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 graduate quarter credit hours, chosen in accordance with the following requirements. Students are encouraged to compose a plan of study, in consultation with the graduate advisors and the student's supervising professor (if applicable).

Course Requirement Credits
15 cr.
Total 45 cr.
CPE coursework*
21 cr.
General ECE coursework

9 cr.

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

Elective Courses

Elective courses can be chosen from among the graduate course offerings of:

  • 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)
  • Department of Mathematics (MATH)
  • Department of Physics (PHYS)
  • Department of Chemistry (CHEM)
  • Department of Biology (BIO)
  • Operations Research graduate-level coursework in the Department of Decision Sciences (OPR)
  • Computer Science graduate-level coursework in the College of Computing & Informatics (CS)

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.

Mathematical Foundations Requirement

Students pursuing an MS in Computer Engineering must also include 6 credits of coursework (within, not in addition to, the 45 total required credits) that emphasizes the development of mathematical skills that are required in the area of computer engineering. 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

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.

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.

Learn More about Master's Thesis

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 students who are 1) interested in gaining exposure to the research process and environment without the commitment to writing a thesis or 2) interested in delving deeper into a topic that is outside the scope of the normal graduate course offerings.

Learn More about Graduate Student-initiated Courses

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

Graduate Co-op Program

Students pursuing an MS degree may choose to participate in the graduate co-op tract. Students will have the opportunity to take a professional development course that will prepare them for the coop application process, in addition to providing resume critiques and interview skills. After completing 3 quarters of full-time coursework, students will then participate in coop for 6 months before returning to the classroom to complete their degree requirements. For more specific information relating to the graduate coop process, please consult the Graduate Coop Coordinator or the ECE Program Manager for Graduate Programs.

Learn More about Graduate Co-op