The ECE MS and PhD program

The Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering offers graduate programs leading to the degrees of Master of Science (M.S.) and of Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) in Electrical and Computer Engineering. In addition, a joint program leading to the M.S. degree in Electrical and Computer Engineering and the Master's degree in Business Administration (M.B.A.) is offered in cooperation with the Department of Business Administration. The Department also participates in the Medical Scholars program that allows students to earn the degree of Doctor of Medicine (M.D.) and the Ph.D. in Electrical and Computer Engineering. This manual provides detailed statements of the requirements for each degree, and of the procedures to be followed in completing each degree program.

Orientation Program

An orientation program is offered at the beginning of the Fall and Spring semesters to introduce incoming graduate students to the ECE Department and its faculty, the operation of the ECE Graduate Program, and the Departmental research laboratories and facilities. All incoming graduate students are urged to attend this program.

The Advisory System

Each incoming graduate student is assigned an academic adviser who is available to help the student in planning a program of studies. The faculty member who provides the assistantship advises new research assistants. If the student's interests change, a different adviser may be sought in later semesters.

The Ph.D. degree program and the M.S. degree program require submission of a thesis which records the results of a research program conducted under the direction of a thesis adviser. The thesis adviser must be an ECE faculty member or an ECE department affiliate. Since the thesis adviser usually requires the student to take specific courses in order to obtain the necessary background for conducting research, it is imperative that students seek out faculty members with research interests similar to theirs and explore possible thesis topics as early as possible in the course of their studies. The ECE Graduate Faculty and their research interests are listed in the section titled Departmental Information.

When a student and a faculty member have agreed on a thesis topic, an M.S. or Ph.D. Thesis Adviser Agreement is completed and submitted to the ECE Graduate Advising Office via an online form. Once a thesis agreement is accepted, the thesis adviser becomes the student's academic adviser except in cases where the thesis adviser is not a full-time ECE faculty member. In such cases the student is required to have an academic adviser who is a full-time ECE faculty member. This is to ensure that the student has an adviser who is familiar with ECE's rules and common practices and can help the student plan coursework, prepare for the qualifying exam, and navigate the task of preparing and depositing the thesis. The ECE faculty member who serves as academic adviser does not have to be directly involved in supervising the thesis research.

The Thesis Adviser Agreement may be terminated at any time by either party, by written notification to the other party and to the ECE Graduate Advising Office. Finding a thesis adviser is the responsibility of the student. Difficulties should be reported to the Advising Office.

Initial Registration

Incoming students should read the relevant portions of this manual and prepare a tentative plan for a program of studies. The student should then discuss the plan with the faculty adviser who may suggest modifications to the plan based on the academic and research interests, and the background and undergraduate preparation of the student. Occasionally, students find that some of the courses in which they are enrolled are not suited to their interests or previous preparation. With the adviser's consent, the student may drop such courses and add others after the semester has begun. Such changes are handled through online registration.