Ph.d. Students have the option of two different tracks. The process of obtaining a Ph.D. degree in ISE is as follows:

PHD Graduation Requirements

A minimum of 90 credits is required for the Ph.D. degree. The breakdown of credits is as follows:

  • Master’s Degree – 30 credits
  • General Exam – 9 credits
  • Breadth Requirement – 9 credits
  • Advanced Electives/Research – 27 credits
  • Dissertation Research – 15 credits

*Ph.D. students are to complete two semesters of the Graduate Seminar Course, EIN 6918 (01 credit) within their first two years of study. These 02 credit hours can be applied towards the minimum 90 credit requirement for completing the Ph.D. program.

General Examination

The General Exam (GE) has a defined purpose of assessing student working knowledge and understanding of core concepts of ISE and their ability to apply that knowledge to representative and novel application problems. At this stage of the PhD program, the student is evaluated by the Department, as a whole. In general, the exam is to ensure that all PhD students meet a standard of knowledge of ISE and serves as an overall quality control process for the Department

The General Examination takes place annually after the conclusion of the Summer semester. If you enter the Ph.D. program in the Fall semester, you are required to take the GE during your first year of study. If you enter the program in the Spring semester, you are required to take the GE during your second year of study. If you enter the Ph.D. program in the Fall semester with a Bachelor’s degree only, you may petition the Graduate Committee to take the GE in your second year of study. These petitions should be addressed to the Ph.D. program coordinator before the end of the Fall semester.

General Exam Dates (for 2020)

The first exam will be given May 11th and May 12th.
The second exam will be given August 20th and 21st.

Content and Organization of the Exam

As stated above, the GE seeks to determine whether students have working knowledge and understanding of core concepts within industrial and systems engineering and their chosen track. Each GE will be centered on topics covered in the following courses for each track.

Operations Research and Applied Operations Research – Track 1

  • ESI 6325 – Applied Probability Methods in Engineering (Day 1)
  • ESI 6546 – Stochastic Modeling and Analysis (Day 1)
  • ESI 6417 – Linear Programming and Network Optimization (Day 2)

Human Systems – Track 2

  • ESI 6325 – Applied Probability Methods in Engineering (Day 1)
  • ESI 6905 – Occupational Safety Engineering (Day 1)
  • EIN 6905 – Human Factors in Systems Design (Day 2)

While mastery of the courses materials is essential, several problems on the exam will require students to display creativity by applying the knowledge gained in first year classes to applications/problems they might not be familiar with.

The General Examination is administered through three two-hour written exams, with two exams covered on the first day and one exam on the second day. The exams on the first day will cover Applied Probability Methods in Engineering and Stochastic Modeling and Analysis for the OR track, and Applied Probability Methods in Engineering and Occupational Safety Engineering for the HSE track. The exam on the second day will cover Linear Programming and Network Optimization for the OR track and Human Factors in Systems Design for the HSE track.

These exams are typically held on consecutive mornings. The Graduate Committee will determine the result of this examination, with input from faculty members. The committee may also factor in a student’s performance in the GE classes, or research activities performed at the University of Florida. This deliberation results in one of two outcomes for each written exam: (i) Pass, (ii) Fail. Students must pass all three exams to pass the GE. Students who receive a Fail in any of the written exams will be required to retake the written exams for those failed topics in December of the same year. The student must pass these retake exams to be able to continue in the program.

Supervisory Committee & Plan of Study

After passing the GE, students should then form a Ph.D. Supervisory Committee. This should consist of at least four members including your faculty advisor, at least one additional faculty member from the ISE department, and at least one external faculty member. Once you have formed your supervisory committee, students should then prepare a plan of study that reflects your specialization area, and be approved by your Supervisory Committee.

Qualifying Examination & Dissertation Proposal

The defined purpose of the qualifying exam (QE) is to evaluate student knowledge of the context and methods of their identified research area. At this stage, the student is evaluated by the supervisory committee for expertise in a specific area. This exam is to ensure that a student meets a standard of research expertise in a specific area, such as applied operations research, operations research, human-systems, etc. The QE serves as a quality control process for the supervisory committee.

Ph.D. students will take the QE in combination with their Dissertation Proposal defense (QE/DP) after the end of their second year of study. Students are responsible for scheduling the date, time and location with their Supervisory Committee. Students will need to see the Graduate Advisor, Lorraine White, once they have selected a date and time for their dissertation in order to ensure proposal documents are prepared ahead of time.

Students will need to prepare a Dissertation Proposal (DP) of approximately 6-10 pages (12 point font, inch margins, single-spacing) that describes their proposed dissertation research. This DP is intended to demonstrate knowledge of the context of students’ current research. The following structure should be used:

  • Introduction
  • Motivation and Significance
  • Background and Prior Research
  • Preliminary Research Results
  • Proposed Research
  • Timeline

At least two weeks prior to the QE/DP, students should submit their DP to their Supervisory Committee for review. The Supervisory Committee may submit a set of written questions on the DP and the general area of research no less than one week prior to the QE/DP. Students are required to respond to comments at least one day prior to the QE/DP.

The QE/DP should start with a 20-25 minute presentation of the DP, followed by questions of the Supervisory Committee. The length of the exam is expected to be 1-2 hours.

After a satisfactory presentation and defense of your DP, a satisfactory response to any other questions, and the submission of a final approved DP you will be admitted to candidacy.

Guidelines for theses and dissertations

Every dissertation is bound and made a part of the library of the University of Florida. The highest standards of composition, typography, and format must be used. (A booklet on Procedures for Binding and Submission of Theses and Dissertations is available from the Graduate School.) Hardbound copies are required for the Dean of Engineering and the Department, in addition to the Graduate School Requirements.

Oral Defense

Thesis students must defend their defense at an oral examination with the Supervisory Committee. The defense may include questions of a general nature on topics of the program of study. Students must be registered during the semester in which the oral examination is taken, and also at the time the degree is actually conferred.

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