two semesters (excluding Spring/Summer session) of doctoral study. Failure to take the exam in the second semester constitutes a failed attempt. Failure to take the exam in the third semester constitutes a failed second attempt and will result in dismissal from the Ph.D. program.
  • A student must find a dissertation advisor within two semesters of passing the preliminary exam. Failure to find an advisor will result in dismissal from the Ph.D. program.
  • Complete a Ph.D. Plan of Work form and present to dissertation advisor and departmental graduate officer for approval. The plan must be submitted to Graduate School before completion of 40 graduate credits, which includes the approved transfer of a maximum of 30 credits from other universities via the Transfer of Credit form.
  • Form a doctoral dissertation committee.
  • Advance to the rank of Ph.D. Candidate upon completing the Ph.D. Candidacy Status form. Candidacy requires approximately 50 credit hours of coursework, an updated plan of work, completion of the preliminary (qualifying) exam, and formation of a dissertation committee.
  • Register for Doctoral Dissertation and Direction I, II, III and IV (ECE 9991, 9992, 9993 and 9994) in sequential semesters for a total of thirty credits. Students should complete the prospectus exam before registering for ECE 9992.   
  • Complete the prospectus exam administered by the doctoral dissertation committee.  The Prospectus and Record of Approval form and Conflict of Interest form should be submitted to the graduate director at least one week before the prospectus meeting. The prospectus should be completed at least one year before the final defense.
  • Complete the written Ph.D. dissertation, ensuring that it meets all the formatting guidelines.
  • Complete the oral Ph.D. defense administered by the doctoral dissertation committee.  The Dissertation Defense formSafeAssign certification, and Conflict of Interest form must be submitted to the graduate director and submitted to the graduate school at least 2 weeks prior the defense.  The defense must be completed by the graduate school deadline.  
  • After completing the defense, submit the dissertation defense form to the Graduate School, and upload dissertation electronically.  
  • Ensure all items in the Ph.D. requirements checklist are met.
  • Receive approval of the dissertation manuscript from the Graduate School.


Academic Policies

The total Ph.D. program must include 30 credits, excluding Candidate Status semesters, in courses open only to graduate students (i.e. 7000 level or above). At least 30 hours must be elected at Wayne State University. Only courses with grades of B- or higher can be counted toward the degree. At the discretion of the advisor, up to 30 credit hours of graduate courses may be transferred from the master's program. A student wishing to transfer graduate credit toward a Ph.D. degree should file a Transfer of Credit form along with the doctoral Plan of Work. A minimum grade of B is necessary to transfer credits; B- credits and credits graded "P" or "S" (Pass or Satisfactory) are not transferable. Transfer credit must be appropriate to the student's degree program and may not be used to reduce the minimum requirement of thirty credits, which must be carried at WSU.