The process of obtaining a Ph.D. degree in ISE is as follows:

General Examination

The General Examination (GE) takes place annually after the conclusion of the Spring 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.

Content and Organization of the Exam

The GE seeks to determine whether students have working knowledge and understanding of

  • Deterministic Modeling and Optimization
  • Probability and Stochastic Processes

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 two four-hour written exams. The first written exam is centered on Deterministic Modeling and Optimization, while the second revolves around Applied Probability and Stochastic Processes. 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 three outcomes: (i) Pass, (ii) Fail, or (iii) Fail with Retake. Students who receive a Fail with Retake are required to take an additional oral examination (AOE).

The additional oral exam is administered between 5 to 15 days after the student has been notified of the GE written exam results, and can only result in a Pass or Fail outcome. It is administered by a subcommittee of faculty members appointed by the graduate committee who asks questions to the student in an interactive manner. Students should expect the examination to last roughly 90 minutes.

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 Page

Ph.D. students will take a combined Qualifying Examination and Dissertation Proposal (QE/DP) after the end of your second year of study, in which 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.

Ready to Apply?

Apply Now!