Doctor of Philosophy Degree in Electrical and Computer Engineering

The Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering (ECE) at Ben-Gurion University (BGU) offers three programs to gain a PhD degree: A regular program, a direct program and a combined program. Registration for all three programs is via the Kreitman School of Advanced Graduate Studies.


A.    Regular PhD Programs

A.1.  Admissions Requirements

The regular program is intended for candidates with an MSc degree, obtained in the MSc Thesis program. The minimal admission requirements are

  1. An MSc degree, obtained in an MSc Thesis program, in ECE or in related disciplines.
  2. Minimal thesis grade of 90/100 and minimal MSc coursework average grade of 85/100.

International candidates required to obtain a grade of 85/100 in the TOEFL test or an equivalent grade in an internationally recognized English proficiency test.

The admission decisions take into account several factors, including the grades and the class rank of the undergraduate degree, academic achievements during the Master's study, such as grades and magnitude of research contribution, recommendation letters, assessment of the candidate's potential to successfully complete the PhD program within four years.

A.2.  Committees Supervising the PhD Studies

The PhD studies are supervised by three committees:

  • Graduate Studies Committee: GSC is an ECE committee which supervises the graduate studies in the Department of ECE.
  • Advisory Committee: An ECE committee which consists of two ECE-BGU faculty members, which monitors and supervised the research progress of the PhD candidate.
  • Candidacy Exam Committee: A committee consisting of the advisor, two faculty members from the department of ECE or other departments at Ben-Gurion University, and at least one external faculty member from other research university in Israel. This committee evaluates the research proposal and decides on admission of the PhD students to candidacy.

A.3.  PhD Degree Requirements

  • At least 6 credits of coursework in addition to any coursework required by the candidacy exam committee.
  • Successfully passing the research proposal defense (Admission to candidacy) at the end of the first year of study.
  • Timely submission of all annual progress reports, approved by the advisors and by the advisory committee.
  • Delivery of at least one ECE Department seminar lecture (course 361-2-1020)
  • Attendance in at least 18 hours of ECE Department seminars (course 361-2-1010)
  • Successfully passing the final oral exam presented to the advisory committee, after completion of the dissertation research. The dissertation may be submitted to the Kreitman School only after successfully passing the final oral exam.
  • Approval of the dissertation by external reviewers assigned by Kreitman School of Advanced Graduate Studies.

A.4.  Deadlines for Completing the Degree Requirements

  • The research proposal must be submitted, and the candidacy exam must be passed within one year from beginning of the PhD program.
  • All other degree requirements must be completed within four years the beginning of the PhD program.

Leave of absence periods will be excluded from the time counted towards satisfying the degree requirements.

A.5.  Appointment of an Advisor

Students must choose an advisor upon registering for the PhD program. The advisor must be a faculty member of the ECE Department at the minimum rank of a Senior Lecturer. An advisor who will be absent from campus for more than 3 months will coordinate with the ECE Graduate Studies Committee the appointment of a temporary additional advisor who will supervise the graduate research during his/her absence. The temporary advisor must be an ECE faculty member at the minimum rank of Senior Lecturer. If needed, it is possible to appoint additional advisor(s) subject to the approval of the ECE GSC. Only a faculty member at a research university at the minimum rank of a Senior Lecturer, or a teaching specialist at a research university at the minimal rank of a Senior Teacher may be appointed as an additional advisor. The request for the appointment of additional advisor(s) must be justified and approved by the main advisor. The ECE GSC will consider the request, and whether the requested additional faculty member should serve as a co-advisor or as a research counsel, in accordance with the guidelines of the Kreitman School for Advanced Graduate Studies. When requesting the appointment of a faculty member external to the ECE Department, the request must include the curriculum vitae of the proposed additional advisor. The requested co-advisor must have a proven record as a PhD advisor and adequate academic qualifications. In any case, the major part of the student's PhD  research has to be supervised by an advisor from the ECE Department.

A.6.  Initial Period of Study (Up to the Candidacy Exam)

The initial period lasts for one academic year, during which the student must achieve a high level of proficiency in the research area, e.g., by taking courses and reading research papers and books. During this period, the student is expected to achieve substantial research results which will form the basis for the research to be carried out after the candidacy exam.

A.7.  The Research Proposal and the Candidacy Exam

Within one year from the admission to PhD studies, the student must submit a research proposal, prepared in accordance with the guidelines set by the Kreitman School for Advanced Graduate Studies. In particular, attention must be given to the length of the research proposal. After submission of the research proposal, a Candidacy Exam Committee will be appointed to evaluate the proposal. Proposal evaluation will be done through the candidacy exam. In which the student will defend his/her research proposal. The members of the Candidacy Exam Committee will be selected from faculty members at research universities at the minimum rank of a Senior Lecturer, where at least one committee member will be from outside Ben-Gurion University. The candidacy exam will also test the student's knowledge and proficiency in the research area and in the related scientific literature, adequacy of the planned research to a PhD degree, and the prospects of successfully completing the planned research. After the candidacy exam, the committee will decide whether to approve the research proposal and accept the student as a PhD candidate, or to ask for revisions or changes in the proposed research, or  request the student to take additional courses.

A.8.  Advisory Committee and Annual Progress Report

After passing the candidacy exam, an Advisory Committee will be appointed to supervise and monitor the progress of the PhD research. Typically, the members of the Advisory Committee, will be selected from the members of the Candidacy Exam Committee. In case that a member of the Advisory Committee will retire or resign, the GSC will appoint a new member. A progress report will be submitted to the advisor, to the ECE GSC and to the Advisory Committee once a year, throughout the duration of the PhD program. The Advisory Committee will evaluate the progress in a written report within 20 days. The progress report, together with the assessments of the advisor, the ECE GSC and Advisory Committee will be submitted for approval to the Kreitman School of Advanced Graduate Studies no later than a month after the request for annual review was received at the GSC. The length of the progress report should be 5 pages and it should include: A title, background, research description and objectives, relationship between the planned research and the research carried out during the preceding semester, changes to the research objectives, updated research plan and time schedule, list of courses taken and final grades earned, and the coursework planned for the subsequent year. The progress report will include an updated list of publications resulting from the research. A copy of papers published or submitted for publication since the previous progress report will be attached to the progress report.

A.9.  Coursework

The objectives of the coursework are to train the student, and to provide him/her with the basic tools needed for carrying out the research. Prior to the candidacy exam, the coursework should be approved by the advisor. Following the candidacy exam, the Advisory Committee will determine the list of courses the student will be required to complete during his/her doctoral studies.

A.10.       Department Seminar – Lecture 361-2-1021

The student is required to deliver at least once a one-hour presentation of his/her research work in the course “Department seminar – lecture". The last seminar presentation must be delivered during the final year of studies. Lectures given at conferences or other seminars do not exempt from this requirement.

A.11.       Department Seminar – Attendance 361-2-1010

Every student is required to enroll in the course “Department seminar – attendance" at the beginning of his/her doctoral studies. A “pass" grade for this course will be given after attendance in 18 hours of ECE Department seminars during the course of the degree.

The PhD student should attend the “Scientific Writing for PhD Students" course.

A.12.       Submission of the Dissertation

Upon completion of the doctoral research, the student shall submit an updated progress report that includes all paper submitted, accepted or published. Based on the report, and on the recommendation of the advisor, the ECE GSC will decide whether or not to approve the submission of the dissertation. A dissertation may be submitted as a “collection of papers", as detailed in the procedures published by the Kreitman School for Advanced Graduate Studies. The submitted dissertation will be evaluated by anonymous reviewers, which may recommend one of the following decisions: 1) Acceptance, 2) Acceptance subject to minor required changes that can be approved by the student's supervisor, 3) Major corrections are required, 4) The work does not rise to the level of a doctoral research. If decision 4) is recommended, the student will have to wait at least a year from the date of decision before he/she is allowed to resubmit the dissertation. If decision 3) is recommended, the student will resubmit the dissertation, corrected according to the reviewer's comments, within 90 days. If decisions 1) or 2) are recommended, the student will be allowed to schedule the final PhD exam

A.13.       Final PhD Exam

The final PhD exam is an oral exam in which the student defends his research work. One of the objectives of exam is to evaluate the student's knowledge in the area of research, as well as to assess his/her ability to undertake research independently. The advisor(s) will be present at the final exam, only as an observer, and will not be allowed to intervene during the exam. The exam committee will decide on one of the following options:

  1. The student meets the criteria for receiving a PhD (including, e.g., independence in carrying out research, proficiency in the research area and in the relevant related areas, and ability to present the research carried out). In case the dissertation is not submitted as a “collection of papers", the committee shall countersign the dissertation and compose a list of 6 potential reviewers 3 from abroad or other Israeli research universities and 3 from the ECE Department or another department at BGU. The list will be sent together with the recommendation of the supervising committee to Kreitman School. The list of potential reviewers will not be revealed to the advisor(s) nor to the student. If the advisor or the students wish to exclude certain potential reviewers, they should submit their names prior to the exam. Up to 5 potential reviewers may be excluded. In case the dissertation is submitted as a “collection of papers", there is no need for such a list of excluded potential reviewers.
  2. The student does not meet the criteria for receiving a Ph.D., but could be reexamined within less than a year, at a time set in accordance with the recommendation of the committee. In this case, the student will receive detailed comments in order to prepare for the reexamination.
  3. The student does not meet the criteria for receiving a Ph.D. and no reexamination is recommended.


B     Combined PhD Program

This program is intended for outstanding MSc students at an advanced stage of their Master's research. The objective of this program is to facilitate expanding the MSc thesis research into a PhD dissertation research.

The prerequisites for admission to this program are:

  1. The student is at an advanced stage of his/her research within the MSc program with thesis,
  2. The student has successfully completed all the Master's degree requirements, except for the  submission of the thesis,
  3. The coursework for the MSc degree must include 3 core courses in the MSc specialization discipline. The average grade of the core courses and the required mathematical course must be above 90,
  4. The student has completed the required MSc seminar attendance,
  5. The student has demonstrated outstanding skills in his/her research work. In order to satisfy this requirement, 3 letters of recommendations testifying to the research abilities of the student should be provided. The recommendations should include: one from the advisor, two from faculty members from other research universities, of which at least one must be from a faculty member of a reputable university abroad.
  6. The research work can be expanded into a PhD dissertation in terms of content, originality and novelty.

The ECE Graduate Studies Committee will submit the request for admission to the combined PhD program to the Committee for Research Students.

Upon acceptance as a candidate in the combined PhD program, the student will submit a summary of his/her MSc research work and PhD research proposal. The student will be examined on his/her MSc research work and on the research plan in accordance with the accepted format for this exam. If the student passes both parts of the exam - he/she will be admitted to the combined PhD program and will be awarded an MSc degree. If the student does not pass the exam – he/she will be considered as an MSc student.

Upon admission to the combined PhD program, all PhD rules and procedures will become applicable. The research work done prior to the admission to the combined PhD program may be included in the PhD dissertation.

C     Direct PhD Program

This program is intended for students which earned their undergraduate degree (BSc) from a research university cum laude, and wish to continue their studies to a doctoral degree. The duration of studies in this program is approximately 5 years. Additional details of this program may be found in the website of the Kreitman School for Advanced Graduate Studies.