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The Department of Electrical Engineering doctoral program draws students from all over the world, with most candidates entering the program directly after completing an undergraduate degree in disciplines such as electrical engineering, computer science or physics. Although our doctoral program is one of the largest at Princeton, its scale still allows students to receive personal attention and extensive faculty interaction.
Research in the Department is collaborative and interdisciplinary. The current main themes of research span areas from applied physics, devices, advanced circuits, and high-performance computing to security, information theory, and artificial intelligence. Details on those research themes and related application domains can be found on the Department’s website under the Research link as well as on faculty and research group websites. There are also a variety of interdisciplinary research centers at Princeton that enhance and broaden educational and research opportunities.
New graduate students spend the first semester on coursework and typically select a thesis research advisor at the start of the spring semester, based on a match of research interests. The program combines a balance of preliminary and advanced coursework (400/500 numbered courses) and innovative research leading to a doctoral dissertation and award of the Ph.D. degree. Candidates earn a Masters of Arts degree en route to the Ph.D. degree. The nominal length of the program is five years. Students maintaining good progress will be provided with full financial support during the duration of the program. This support covers university tuition and fees and provides a stipend for living expenses. It is awarded through a combination of university fellowships and research/teaching assistantship positions. Housing is available for all first-year graduate students, and most students are accommodated in university housing for the duration of their regular enrollment. Many additional details about the program can be found in the Graduate Student Handbook.
Ph.D. applicants are required to select a research area of interest when applying.
Optional: Applicants may submit a statement with their application, briefly describing how their academic interests, background, or life experiences would advance Princeton’s commitment to diversity within the Graduate School and to training individuals in an increasingly diverse society. Please submit a succinct statement of no more than 500 words.
Please note, the Department of Electrical Engineering is not currently accepting applications for the M.Eng. program.
The doctoral program combines course work and participation in original research. Most students enter the program with an undergraduate degree in electrical engineering, computer science, physics, or a related discipline. Some have a master’s degree, but that is not necessary for success in the program. Every admitted Ph.D. student is given financial support in the form of a first-year fellowship. Students in academic good standing are supported on a teaching assistant or research assistant after the first year. Students who remain on campus working with their adviser during the summer will receive summer salary. In addition, all admitted Ph.D. students are automatically considered for the prestigious Wu and Upton Fellowships.
In the first year of the program, the main emphasis is on coursework. Students take courses both for proficiency within their specialty as well as for breadth. The program has no specific required courses, but there is a required minimum course count and a required minimum GPA. During the first year, students must complete a minimum of six courses in their area(s) of interest in preparation for research and the general examination. Each student is assigned a first-year academic adviser who assists the student in determining the appropriate courses. Students must complete a minor area of study. This can be completed by achieving a GPA of at least 3.3 in two or more coherent courses approved by the adviser. The courses must be in an area distinct from the student's research.
Each incoming student to the Department of Electrical Engineering is assigned an academic adviser to help with course selection and other concerns the student may have. Mid-way through the fall semester, each student gives a rank ordered list of preferred research advisers. This information is combined with the faculty’s preference ranking of students and available funding to arrive at the faculty-student pairing. This is usually done by the end of the fall semester in the student’s first year. Students should consult with their academic adviser and the faculty coordinator for guidance during the adviser selection process. Once the advisee-adviser pairing has been agreed upon by the adviser and the student, the chosen adviser takes over academic and research advising.
Choosing a research adviser is one of the most important steps in the Ph.D. program; it should be done with care. Students should prepare for adviser selection by reviewing research materials for all faculty members in their area of interest and speaking with potential advisers to determine intellectual fit and capability.
Students are expected to successfully complete the general during the fourth term of their Ph.D. studies. Students are not normally readmitted to a third year (fifth term) of graduate study unless they have successfully completed the general examination. The general examination consists of a research seminar and an oral exam. The seminar is a 45-minute presentation of research accomplished at Princeton. It is intended to indicate that a student is capable of independent research and has started a research topic that has the potential to lead to a doctoral dissertation. The oral exam is administered by the examination committee and is held not more than one month after the research seminar, and within the periods set by the Graduate School for the general exam. The examination committee is selected by the research adviser in consultation with the student.
The Master of Arts can be earned by Ph.D. students en route to their Ph.D., after the student has: (a) presented a research seminar approved by the student’s general examination committee and (b) passed the oral general examination. It may also be awarded to students who, for various reasons, leave the Ph.D. program, provided that these requirements have been met.
Please note, students admitted to the Ph.D. program who do not wish to complete the program may be considered for an M.S.E. degree with approval from the department and the Graduate School. Ph.D. students who have already been awarded the incidental M.A. are not eligible to earn an M.S.E.
Teaching experience is considered to be a significant part of graduate education. Prior to completion of the program, doctoral students must complete at least one assignment as a teaching assistant (TA). To be a teaching assistant, a student must first demonstrate proficiency in English by passing, or being exempted from, the Princeton Oral Proficiency Test (POPT). Students are encouraged to satisfy the POPT requirement as early as possible.
The final public oral examination is taken after the candidate’s dissertation has been examined for technical mastery by a committee and approved by the Graduate School; it is primarily a defense of the dissertation.
The Ph.D. is awarded after the candidate’s doctoral dissertation has been accepted and the final public oral examination sustained.
The Master of Engineering (M.Eng.) program is designed to meet the need for rigorous and advanced training in the applied aspects of modern technology. It focuses on engineering technology and management. The degree requires the successful completion of eight courses, six of which must be technical courses at the graduate level. A thesis is not required for the M.Eng. degree. However, research project courses are available. For adequately prepared students, the program can be completed in one year of full-time study or two years of part-time study.
Master’s students must successfully complete eight courses, including six at the graduate level. Design projects count toward the course requirements.
Claire F. Gmachl
Ravindra N. Bhatt
Stephen Y. Chou
Jason W. Fleischer
Claire F. Gmachl
Andrew A. Houck
Niraj K. Jha
Sanjeev R. Kulkarni
Ruby B. Lee
Stephen A. Lyon
H. Vincent Poor
Paul R. Prucnal
Peter J. Ramadge
James C. Sturm
Emmanuel A. Abbe, also Program in Applied Computational Mathematics
Minjie Chen, also Andlinger Center for Energy and the Environment
Nathalie P. de Leon
Barry Rand, also Andlinger Center for Energy and the Environment
Alejandro W. Rodriguez
Craig B. Arnold, Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering
David I. August, Computer Science
Gillat Kol, Computer Science
Kai Li, Computer Science
Lynn Loo, Chemical and Biological Engineering
Margaret R. Martonosi, Computer Science
Jason R. Petta, Physics
Warren B. Powell, Operations Research and Financial Engineering
Jennifer Rexford, Computer Science
Courses listed below are graduate-level courses that have been approved by the program’s faculty as well as the Curriculum Subcommittee of the Faculty Committee on the Graduate School as permanent course offerings. Permanent courses may be offered by the department or program on an ongoing basis, depending on curricular needs, scheduling requirements, and student interest. Not listed below are undergraduate courses and one-time-only graduate courses, which may be found for a specific term through the Registrar’s website. Also not listed are graduate-level independent reading and research courses, which may be approved by the Graduate School for individual students.