Master of Science Degree Information
Credit Requirements for the M.S. Degree
Thirty-two hours of credit, of which 20 must be 500-level ECE hours, are required. The 20 hours includes eight hours of ECE 599, Thesis. Only eight hours of credit in ECE 599 are counted toward the M.S. degree, even if more hours of ECE 599 are taken during the M.S. program. To complete the required 20 hours of 500-level ECE courses, 12 additional 500-level ECE hours, other than ECE 590, ECE 596, ECE 597, and ECE 599, must also be completed. Up to 4 hours of credit in one of the following CS courses may be counted as 500-level ECE coursework for the purpose of fulfilling the 500-level ECE coursework requirement: CS 511, CS 512, CS 522, CS 523, CS 524, CS 525, CS 526, CS 533, CS 538, CS 546, CS 576.
There are 32 - 20 = 12 remaining hours needed to complete the M.S. program. These remaining hours may include virtually any 400-level or 500-level courses from any department, subject to the following restrictions. Credit in ECE 590, ECE 596, or ECE 599, or any similar reading or independent study courses or group seminars in other departments, cannot be used. Further, at most four hours of ECE 597 are allowed. Credit from courses listed in the Credit Restrictions section cannot be used. Questions concerning allowable courses should be directed to the ECE Graduate Advisor.
Students should seek out faculty members with research interests similar to theirs and explore possible thesis topics as early as possible. The ECE Graduate Faculty and their research interests are listed under research. In many cases, faculty members will advise students to read various articles in the literature or to take specific courses in order to obtain the necessary background for conducting research in their areas of interest. Recommended courses for various areas of research are also listed in the section titled Fields of Specialization. When a student and a faculty member have agreed on a thesis topic, the M.S. Thesis Advisor Agreement should be submitted online. Finding a thesis adviser is the responsibility of the student. The department expects all M.S. students to sign a Thesis Advisor Agreement by the end of the second semester in residence. Difficulties should be reported to the Advising Office. General requirements for the thesis may be found in the section titled The Thesis.
Deposit of the Thesis in the Graduate College
When the thesis has been approved and signed by the M.S. thesis adviser, it is submitted to ECE Editorial Services, which checks whether the thesis is in acceptable format. If the M.S. thesis adviser is not a member of the ECE Graduate Faculty (see the section entitled "ECE Graduate Faculty"), an ECE Graduate Faculty member must co-sign the Thesis/Dissertation Approval form. The Thesis/Dissertation Approval form is available through the Graduate College thesis website. Following format approval, ECE Editorial Services submits the Thesis/Dissertation Approval (TDA) form with adviser signature(s) to the Department Head for signature approval and then delivers the completed TDA form to the Graduate College. Allow up to 48 hours for obtaining Department Head approval. Details of various requirements to be satisfied are given in the section titled The Thesis.
Continuing Toward the PH.D. Degree
M.S. degree candidates who wish to continue toward the Ph.D. degree and who satisfy the requirements stated in the section titled The Qualifying Examination and Admission to Ph.D. Candidacy must take the Departmental Ph.D. Qualifying Examination at the time specified in that section. It is not necessary to complete the M.S. degree requirements before taking the examination. Students who fail to satisfy the necessary requirements by the beginning of the fourth semester in residence are not eligible for admission to Ph.D. candidacy.
It is necessary to have a Ph.D. thesis adviser by the time the Qualifying Examination is taken. A Ph.D. Thesis Advisor Agreement must be submitted before a student will be allowed to sign up to take the Ph.D. Qualifying Examination. For many students, the M.S. thesis adviser also serves as the Ph.D. thesis adviser.
M.S. degree candidates who do not take the Qualifying Examination at the required time are assumed to be uninterested in pursuing the Ph.D. degree. Students who intend to leave after the M.S. degree and to return later for a Ph.D. are advised to take the Qualifying Examination and gain admission to Ph.D. candidacy before leaving the Department. Students who are successful in gaining admission to Ph.D. candidacy do not need to take the Qualifying Examination again if they are readmitted to the Department within five years of their admission to Ph.D. candidacy.
The Graduate College requires candidates for the M.S. degree to complete all requirements for the degree within five calendar years after first registration in the Graduate College. However, the Department expects that most full-time candidates for the M.S. degree will be able to complete all the requirements in three to four semesters.