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Bulletin Archive

This archived information is dated to the 2009-10 academic year only and may no longer be current.

For currently applicable policies and information, see the current Stanford Bulletin.

Doctor of Philosophy in Electrical Engineering

Admission to a graduate program does not imply that the student is a candidate for the Ph.D. degree. Advancement to candidacy requires superior academic achievement, satisfactory performance on a qualifying examination, and sponsorship by two faculty members. Enrollment in EE 391, Special Studies, is recommended as a means for getting acquainted with a faculty member who might be willing to serve as a supervisor.

Students admitted to the Ph.D. program should submit an application to take the department qualifying examination (given each Winter Quarter). Upon completion of the qualifying examination and after securing agreement by two faculty members to serve as dissertation advisers, the student should file an Application for Doctoral Candidacy. Students are expected to apply for candidacy prior to the end of their second year in the Ph.D. program. The Ph.D. in Electrical Engineering is a specialized degree, and is built on a broad base of physics, mathematics, and engineering skills. The course program is expected to reflect competency in Electrical Engineering and specialized study in other areas relevant to the student's research focus. Normally the majority of units are drawn from EE department or cognate courses, with typically 9 units from related advanced physics, mathematics, engineering, or computer science courses, depending on the area of research. Only after receiving department approval of the Application for Candidacy, does the student become a candidate for the Ph.D. degree.

Requirements may be summarized as follows. The student must complete: (1) a minimum of 135 units of residence with graduate standing at Stanford; (2) one or more qualifying examinations given by the faculty of the Department of Electrical Engineering; (3) an approved course of study in Electrical Engineering; (4) an approved program of research and a written dissertation, based on research, which must be a contribution to knowledge; (5) an oral examination that is a defense of dissertation research and is taken near the completion of the doctoral program.


The department awards a limited number of fellowships, teaching and course assistantships, and research assistantships to incoming graduate students. Applying for financial assistance is part of the admission application.


Many of the department's graduate students are supported by the Honors Cooperative Program (HCP), which makes it possible for academically qualified engineers and scientists in nearby companies to be part-time graduate students in Electrical Engineering while continuing nearly full-time professional employment. Prospective HCP students follow the same admission process and must meet the same admission requirements as full-time graduate students. For more information regarding the Honors Cooperative Program, see the "School of Engineering" section of this bulletin.

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