Carnegie Mellon University

Progress review

All students working toward an ECE PhD degree must regularly demonstrate progress in meeting the degree's requirements by completing a Graduate Progress Review Statement each fall and spring semester.

In this statement, the student must describe their:

  • Activities as a graduate student researcher
  • Research goals and achievements
  • Activities as a member of the ECE community
  • Courses taken since enrollment as a graduate student in ECE
  • Courses planned for next semester

These statements are typically due during the first week of April (for the spring semester) and November (for the fall semester). Students are encouraged to discuss the completed statement with their advisor. Students and their advisor will use this information to create a single-slide summary of the student's progress toward the ECE PhD degree. The advisor presents this to ECE faculty at the Graduate Progress Review meeting, held on the Friday of the second week of PhD qualifying exams.

The outcome of this review is a grade that characterizes the student's progress toward the PhD. There are only two grade levels: satisfactory (S) and unsatisfactory or not passing (N). Students who receive an N grade for the first time must meet with their advisor and define a course of action to achieve a satisfactory grade in the next semester.

PhD students do not receive a letter grade (A, B, etc.) for their research each semester. Instead, their research grade is the same as the review outcome (S or N). These grades are unfactorable. Students will receive a letter grade in their final semester as a graduate student in the ECE Department.