Area IV Undergraduate Preparation and Graduate Program
Students in Area IV Engineering Physics should have an exposure to some, or all of, the following subjects:
- Electromagnetics such as obtained in an undergraduate physics program or electrical engineering program. At MIT an example course is 6.013 "Electromagnetics and Applications" or an equivalent course that studies quasistatic and dynamic solutions to Maxwell’s equations. A basic understanding of radiation, diffraction, waves, coupling to structures, guided and unguided waves, resonance, forces, power and energy would be very valuable for students entering Area IV.
- Solid-state electronics and physics at an undergraduate level would be helpful and might be similar to the experience gained in 6.012 “Electronic Devices and Circuits” or the more advanced subject 6.720 “Integrated Microelectronic Devices”. Device and circuit modeling concepts found in these two aforementioned MIT classes may be found in typical subjects that address transistor physics or physical electronics at other schools.
- Modern physics at an undergraduate level that includes quantum and statistical thermodynamics would be very valuable; an example MIT class is 6.728 “Applied Quantum and Statistical Physics.”
- Mathematics is very important and entering Area IV students should have a good background in complex variables, analysis, probability, and linear algebra. The respective MIT subjects in mathematics include: 18.04, 18.100, 6.041 (or 18.313) and 18.06.
If an entering Area IV student is lacking major elements of the above background, the faculty strongly encourage one to take the appropriate undergraduate subject or subjects as part of the student’s overall plan for graduate school.
Graduate Program in Area IV
The graduate program in EECS contains no required subjects. Each program is tailored to fit the needs and professional objectives for every student; the student’s graduate counselor, research advisors, and Area chair are great resources for consultation. As you peruse the pages describing the highlighted topics in Area IV, you will see key subjects listed that contain elements of that particular topic. In addition to subjects that are taught routinely in the Fall and Spring semesters, a number of special subjects are also taught either Fall or Spring and sometimes in alternating years. Once a student has selected a research group, or has clearly identified a particular area of research that he/she will pursue, the list of subjects includes more specialized and advanced graduate subjects. Check the EECS section of the MIT Open Course Ware (OCW) or, for EECS classes in the MIT Catalogue section for Course 6. You will find descriptions of all EECS subjects, undergraduate and graduate, along with the semester in which they are offered.
The guidelines for the Master of Engineering and the Master of Science programs include the completion of four graduate level H subjects and a Master’s research thesis. The Master’s degree is expected to be completed within two years. All students are expected to complete a Master’s degree prior to admission into the doctoral program in EECS.
The EECS doctoral program has two qualification examinations: the Technical Qualifying Evaluation (TQE) and the Research Qualifying Examination (RQE). In EECS, each student must demonstrate competence in four distinct areas; competence is established by satisfactory scholarship in four introductory graduate level subjects. Competence is established by earning an "A" grade in three of the four subjects selected from the list of approved subjects for the TQE. To successfully pass the TQE, a minimum of three A grades and one B grade is allowed. Your graduate counselor will provide guidance for selection of appropriate subjects to successfully complete the TQE. Students unable to demonstrate competence in all four selected areas will be required to complete an oral exam to prove competency. After the Master’s degree is obtained, the RQE exam can be completed by preparing a short written report of your research that is submitted to your RQE committee; accompanying the written report is an oral presentation to demonstrate your research understanding and competency.
In addition to the qualification exams, students must complete a minor (two classes), successfully complete the assignment of teaching assistant for one semester, and complete two additional subjects as suggested by their PhD research thesis committee.
Please see the Department TQE grid (pdf) for more detail.