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    Tennessee Technological University
   
 
  Jul 27, 2017
 
 
    
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2014-2015 Graduate Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

College of Engineering


Joseph J. Rencis, Dean
Vahid Motevalli, Associate Dean for Research and Innovation
 


Department and Program Information

 
 

The College of Engineering offers programs leading to the degrees of Master of Science and Doctor of Philosophy in Engineering. The Master of Science is offered with majors in computer science, chemical engineering, civil engineering, electrical engineering, and mechanical engineering. The Doctor of Philosophy in Engineering is an interdisciplinary degree program under the direction of advisory committees that are interdepartmental in nature. The Doctor of Philosophy in Engineering offers specialization in computer science, chemical engineering, civil engineering, electrical and computer engineering, and mechanical engineering.

Each M.S. and Ph.D. student has an advisory committee of faculty members which helps to guide the student’s studies and progress toward completion of degree requirements. The chairperson of the committee, who must be a faculty member from the department in which the student is majoring, has special responsibility to assist the student with development of an individualized program of study and appropriate research goals.

The College of Engineering operates two (2) state supported Centers of Excellence: Manufacturing Research and Energy Systems Research. State-of-the-art facilities are available through these centers for graduate student research projects. In the Center for Energy Systems Research, computer and laboratory facilities exist to perform engineering and economic modeling for the design of power plants and electrical distribution and transmission systems. The Manufacturing Center maintains extensive computer-aided design (CAD) and computer-aided manufacturing (CAM) capabilities. In addition to computer modeling capabilities, the Water Resources Center (state supported and operating under the Office of Research & Economic Development) has an EPA-certified water analysis laboratory.

The Chemical Engineering Department maintains research facilities in energy conservation, mass transfer, computer-aided process design, distillation, polymers, and physical properties. Within the Civil and Environmental Engineering Department and the Water Resources Center are excellent facilities for water and industrial-waste treatment research, chemical analyses, soils and structural engineering, stress analysis, and transportation materials. Among the excellent facilities in the Electrical and Computer Engineering Department and the Electric Power Center are laboratories for antennas, digital systems, plasmas, lasers, power-system simulation and training, robotics, telecommunication and signal processing, gaseous electronics, and nuclear engineering. Mechanical Engineering Department, the Electric Power Center, and the Manufacturing Research Center have extensive facilities for noise control, combustion engines, computer-aided design, fluid dynamics, heat transfer, machine design, material sciences and solar engineering.

Financial aid is available through individual departments and centers in the form of teaching or research assistantships. Full assistantships pay tuition and fees plus a monthly stipend. Partial assistantships, which pay a prorated share of tuition, fees, and a monthly stipend, are sometimes awarded. (See College’s Peterson’s guide for current range of pay rates.) A limited amount of support is available during the summer months. Approximately 85% of engineering graduate students received assistantships during part or all of the duration of their studies.

Master of Science Admission Requirements

An applicant for admission to any of the MS programs offered by the departments of the College of Engineering is expected to have earned a BS degree from an approved program, or its equivalent. Admission is decided based on a multi-parameter criterion that can include the following items to be evaluated by the department:

  • undergraduate GPA of at least 3.0 on a 4.0 scale,
  • GRE® General Test (GRE) scores with Quantitative greater than or equal to 50%; Verbal greater than or equal to 33%; Analytical Writing greater than or equal to 33%. Students with BS degrees in related fields from TTU are not required to take the GRE.
  • Three (3) letters of recommendation that demonstrate strong evidence for success in the graduate program.
  • Availability of appropriate faculty to serve as research advisor(s).
  • Participation in undergraduate research.
  • Post-BS degree professional experience relevant to planned degree of study.
  • Publications in peer reviewed journals and/or award-winning presentations in technical conferences.
  • International students must score at least 550 (213 computer-based or 79 internet-based) on the TOEFL or a minimum base score of 6.0 on the IELTS. 

Based on the level of satisfaction of the above criterion, the department will either recommend admission to Full Standing, Provisional Standing, or Special Standing, or deny admission. Standing status may be changed to Full Standing after the student satisfies the requirements specified by the department at the time of admission.

Master of Science Degree Requirements

A master’s degree is a certification that the recipient is able to read with understanding and apply with profit the literature of his/her field. The general requirements for an MS degree are the same for all departments: development and completion of a program of study which includes a minimum of 24 semester hours of course credits and at least six (6) semester hours of thesis. All pertinent regulations of the Graduate School apply.

Listed below are College of Engineering regulations that are clarifications of, or additions to, those promulgated by the Graduate School. Additional information can be found in the listings of the individual departments.

Advisory Committee

Every master’s student is required to have an advisory committee having a minimum of three (3) members. The student is responsible for identifying, in consultation with the departmental chairperson, a faculty member who is willing to chair his/her advisory committee. In consultation with the chairperson of the committee, the student is responsible for identifying at least two (2) other faculty members who are willing to serve on his/her committee. Advisory committees may include more than three (3) members. If desired or required, two (2) members of the committee may serve as cochairs of the committee rather than the committee having one (1) chair. If a student is not able to identify a sufficient number of faculty who are suitable and willing to serve on his/her advisory committee, the student will be advised by the departmental chairperson that he/she should either change his/her area of research interests to more closely match those of the available faculty or consider selecting another major. Failure to be able to form a committee is cause for transfer to nondegree status. Further regulations concerning the membership, appointment and responsibilities of a student’s advisory committee are given in other sections of the catalog, including the sections on “Organization of the Graduate School” and “Degree Requirements.”

Thesis/Comprehensive Examination

A thesis is required in all majors with the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering also offering a non-thesis option. A candidate for a master’s degree must submit a thesis in writing and orally present and defend the thesis to his/her advisory committee. The meeting at which the thesis presentation and defense occurs also serves as the time for the student’s final oral comprehensive examination over any or all aspects of the student’s master’s program. On the form on which the chairperson of the student’s advisory committee reports the results of the thesis defense, the chairperson also reports the results of the comprehensive examination, including a brief synopsis of the examination.

Limitations on Financial Aid

A master’s student may receive support during the first two (2) calendar years after initial enrollment. This time limitation does not imply a student will receive support during his/her first two (2) years. Whether or not a student receives support depends on the availability of funds and the suitability of the student to carry out the responsibilities associated with the support. Support beyond the stated limits requires justification, which must be reviewed and approved by the Associate Dean of Engineering for Graduate Studies and Research prior to the implementation.

Doctor of Philosophy Admission Requirements

A graduate program leading to a Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) degree in Engineering is offered by the College of Engineering. When applying for admission, a student must state on the application the specialization area of study for which admission is requested.

The basic admission standards for the Ph.D. program are the same as for the MS programs, except that, additionally, an applicant is expected to have completed an MS degree in an academic area appropriate to the proposed area of study and to have earned an MS GPA of at least 3.5 on a 4.0 scale.

Though the general requirement for admission to the Ph.D. program is a master’s degree in an appropriate discipline, students with a bachelor’s degree may be admitted to the Ph.D. program directly on exceptional basis, provided the applicant has a record of excellent academic performance in an appropriate engineering program undergraduate program. The applicant’s test scores, personal recommendations, and relevant work experience must indicate a high potential for success in doctoral studies and research. In addition, factors such as appropriateness of the applicant’s research objectives to the research interests of the program faculty, availability of faculty to supervise the applicant’s research, and prior research accomplishments of the applicant will also influence the admission decision.

Fulfilling the minimum requirement does not guarantee admission; an applicant who does not meet the above minimum, but appears to have reasonable potential for success as a Ph.D. student, may be admitted to provisional standing. His/her status may be changed to full standing after satisfying requirements specified by the Associate Dean of Engineering for Graduate Studies and Research, in consultation with the appropriate departmental chairperson, at the time of admission.

If admitted in provisional standing at either the MS or Ph.D. level, the student must remove all deficiencies and apply for reclassification to full standing prior to the completion of 15 graduate hours.

Sometimes a master’s-level student takes more graduate-level courses than are required for the degree because the student is expecting to continue on to the Ph.D. program and hopes to use the extra courses to satisfy the Ph.D. coursework requirement. When this is the case, the student can request when registering for the course(s) that the course(s) be “banked” for the Ph.D. program. If the student lacks no more than 12 semester hours on the master’s degree, he/she may accumulate a maximum of nine (9) semester hours which may be applied toward the Ph.D. When this is the case, the student’s advisory committee must initiate approval via memo with consensus of the departmental chairperson, dean of the college, and the Director of Graduate Studies. Banked courses then show up on the student’s transcript as courses taken for the Ph.D. rather than being shown as a part of his/her M.S. program. Banking course does not guarantee admission to the Ph.D. program, or, if admitted, that the student’s Ph.D. advisory committee will approve the course as part of the student’s Ph.D. program of study.

Doctor of Philosophy Degree Requirements

Students Admitted with a Master’s Degree

The Ph.D. is a research degree. The general requirements for a Ph.D. degree in Engineering are the same for all departments:

  1. A minimum of 48 credits of course work and doctoral research and dissertation as follows:
    1. A minimum of 18 semester credits of course work beyond the master’s degree, including six (6) semester credits of 7000-level course work acceptable to the student’s advisory committee.  Additional six (6) semester credits of either graduate level course work or research experience as per the policy of the student’s major department. No 5000-level courses are to be used to meet the minimum requirements of course work, and no directed study courses (xxx7980) are to be used to meet the 7000-level course requirement.
    2. The equivalent of 24 semester credits of doctoral research and dissertation built upon the student’s course of study and making a significant contribution to the state of knowledge or to the art of the engineering profession, is required; not more than n nine (9) credits may be earned in a particular semester.
  2. Residence of four (4) semesters beyond the master’s degree, with at least two (2) semesters in continuous residence, is required. All requirements, including the dissertation, must be completed within a period of eight (8) consecutive years.
  3. Maintenance of a minimum quality point average of 3.0 and adherence to the general regulations of the Graduate School are expected.

All students in the program must follow a plan of study and research developed in conjunction with an advisory committee, satisfactorily complete a comprehensive examination, achieve candidacy, and satisfactorily defend the dissertation.

Students Admitted Directly from the Bachelor’s Degree

A student admitted with a bachelor’s degree on exceptional basis, must successfully complete a qualifying examination based mostly on undergraduate materials before the end of the second semester of enrollment. This examination will be aimed at determining the student’s mastery of the basic concepts in the discipline and the potential for successfully conducting research at the doctoral level. Based on the student’s performance on the qualifying examination, the student may be (i) permitted to continue in the Doctoral Program, or (ii) advised to transfer to a MS degree program in an appropriate discipline in the College, or (iii) recommended for termination from the graduate program of the College.

If permitted to continue in the doctoral program, the student, as described elsewhere in the catalog, will select a research advisor, form an advisory committee, and submit a program of study satisfying the following requirements.

The program of study should have a minimum total of 72 semester credit hours of academic work, consisting of course work and dissertation work, beyond baccalaureate work, subject to the following:

  • The program of study should include a minimum of 42 semester credits of appropriate graduate level course work consisting of a minimum of six (6) semester credits at the 7000-level and a maximum of nine (9) semester credits at the 5000-level, acceptable to the student’s advisory committee.
  • It should also include an additional six (6) semester credits of either graduate level course work or research experience as per the policy of the student’s major department.
  • No directed study courses at 7000-level (xxx7980) are to be used to meet the six (6) credits of 7000-level course requirement.
  • A minimum of 24 semester credit hours of doctoral research and dissertation, built upon the student’s course of study and making significant contribution to the state of knowledge and the art of the engineering profession, is required; no more than nine (9) credit hours may be earned in a particular semester.

Advisory Committee

Each Ph.D. student’s advisory committee will have a minimum of five (5) voting members with at least three (3) members from the student’s major department and at least one (1) member from outside the department. The College of  Engineering’s Associate Dean for Graduate Studies and Research will serve as an ex officio, nonvoting member. The student is responsible for identifying, in consultation with the departmental chairperson and Associate Dean, a faculty member who is willing to chair his/her advisory committee. In consultation with the chairperson of the committee, the student is responsible for identifying the other faculty members required/desired and determining if they are willing to serve. Advisory committee is permitted to have more than the minimum number required. Normally one faculty member will serve as the chair. If the proposed research work is interdisciplinary, or if the initial chair retires, experiences health problems, or for some other cannot continue to perform all of the duties of the chair, the student may request that a cochair be appointed. The request should be made in writing to the Director of Graduate Studies, via the Departmental Chair and the Associate Dean of Engineering for Graduate Studies and Research. If a student is not able to identify a sufficient number and type of faculty who are suitable and willing to serve on his/her advisory committee, the student will be advised by the Associate Dean that he/she should either change his/her area of research interest to more closely match those of the available faculty or consider selecting another major. Failure to be able to form a committee is a cause for  transfer to nondegree status. Further regulations concerning the membership, appointment, and responsibilities of the advisory committee are given in other sections of the catalog, including the sections on “Organization of the Graduate School” and “Degree Requirements.”

Program of Study

All students will undergo a preliminary assessment during their semester of enrollment. The purpose of the preliminary assessment is to determine the strengths and weaknesses of the newly admitted student so that a program of study could be tailored to prepare the student for advanced course work and independent research. Each department will make an objective assessment of the student’s strengths and weaknesses, and the program of study should reflect such assessment. The department may employ a written examination or other objective instruments to make this assessment. Each department is required to develop its own policy in this regard and submit it to the Engineering Graduate Committee. The preliminary assessment must be done before the end of the second semester of enrollment for the degree. A memo from the chairperson of the department should accompany the student’s program of study to the Associate Dean of Engineering for Graduate Studies stating the results of the preliminary assessment of the student.

The plan of study is specified in the student’s Program of Study. The Program of Study shall include a minimum of 24 semester credits of coursework beyond the master’s. The Program of Study will also include a list of background,  graduate-level courses taken prior to enrollment in the Ph.D. program. If the student has not taken at least 24 semester credits of appropriate (timely and relevant) background courses (as determined by the advisory committee), the student will be required to take additional courses either as background courses or in addition to his/her required minimum of 24 semester credits of coursework beyond the masters. These additional courses will be shown appropriately on the Program of Study. All courses shown on the Program of Study, including background courses, are indicators of the student’s depth and breadth of knowledge in the discipline and shall be considered by the committee when designing the written part of the student’s comprehensive examination. In determining the time limits for taking the comprehensive examination, for earning the degree, and for determining eligibility for financial aid, the time that the background courses
were completed shall not be considered.

Each proposed Program of Study must be approved by the student’s advisory committee, the departmental chairperson, the Associate Dean of Engineering for Graduate Studies and Research, and the Director of Graduate Studies. There will be a hold placed on a student’s registration if his/her Program of Study has not been filed in the Graduate School office by the time 15 semester hours have been earned.

Comprehensive Examination and Admission to Candidacy

The comprehensive examination will consist of a written part and the presentation and oral defense of the research proposal. The written examination will consist of several parts as appropriate to the engineering major discipline and the research area. This examination will be to test the student’s breadth of knowledge in the discipline, depth of knowledge in selected areas, and the ability to integrate the knowledge acquired from several courses. This examination must be given after the student has completed at least 80% of the coursework beyond the master’s degree, as prescribed in the program of study. However, the written comprehensive examination should be completed before the end of the semester following completion of the coursework prescribed in the program of study. The extension of this deadline is possible with the appropriate justification. A student desiring an extension shall make a request in writing to the Associate Dean of Engineering for Graduate Studies and Research. The request must include justification and a schedule for completion. If the student is not satisfied with the decision of the Associate Dean, the decision may be appealed to the Engineering Graduate Committee, with the Dean of Engineering substituting for the Associate Dean as chair of the committee.

All parts of the written examination should be completed within a period of two (2) weeks. Other details of this examination, including format, content, method of evaluation and timing, will be left to the discretion of the committee. All voting members of the committee should participate in evaluating the student’s performance in the written parts of the examination.

The written research proposal should, as a minimum, consist of the development of the research problem from the extant knowledge in the area, the approach and methodology to be followed, the expected original contribution to the extant knowledge and the expected timeline for the completion of the research. The student should submit copies of written proposal to the committee within 30) days from the date of taking the final part of the written examination, and the proposal defense will be scheduled shortly thereafter. The student will be informed of the results of the entire comprehensive examination (written part and proposal presentation) at the end of the defense of the research proposal.

On passing the entire comprehensive examination, the student will become an official candidate for the doctoral degree. Normally, a student not passing any part of the comprehensive examination will not be permitted to continue in the doctoral program. However, at the request of the student, the committee may agree to give a second chance to the student to pass that part of the written examination that he/she did not pass. The committee may prescribe additional academic work to be undertaken by the student priorto making the second attempt. No student will be  permitted to continue in the program if he/she does not successfully complete all parts of the comprehensive examination after the second attempt.

Limitation on Financial Aid

It is expected that a Ph.D. student should be able to achieve candidacy within the first three (3) calendar years after enrollment. After year three (3), a student will not be eligible for an assistantship if he/she has not attained candidacy. Under unusual circumstances, an exception may be granted by the Associate Dean of Engineering for Graduate Studies and Research.

Other Information

The Associate Dean of Engineering for Graduate Studies and Research is the head of the Ph.D. program in engineering. A new student in the program is expected to report to the Associate Dean prior to initial registration. Students or faculty having questions about the program should direct them to either the appropriate departmental chairperson or the Associate Dean, or both.

Two (2) levels of graduate courses may be taken to meet the minimum requirement of 24 semester hours of course work: 6000-level and 7000-level. The College of Engineering defines these two (2) levels as follows:

  • 6000-level Courses—Courses at the 6000-level may present either fundamental knowledge of a subject with some mathematical rigor or a broad range of topics in a subject leading to state of the art material. The courses should promote self study, literature search, and critical analysis, syntheses and evaluation of ideas, concepts and techniques. Students who take a 6000-level course should be required to possess some basic understanding of the subject at the level of at least junior undergraduate courses.
  • 7000-level Courses—Courses at the 7000-level are built on the fundamental knowledge acquired through 6000-level courses. At least one (1) 6000-level course shall be a prerequisite. Courses at the 7000-level shall present state of the art advanced material in a focused area of a subject. The student should be expected to acquire the latest knowledge and techniques of the subject. These courses should be conducted such that critical analysis, synthesis and evaluation skills are developed.