M.S. Program Requirements


For all three plans, there are a minimum number of formal graduate courses that must be taken from a student’s area in addition to the remaining elective courses and the required ECE 297 seminar. A formal graduate course is defined as any four-unit 200-level course that is taken for a letter grade. Seminar, individual-studies, 500-level, 400-level, or 300-level courses do not count as formal graduate courses.

Elective courses do not necessarily need to be from the student’s area, and may potentially be from the following departments:

  • Bioengineering
  • Chemical Engineering
  • Civil and Environmental Engineering
  • Computer Science
  • Electrical and Computer Engineering
  • Materials Science and Engineering
  • Mathematics
  • Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering
  • Physics
  • Statistics

Courses outside of the above departments must be approved by the ECE Department before they may be applied toward M.S. degree requirements. Additionally, if approved, a maximum of one such course from outside of these areas may count toward M.S. program requirements.

A maximum of one upper-division course undergraduate may be taken as an elective, replacing one of the graduate courses, provided that (1) the undergraduate course is not on the Department’s list of prohibited courses, and (2) the undergraduate course is approved by ECE Office of Graduate Student Affairs. All other electives must be formal graduate courses. For any uncertainty regarding whether or not a course may count toward degree requirements, students are encouraged to determine the applicability of the course with the ECE Graduate Office before enrolling in it.

Capstone – Courses Plan

  • ECE 297 Seminar
  • Nine (9) four-unit lecture courses, taken for a letter grade
  • At least five (5) of these courses must be formal graduate courses from the student’s area
  • The remaining four lecture courses are electives

Capstone – Project Plan

  • ECE 297 Seminar
  • ECE 299 Project Seminar, taken once during the student’s final quarter
  • Eight (8) four-unit lecture courses, taken for a letter grade
  • At least five (5) of these courses must be formal graduate courses from the student’s area
  • The remaining three lecture courses are electives
  • Submission of Project Report and Presentation slides by the end of Week 9

    To select this option students must be find a faculty advisor who agrees to supervise their project research. If the proposed project supervisor is different from the student’s faculty advisor, the student must change their advisor to the supervisor of their project. Project supervisors must be ECE faculty members. M.S. Projects typically take 1-2 quarters to complete, culminating in a report and presentation of the student’s findings. There is no specified length for an MS project as the number of pages is dependent on the amount of information required for the given topic. Projects are not evaluated by the number of pages, but rather, by the content and findings presented. Students may visit our office for samples of previous MS Projects and slides that were approved.

    Students on the M.S. Project option must submit the report, presentation slides, and M.S. Project Cover page to the ECE Graduate Office no later than the final day of Week 9. Additionally, they must also email electronic versions of these materials to by the same date.

Thesis Plan

  • ECE 297 Seminar
  • Seven (7) four-unit lecture courses, taken for a letter grade
  • At least four (4) of these courses must be formal graduate courses from the student’s area
  • The remaining three lecture courses are electives
  • A minimum of eight (8) units of the ECE 598 Thesis Preparation seminar.
  • Nomination of an M.S. Thesis committee consisting of a minimum of three members, two of which must be from the Electrical and Computer Engineering Department (including the chair of the committee).
  • A properly formatted thesis approved by a Thesis Committee under the current University rules and regulations
    To pursue the M.S. Thesis option, a student must find an Electrical and Computer Engineering department faculty member willing to serve as their thesis advisor. By the beginning of their final quarter in the M.S. program, they are expected to nominate a thesis committee. Students must submit their M.S. Thesis Committee Nomination form and 1-page abstract of their thesis to the ECE Graduate Office by Wednesday during the second week of the quarter that they intend to graduate. Additionally, it is recommended that students on the Thesis Plan discuss with their advisor the details for presenting their thesis to their committee.

    To file their thesis, students must receive the approval of all committee members by the filing deadline for their quarter of graduation. (The filing deadline is the last day of the quarter, at 5:00 p.m.) The day that the last committee member approves of an M.S. thesis is considered to be the filing date. Due to this, students are encouraged to submit and request that their committee review their thesis at least one week before their preferred filing date.

    More information about filing the M.S. Thesis may be found on the Graduate Division’s website.

All new M.S. and M.S./Ph.D. students are assigned to the Capstone – Courses Plan by default. To change their M.S. Plan, students must submit a revised M.S. Program of Study under their proposed M.S. Plan. If a student intends to change to either the Capstone – Project Plan or Thesis Plan, their M.S Program of study must be approved by an ECE faculty member who agrees to supervise their Project or Thesis.