Electrical Engineering and Computer Science

EE Program - How to Transition from MS to PhD

This is the process for EE students interested in changing from MS to PhD program

  1. Follow the rules and timetable for the PhD qualification exam: take 4 courses approved for the Qual exam (ideally the first and second terms of enrollment).
  2. Initiate a research relationship with an EECS faculty member.
  3. Submit an application to take the May, September, or January Qual exam which is signed by the faculty member with whom research has either begun or will begin in the summer.
    This application must be signed by an EECS faculty member who is advising the student and offering financial support.
  4. Take and pass the Qual exam.
  5. Complete the Rackham application for PhD (Note: letters of recommendation, statement of purpose, etc. are not required since they are on record from the MS application).

As indicated above, financial support in the form of a research assistantship from a faculty member is necessary (but not sufficient) for transitioning from MS to PhD. Attaining such financial endorsement is not guaranteed and hard to predict. In the past several years, a relatively small number of students (less than 5 each year) in the MS program have transitioned to the PhD.