Special Circumstances (MS PhD)

Transfer of Credit

MS and M.Eng degree candidates may apply up to eight hours of credit earned elsewhere toward the 32 hours required for those degrees. The course must be at a level comparable to courses for which graduate credit is allowed in the ECE Graduate Program, and must be relevant to the student's program of graduate studies. The course must have been completed within the past five years with a grade of B or better, and must not have been used toward the degree requirements of the other university. Only credit in Electrical and/or Computer Engineering courses will be considered for transfer. The credit transferred cannot be used for any of the 500-level ECE hours required for the M.S. degree, nor can transfer credit be used to satisfy the Ph.D. breadth requirement. Except in the case of credit transferred from the University of Illinois at Chicago, only the credit (and not the grade) in the course will appear on the transcript issued by this University, and the grades earned will not be included in the computation of grade-point averages.

The Graduate College does not allow Ph.D. degree candidates who are admitted with Master's degrees to transfer credit, and requires them to earn 64 hours in residence.

In all cases, the candidate must submit a petition accompanied by a detailed outline of the course and an official transcript from the other university. If the course was taken prior to the award of a degree from the other university, it is also necessary to submit a letter from the other university verifying that credit earned in the course was not used toward the requirements of that degree. Petitions are not considered until the candidate has earned at least eight hours in residence. The ECE Graduate Committee appoints a faculty member to assist the committee in evaluating the credit being transferred.

Registration in Absentia

MS degree candidates may register in absentia while they are completing their theses provided that they have completed at least 16 hours of coursework in residence and have not exceeded the time limits for the degree. Doctoral degree candidates may register in absentia while they are completing their theses provided that they have completed 64 hours in residence, have passed the Preliminary Examination and have not exceeded the time limits for the degree. A petition is required for registration in absentia.

A Ph.D. candidate who has passed the Preliminary Examination, completed the credit requirements for the doctoral degree, has left the campus, and is not making use of any University facilities, is not required to maintain registration. However, the candidate must apply for readmission if not registered for one year. Registration is also required at the time when the Final Examination is taken, as described earlier in the registration requirements. If, at the time of registration, the seven-year (or six-year) time limit for completion of the degree has been exceeded, a petition is required for waiver of the regulation.

Credit for Study Abroad

The course GC 499, "Graduate College Study Abroad," provides students with a way to register at Illinois and obtain campus credit for study at accredited foreign institutions or approved overseas programs. Final determination of credit granted is made after the student's successful completion of the work. Credit will not count toward residence requirements. When the student has completed the required work at another university and he or she wishes to receive credit for that work, the official transcript from the other university must be submitted together with a request for transfer of credit on a Graduate Student Petition form to the Graduate Records Office. If and when the credit has been transferred, the student's registration in GC 499 will be removed from the record and credit will be entered on the student's record for the work at the other university. Due to length of program M.Eng students will not be allowed to participate in a Study Abroad program.

Conflict of Commitment and Interest

Many ECE Faculty members are involved in external activities at various times; and activities range from establishing companies to private hourly consulting and professional committee work. These activities are managed in the Department according to the University policy on Conflict of Commitment and Interest. Active participation by academic staff members in outside activities that enhance their professional skills, or constitute a public service activity, is encouraged.

It may be beneficial to university students or employees to be involved in the outside professional activities of an academic staff member. However, such involvement must be disclosed by the academic staff member and must be approved in writing by the Unit Executive Officer (UEO) in advance. The UEO shall implement mechanisms to prevent the exploitation of others and any unreasonable interference with others' university duties and responsibilities. This may include providing independent advisery oversight by faculty members not involved in the particular outside activity for students as they engage in course, thesis, or research work. Care must also be taken when an academic staff member could be prejudiced in judging other staff in issues of rank, compensation, and tenure as a result of mutual involvement in outside activities.

ECE Graduate students with questions about the policy on Academic Staff Conflict of Commitment and Interest may contact the ECE Associate Head for Graduate Programs, the ECE Department Head, or the Associate Vice Chancellor for Research responsible for Conflict Management.

Policy regarding research projects in 500 level ECE courses

In many ECE 500 level courses, a final project is assigned, which provides a student with the opportunity to apply concepts learned in class to solve an engineering problem identified by the student. Final projects are a pedagogical mechanism to enhance mastery of the course content, and are therefore encouraged. A student may wish for his/her final project to incorporate research that s/he has conducted with his/her research advisor or other research that originates in the research advisor's lab. While such crossover between coursework and research may be desirable, the parties are cautioned that students should not receive credit for the same work in two different courses, including ECE 599, Thesis Research. The contributions of all involved viz. the student, the research advisor, and the instructor must be acknowledged in the student's course report and/or future publications ensuing from the course project. To ensure that the intellectual ownership of the course project is assigned properly among the relevant parties, namely the student, the research advisor, the instructor, the university, and any external collaborators, the following policies are provided.

  1. An instructor may decline to approve a student-proposed final project that is tied to the student's thesis research or to research being conducted in the lab of the student's research advisor. Conversely, the instructor may choose to approve the project proposal, provided that the work will not replicate the student's thesis research or research being conducted in the lab of the student's research advisor.
  2. If the prospective course project will leverage any intellectual property of the student's research advisor's group—including but not limited to ideas, software, and experimental techniques—the student must discuss the project proposal with his/her research advisor and obtain his/her advisor's approval. In the absence of such approval, a different project topic must be selected.
  3. Instructors who use projects as an educational device do not become sole owners of the intellectual property generated by those projects, and must seek explicit permission of the student (and potentially other stakeholders) before using that property in whole or in part. For example, a faculty member may not take a course project and use it in a published work, as a future project for their research group, or in research grants, without the explicit permission of the student.
  4. If a course project includes intellectual property, data, or materials from collaborators outside the university, the instructor and student are strongly encouraged to engage the office of sponsored programs administration (in the case of NDAs or data use agreements) or the office of technology management (in the case of patents), as appropriate.

In the event of a conflict between the ECE policies outlined above and those outlined in OTM's Student Ownership Policy, the latter takes precedence. Please see https://otm.illinois.edu/disclose-protect/student-ownership-guidelines.