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Electrical Engineering


Graduate Program: Ph.D. Qualifying Exam

The Electrical Engineering Ph.D. Qualifying Exam is offered only during the Fall and Spring semesters.

  • For Ph.D. students with a prior M.S. degree: Only two attempts to pass the exam are allowed. These students need to pass by the third semester of his/her program, and the latest they can use their first attempt to pass is during the second semester of their program.
  • For direct Ph.D. students with a B.S. degree: Only two attempts to pass the exam are allowed. These students need to pass by the fifth semester of his/her program, and the latest they can use their first attempt to pass is during the fourth semester of their program.

For both cases, the first semester of the program is defined as the semester in which an EE graduate course is taken as a Ph.D. student.

The examination consists of a Mathematics section with five questions, and an EE section with six questions in three areas selected by the student. Each section requires an overall grade of 70% to pass. The examination is closed book, closed notes, with no calculators or computers allowed. All work must be shown to receive full credit. It is given in a single day, with a total of eight hours for both sections. After the overall grade has been compiled, the student may review the examination, but is not allowed to keep the examination. One mathematics question is provided from each area listed below. At the time of the examination, the student selects three of the five mathematics problems to work. An average score of 70% is required to pass.

  • Probability and Random Processes
  • Differential Equations
  • Vector Calculus
  • Matrix Theory
  • Transform Techniques

Prior to the examination, the student selects three of the following electrical engineering areas. Two questions will be supplied from each area. The student must work four of the six questions, with at least one from each area. An overall score of 70% is required to pass. The courses listed by each area cover the material the student will be tested on.

  • Communication Systems (ELEC 462/464)
  • Digital Signal Processing (ELEC 304/463)
  • Control Theory (ELEC 444/451)
  • Electronic Circuits (ELEC 316 (first half)/361)
  • Digital System Design (ELEC 370/476)
  • Electronmagnetics (ELEC 370/467)
  • Materials and Devices (ELEC 316 (last half)/421)
  • Power Systems (ELEC 438/406)
  • Optics (ELEC 480/486)

Information concerning the course outlines and appropriate books can be obtained from individual professors who have recently taught the courses. Check the department web page for recent teaching assignments. A general description of the courses can also be obtained in the UNL Undergraduate Bulletin.

An announcement of the Ph.D. Qualifying Examination sign-up will be posted at the beginning of each semester. The student must register for the examination (209N Scott Engineering) on or before the posted deadline, specifying the three areas he/she wishes to be tested on. The examination date will be set by the Graduate Committee Chair and will typically be on a Saturday two months after the beginning of classes each semester. Students are notified by mail whether or not they passed the exam.