First Semester Registration

You are required to meet with your assigned advisor prior to beginning your first semester in the program to plan your course registration. First semester registration should consist of necessary prerequisite and core courses along with courses leading to advance study in your chosen focus area.

Dissertation Advisor

You are encouraged to choose a dissertation advisor, with mutual consent, by the last day of classes during your first semester of enrollment. To facilitate the selection of an advisor, you should discuss your educational objectives with several dissertation-qualified faculty members in your focus area within the first six weeks of the semester.

The dissertation advisor you choose will serve as the chair of your dissertation committee and will direct the research study.

  • The dissertation advisor must be a dissertation-qualified faculty member of the Ph.D in Engineering Program. The dissertation advisor is responsible for the overall direction of the research, the regualar advising of the student, and the continuing progress of the student in completing his or her Program of Study in a timely manner.
  • It is permissible to have two committee members co-advise a dissertation if at least one member has dissertation-qualified faculty status.

Dissertation Committee

The Dissertation Committee is responsible for administering the Candidacy Examination (in some Focus Ares), Research Proposal Defense, and Dissertation Defense. The committee also plays an advisory role to the student during research study.

By the end of the first year of study (16 credit hours of regular graduate course work), the student, in consultation with the dissertation advisor, should select a Dissertation Committee of at least five graduate faculty members, including the dissertaton advisor, who will serve as the committee chair.

Since the WSU Engineering Ph.D. Program is a member of DAGSI, it is strongly encourgaged that a faculty member from a DAGSI partner serve on the committee.

In consultation with your dissertation advisor, you should choose the remaining four members of your committee. Once your dissertation committee is complete, you are required to complete and submit a Dissertation Committee Form. If you have questions about who can serve, please contact the Program Coordinator. Ideally, this should be done by the end of your second semester in the program (6 to 10 credit hours of regular graduate course work).

Committee Members

A minimum of four members in addition to the dissertation advisor as follows:

  • Two faculty members from WSU with full graduate status, at least one of whom shall be a Ph.D. in Engineering dissertation-qualified faculty member. At the time of Dissertation Committee approval, a WSU faculty member must possess full graduate faculty status or expect to obtain full graduate status by the student's Dissertation Defense.
  • There must be at least one external member from the graduate engineering faculty of either one of the four collaborating DAGSI-partner institutions (Air Force Institute of Technology, The Ohio State University, University of Cincinnati, and University of Dayton) or from a Carnegie-classification doctoral research university, having full graduate status at their home institution. Adjunct faculty members cannot fulfill this role.
  • A final member of the committee can be from WSU, another research university, a government laboratory, industry, or a non-academic research institution. This member must have either full graduate status or adjunct full graduate status. For additional information on graduate status, refer to Graduate Council and Graduate School's Policies and Procedures Manual.
  • In all cases, the majority of the members of the Dissertation Committee shall be WSU Engineering Ph.D. Program Faculty.
  • One of the committee members can serve as a co-advisor.
  • Exceptions to the committee composition as specified above can be made on a case-by-case basis through a petition by the dissertation advisor to the Program Affairs Committee.

Once the members have been selected, the student must submit a Dissertation Committee Form for approval by the Engineering Ph.D. Program Director, the Dean of the College of Engineering and Computer Science, and the Dean of the Graduate School. In the event a member can no longer serve on the Dissertation Committee due to unforeseen circumstances, a suitable replacement must be found, and the student must submit a new Dissertation Committee Form for approval. The final committee shall follow the above-stated committee structure.

Program of Study

You are required to file a program of study with the Graduate School. Complete the Program of Study Form under the supervision of your dissertation advisor and in coordination with your dissertation committee. Once you have completed the Program of Study, and obtained your advisor's signature, submit it to the Ph.D. in Engineering Program Office (211 Russ Center) for the director's signature and submission to the Graduate School.


The purpose of the program of study is to design an appropriate program to meet your specific needs in your chosen focus area as determined by the dissertation committee.


Ideally, a tentative plan should be formulated by the end of the second semester of study. Failure to comply with this requirement may jeopardize further registration in the Ph.D. program.

Program Changes

Minor changes in the Program of Study can be made easily in case of course offering deletions or schedule conflicts. These changes must also be approved by the program director and filed one week prior to the start of the final session for graduate study. The course work must be selected to form a unified program of study. Course work from a previous M.S. degree is included in the formal program of study.