Guidelines for CAEP Ph.D. Students

A student who wishes to obtain a Ph.D. degree in CAEP must go through three procedures: the qualifying exam (step 1: oral exam), the qualifying exam (step 2: proposal and advancement to candidacy) and the final defense. If a student is denied in any of the steps of the qualifying exam, then that is considered a denial for the whole qualifying exam. A student is allowed two attempts to pass the qualifying exam.

Qualifying Exam Step 1: Oral Exam

The details of this step are given at


Form to apply to this step


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Fill out the form and submit it to Prof. Lizy John (POB 3.114) before the last class day in Fall semester. The exam will happen in the Spring semester.

Qualifying Exam Step 2 : Thesis Proposal

You can take the Qualifying exam (step 2) only if you have passed the qualifier-step 1.


You need to form a committee of at least five members and get the committee approved. The committee composition must be submitted to Lizy John (POB 3.114) using this form

Word version here:


at least 3 weeks in advance of the proposed qualifying exam date. The guidelines for the composition of the committee are here.


The exam consists of a student submitting his proposal to the committee members and making a 45-55 minute presentation followed by questions from the committee members. The exam has two parts - (1) the open room part in which non-committee members may be present and may ask questions and (2) the closed room part in which all non-members are required to leave the room.


The chairman of the qualifying exam committee needs to fill the "report of the qualifying exam" and submit it to Melanie Gulick (ENS 101, 232-4297) in the graduate student office. This form is available online: click here



The application for qualifier-step 2 is either approved or denied by the qualifier committee. There are 2 chances. In the case of denial after the second chance, the student may appeal the decision to the ECE Graduate Studies Committee by filing a written petition to the ECE GSC Chair.


When your dissertation is ready you can defend it with your supervisor's approval. You have to arrange for the room and the time when the committee members can meet for your defense.



The graduate school has the following guidelines about submitting a dissertation to committee members.


"Not less than four weeks before the date on which the student intends to defend the dissertation, a copy of the final draft of the dissertation, reviewed for technical and grammatical correctness by the supervisor, should be submitted to each member of the dissertation committee. Two weeks before the defense, a written request to hold the final oral examination must be submitted to the Graduate School. This request signifies the receipt of the doctoral dissertation for the purpose of giving the examination. The committee's decision to examine a dissertation must be unanimous." from page 32 of the UT Austin Graduate Catalog 2001-2003


Course Requirements


In addition to above steps, a student must also fulfill the course requirements. ECE guidelines for course requirements for Ph. D students are here.