Electrical Engineering Graduate Handbook2017-2018Charles L. Brown Department of Electrical & Computer Engineering School ofEngineering and Applied ScienceUniversity of Virginia1

This handbook outlines the policies and procedures of the graduate program of theDepartment of Electrical and Computer Engineering at theUniversity of Virginia. It should be viewed as a supplement to the University ofVirginia Graduate Record, which summarizes the rules and regulations of theUniversity and the School of Engineering and Applied p?catoid 44&navoid 3141Contacts: 434-924-6077 (Graduate Office)2


Message from the ChairmanWelcome to the Electrical Engineering Graduate Program at the University ofVirginia! During your time in the program, I hope that you take advantage of the vastarray of opportunities to advance your education and personal developmentthrough research, coursework, seminars, teaching, and interactions with faculty,staff, and your fellow students. If you do, upon graduation you will be well preparedfor the career of your choosing and to be a leader in technological innovation fordecades to come.The Electrical Engineering Graduate Program has established an excellentreputation throughout industry and academia as a source of outstanding engineersand researchers. The department faculty maintains this reputation by continuallyupdating curricula to reflect current scientific and technological advances andrequirements and by maintaining a vigorous research program designed to providestaff and graduate students with high-level learning experiences relevant to theneeds of our society. Technical areas range from nano-scale electronic and photonicdevices to large-scale computer systems, and from communication and controlsystems to signal processing and data analysis algorithms. These technologies findapplication in energy systems, medical technologies, transportation, informationtechnology, ubiquitous computing, astronomy, and numerous other fields, creatinglimitless opportunity for impacting society.Students will find courses and research opportunities in all of these technologiesand application areas, with a particular emphasis on emerging cross-cutting fields.For example, our faculty are leading research programs in areas such as thefollowing: Terahertz Electronic and Photonic Integrated Technology: Lead theconvergence of electronics and photonics (100 GHz to 20 THz), bridging thegap between millimeter-wave lengths ( 300 GHz) and infrared ( 20 THz)by creating integrated systems capable of enabling a range of applications,such as wireless links with 100 GB/s data rates, medical imaging at THzfrequencies, and multi-pixel receivers for next generation radio astronomyobservations. Large-Scale Networks of Ultra-Low-Power Devices: Design large networks ofdevices with extremely low power requirements, suitable for cooperativelysensing and interacting with their environment, with innovations in lowpower circuits and systems, wireless communications and networking, signaland image processing, and applications to medical technologies, energyefficiency, and smart cities. Post-CMOS Nanocomputing: Explore devices, circuits, and architectures thatprovide increased computational capabilities beyond the limits of modernCMOS by building on significant on-grounds strengths in spintronics and4

nanomagnetics, molecular electronics, solar cells, 2D materials, andnanoscale heat management.Multi-Scale Medical Imaging: Work with researchers and clinicians in the UVaMedical School to create the next generation of low-cost, highly-accurateimaging of cellular and molecular structures in patients by providing newimaging technologies, including novel electronics, devices, and imageprocessing methods.Neural Engineering: Work with neuroscience researchers across UVa to builda human neurome (1012 neurons) – which will involve processing andanalyzing more than 1018 pixels – with innovations in image processing,information theory, and computation.With its excellent facilities and internationally recognized faculty, the Charles L.Brown Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at the University ofVirginia has become a major player in the development of cutting-edge technologyand engineering personnel for the 21st century. Thank you for becoming a part ofthat legacy and for helping us shape the future of our program, our field, and ourworld.Please do not hesitate to contact me with any questions or suggestions you mayhave.Nikos Sidiropoulos, Professor and Chair5

General Academic PoliciesThe Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering offers programs of studyleading to the M.E., M.S. and Ph.D. degree. The academic requirements for thedegrees are set by the faculty of the department. The EE Graduate Committee actson behalf of the faculty on matters relating to admission, implementation of thegraduate program procedures, and directing financial aid. Graduate students,together with their advisor, are responsible for planning a course of study leading toa desired degree. The EE Graduate Office and SEAS Graduate Office are charged withensuring that the appropriate degree requirements are met.The EE Graduate Committee is responsible for tracking your academic progress. TheGraduate Office ensures SEAS documentation is completed, disburses GTA and GRAfunds, assigns GTAs, supports graduate student admissions, and provides other dayto-day support.Students should refer to the SEAS Website for additional information, and for allforms mentioned in this handbook: urrent-graduate-studentsStudent Status and Residency RequirementsCandidates for the Master of Science degree must complete at least one semester inresidence as a full- time student at the University of Virginia. Candidates for theDoctor of Philosophy degree must complete at least six semesters of graduate studybeyond the baccalaureate degree, or four semesters after the master’s degree. Atleast two semesters beyond the master’s degree must be in full residence at theUniversity in Charlottesville. These regulations do not include the summer.A student receiving financial aid from the School of Engineering and Applied Sciencemust be registered full time, defined as at least 12 credit hours of lecture-laboratorycourses and/or research per semester during the academic year, must maintain agrade point average of at least 3.0, and must maintain satisfactory progress towarda degree. Graduate research assistants must register for a minimum of 6 credithours of research only during the summer. Students receiving financial aid are notpermitted to have other employment without prior approval of the Office of theAssociate Dean for Graduate Programs.Probation and Dismissal PoliciesA graduate student will be considered to be on probation if their cumulative GPA forgraduate work is less than 3.0 and will be notified of this situation by the Dean's6

Office. Graduate students on probation are usually ineligible for financial aid. Agraduate student will be subject to dismissal if the cumulative GPA is not raised to3.0 within one semester. Undergraduate courses and courses taken on a Pass/NoCredit basis may not be used to meet requirements for a graduate degree and willnot be used in computing the GPA.Time Limit for DegreesThe time limit for completion of the M.S. is five years after admission. The time limitfor the M.E. is seven years, and the Ph.D. is seven years after admission into thePh.D. program.Transfer of CreditMaster of Science and Ph.D. candidates may transfer a maximum of 6 credits ofapproved graduate courses into the program. Master of Engineering candidates maytransfer 12 hours of graduate credit. Students may only transfer courses with agrade of B or better. Students in the Commonwealth Graduate Engineering Program(CGEP) may include up to 15 hours of credit with grades of C or better fromparticipating institutions (an overall GPA of 3.0 must have been maintained at theparticipating institution). Students should discuss courses acceptable for transfer ofcredit with their advisor; the transfer credit form can be found on the SEAS website.This form is required for transferring courses along with a catalog statement ofcourse level and the grading system that justifies classification of these courses asgraduate-level courses. An official copy of the transcript from the institution wherethe course(s) was taken is required.PhD candidates who have completed a Master’s degree may apply that degreetoward the requirements of the PhD. Up to 24 graded credits can be applied, basedon review of the transcript by the EE Graduate Director.Graduate Course Drop DeadlineThe last date for dropping a graduate course is determined by the Registrar’s Office.Check the academic calendar for the current list of deadlines. (When deadlines aremissed, students may petition the Dean's Office for a W or WP upon concurrence oftheir instructor and advisor).Incomplete Grades and Repeated CoursesA 10-day period past the end of the semester (end of the examination period) isautomatically allowed to remove an incomplete. Maximum extension to the end ofthe following semester (e.g., following Fall for a Spring class) may be granted byspecial request to the Dean's Office. If a course is repeated both grades are used inthe GPA calculation.7

Articulation RequirementsGraduate level electrical and computer engineering research is a broad disciplinethat utilizes skills from many diverse fields. Students entering the graduate ECEprogram from a non‑electrical background are welcome within the UVA ECEdepartment. All students should have completed undergraduate coursework in atleast three of the following electrical and computer engineering undergraduatetopic areas. This background capability is required by the faculty to 1) exhibitsufficient core knowledge associated with graduate-degree electrical engineers, and2) to provide adequate preparation for graduate classes and research.Circuit AnalysisLinear SystemsElectronicsControl TheoryOptoelectronicsDevice PhysicsPowerQuantum PhysicsLogic DesignCommunication TheorySignal ProcessingElectronic MaterialsComputer ArchitectureElectromagneticsSoftware EngineeringEngineering MathematicsThese requirements may be satisfied in the following ways: Relevant undergraduate course work - For example, a physics course inelectromagnetic fields. Successful completion of an appropriate UVA undergraduate course (B or bettergrade). Independent study and examination. Students may take a proficiency examinationand pass with a B or better in an appropriate UVA undergraduate course during thenormally scheduled examination period, or by special arrangement with theinstructor.Responsibilities of Graduate StudentsAs a graduate student in the University of Virginia you have been given a uniqueopportunity for intellectual growth in a vibrant academic community. Thisopportunity comes with some responsibilities on your part as a student, researcher,and teacher.Academic ProgressThe responsibility for your academic progress is largely your own. You must ensurethat you are completing the necessary documentation as you progress through theprogram. The EE Graduate Program Director will be able to give you general8

guidance in meeting the academic regulations of the institution, SEAS, and thedepartment. Your own academic advisor will assist you in preparing a plan of studythat fits with the graduate-level courses.Research AssistantsThe award of a Graduate Research Assistantship (GRA) and the stipend and tuitionfee remission associated with it is paid out of research-group funds. A GRA is not agrant to the student but is payment for student contributions to the researchprogram. GRA funds are awarded to the research group for the completion of aproject of research, the results of which will be reported back to the fundingorganization. If you receive a GRA, then you are essentially an employee working onthat particular project. Your responsibility is to complete the assigned project taskswhile maintaining your own academic progress. It is possible that your GRA fundingwill come from a research project other than the one with which your research workis connected. In this case, it is still your responsibility to maintain academic progressin both research and coursework.Teaching AssistantsThe award of a Graduate Teaching Assistantship (GTA) and the stipend and tuitionfee remission associated with it is paid by institutional funds. As a teachingassistant, a graduate student carries considerable responsibility as a representativeof the University in the laboratory and the classroom. To be appointed to a GTAposition, an international graduate student must have passed the SPEAK Test orcompleted the appropriate follow-up course work. This test is administered by theCenter for American English Language and Culture as part of the InternationalTeaching Assistant Testing and Training Program. This program scores the verbalcommunication skills of prospective GTAs and offers further training as needed.This test is in addition to the TOEFL (required for admission) and the UVELPE(University of Virginia English Language Proficiency Exam) required of allinternational graduate students.As a GTA, your primary responsibility is to the course instructor. Once selected for aGTA position you should contact the instructor and clarify the duties expected ofyou. As a GTA laboratory assistant, your most important task is to become familiarwith the experiments. This involves discussing them with the instructor, reading thelaboratory manual, and performing the experiments before the scheduled day of thelaboratory class. You should expect ample support from the faculty supervisor forthe class, so ask for more help if it’s not adequate.ScholarshipAs a graduate student, a high level of scholarship is expected. You are required tomaintain a B average (cumulative) in your coursework. You will be engaged in a9

specific field of research, yet you will be required to know (and possibly teach)broad fundamentals. You will be expected to know detailed technical literaturerelevant to your project and know the fundamental concepts and breakthroughsthat brought your field to its current state of development. You will present yourwork in the form of project reports, theses, dissertations, conference proceedings,and journal publications. You will give presentations to faculty and students withinthe SEAS community and to wider audiences at conferences and colloquia.These expectations will place your verbal, written, and technical communicationskills under the microscope. Before reviewers will take your work seriously, it mustbe free from spelling, grammatical, typographical, and style errors. It must bereadable and it must be presented according to the principles of clear technicalcommunication. To assist you in the continuous improvement of yourcommunication, mathematical, and scientific skills, the EE Graduate Committeestrongly recommends the following:1. Obtain a good dictionary (such as Webster’s Collegiate) and use it. Don’t rely onyour spell- checker.2. Obtain a good technical grammar reference such as Science and TechnicalWriting–A Manual of Style, ISBN 0-415-92551-7.3. Have access to a definitive reference on issues such as units, number usage,prefixes, abbreviations, designations, and mathematical and scientific symbols. All ofthese items are treated in the NIST publication: Guide for the Use of theInternational System of Units (SI). Have access to a definitive reference for thesymbols used in your field. Comprehensive symbols and designations listings areavailable from the IEEE Standards Society.4. Read at least one of the many texts available that review the procedure for writingtechnical reports and scientific papers. Two very good works are: How to Write and Publish a Scientific Paper (SCI-ENG T11.D33) How to Write and Publish Engineering Papers and Reports (SCI-ENG T11.M14)5. You may often need to review mathematical topics or look up an integral oridentity. A good mathematical reference for engineers is: The Handbook of Mathematical Formulas and Integrals (ISBN 0-12-382251-3).InvolvementAll graduate students should attend the annual graduate-student orientationactivities at the beginning of fall semester. This is a good opportunity to meet withyour peers, welcome new graduate students, and be reminded of the academicpolicies and procedures.LibraryYou should get to know the services available from the Charles L. Brown Science andEngineering Library (Clark Hall). The library contains current periodicals, and has10

considerable holdings of back issues of the major journals. An inter-library loanservice is offered for prints and books. The library website( contains a wealth of information relating todatabases for engineering and the electrical sciences. You can schedule a researchtutorial (from the website) with one of the librarians, and tailor this tutorial to yourresearch activities. A liaison is assigned by the library to each academic department.The ECE liaison is currently Ricky Patterson.Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE)Graduate student membership and participation in IEEE activities is stronglyencouraged. A student member may attend the Central Virginia Section monthlydinner meetings that rotate between Charlottesville, Waynesboro, and Lynchburg.There is also an active Student Chapter of IEEE, which sponsors technical talks oncareer choices, employment areas, plant visits, and some social events. A smallmembership fee is required. Stop by the office of the faculty advisor, ProfessorHarry Powell, in E203 Thornton Hall, and pick up an application form.SeminarsThe Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering sponsors weekly seminarsfeaturing UVa faculty and visiting scholars. All graduate students are encouraged toattend unless they have a conflict due to classes or research travel. Talks aredesigned to inform the non-specialist about current research on a wide variety ofscience and engineering topics. Announcements of seminars are emailed to facultyand students. First year students are required to register for a seminar class in theFall (ECE 6505).Master's Degree RequirementsThe department offers two master's degrees, a Master of Science (MS) that requiresa thesis, and a Master of Engineering (ME) that does not. Students receivingfinancial support from the department in the form of a GRA, GTA, or a fellowshipwill generally be required to pursue the MS (thesis) option, unless approval isobtained from the EE Graduate Committee. Students enrolled in the MS programmust obtain the agreement of an advisor to supervise a Master’s thesis.English Language Proficiency RequirementsIf applicable (see Special Graduate Course Requirements on page 18 of thishandbook).11

RequirementsWith the assistance of your assigned advisor, determine a plan of study (no formrequired). The plan must include 31 graduate credits:Master of Science (MS): 1 credit of ECE 6505: ECE Seminar (only offered in the Fall semester) 24 credits of graded coursework- A minimum of 12 credits must carry ECE designation- 3 credits of mathematics at, or above, 5000- level are required andmay be taken from APMA, MATH, ECE 6711, ECE 7438, MAE 6410and SYS 6005 6 credits of ECE 8999 – Thesis No more than 9 credits of 5000-level courses are permitted No more than 6 credits of 5000-level courses may be in the ECE Dept No more than 3 credits of Independent Study (e.g. ECE 6993, ECE 7993) arepermitted Thesis Defense (see below)Master of Engineering (ME): 1 credit of ECE 6505: ECE Seminar (only offered in the Fall semester) 30 credits of graded coursework- may include 3 – 6 credits of ECE 6995/ECE 7995–Master’s Project- A minimum of 18 credits must carry ECE designation- 3 credits of mathematics at, or above, 5000- level are required andmay be taken from APMA, MATH, ECE 6711, ECE 7438, MAE6410and SYS 6005 No more than 9 credits of 5000-level courses are permitted. No more than 6 credits of 5000-level courses may be in the ECE Dept. No more than 3 credits of Independent Study (e.g. ECE 6993, ECE 7993) arepermitted Assessment forms (Engineering Analysis, Technical Writing, and ms-office/Files/engineering analysis ffice/Files/engineering technical writing ffice/Files/engineering oral communication assessment.pdf12

For both MS and ME degrees, undergraduate articulation courses may be requiredof students with other than the traditional ECE background.Final Examination (Thesis Defense – MS only)1) Apply for the master’s degree by entering intended graduation in SIS. Observe thedue dates.For ME, MCS, MEP and MMSE degrees: urrent-graduate-studentsFor MS and PhD degrees: urrent-graduate-students2) Student and advisor select an examining committee and date for the examination.Committee must consist of at least 3 UVa faculty members, at least 2 of whom mustbe SEAS faculty.All faculty with a primary appointment in Biomedical Engineering are consideredSEAS faculty for this purpose. One research professional from outside UVa or facultymember from outside SEAS may be a fourth voting member, provided that theirqualifications are commensurate with that of a research faculty or equivalent rank.For committee members outside of UVa, attach a CV to the committee request form Thesis advisor cannot chair the examining committee. The committee chair must be from the ECE Department.3) Request Examining Committee 14 days before the examination les/form final examination committee.pdf)4) Prepare thesis for distribution and reserve room. Select a conference room foryour examination and check availability with the ECE Graduate Office.5) Announce the oral examination of the thesis.a. Obtain an electronic announcement template from the ECE GraduateOffice.b. Send the completed announcement to the ECE Graduate Office([email protected])c. When the committee has been approved by the Dean’s Office, the ECEGraduate Coordinator will send the announcement to the SEAS community.6) Conduct master’s thesis examination as scheduled. The format of the oral defenseis a presentation by the student followed by a question and answer period. The13

student presentation portion of the defense should not exceed 45 minutes. In theevent of an unsuccessful thesis examination, a majority of the examining committeemay recommend a further examination—after the student has been given time toprepare.7) Submit the Report on Final Examination and the Thesis and DissertationAssessment form to the ECE Graduate iles/form report on final office/Files/engineering thesis %26 dissertation assessment.pdf8) Upload your completed thesis to Libra: http://libra.virginia.eduDoctoral Degree ProgramEnglish Language Proficiency RequirementsIf applicable (see Special Graduate Course Requirements on page 15 of thishandbook).Academic Advisor and Advisory Committee1) Select an advisor and, in consultation with the advisor, an advisory committeeduring the first semester of doctoral study. The advisor normally is a facultymember in the student’s primary area of interest. The advisory committee requiresa minimum of four members. At least three should be SEAS faculty, one of whomshould represent minor interests and one must be from outside the ECEDepartment. The chair of the advisory committee must be an ECE faculty member.Submit the appropriate form to the Dean’s Office for approval of the ttee.pdf)The form may be resubmitted if changes to the committee are made.2) The student should meet with their advisor and prepare a preliminary academicoutline consisting of previous degrees, proposed Ph.D. major and minor areas ofstudy, list of completed graduate courses, a copy of a transcript of graduate andundergraduate courses, and a list of proposed courses for the Ph.D. degree.Degree Requirements14

A) Students entering without a Master’s degree (see pg. 7 for transferring externalgraduate-level courses) 36 hours of graded courseworko Graded coursework must include 3 credits ofmathematics at, or above, 5000- level taken from APMA,MATH, ECE 6711, ECE 7438, MAE 6410and SYS 6005o No more than 9 credits of 5000-level courses arepermittedo No more than 6 credits of 5000-level courses may be inthe ECE Depto No more than 3 credits of Independent Study (e.g. ECE6993, ECE 7993) are permitted9 hours of coursework and/or research24 hours Dissertation Research ECE 99993 hours Supervised Teaching Experience ECE 6996 or 1semester as a paid teaching assistant1 hour of ECE 6505: ECE SeminarB) Students entering with a Master’s degree (both from an external institution andearned at UVA): 36 hours of graded coursework (up to 24 of these credits maybe transferred, based on department approval)o No more than 9 credits of 5000-level courses arepermittedo No more than 6 credits of 5000-level courses may be inthe ECE Depto No more than 3 credits of Independent Study (e.g. ECE6993, ECE 7993) are permitted9 hours of coursework and/or research24 hours Dissertation Research ECE 99993 hours Supervised Teaching Experience ECE 6996 or 1semester as a paid teaching assistant1 hour of ECE 6505: ECE SeminarEarning an En Route Master’s DegreeA student admitted to the PhD program may wish to earn an en route Master’sdegree.A) To earn a Master of Science (MS) – Students will be expected complete all therequirements of the terminal MS, including writing and defending a Master’sThesis.15

B) To earn a Master of Engineering (ME) – Students will be expected tocomplete all the requirements of the ME. Upon receipt of the ME degree,students will be expected to take an additional 12 graded credits to completethe PhD requirement, for a total of 42 graded credits. These additionalcredits can be Master’s Projects, Independent Study, or regular classes.Please see page 20 for regulations regarding Independent Study and Projectscourses.Ph.D. Qualifying ExaminationPh.D. students are required to pass a qualifying assessment early in their graduatestudies. The objective of the qualifier is to assess the student’s potential to performdoctoral-level research. Students who have a master’s degree must take the qualifierin the second semester of their studies. Students who have an undergraduatedegree must take the qualifier in the third semester of their studies. Students whofail the qualifying assessment test must take the test again the following semester.Students taking the qualifier will be assigned a foundational paper by the Ph.D.Qualifier Committee. The qualifier is composed of two parts. The first part is a 4page critique of the chosen paper. The critique is to give context, describe theimportant assumptions and limitations, and evaluate the conclusions of the paper (itis not to be a regurgitation of the paper). The Critique Paper is to be the writtenwork of the student, not the advisor (the advisor should only provide generaladvice). Students will have approximately four weeks to write and submit thecritique paper before the second portion of the exam. The second part of thequalifier is an oral examination (lasting no more than 2 hours) that begins with apresentation (with slides) by the student on their critique of the selected paper. Thispresentation will last no more than 20 minutes (it is not to be a regurgitation of thepaper). The Critique Paper and the Oral Presentation will serve as a starting pointfor questions from the qualifying examination committee. The questions can be indepth or in-breadth, and may cover any topic logically connected to the paper,Critique Paper and the Oral Presentation. The student should be well grounded inthe fundamentals of topic areas related to the paper.The particular Ph.D. Examination Committee (chosen by the Graduate Committeefrom the larger six member Ph.D. Qualifier Committee) requires three ECEprofessors. One of the members will be from an area not closely related to thestudent’s Ph.D. research area. If one member of the Committee is the student’sadvisor, a substitute member will be used. The Examining Committee will schedulethe qualifying examination soon after the Critique Paper submission deadline. Thestudent’s research advisor can be present at the qualifying examination, but may notask questions or answer questions put to the student.16

The Examining Committee will verbally inform the student and their researchadvisor of the outcome shortly after the qualifier exam period, and, within 72 hoursafter the qualifying examination, submit to the Graduate Office the PhD ExaminationReport and the SEAS assessment form. The result will be a pass or fail; no remedialwork will be allowed to alter the outcome. A student who fails the qu

residence as a full- time student at the University of Virginia. Candidates for the Doctor of Philosophy degree must complete at least six semesters of graduate study beyond the baccalaureate degree, or four semesters after the master’s degree. At least two semesters be