Postgraduate Programs
  PhD in Electronic and Computer Engineering

The Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) program caters for students who wish to pursue a career in advanced industrial research and development, or university research and teaching. It emphasizes training in original thinking and independent research. To be eligible for the PhD degree, a student must:

(For 2017-18 intake or after)
Complete at least 15 credits of approved postgraduate coursework, of which at least 9 in the area of Electronic and Computer Engineering;
Fulfill the school requirements on PhD programs. For details, please refer to the section of School of Engineering;
Take and pass PDEV 6770. PhD students who are HKUST MPhil graduates and have completed PDEV 6770 or other professional development courses offered by the University before may be exempted from this requirement, subject to prior approval of the School.
Pass LANG 5001 Postgraduate English for Academic Purposes, except those who register in part-time mode. Students can be exempted from taking LANG 5001. The exemption will be granted on students' background and/or the English proficiency assessment of the Center for Language Education;
The credits earned from PDEV 6770, LANG 5001 and ELEC 6900 Independent Study cannot be counted toward the credit requirements;
Enroll for ELEC 6950 Departmental Seminar, except those who register in part-time mode;
Pass the qualifying examination within two years after admission, with a maximum of two attempts;
Pass the thesis proposal before the final thesis defense;
Register in ELEC 7990 Doctoral Thesis Research; and
Present and oral defend the PhD thesis.

(For 2016-17 intake or before)
Complete at least 15 credits of approved postgraduate coursework, of which at least 9 in the area of Electronic and Computer Engineering;
Fulfill the school requirements on PhD programs. For details, please refer to the section of School of Engineering;
Take and pass ENGG 6770 Professional Development in Engineering and ELEC 6770 Professional Development in Electronic and Computer Engineering. Part-time students may be exempted from a maximum of 50% of mini-workshops of ENGG 6770 and ELEC 6770, subject to prior approval of the School and the Department respectively. Students are expected to complete the Professional Development courses in their first two years of study. Subject to the approval, part-time students may be given extension to complete the courses. HKUST MPhil (ECE) graduates who have taken and passed ENGG 6770 before may be exempted from taking the same course, subject to prior approval from the Department Head and PG Coordinator;
Pass LANG 5001 Postgraduate English for Academic Purposes, except those who register in part-time mode. Students can be exempted from taking LANG 5001. The exemption will be granted on students' background and/or the English proficiency assessment of the Center for Language Education;
The credits earned from ENGG 6770, ELEC 6770, LANG 5001 and ELEC 6900 Independent Study cannot be counted toward the credit requirements;
Enroll for ELEC 6950 Departmental Seminar, except those who register in part-time mode;
Pass the qualifying examination within two years after admission, with a maximum of two attempts;
Pass the thesis proposal before the final thesis defense;
Register in ELEC 7990 Doctoral Thesis Research; and
Present and oral defend the PhD thesis.

PhD students must pay attention to the specific school requirements.

Nanotechnology Concentration
In addition to the program requirements specified above, students who opt for the Nanotechnology concentration are required to:

Take one NANO course;
Complete NANO 6010 Advanced Topics in Nano Science and Technology for one term; and
Conduct research in nano area.

Energy Technology Concentration
In addition to the program requirements specified above, students who opt for the Energy Technology concentration are required to:

Take one ENEG course;
Complete ENEG 6010 Advanced Topics in Energy Technology for one term; and
Conduct research in energy area.

Scientific Computation Concentration
In addition to the existing program requirements, students who opt for the Scientific Computation concentration are required to:

Complete a minimum of 10 credits from the course lists -> concentration
Give a one-hour seminar on computation related research within their first four regular terms of study.
Conduct research in the area of scientific computation.

The normal period for completing in PhD degree in full-time mode is four years after the first degree with a reduction of one year if an MPhil degree is earned prior to entering the PhD program.


Adherence to the Curriculum
All postgraduate students must adhere to the curriculum of the year of entry throughout their program of study. Details of the degree requirements can be found in the University Program Catalog (or Catalog of Program and Curricula) of the year of entry.


Course Requirements
PhD students are not allowed to use any undergraduate courses for postgraduate credit. The 15 credits must be earned from postgraduate courses.


Minimum Grade Requirement
The minimum grade-point average required to maintain satisfactory academic standing in the ECE Department is 2.850. The minimum grade required for each PG course is C. Courses failing to meet this requirement will not be counted toward the candidate's program and the student may be required to retake those courses. According to University regulations, a student cannot take a course more than twice.


Residency Requirements
Normally, a full-time research student is required to be on campus full-time and consequently in such geographical proximity as to be able to participate fully in University activities associated with the program. Residency provides the student with an opportunity to become immersed in the intellectual environment of the University. The residency required for a PhD degree is normally eight full-time semesters.


Procedural Matters
Each student is assigned a mentor (interim supervisor) by the Department. The student will be informed of the name of his/her mentor after he/she has registered for the program. He/She should decide on a permanent academic advisor (thesis supervisor) not later than the first semester after he/she is admitted into the program. The advisor will monitor the progress of the candidate, guide the candidate during research, and advise the candidate on academic matters.

PhD research is conducted under the general supervision of a thesis supervision committee of at least two members, one of whom is the thesis supervisor.

When the thesis is ready for examination, an examination committee consisting of the chairman and five faculty members is formed, one of whom is the thesis supervisor. The thesis examination committee has the authority to recommend the conferment of the degree after the student has successfully passed the final thesis defense examination.

PhD Qualifying Examination
All PhD students, part-time or full-time, are allowed to take a qualifying examination within thirteen months and must pass the qualifying examination within two years after admission, with a maximum of two attempts. Currently this qualifying examination is a closed-book written test with problems evenly distributed among the six basic areas on which the ECE department focuses ?IC Design, Microelectronic Device, Signal Processing, Communications and Networking, Optics and Photonics, Robotics and Control. The examination format may be subject to revision by the Department as deemed necessary. The student will acquire the PhD Candidate status after passing the PhD qualifying examination.

PhD Thesis Proposal
After passing the PhD qualifying examination, the student should become deeply involved in the research program of the department. When the student feels ready to propose his/her thesis research, he/she can inform the Department Head of his/her intention to do the Thesis Proposal. The Thesis Proposal consists of two parts: (1) a written proposal and (2) an oral presentation by the student. A PhD student must pass the thesis proposal before having the Final Thesis Defense.

PhD Final Thesis Defense
Six months after passing the Thesis Proposal, the student can schedule the Final Thesis Defense The Final Thesis Defense is administered by a larger examination committee consisting of five members: the thesis supervisor, two academic staff members within the department, one academic staff member from outside the department, and one examiner external to the HKUST who has expertise in the field being examined. The committee is chaired by an individual from outside the student’s major department, who is appointed by the Dean.