PhD In Electrical & Computer Engineering

Get this highly specialized degree to be competitive in the job market.



The objective of the PhD in ECE or MSE degree programs are to provide an educational environment that encourages students to develop the ability to contribute to the advancement of science, engineering and technology, through independent research. The PhD students of the 21st century may pursue academic, research, entrepreneurial, and/or industrial careers. We offer opportunities to develop individualized plans of study based on the students’ previous experience and desired research areas. The plan of study allows students to work on interdisciplinary research, while also satisfying the PhD in ECE or MSE degree requirements. The PhD in ECE is appealing to students because it offers the much needed specialization component and the ‘degree identity’ required to be competitive in the job market. Graduates from this program will be well equipped to follow academic careers, or be hired in federal laboratories, industry and the private sector.

Dean JB Holston

JB Holston


As a serial entrepreneur in Colorado for the last two decades who started his career with the Boston Consulting Group, GE and NBC before launching Yahoo! In Europe in the 90s, I could not be more excited about the prospects for our School at the epicenter of these phenomenal trends in innovation and entrepreneurship – all of which are fueled by technology.

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Kickstart Your Doctor of Philosophy in Electrical & Computer Science with DU


Total Credit Hours

90 credit hours.

Program Structure

Research requires an in-depth study of engineering problems with a broad knowledge base in science and engineering. Therefore, advanced courses are offered to strengthen the fundamentals and to broaden the engineering and science perspective. The minimum credit requirements are different for individuals entering a program with a closely related master’s degree and for those entering with a bachelor’s only. All requirements for the degree must be completed within seven years (eight years without a master’s degree) from admission to candidacy. A grade of C or better must be obtained in each course in order for that course to count toward the credit hour requirements. An overall minimum GPA of 3.0 is also required for graduation.

Program Requirements

All PhD students who have been admitted to the PhD in ECE or PhD in MSE programs must successfully complete three milestones before the PhD degree can be conferred. These milestones refer to:

  • Demonstrating that the student is qualified to begin PhD studies
  • Demonstrating that the student may identify and formulate a research problem
  • Demonstrating that the student can defend her/his thesis
  • These three milestones are referred to as the “PhD Qualifying Exam”, the “Comprehensive Exam” (also known as the “PhD Proposal”), and the “Thesis Defense”.

Course Descriptions

For the most up-to-date course descriptions please visit the Office of the Registrar’s website.It is possible for graduate students to take courses outside of the ECE department with approval of their advisor.


Application for Graduate Admission Electrical & Computer Engineering Admission BulletinInternational Applicants

Program Requirements

Degrees Offered PhD
Quarter Hours (QH) 90
Full-time  / Part- FT/PT
Tests Required – Minimum Score  TOEFL 80/570GRE – Varies

Financial Assistance

View graduate student assistance programs

Graduate Assistantships

Receive financial assistance while you pursue a master’s or doctoral degree by applying for a graduate teaching assistantship (GTA) or graduate research assistantship (GRA) position.

Graduate Teaching Assistantships

  • GTAs are awarded by the Department.
  • GTA applications are sent out with acceptance letters.
  • Submit the GTA application as soon as possible to be considered for a GTA position in the following academic year.
  • Specific information about application requirements can be found on our Graduate main page under “Financial Support.”
  • International GTA applicants must demonstrate fluency in spoken English by scoring a minimum of 26 on the TOEFL (iBT) exam speaking section, an IELTS score of 8 on the speaking section, or a minimum of 50 on the Test of Spoken English (TSE). The speaking section of the iBT has replaced the TSE exam in most countries.
  • International students should expect to be self-financed for at least their first year of attendance. GTA positions are not normally granted to first-year international graduate students. However, over 75% of our graduate students receive financial support.

Graduate Research Assistantships

  • GRAs are awarded by individual faculty based on their available funding.
  • To find out more about our individual faculty members and their research areas please visit the Ritchie School Active Grants list.
  • Contact the faculty member you are interested in working with, directly, either by phone or by email.
  • Students must show the faculty a competency in research and an interest in a particular research area in order to be considered for assistantships.