University of Hawaii

Department of Electrical Engineering

Degree Requirements

Students pursuing a graduate degree in EE must have a BS degree in EE or its equivalent; otherwise, the minimum course requirements listed in the next subsection must be met. EE program has three major tracks of specialization: computers, electro-physics, and systems. Graduate students are required to specialize in a major track and have breadth outside the major track in EE. More rigorous courses from the other programs may be used to satisfy major track or breadth requirements subject to prior approval from the graduate chair. Elective courses must be from College of Engineering, College of Natural Sciences, SOEST, or School of Business. Relevant courses from the other programs may be used to satisfy elective course requirements subject to prior approval from the graduate chair. Only one out of multiple courses with significantly overlapping contents (for example, cross-listed courses) can be used to satisfy any course requirement. Only the courses with a grade of B or better (not B-minus) can count towards the course requirements.

Master's Degree

Doctoral Degree

Seminar Policy

Forms


Minimum Course Requirements for EE Graduate Students without a BS Degree in EE

Those with an undergraduate degree in Engineering or Natural Sciences are required to take the following courses depending on the major track selected for their graduate work (unless equivalent courses are taken in their undergraduate studies). The students might have to take courses which are pre-requisite to these courses.†


Systems:

  • EE 213 Basic Circuit Analysis, and
  • EE 315 System and Systems Analysis, and
  • EE 342 Probability and Statistics

Electro-physics:

  • EE213 Basic Circuit Analysis, and

††††††††† one of the following:

  • EE 323 Microelectronic Circuits, or
  • EE 327 Theory and Design of IC Devices, or
  • EE 371 Engineering Electromagnetics

Computers:

  • EE 342 Probability and Statistics (or discrete probability, or discrete math), and
  • EE 205 Object Oriented Programming (in C++), and
  • EE 361 Digital Systems and Computer Design, and
  • EE 361L Digital Systems and Computer Design Lab††† †††

Those with an undergraduate degree not in any branch of engineering nor the natural sciences will be required to take a more extensive set of courses.† This will be handled on a case-by-case basis.


Master's Degree

Plan A (thesis) and Plan B (non-thesis) options are offered. In addition to the general degree requirements set by the graduate division, the following requirements must be met by MS students in electrical engineering.

Requirements

Plan A (thesis):† This option requires a minimum of 30 credits such that

  • 12 credits must be in 600-level courses in the major track (6 credits must be in Category I courses and 3 credits must be in Category II courses)
  • 6 credits must be in 400 or higher-level EE courses outside the major track
  • 3 credits must be in 400 or higher-level elective courses
  • 9 credits must be in EE 700 Thesis Research (1 credit of EE 700 during the semester of graduation); students can petition to convert their EE 699 credits to EE 700 credits
  • at most 6 credits can be in 400-level courses.

The graduate seminar requirement, in electrical engineering or a related field, must also be fulfilled (see the seminar policy). In addition, MS Plan A students must produce a thesis, and pass the final examination. The stages of the MS Plan A program are as follows.

MS Plan A students should find faculty advisors in research areas of mutual interest as early as possible. After the initial advising with the faculty adviser, Masterís Plan A Form I (Pre-Candidacy Progress) is processed by the graduate chair. Under the advisorís guidance, the student takes courses as necessary for background knowledge, and develops a thesis proposal which involves a literature survey and preliminary research on the thesis topic. Subsequently, the student forms the thesis committee which approves the thesis proposal. The thesis committee must satisfy the graduate division requirements and be pre-approved by the graduate chair. The graduate chair reports the approval of the thesis proposal to the graduate division by using Masterís Plan A Form II (Advance to Candidacy).

The candidate then carries out the thesis research and writes a thesis satisfying the graduate division requirements. In particular, the thesis is expected to be a scholarly presentation of an original contribution to electrical engineering resulting from independent research. The candidate must keep the thesis committee informed of the scope, plan, and progress of the thesis research and manuscript. During this stage, the candidate also completes the credit requirements. After completing the thesis research and writing a thesis, the candidate takes the final examination.

The final examination is administered by the thesis committee. The candidate submits the thesis to the committee and the EE office at least two weeks prior to the final examination. The examination starts with a presentation by the candidate on the thesis research including the problems chosen, the approaches employed, and the results obtained. Throughout the examination, the candidate defends his/her thesis in response to the committeeís questions on the correctness and the significance of the approaches and the results.†

A majority of the committee must approve of the content of the thesis and the candidate's ability to defend it in order for the candidate to pass. The committee members indicate their decisions on the final examination by signing Masterís Plan A Form III (Thesis Evaluation). A candidate who passes may still be asked to make various corrections and revisions to the thesis. The candidate must make the requested changes and submit the revised thesis to the entire committee. Masterís Plan A Form IV (Thesis Submission) is to be signed by the chair and a majority of the committee, including any committee members who may have been physically absent at the final examination. All those who sign must have read and approve the manuscript in its entirety. By signing this form, the committee members indicate approval of the content and the form of the finalized manuscript. A candidate who fails the final examination may repeat it only once with approval from both the graduate faculty concerned and the graduate division. A candidate who fails the final examination twice is dismissed from the program. The graduate chair approves and reports the results of the final examination to the graduate division by using Masterís Plan A Form IV.

Plan B (non-thesis): This option requires a minimum of 30 credits such that

  • 12 credits must be in 600-level courses in the major track (6 credits must be in Category I courses and 3 credits must be in Category II courses), and
  • 6 credits must be in 400 or higher-level EE courses outside the major track.
  • 6 credits must be in 600-level elective courses
  • 6 credits of EE 699 (These 6 credits can be substituted by 6 credits in 600-level courses in EE).

The graduate seminar requirement, in electrical engineering or a related field, must also be fulfilled (see the seminar policy). In addition, MS Plan B students must complete a final project that demonstrates the knowledge and skills acquired in the program. MS Plan B students should find supervising faculty advisors in areas of mutual interest as early as possible. The final project does not need to include original research results. Acceptable forms of final projects include a literature survey, critique of research papers, software implementation of an algorithm, or hardware testing or development, subject to the prior approval of the supervising faculty. The student must write a conference-style report to document the final project activities, and submit this report to the supervising faculty and the EE office at least a week prior to the final examination. The final examination is the evaluation of the final project by the supervising faculty. This evaluation includes an oral presentation by the student to an audience including the supervising faculty. The supervising faculty reports his/her approval of the final project by sending a signed copy of the EE MS Plan B Final Examination Form to the EE office along with the final project report.†


Doctoral Degree

Doctoral students are required to achieve a good, broad understanding of electrical engineering fundamentals and a thorough knowledge, up to its present state, in a chosen specialty. Doctoral students must also perform research in their special field under the guidance of a faculty advisor and write a dissertation that is a scholarly presentation of an original contribution to electrical engineering resulting from independent research. Participation in a substantial teaching project to develop competence in teaching is also required. In addition to the general degree requirements set by the graduate division, the following requirements must be met by doctoral students in electrical engineering.

Requirements

Doctoral students must have an MS degree in EE or its equivalent; otherwise, the MS course requirements must be met (equivalent courses taken elsewhere can be counted toward this requirement subject to prior approval from the graduate chair). In addition, the following 40 credits are required:†

  • 9 credits of 600-level courses in the major track
  • 3 credits of 600-level courses outside the major track
  • 3 credits of EE 790 Directed Instruction
  • 24 credits of EE 699 (6 credits can be substituted by 600 level courses in EE)
  • 1 credit of EE 800 Dissertation Research during the semester of graduation.

The graduate seminar requirement, in electrical engineering or a related field, must also be fulfilled (see the seminar policy). Furthermore, doctoral students must pass the qualifying examination to advance to PhD candidacy, must pass the comprehensive examination for the approval of a dissertation proposal, and must pass the final examination for the approval of the dissertation itself. The stages of the doctoral program are as follows.†

Pre-Candidacy Stage

The pre-candidacy stage covers the period from the admission until the qualifying examination is passed. Each doctoral student is assigned a faculty advisor upon entering the program. During the pre-candidacy stage, a doctoral student prepares for the qualifying examination to advance to candidacy typically by enrolling in a directed reading or research course under the advisorís direction. This preparation may be in the form of an initial exploration for a dissertation topic or it may be any other research effort on some topic of interest to demonstrate the studentís research potential. As part of this preparation, the student produces a well-written three- to six-page conference-style extended abstract on his/her research efforts. In consultation with the advisor, the student also takes courses as necessary for background knowledge.

Each student completes and submits the EE Qualifying Examination Form to the EE office by the following deadlines: students who enter the program in a fall semester are to submit the form by the following March 1; students who enter the program in a spring semester are to submit the form by the following October 1. Each student must take the qualifying examination by the end of the second semester (spring or fall) in the program. A student starting in a fall semester can petition to take the qualifying examination by the end of the first summer semester. In unusual circumstances (including an advisor change), the student can petition to postpone the qualifying examination by up to a semester.

Qualifying Examination

The qualifying examination is an oral examination administrated by a committee of three graduate faculty members. One member of the committee is the studentís advisor; the graduate committee selects the final two committee members. At least one of the committee members selected by the graduate committee must be from the student's major track of specialization.

The student submits the extended abstract to the committee and the EE office at least one week prior to the examination. The purpose of the qualifying examination is to determine the studentís research potential and knowledge of pertinent fundamentals. It starts with a presentation where the candidate demonstrates his/her ability to conduct significant research. In particular, the student is expected to demonstrate ability to understand technical concepts of sufficient complexity and to produce and implement new ideas. Throughout the examination, the committee may ask any questions broadly related to the topic of presentation to observe the studentís thought process in approaching a research problem. Any one of the following criteria is sufficient, but not necessary, to demonstrate research potential:

  • producing a research result that could be accepted for presentation in a peer reviewed conference
  • formulating a significant and well-motivated research problem, and proposing a well thought-out approach for solving the problem.

At least two committee members must pass the student; else, the student repeats the examination by the end of the third semester in the program. A student who does not pass the qualifying examination by the end of the third semester is dismissed from the program. The graduate chair reports the results of the qualifying examination to the graduate division by using Doctorate Form I (Pre-Candidacy Progress).

Candidacy Stage

After passing the qualifying examination, the student is advanced to PhD candidacy. At this stage, the candidate develops a dissertation proposal and prepares for the comprehensive examination. During the development of the dissertation proposal, the candidate (in consultation with the advisor) acquires the necessary background knowledge through coursework and literature survey, and conducts research on the proposed dissertation topic.††

Comprehensive Examination

The candidate takes the comprehensive examination within three years of entering the PhD program.† Prior to taking the comprehensive examination, the candidate completes the MS course requirements and most of the PhD coursework in major track or outside major track EE courses (at least 6 of the required 12 credits), writes a dissertation proposal, and forms the doctoral committee. The doctoral committee must satisfy the graduate division requirements and be pre-approved by the graduate chair. The comprehensive examination is an oral examination administered by the doctoral committee and is subject to the same rules as those set by the graduate division for the final examination.†

The candidate submits the dissertation proposal to the doctoral committee and the EE office at least two weeks prior to the comprehensive examination. The dissertation proposal must have a tentative title, a description of the problems considered, preliminary results, and the proposed research for the completion of the dissertation. The comprehensive examination may be preceded, at the discretion of the individual committee members, by additional oral or written examinations.

The purpose of the comprehensive examination is to critically evaluate the merit of the dissertation proposal as well as the candidateís ability and preparation for conducting the proposed research. It starts with a presentation where the candidate makes the case for the validity of the dissertation proposal. Throughout the examination, the committee questions the candidate on various aspects of the dissertation proposal including its scope, the significance of the problems chosen, and the approach. The committee also evaluates the candidate on the background knowledge necessary for the completion of the dissertation. In addition, the committee can suggest alternative approaches and additional topics for investigation, and can alert the candidate to new developments relevant to the proposed research.

A majority of the committee must approve the dissertation proposal in order for the candidate to pass. The committee members indicate their approval by signing the Advance to Candidacy Form (Form II). A candidate who fails the comprehensive examination may repeat it only once, no sooner than three months after the first examination. The candidate must pass the comprehensive examination within four years of entering the PhD program. A candidate who fails the comprehensive examination twice is dismissed from the program. The graduate chair reports the results of the comprehensive examination to the graduate division by using Doctorate Form II (Advance to Candidacy).

Dissertation Stage

A candidate who passes the comprehensive examination proceeds with the proposed research and writes a dissertation. The dissertation must satisfy the graduate division requirements. In particular, the dissertation is expected to be a scholarly presentation of an original contribution to electrical engineering resulting from independent research. The dissertation must be suitable for publication in respected academic journals. The candidate must keep the doctoral committee informed of the scope, plan, and progress of the dissertation research and manuscript. During this stage, the candidate also completes the credit requirements. After completing the dissertation research and writing a dissertation and no sooner than six months after passing the comprehensive examination, the candidate takes the final examination.

Final Examination

The final examination is administered by the doctoral committee. The candidate submits the dissertation to the doctoral committee and the EE office at least two weeks prior to the final examination. The examination starts with a presentation by the candidate on the dissertation research including the problems chosen, the approaches employed, and the results obtained. Throughout the examination, the candidate defends his/her dissertation in response to the committeeís questions on the correctness and the significance of the approaches and the results.

A majority of the committee must approve of the content of the dissertation and the student's ability to defend it in order for the candidate to pass. The committee members indicate their decisions on the final examination by signing Doctorate Form III (Dissertation Evaluation). A candidate who passes may still be asked to make various corrections and revisions to the dissertation. The candidate must make the requested changes and submit the revised dissertation to the entire committee. Doctorate Form IV (Dissertation Submission) is to be signed by the chair and a majority of the committee, including any committee members who may have been physically absent at the final examination. All those who sign must have read and approve the manuscript in its entirety. By signing this form, the committee members indicate approval of the content and the form of the finalized manuscript. A candidate who fails the final examination may repeat it only once with approval from both the graduate faculty concerned and the graduate division. A candidate who fails the final examination twice is dismissed from the program. The graduate chair approves and reports the results of the final examination to the graduate division by using Doctorate Form IV.

Seminar Policy

Students must attend at least twelve seminars from the department seminar series, thesis defenses, and/or technical conferences. A student receives a credit of three attended seminars for giving a seminar that is not his/her final public defense, or for giving a conference presentation. Attendance should be taken by the track coordinator for the departmental seminars and by the student's advisor for thesis defenses. Documentation should be provided by the student's advisor for conference attendance and conference presentations. Attendance lists and documentation should be submitted to the EE office.


Forms

MS Plan A Check Sheet

MS Plan B Check Sheet

MS Course Schedule

PhD Check Sheet


Degree requirements prior to Fall 2014