M.S. in ECE - Requirements

The Master of Science (M.S.) degree in ECE may be earned through one of three programs:

  1. The Professional M.S. program,
  2. The Integrated M.S./B.S. (IMB) program, or;
  3. The Ph.D./M.S. program.

The Professional M.S. and Ph.D./M.S. programs are available to qualified students who have earned an undergraduate degree. Select undergraduate students in ECE at Carnegie Mellon may be admitted into the IMB Program. Typically, three semesters are needed to complete the M.S. degree. However, it is possible to complete an M.S. in ECE in one year. IMB students typically complete these requirements within 5 years of starting their undergraduate degree.

Students in the three programs must satisfy a set of course requirements to earn the degree. Students in the Ph.D./M.S. Program may count a project report and additional graduate project units toward the degree.

Course requirements

A minimum of 96 units are required to obtain the MS in ECE degree.

Of the 96 units, 60 units must be ECE graduate work (typically 5 courses):

  • Courses must be at the ECE (18) 600-level or higher or CS 700-level or higher
  • 12 units may be graduate project units
  • The following ECE/CS courses may NOT be used as part of these 60 units: 18-601, 18-603, 18-605, 18-606, 18-700, 18-703 and 15-894.
  • Petitions for exceptions to these criteria are seldom accepted.

For the remaining 36 units, courses satisfying the following criteria below are acceptable:

  • Any ECE course at 18-500 or above
  • Any course at the 600-level or higher from one of the following colleges or programs (with restrictions noted below)
    • Carnegie Institute of Technology (CIT)
      • Biomedical Engineering (42)
      • Chemical Engineering (06)
      • Civil & Environmental Engineering (12)
      • Engineering & Public Policy (19)
      • Information Network Institute (14)
      • Materials Science & Engineering (27)
      • Mechanical Engineering (24)
      • CMU Silicon Valley (96)
    • Dietrich: Center for the Neural Basis of Cognition (86)
    • Heinz School of Information Systems (95)
    • Mellon College of Science (MCS)
      • Biological Sciences (03)
      • Chemistry (09)
      • Mathematical Sciences (21)
      • Physics (33)
    • School of Computer Science (SCS)
      • Computer Science (15)
      • Entertainment Technology Center (53)
      • Institute for Software Research (08)
      • Robotics Institute (16)
      • Human-Computer Interaction Institute (05)
      • Language Technologies Institute (11)
      • Machine Learning (10)
    • Tepper School of Business (45)
  • Provided the course is not essentially the same in content as equivalent undergraduate courses AND less than 50% of the course grade is based on an individual project AND less than 20% of the course grade is based on attendance.
  • At most 12 units numbered XX-499 or below from the above colleges, departments and programs.

Restrictions

Of the 96 required units, you may not count:

  • Professional M.S. and IMB Programs: more than 15 units of graduate project units
  • Ph.D./M.S. Program not exercising the Project Report Requirement: more than 15 units of graduate project units
  • Ph.D./M.S. Program exercising the Project Report Requirement: more than 36 units of graduate project units
  • More than 12 units of undergraduate courses at a 400-level or below
  • Any units of physical education, ROTC, seminar courses, or courses taken as pass/fail

Transfer credit from previous universities or colleges

Only one graduate-level course, or the equivalent of 12 units, can be transferred from another university as credit toward the M.S. degree. As a guideline, three-credit courses from other universities equate to 9-unit CMU courses; a four-credit course equates to a 12-unit CMU course. The course being transferred can not have been counted towards another degree and a letter grade of "B" or better must have been received. To transfer credit from another university, a formal petition must be submitted to and approved by the Graduate Studies Committee. No credit will be considered or granted prior to admission to the M.S. degree program.

Course credit for continuing ECE B.S. graduates

CMU students who received their B.S. degree from ECE may use courses that were not used towards satisfying the B.S. degree to satisfy the M.S. degree course requirement.

Project report requirements

Students in the Ph.D./M.S. Program may exercise an optional research project report requirement that allows a larger number of research project units to be counted toward M.S. degree requirements.

The final completion of graduate project units requires a formal report which clearly and succinctly states the objectives, assumptions, and accomplishments of the work.

The M.S. Report must be approved and signed by two ECE faculty or faculty with an ECE courtesy appointment.

Quality Point Average (QPA) requirement

To remain as a student in good standing, the student must maintain a 3.0 QPA in course units and a separate 3.0 QPA in project units. The letter grades "A," "B," or "C," represent 4.0, 3.0, and 2.0 points in the QPA calculation, respectively. Transfer credits are not included in the QPA calculations.

For the final degree requirements, the QPA is calculated using the highest, appropriate, scores of 96 units out of the first 120 course and project units attempted. The units used to calculate the QPA must satisfy the M.S. course requirement.

Applying to the Ph.D./M.S. program

Students in the Professional M.S. and IMB programs

Students in the Professional M.S. and IMB Programs who have identified a research project that they want to pursue in-depth, leading to a Ph.D. degree, may wish to take advantage of the project report. These students must complete one year (two semesters) in the Professional M.S. or IMB programs before they can apply to be admitted to the Ph.D./M.S. Program.

Carnegie Mellon students from outside of ECE and Carnegie Mellon staff

Carnegie Mellon students from outside of ECE and Carnegie Mellon staff may take graduate courses in ECE, including those that can be counted toward an M.S. degree in ECE, subject to the same rules and requirements as currently exist and subject also to the availability of space in those courses.

  • Courses to be counted toward an M.S. degree cannot be more than 6 academic years old at the time the degree is awarded.
  • To obtain the M.S. degree, Carnegie Mellon students from outside ECE and Carnegie Mellon staff must be admitted into the ECE M.S. Program and meet all of the admission requirements that are standard practice in the department and described in ECE documentation.
  • Admission to the M.S. Program must take place no later than the semester before all of the M.S. degree requirements are to expected to be met, although earlier admission is preferable.

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