Ph.D. Pathway

Steps listed here are summarized to provide students with an overview of degree requirements. Students are responsible for becoming familiar with:

  1. Program guidelines on the ECE website and in the ECE Graduate Handbook
  2. ECE and Graduate Program sections of the UNM catalog in place at the time of their admission
  3. Guidelines on the Graduate Studies

Questions regarding these regulations and requirements should be directed to the appropriate ECE staff/faculty and then, if necessary, to the Graduate Studies staff.

Faculty Advisement and Advisement Holds

Deadlines: Every semsester prior to registration

Advisement holds are automatically placed on ECE student records every semester. The ECE Advisement Hold serves as a reminder to discuss planned coursework, research, and dissertation progress with your faculty advisor.

How to Get Your Advisement Hold Lifted

Complete an Advisement Worksheet and have your faculty advisor approve it. Turn it in to the Graduate Advisement Office located in ECE Room 114 or send it via email to nelsony@unm.edu. Paper copies are available in the ECE advisement resource area in ECE Room 120. Allow 24-48 hours after form is submitted for hold to be lifted.

Required Coursework and Dissertation Credits

Deadlines: Completed by end of graduation term

The Ph.D. program requires a minimum of 48 credit hours of coursework (excluding the 18 hours of dissertation credit hours and 2 hours of ECE 590) beyond the bachelor’s degree, which may include a maximum of 6 hours of master’s thesis. A minimum of 24 credit hours must be completed at UNM, of which 18 hours must be at the 500 level or above, and at least 18 hours must be completed after admission to the doctoral program.

ECE graduate students are required to choose an emphasis area.  Coursework must include at least 12 credit hours of ECE core courses, among which 9 hours are required by the emphasis area as three major core courses, and the other 3 hours are selected from another emphasis area as a minor core course. The minor core course must be selected from one of the core courses outside of the student’s major emphasis. Note that in addition to the three major core courses, some emphases may require another course. The remaining courses are free electives.

Students should familiarize themselves with ECE’s Ph.D. Degree Requirements 

Transfer Credits

A maximum of 30 hours can be transferred from another accredited graduate school, under certain conditions.

The following regulations apply to the application or transfer of credit hours toward a doctoral degree:

  1. Course must have carried graduate credit.
  2. Coursework must be from an accredited institution.
  3. Student must have obtained a grade of “B” or better. A maximum of 6 credit hours of thesis from a completed master’s degree or other coursework graded Pass or Credit (CR) is transferable.
  4. Course must be approved by the doctoral Committee on Studies and the graduate unit.
  5. Course must be listed on Application for Candidacy form.
  6. All courses must have final approval from the Dean of Graduate Studies.

NOTE: Coursework that has been counted toward a previous degree may not be counted toward any subsequent degrees, with the exception of master’s degree to a doctoral degree.

Refer to the graduate program section of the UNM catalog.

Important Course Notes:

  1. Dissertation Continuous Enrollment - Once graduate students begin enrollment in ECE 699 dissertation hours after passing the comprehensive exam (dissertation proposal), they must enroll in 699 every term until the manuscript is accepted by Graduate Studies. The summer term is excluded from this policy except when the student is graduating in the summer. 
  2. ECE 400/500 Cross-listed Courses - Students who have completed 400-level ECE core courses at UNM in undergraduate status SHOULD NOT register for the same 500-level course before discussing options with their faculty advisor. Completing the same cross-listed 400/500 course at both levels will appear as a repeated course on the transcript and will not count toward degree requirements.
  3. ECE 495 and 595 Special Topics Courses - The maximum combined ECE 495 and 595 credits allowed are 15. ECE 595 credits earned beyond this limit, will not count toward degree requirements.

Qualifying Exam

Deadlines: Within three semester of admission to the PhD program

All Ph.D. candidates are required to take the Ph.D. Qualifying Exam to demonstrate and establish satisfactory academic and scholastic preparation. A graduate student can take the qualifying exam no more than twice in his/her Ph.D. program.

The qualifying exam must be attempted within three semesters of admission, unless otherwise determined by the academic adviser and the Director of Graduate Program. The exam is conducted twice a year: In January and in August, the week before the first day of the Spring and Fall semesters.

Students must sign up for the exam four weeks in advance through the ECE Graduate Office. Students are required to sign up for the three major core courses in their major emphasis area.

Form Committee on Studies/Exam Committee

Each Ph.D. student is required to have a Committee on Studies consisting of at least four members. A minimum of two members must be regular university faculty members from the ECE Department. One of the committee members must be tenured or tenure-track faculty from outside the ECE department or at another institution. All committee members (both internal and external to UNM) must be approved for committee service (check with the Graduate Office for information). Students should form this committee early in their Ph.D. program in cooperation with their dissertation advisor who will be the Chair of this committee. See exam committee guidelines for specific criteria and faculty category levels.

Comprehensive Exam (Dissertation Proposal)

The focus of the Comprehensive Exam is on a dissertation topic in which the student demonstrates to the Committee on Studies that he/she is capable of carrying out the proposed research. The Chair of the Committee on Studies (the student’s faculty advisor), will advise the student on preparing for this exam. Graduate Studies must be notified of the Comprehensive Exam at least two weeks prior to the date of the exam through the online Announcement of Exam form. (http://grad.unm.edu/resources/gs-forms/announcement-examination.html).

Required Enrollment

All Ph.D. students must be enrolled in a minimum of one graduate credit in the term they take the comprehensive exam. In order to qualify to take the comprehensive exam during the intersession, the student must be registered for the following semester.

Application for Candidacy (AC)

Deadlines: Last day of the term prior to graduation, but recommend submitting the same semester Comprehensive Exam is passed

 The Application for Candidacy (AC) form summarizes the program of studies you will fulfill for your Ph.D. degree. Students should submit this form immediately following the passing of their comprehensive exam, but no later than the last day of the term prior to graduation. The AC form should be submitted to the ECE Graduate Advisement office well in advance of the deadline to allow enough time for department approval.

Dissertation Committee

Dissertation Committee

The Committee on Studies for the comprehensive exam usually becomes the Dissertation Committee. The committee must consist of a minimum of four members. A minimum of two members must be regular UNM faculty members from the ECE Department. In addition, one member must be tenured or tenure-track faculty from another department at UNM or from another institution. See the Graduate Studies website for committee guidelines and roles

Notification of Intent to Graduate

Deadlines: Last Thursday of the term prior to graduation.

ECE students must submit a Proposed Graduation Form by the last Thursday of the term prior to their planned graduation. Link to the electronic form can be found on the Current Students webpage under the ECE Graduate tab. This link is updated every term to accept submissions for the upcoming term.

Manuscript Policies and Procedures/Form Submission to Graduate Studies

Deadlines: At least 1 Month prior to Thesis Defense

Students should carefully review Dissertation Policies and Procedures found on the Graduate Studies website.

The forms listed below should be submitted at least a month prior to the defense date either in person to Graduate Studies or as attachments by email to the Manuscript Coordinator, Mayra Estrada, at mayra85@unm.edu.

  1. Information Cover Sheet
  2. Certificate of Final Form (student signature initially)
  3. Electronic ETD Release Form (student signature)
  4. Survey of Earned Doctorate

These forms can be found under the “Manuscript Forms and Procedures” section of the Graduate Studies Forms page.

Announcement of Exam for Dissertation Defense

Deadlines: At least 2 weeks prior to Thesis Defense

Students should coordinate the date, time and location of their dissertation defense with their defense committee. If the defense will be conducted in the ECE building, the student should reserve a room with the ECE Graduate Advisor in ECE Room 114 or via email at nelsony@unm.edu prior to submitting the announcement of exam form.

Students must then notify Graduate Studies at least 2 weeks prior to the date of their thesis defense by electronically submitting the Announcement of Exam form.

Students must be enrolled during the term of their dissertation defense.

Dissertation Defense

Deadlines: April 15th for Spring graduation, July 15th for Summer graduation, or November 15th for Fall graduation.

The Dissertation Defense is the last formal examination for a Ph.D. student. The purpose of the dissertation defense is to provide an opportunity for candidates to communicate the results of their research to a wider group of scholars and to answer relevant questions from the committee, as well as other attendees.

Manuscript Submission

Deadlines: April 15th for Spring graduation, July 15th for Summer graduation, or November 15th for Fall graduation.

Ph.D. students must submit their final dissertation in electronic PDF format to the UNM Digital Repository. Doctoral dissertations must also be sent to ProQuest. See Dissertation Policies and Procedures on the Graduate Studies website for further details and helpful resources.

Required Enrollment

Comprehensive Exam

All Ph.D. students must be enrolled in a minimum of one graduate credit in the term they take the comprehensive exam. In order to qualify to take the comprehensive exam during the intersession, the student must be registered for the following semester.

Dissertation Continuous Enrollment

Once Ph.D. students begin enrollment in ECE 699 dissertation hours after passing the comprehensive exam, they must enroll in a minimum of three credit hours of 699 every term until the manuscript is accepted by Graduate Studies. The summer term is excluded from this policy except when the student is graduating in the summer.

Courtesy Policy

Students who miss the degree requirement deadline (April 15 for spring graduation, July 15 for summer graduation, November 15 for fall graduation) but complete all degree requirements on or before the last day of that term, may choose to follow the Courtesy Policy. These students will be eligible to graduate the following term without having to be enrolled. They must, however, complete the ECE Proposed Graduation form for the actual term of graduation. See notification of intent to graduate above.  

Ph.D. Graduation Checklist

  •  Application for Candidacy (AC) has been submitted and approved.
  • Student has submitted Proposed Graduation form.
  • All required coursework will be completed by end of graduation term.
  • PhD defense date, time and location have been coordinated with faculty advisor and examination committee.
  • Information Cover Sheet, Certificate of Final Form (student signature initially), Electronic ETD Release Form (student signature), and Survey of Earned Doctorate have been submitted to Manuscript Coordinator
  • Announcement of Exam has been submitted at least 2 weeks prior to dissertation defense date
  • Student is enrolled in at least 3 credit hours of Dissertation (ECE 699), unless eligible for Courtesy Policy
  • All Incomplete (I) and Unreported (NR) grades have been resolved. Students may not graduate with incomplete or unreported grades.

Graduation Ceremonies/Diplomas

Two graduation ceremonies are available to ECE students during the spring and fall terms. Graduates may attend one or both events, along with their family and friends.

Commencement

The University Commencement Program takes place in the Dreamstyle Arena (better known as “The Pit”). UNM’s President presides over this ceremony and officially confers degrees upon the graduates. Students must be dressed in academic regalia (i.e., cap and gown) to walk in this ceremony. Regalia can be purchased at the UNM Bookstore. To participate, students must sign-up at: http://graduation.unm.edu. Other details about UNM Commencement are also available at this site.

Convocation

The second event is the School of Engineering Convocation. The Convocation is the School’s own ceremony specifically to honor you in the presence of your family and friends. The highlight of this event is the recognition of each SOE graduate individually on stage, where you will be congratulated by your department faculty and staff, your deans, and the Convocation’s honored guests. Graduate students will be met on the stage by their faculty advisor for the traditional “hooding” ceremony. For additional details see: http://engineering.unm.edu/about/convocation/index.html.

Diplomas

Students do not receive their official diploma at the graduation ceremonies. Official diplomas are mailed to the student’s address on file with the Registrar 4-6 weeks after the end of the semester their degree is officially granted.

For questions regarding diplomas, students should contact the Office of the Registrar at (505) 277-8900 or by email at degrees@unm.edu.

Deadlines: Every semester prior to registration

Advisement holds are automatically placed on ECE student records every semester. The ECE Advisement Hold serves as a reminder to discuss planned coursework, research, and dissertation progress with your faculty advisor.

How to Get Your Advisement Hold Lifted

Complete an Advisement Worksheet and have your faculty advisor approve it. Turn it in to the Graduate Advisement Office located in ECE Room 114 or send it via email to nelsony@unm.edu. Paper copies are available in the ECE advisement resource area in ECE Room 120. Allow 24-48 hours after form is submitted for hold to be lifted.

Deadlines: Completed by end of graduation term

The Ph.D. program requires a minimum of 48 credit hours of coursework (excluding the 18 hours of dissertation credit hours and 2 hours of ECE 590) beyond the bachelor’s degree, which may include a maximum of 6 hours of master’s thesis. A minimum of 24 credit hours must be completed at UNM, of which 18 hours must be at the 500 level or above, and at least 18 hours must be completed after admission to the doctoral program.

ECE graduate students are required to choose an emphasis area.  Coursework must include at least 12 credit hours of ECE core courses, among which 9 hours are required by the emphasis area as three major core courses, and the other 3 hours are selected from another emphasis area as a minor core course. The minor core course must be selected from one of the core courses outside of the student’s major emphasis. Note that in addition to the three major core courses, some emphases may require another course. The remaining courses are free electives.

Students should familiarize themselves with ECE’s Ph.D. Degree Requirements 

Transfer Credits

A maximum of 30 hours can be transferred from another accredited graduate school, under certain conditions.

The following regulations apply to the application or transfer of credit hours toward a doctoral degree:

  1. Course must have carried graduate credit.
  2. Coursework must be from an accredited institution.
  3. Student must have obtained a grade of “B” or better. A maximum of 6 credit hours of thesis from a completed master’s degree or other coursework graded Pass or Credit (CR) is transferable.
  4. Course must be approved by the doctoral Committee on Studies and the graduate unit.
  5. Course must be listed on Application for Candidacy form.
  6. All courses must have final approval from the Dean of Graduate Studies.

NOTE: Coursework that has been counted toward a previous degree may not be counted toward any subsequent degrees, with the exception of master’s degree to a doctoral degree.

Refer to the graduate program section of the UNM catalog.

Important Course Notes:

  1. Dissertation Continuous Enrollment - Once graduate students begin enrollment in ECE 699 dissertation hours after passing the comprehensive exam (dissertation proposal), they must enroll in 699 every term until the manuscript is accepted by Graduate Studies. The summer term is excluded from this policy except when the student is graduating in the summer. 
  2. ECE 400/500 Cross-listed Courses - Students who have completed 400-level ECE core courses at UNM in undergraduate status SHOULD NOT register for the same 500-level course before discussing options with their faculty advisor. Completing the same cross-listed 400/500 course at both levels will appear as a repeated course on the transcript and will not count toward degree requirements.
  3. ECE 495 and 595 Special Topics Courses - The maximum combined ECE 495 and 595 credits allowed are 15. ECE 595 credits earned beyond this limit, will not count toward degree requirements.

Deadlines: Within three semester of admission to the PhD program

All Ph.D. candidates are required to take the Ph.D. Qualifying Exam to demonstrate and establish satisfactory academic and scholastic preparation. A graduate student can take the qualifying exam no more than twice in his/her Ph.D. program.

The qualifying exam must be attempted within three semesters of admission, unless otherwise determined by the academic adviser and the Director of Graduate Program. The exam is conducted twice a year: In January and in August, the week before the first day of the Spring and Fall semesters.

Students must sign up for the exam four weeks in advance through the ECE Graduate Office. Students are required to sign up for the three major core courses in their major emphasis area.

Each Ph.D. student is required to have a Committee on Studies consisting of at least four members. A minimum of two members must be regular university faculty members from the ECE Department. One of the committee members must be tenured or tenure-track faculty from outside the ECE department or at another institution. All committee members (both internal and external to UNM) must be approved for committee service (check with the Graduate Office for information). Students should form this committee early in their Ph.D. program in cooperation with their dissertation advisor who will be the Chair of this committee. See exam committee guidelines for specific criteria and faculty category levels.

The focus of the Comprehensive Exam is on a dissertation topic in which the student demonstrates to the Committee on Studies that he/she is capable of carrying out the proposed research. The Chair of the Committee on Studies (the student’s faculty advisor), will advise the student on preparing for this exam. Graduate Studies must be notified of the Comprehensive Exam at least two weeks prior to the date of the exam through the online Announcement of Exam form. (http://grad.unm.edu/resources/gs-forms/announcement-examination.html).

Required Enrollment

All Ph.D. students must be enrolled in a minimum of one graduate credit in the term they take the comprehensive exam. In order to qualify to take the comprehensive exam during the intersession, the student must be registered for the following semester.

Deadlines: Last day of the term prior to graduation, but recommend submitting the same semester Comprehensive Exam is passed

 The Application for Candidacy (AC) form summarizes the program of studies you will fulfill for your Ph.D. degree. Students should submit this form immediately following the passing of their comprehensive exam, but no later than the last day of the term prior to graduation. The AC form should be submitted to the ECE Graduate Advisement office well in advance of the deadline to allow enough time for department approval.

Dissertation Committee

The Committee on Studies for the comprehensive exam usually becomes the Dissertation Committee. The committee must consist of a minimum of four members. A minimum of two members must be regular UNM faculty members from the ECE Department. In addition, one member must be tenured or tenure-track faculty from another department at UNM or from another institution. See the Graduate Studies website for committee guidelines and roles

Deadlines: Last Thursday of the term prior to graduation.

ECE students must submit a Proposed Graduation Form by the last Thursday of the term prior to their planned graduation. Link to the electronic form can be found on the Current Students webpage under the ECE Graduate tab. This link is updated every term to accept submissions for the upcoming term.

Deadlines: At least 1 Month prior to Thesis Defense

Students should carefully review Dissertation Policies and Procedures found on the Graduate Studies website.

The forms listed below should be submitted at least a month prior to the defense date either in person to Graduate Studies or as attachments by email to the Manuscript Coordinator, Mayra Estrada, at mayra85@unm.edu.

  1. Information Cover Sheet
  2. Certificate of Final Form (student signature initially)
  3. Electronic ETD Release Form (student signature)
  4. Survey of Earned Doctorate

These forms can be found under the “Manuscript Forms and Procedures” section of the Graduate Studies Forms page.

Deadlines: At least 2 weeks prior to Thesis Defense

Students should coordinate the date, time and location of their dissertation defense with their defense committee. If the defense will be conducted in the ECE building, the student should reserve a room with the ECE Graduate Advisor in ECE Room 114 or via email at nelsony@unm.edu prior to submitting the announcement of exam form.

Students must then notify Graduate Studies at least 2 weeks prior to the date of their thesis defense by electronically submitting the Announcement of Exam form.

Students must be enrolled during the term of their dissertation defense.

Deadlines: April 15th for Spring graduation, July 15th for Summer graduation, or November 15th for Fall graduation.

The Dissertation Defense is the last formal examination for a Ph.D. student. The purpose of the dissertation defense is to provide an opportunity for candidates to communicate the results of their research to a wider group of scholars and to answer relevant questions from the committee, as well as other attendees.

Deadlines: April 15th for Spring graduation, July 15th for Summer graduation, or November 15th for Fall graduation.

Ph.D. students must submit their final dissertation in electronic PDF format to the UNM Digital Repository. Doctoral dissertations must also be sent to ProQuest. See Dissertation Policies and Procedures on the Graduate Studies website for further details and helpful resources.

Comprehensive Exam

All Ph.D. students must be enrolled in a minimum of one graduate credit in the term they take the comprehensive exam. In order to qualify to take the comprehensive exam during the intersession, the student must be registered for the following semester.

Dissertation Continuous Enrollment

Once Ph.D. students begin enrollment in ECE 699 dissertation hours after passing the comprehensive exam, they must enroll in a minimum of three credit hours of 699 every term until the manuscript is accepted by Graduate Studies. The summer term is excluded from this policy except when the student is graduating in the summer.

Courtesy Policy

Students who miss the degree requirement deadline (April 15 for spring graduation, July 15 for summer graduation, November 15 for fall graduation) but complete all degree requirements on or before the last day of that term, may choose to follow the Courtesy Policy. These students will be eligible to graduate the following term without having to be enrolled. They must, however, complete the ECE Proposed Graduation form for the actual term of graduation. See notification of intent to graduate above.  

Ph.D. Graduation Checklist
  •  Application for Candidacy (AC) has been submitted and approved.
  • Student has submitted Proposed Graduation form.
  • All required coursework will be completed by end of graduation term.
  • PhD defense date, time and location have been coordinated with faculty advisor and examination committee.
  • Information Cover Sheet, Certificate of Final Form (student signature initially), Electronic ETD Release Form (student signature), and Survey of Earned Doctorate have been submitted to Manuscript Coordinator
  • Announcement of Exam has been submitted at least 2 weeks prior to dissertation defense date
  • Student is enrolled in at least 3 credit hours of Dissertation (ECE 699), unless eligible for Courtesy Policy
  • All Incomplete (I) and Unreported (NR) grades have been resolved. Students may not graduate with incomplete or unreported grades.

Two graduation ceremonies are available to ECE students during the spring and fall terms. Graduates may attend one or both events, along with their family and friends.

Commencement

The University Commencement Program takes place in the Dreamstyle Arena (better known as “The Pit”). UNM’s President presides over this ceremony and officially confers degrees upon the graduates. Students must be dressed in academic regalia (i.e., cap and gown) to walk in this ceremony. Regalia can be purchased at the UNM Bookstore. To participate, students must sign-up at: http://graduation.unm.edu. Other details about UNM Commencement are also available at this site.

Convocation

The second event is the School of Engineering Convocation. The Convocation is the School’s own ceremony specifically to honor you in the presence of your family and friends. The highlight of this event is the recognition of each SOE graduate individually on stage, where you will be congratulated by your department faculty and staff, your deans, and the Convocation’s honored guests. Graduate students will be met on the stage by their faculty advisor for the traditional “hooding” ceremony. For additional details see: http://engineering.unm.edu/about/convocation/index.html.

Diplomas

Students do not receive their official diploma at the graduation ceremonies. Official diplomas are mailed to the student’s address on file with the Registrar 4-6 weeks after the end of the semester their degree is officially granted.

For questions regarding diplomas, students should contact the Office of the Registrar at (505) 277-8900 or by email at degrees@unm.edu.