Fields of Specialization
Students in the ECE Graduate Program can study a variety of specialized fields within electrical and computer engineering. In order to write a thesis in any field, it is necessary to take several courses in order to obtain the necessary background. To aid the student in planning a program of graduate studies, this section provides general guidance on the courses that should be taken for pursuing independent study and research in the chosen field of specialization. The tables on the following pages list the fields of specialization within broad areas and the courses deemed essential or desirable in each field. None of these courses are required in any sense, and the student, in cooperation with the thesis adviser, is free to formulate an individualized study program that takes into account the student's research interests and previous preparation for graduate study.
Students who intend to pursue only the M.S. degree, generally spend most of their time acquiring the fundamental concepts in their chosen area, and thus have few problems in selecting courses once a field of specialization has been chosen. Such students generally take all the courses listed as essential (and also a few listed as desirable) for the M.S. degree program in the chosen field of specialization. However, beginning students often have interest in a broad area and cannot decide on a specific field of specialization within the area without further graduate study. Such students are advised to select courses from the following list:
ECE: 515, 520, 534, 535, 551
PHYS: 486, 487
MATH: 418, 446, 447
Students who wish to pursue the Ph.D. degree have a somewhat different problem. Although the Department has no formal requirements for a minor area for the Ph.D. degree, the structure of the Qualifying Examination is such that students find it necessary to take courses in areas other than the one chosen for the Ph.D. thesis. Furthermore, students who enter with Bachelor's degrees should have made substantial progress on their M.S. theses by the time the Qualifying Examination is taken. Therefore, these students also must choose courses that will provide sufficient depth in the chosen field of specialization. Thus, the decision to pursue a Ph.D. degree should be made as early as possible, and the prospective candidate should choose a field of specialization and a Ph.D. thesis adviser as early as possible.