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MS in Computer Engineering

Computer engineers work on components, devices, programs, algorithms, and systems that are used in computers, and on techniques of computation, analysis, and implementation that are applicable to single computers or to systems of computers. In the past, work in this area used to be compartmentalized between hardware and software, but the boundaries between these two categories have become less distinct. Many computer engineers are well versed in both hardware and software, and provide "hybrid" solutions on a regular basis. The ECE Department prepares students to develop such solutions in a wide range of industries and applications by providing advanced studies as part of the Master of Science (MS) in Computer Engineering degree program.


The MS in Computer Engineering curriculum encompasses completion of a minimum of 45 or 48 (with the two-term graduate co-op participation option) approved graduate quarter credit hours, chosen in accordance with the following requirements and a program plan arranged with the graduate advisors in consultation with the student's supervising professor, if applicable.

Core Courses

A minimum of 30 credit hours must be taken from among the graduate course offerings of the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at Drexel University. These core courses must be broken down in the following manner:

Course Requirement Credits
Total 30 cr.
CPE coursework*
21 cr.
General ECE coursework
9 cr.

*Research-intensive courses (ECEx 697, ECEx 898, ECEx 997, & ECEx 998) cannot be used to fulfill this requirement.

Mathematical Foundations Requirement

Students pursuing an MS in Computer Engineering must also include 6 credits of coursework that emphasizes the development of mathematical skills that are required in the area of computer engineering within their program plans. A list of courses that meet this criterion can be found below. Courses taken to fulfill this requirement that are taken outside of the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering will automatically be counted as elective courses.

  • CS 525: Theory of Computation
  • CS 567: Applied Symbolic Computation
  • CS 583: Introduction to Computer Vision
  • CS 613: Machine Learning
  • CS 621: Approximation Algorithms
  • CS 623: Computational Geometry
  • ECES 511: Fundamentals of Systems I
  • ECES 512: Fundamentals of Systems II
  • ECES 513: Fundamentals of Systems III
  • ECES 521: Probability & Random Variables
  • ECES 522: Random Processes & Spectral Analysis
  • ECES 523: Detection & Estimation Theory
  • ECES 811: Optimization Methods for Engineering Design
  • ECET 602: Information Theory and Coding
  • OPR 624: Advanced Mathematical Programming
  • OPR 992: Applied Math Programming
  • Any MATH course at the 500-level or above

Elective Courses

The remaining courses needed to reach the minimum credit hour requirement for the degree program are considered elective courses. Elective courses can be chosen from among the graduate course offerings of the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering (ECE, ECEC, ECEE, ECEP, ECES, ECET); other departments within the College of Engineering (AE, CHE, CIVE, CMGT, EGEO, EGMT, ENGR, ENVE, ET, MATE, MEM, PROJ, PRMT, SYSE); the School of Biomedical Science, Engineering and Health Systems (BMES); the Department of Mathematics (MATH); the Department of Physics (PHYS); the Department of Chemistry (CHEM) and the Department of Biology (BIO). Operations Research graduate-level coursework in the Department of Decision Sciences (OPR) and Computer Science graduate-level coursework in the College of Computing & Informatics (CS) may also be taken towards completion of this requirement.

In order to have courses outside of the departments, schools, and subjects listed above count towards degree completion, they must be approved by the graduate advisors prior to registration for said courses.

Please note that ECEC 500 (Fundamentals of Computer Hardware) and ECEC 600 (Fundamentals of Computer Networks) do not count towards the credit requirements needed to complete this MS degree program.

Master's Thesis & Independent Research

Although not required, students pursuing an MS degree, especially those interested in eventually pursuing a Ph.D. or entering a research-intensive career, are encouraged to complete a Master's Thesis as part of their MS studies. For more information regarding the Master's Thesis process, please visit the thesis information page.

It is also possible for MS students to engage in research for academic credit outside of the scope of the thesis option. This research is still performed under the supervision of a faculty member; however, the end result is not submission of a Master's Thesis. This option is best suited for those students interested in gaining exposure to the research process and environment without the commitment to writing a thesis or for those students interested in delving deeper into a topic that is outside the scope of the normal graduate course offerings. Students interested in engaging in research for academic credit should read more about their options on the graduate student-initiated courses information page.

Regardless of whether or not a Master's Thesis is being completed, a total of 9 credits of research-intensive coursework (ECEx 697, ECEx 898, ECEx 997, & ECEx 998) may be counted towards the minimum credit hour requirement for the MS degree program. These credits are counted as core courses.

Graduate Co-op Program

Students pursuing an MS degree may choose to participate in the graduate co-op program, where up to 6 credit hours can be earned for up to two terms of full-time co-operative education experience in industry, working on curriculum related projects. Students participating in a single-term full-time co-op experience will earn 3 credits, which are considered an elective course. Students engaging in a two-term full-time co-op experience will earn 6 credits, 3 credits of which are considered an elective course; the other 3 credits are considered as an additional course, increasing the total minimum credit requirement for graduation from the MS degree program with a two-term full-time graduate co-op to 48 credits. For more information regarding the graduate co-op program, please visit the graduate co-op information page.

Transfer Credit

All approved transfer credits are considered elective courses, regardless of content equivalency. If a transfer credit request is approved for one of the required core courses, the student is exempt from taking said core course but must make up the credits by taking a different course from among the graduate course offerings of the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at Drexel University. More information about the transfer credit process can be found on the transfer credit information page.

Program Plan

Every MS student is required to construct a program plan in consultation with the graduate advisors and the student's supervising professor, if applicable. This program plan will outline the student's path to degree completion, including at minimum all courses the student plans to take and the term in which those courses are to be taken.

For more information about the planning, submission and approval process for program plans, please visit the Constructing an MS Program Plan page.