Ph.D. Coursework

Ph.D. students entering in Fall 2009 or later are required to take a total of 24 units for their degree, divided among a major and two minor areas, along with other requirements.  The coursework requirements are intended to ensure that students develop breadth as well as depth in their understanding of their field.

  • Required minimum number of units: 24 (for students entering Fall 2009 or later) or 32 units (only an option for students entering prior to Fall 2009). Each unit total has an obligatory minimum GSI requirement.
    • EECS Major: A coherent program of 12 or 16 units of graduate courses (200 level), with a GPA of 3.5 or better, as approved by your Research Advisor; GPA=3.5+; number of units dependent on total number of units required (see above). As of November 2018, the Faculty Head Graduate Advisors have determined that the GPA threshold for the major may be rounded to two digits, but this still must be greater than or equal to 3.5. 
    • EECS Minor: 6 or 8 units or at least 1 or 2 graduate courses; GPA=3.0+; number of units dependent on total number of units required (see above)
    • Outside Minor: 6 or 8 units or at least 1 or 2 graduate courses; GPA=3.0+; number of units dependent on total number of units required (see above)
  • All courses of the major and two minors must be taken for a letter grade.
  • EE or CS298, EE or CS299, EE or CS301, and EE or CS602 units are not counted toward Ph.D. coursework.
  • Credit for courses taken on an S/U basis is limited to one-third of the total units (excluding courses numbered 299 or those in the 300, 400, or 600 series)

There are two issues which you should consider when you are choosing specific courses for the minor:

  • adequate technical content in the minor, and
  • adequate breadth provided by the minor, as distinct from the major area.

Ph.D. candidates, with the approval of their advisor, must choose courses for each of their minor subjects which meet the following criteria:

  • Each minor program must have an orientation different from the major program, and the courses involved should contain concepts not present in the major program.
  • The Inside Minor may include one or more classes from outside the EECS department.
  • The minor program must have depth (meaning 1 graduate course for a 6-unit minor or 2 graduate courses for an 8 unit minor should be included). The more removed the outside minor program is from the content of the EECS major program, the fewer the number of graduate-level courses which may be required (as in the case of a biology minor for a computer hardware major program). To attain depth of knowledge in one technical area, a minor is expected to contain courses in related technical topics. A minor should not usually comprise courses covering broadly different technical areas. In particular, a minor cannot consist of two classes placed in different breadth areas by the prelim breadth requirement rules.
  • The outside minor must include two classes outside of the EECS department. Only one of the courses can be cross-listed with EECS.  See a list of approved outside minors and their combination of courses.
  • The minor programs should provide broad support for the technical goals of the proposed dissertation research.

These criteria attempt to define minors not by departments but by the selection of courses, which constitute a body of knowledge and include courses from several different departments. For example, a student in computer hardware who wishes to have a minor in statistics and stochastic processes could include courses from the Statistics Department, as well as EE 226A. 

There are cases where the technical overlap between EECS courses and courses in other departments is so great that a course in another department should be listed as part of the major, rather than as a minor, since they add so little breadth to your program. Examples of this sort of overlap would be Electromagnetics students in EECS taking certain EM courses in Physics or CS Theory students taking some of the theory courses in IEOR. These complications make it essential for students to fill out their Blue Card in the Graduate Office as soon as they have passed the preliminary exam requirement.