General Track PhD Program

I. Course Work

The required course work consists of three components: Graduate Level Course, Research Seminar, and Research Project.

1) Graduate Level Course

  • A student working towards the PhD degree is required to take graduate level courses. A student with a bachelor’s degree is required to take five courses. A student with a master’s degree is required to take four courses.
  • Courses can be chosen from the available SUTD graduate level courses, related to the student’s specific research area, and in consultation with the PhD advisor.
  • All students are recommended to complete the required course work before their PhD Qualifying Examination (QE) & Thesis Proposal.

2) Research Seminar

  • All students must attend the General Track Research Seminar Series for at least 2 semesters and deliver at least 2 technical talks during their course of study.
  • The General Track Research Seminar Series consist of a series of seminars related to the general track students’ research area and are to be provided by the general track and the EPD/ISTD/ESD pillar. The seminars attended should be approved by the PhD advisor. The students are required to submit a short write-up/report as proof of attendance of the seminars.
  • All students are recommended to complete their Research Seminars before their PhD QE & Thesis Proposal.

3) Research Project

  • All students must take at least one research project during their course of study. The research project can be chosen from those provided by the general track, the EPD/ISTD/ESD pillar, or the external projects (e.g. industry projects or research projects with A*Star RIs).
  • Students are also strongly encouraged to choose the Big D project in lieu of the research project.

II. Qualification Examination and Thesis Proposal

  • Students must take a PhD Qualifying Examination (QE) & Thesis Proposal to assess their fitness and progress to the PhD degree. It should be taken after the first year and by the second year of PhD study.
  • It consists of: (1) a detailed report; (2) a 45 minutes oral presentation.
    The QE & Thesis Proposal is to assess a student’s understanding of the following aspects of their PhD study:

    • The general field of PhD study, and the specific focus
    • A comprehensive literature review
    • Development of a rational research plan
    • Preliminary results
    • Expected final outcome
  • The QE & Thesis Proposal will be assessed by a faculty committee appointed by the general track head, consisting of at least four faculty members: a chair (Tenure faculty), the thesis advisor, and two other faculty members of SUTD. The committee may include an optional external member of SUTD. The same committee will serve as the Thesis Examination Committee (TEC).
  • Maximum allowable attempt for QE & Thesis Proposal: Twice.
    If a student fails the 2nd attempt, his/her research scholarship and candidature will be terminated.
  • The status of the completion of the PhD Thesis and the final Thesis Proposal will be examined by TEC again 6 months before the Oral Defense. Students must incorporate TEC’s comments into their thesis and obtain the TEC’s approval before taking the oral defense.

III. Students must also meet up other general requirements of SUTD’s PhD program




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