Doctoral Program



Each department in the Henry Samueli School of Engineering and Applied Science has a graduate adviser. A current list of graduate advisers may be obtained from the Office of the Associate Dean for Academic and Student Affairs, 6426 Boelter Hall, Henry Samueli School of Engineering and Applied Science. This list is also available from the Department of Bioengineering.

Students are assigned a faculty adviser upon admission to the School. Advisers may be changed upon written request from the student. All HSSEAS faculty serve as advisers.

New students should arrange an appointment as early as possible with the faculty adviser to plan the proposed program of study toward the Ph.D. degree. Continuing students are required to confer with the adviser during the time of enrollment each quarter so that progress can be assessed and the study list approved.

Based on the quarterly transcripts, student records are reviewed at the end of each quarter by the departmental graduate adviser and Associate Dean for Academic and Student Affairs. Special attention is given if students were admitted provisionally or are on probation. If their progress is unsatisfactory, students are informed of this in writing by the Associate Dean for Academic and Student Affairs.

Students are strongly urged to consult with the departmental student office staff and/or the Office of Academic and Student Affairs regarding procedures, requirements and the implementation of policies. In particular, advice should be sought on advancement to candidacy, on the procedures for taking the Ph.D. written and oral examinations and on the use of the Filing Fee.

Major Fields or Subdisciplines

Biosystem science and engineering; biomaterials, tissue engineering, and biomechanics; biomedical instrumentation; biomedical signal and image processing; medical imaging informatics, molecular and cellular bioengineering; and neuroengineering. See Areas of Study under Master’s Degree for descriptions of all fields.

Foreign Language Requirement


Course Requirements

To complete the Ph.D. degree, all students must fulfill minimum University requirements. Students must pass the Ph.D. Preliminary Examination, the University Oral Qualifying Examination, the Final Oral Examination, and complete the required courses in Group I and Group II, and the courses for two minor fields of study. Students who wish to take neuroengineering as a minor must take Biomedical Engineering M260, M263, and Neuroscience 205. Each minor field requirement consists of three four-unit courses, at least two of which are 200-series courses. Students must maintain a grade-point average of 3.25 or higher for all courses.

Group I consists of core courses. Students are required to take all of the courses in this group as indicated in each field.

Group II consists of elective courses. Students are required to fulfill the remaining of the major course requirements from courses in this group as indicated in each field.

A complete listing of required Group I and Group II courses in each field is included under Course Requirements for the master’s degree.

Teaching Experience

A minimum of one quarter of teaching experience is required.

Written and Oral Qualifying Examinations

Academic Senate regulations require all doctoral students to complete and pass University written and oral qualifying examinations prior to doctoral advancement to candidacy. Also, under Senate regulations the University oral qualifying examination is open only to the student and appointed members of the doctoral committee. In addition to University requirements, some graduate programs have other pre-candidacy examination requirements. What follows in this section is how students are required to fulfill all of these requirements for this doctoral program.

The Ph.D. Preliminary Examination tests a core body of knowledge. The requirements for fulfilling the preliminary examination requirement varies for each field. Specific details about the preliminary examination in each field are available from the Graduate Adviser. Students who fail the examination may repeat it once only, subject to the approval of the faculty examination committee. Students who fail the examination twice are subject to a recommendation for termination.

Within three quarters after passing the Ph.D. Preliminary Examination described above, students are strongly encouraged to take the University Oral Qualifying Examination. The nature and content of the examination are at the discretion of the doctoral committee, but ordinarily include a broad inquiry into the student’s preparation for research. The doctoral committee also reviews the prospectus of the dissertation at the oral qualifying examination.

A doctoral committee consists of a minimum of four qualified UCLA faculty members. Three members, including the chair, are selected from a current list of designated inside members for the interdepartmental program. The outside member must be a qualified UCLA faculty member who does not appear on this list.

Advancement to Candidacy

Students are advanced to candidacy upon successful completion of the written and oral qualifying examinations.

Doctoral Dissertation

Every doctoral degree program requires the completion of an approved dissertation that demonstrates the student’s ability to perform original, independent research and constitutes a distinct contribution to knowledge in the principal field of study.

Final Oral Examination (Defense of the Dissertation)

Required for all students in the program.


Students are expected to receive their degree within six years (18 quarters) from admission into the program, and must be registered continuously or on approved leave of absence during this period. Students who do not register or take an official leave of absence lose their student status.

Termination of Graduate Study and Appeal of Termination

University Policy

A student who fails to meet the above requirements may be recommended for termination of graduate study. A graduate student may be disqualified from continuing in the graduate program for a variety of reasons. The most common is failure to maintain the minimum cumulative grade point average (3.00) required by the Academic Senate to remain in good standing (some programs require a higher grade point average). Other examples include failure of examinations, lack of timely progress toward the degree and poor performance in core courses. Probationary students (those with cumulative grade point averages below 3.00) are subject to immediate dismissal upon the recommendation of their department. University guidelines governing termination of graduate students, including the appeal procedure, are outlined in Standards and Procedures for Graduate Study at UCLA.

Special Departmental or Program Policy

A recommendation for termination is reviewed by the school’s Associate Dean for Academic and Student Affairs.


In addition to the standard reasons noted above, a student may be recommended for termination for

(1) Failure to maintain a grade point average of 3.0 in all courses and in those in the 200 series.

(2) Failure to maintain a grade point average of 3.0 in any two consecutive terms.

(3) Failure of the comprehensive examination.

(4) Failure to complete the thesis to the satisfaction of the committee members.

(5) Failure to maintain satisfactory progress toward the degree within the three-year time limit for completing all degree requirements.


In addition to the standard reasons noted above, a student may be recommended for termination for

(1) Failure to maintain a grade point average of 3.25 in all courses and in any two consecutive quarters.

(2) Failure of the major field written examination.

(3) Failure of the oral preliminary examination.

(4) Failure of a written minor field examination after failure to attain a grade point average of 3.33 in the minor field course work.

(5) Failure of the oral qualifying examination.

(6) Failure of the final oral examination (defense of the dissertation).

(7) Failure to obtain permission to repeat an examination from an examining committee.

(8) Failure to maintain satisfactory progress toward the degree within the specified time limits.