Electrical Engineering is the discipline that drives our increasingly-connected society. Electrical engineers design systems, devices, and algorithms that contribute innovative solutions across a broad spectrum of applications. The Electrical Engineering program offers the following concentrations: bioengineering, communications and networking, control and robotics, electronics, signal processing, and space-based systems. The graduates of our program develop reliable, secure, and high-speed communication networks and systems; apply modern signal processing algorithms to extract information from images, audio, video, sonar, and radio signals; apply control theory and robotics foundations to applications such as autonomous vehicles, humanoid robots, and multi-agent systems; design nanoscale devices for the highly integrated circuits that drive the Internet of Things, health-monitoring devices, smartphones, tablets, and modern-day computer systems; develop prosthetic devices, brain-machine interfaces, and systems to ameliorate neurological disorders. Students in this program will develop theoretical foundations, analytical capabilities, and practical hands-on skills in their chosen field of specialization. They will also develop the oral and written communication skills necessary to articulate their ideas and succeed as entrepreneurs, practicing engineers, or technical managers in high-tech companies.

Admissions

Requirements

To be considered for admission to the degree, applicants should have a baccalaureate degree in electrical engineering, computer engineering, or a closely-related discipline from an accredited program, and have earned a GPA of B or better during the last 60 credits. Other requirements are as follows:

  • Two letters of recommendation, preferably from academic references or references in industry or government who hold advanced degrees and are familiar with the applicant’s professional accomplishments
  • Resume and detailed statement of career goals and aspirations
  • For students who have not earned a bachelor’s degree from a U.S. university, satisfactory performance on the GRE
  • For applicants who have not earned an academic degree in an English-speaking country (as defined in the GMU Catalog), a satisfactory score on any of the English proficiency examinations accepted by Mason, namely, TOEFL, IELTS, or PTE. Satisfactory scores are specific to Volgenau School of Engineering and are listed here.

Students with BS or MS degrees in ECE-related disciplines (for example, bioengineering, computer science, cyber security engineering, mathematics, mechanical engineering, or physics) are encouraged to apply for admission. Domestic students may be admitted provisionally and required to satisfy provisional requirements before taking advanced coursework. Such students may also be advised to take some courses from the undergraduate electrical engineering curriculum, according to their intended specialization and specific backgrounds.

Policies

Student Advising

Students can select a concentration from those available in the MS degree program at the time of application to the program or later during their studies. In the former case, students are assigned an academic advisor from the selected concentration at the time of the admission, in the latter case, students can petition for a change of an academic advisor to match their concentration choice.

Plan of Study

Before completing 6 credit hours of coursework, each student must submit to the department a plan of study that has been approved by the academic advisor. This plan should be kept up to date by regular consultation with the academic advisor. A final, signed version of the plan must be turned in when the student submits a graduation application.

Banner Code: VS-MS-ELEN

Degree Requirements

Total credits: 30

Students must complete a minimum of 30 graduate credits beyond the bachelor’s degree. The plan of study for the degree must fulfill the following requirements:

Core Course Requirement

Required Courses
Select 15 credits from the following:15
Computer Architecture
Linear Systems and Control
Neural Engineering
Introduction to Random Processes in Electrical and Computer Engineering
Digital Signal Processing
Computer Network Architectures and Protocols
Small Spacecraft Engineering
Semiconductor Device Fundamentals
Digital Integrated Circuits
Design of Analog Integrated Circuits
Systems Identification
Statistical Communication Theory
Master's Thesis 1
Total Credits15

Concentration Requirement

Accomplished by choosing one of the concentrations, and then meeting course requirements for this concentration with the grade B or better in each course. For each concentration, related ECE 590 Selected Topics in Engineering courses can be used in addition to all explicitly listed 500-level courses, and related ECE 699 Advanced Topics in Electrical and Computer Engineering courses in addition to all explicitly listed 600 level or above courses, subject to approval by the student's academic advisor. With assistance from their advisors, students may petition the graduate program coordinator to approve a specialization area of their own design, not fulfilling the requirements of any concentration.

Available Concentrations

Concentration in Bioengineering (BIOE)

Required Courses
ECE 526Neural Engineering3
ECE 538Medical Imaging3
Total Credits6
Electives
Select at least three courses from the following, including two courses at the 600 level or above:9
Bioengineering Research Methods
Advanced Biomedical Signal Processing
Advanced Medical Image Processing
Linear Systems and Control
Introduction to Random Processes in Electrical and Computer Engineering
Sensor Engineering
Digital Signal Processing
Introduction to Digital Image Processing (DIP)
Computer Network Architectures and Protocols
Optimal Control Theory
Systems Identification
Kalman Filtering with Applications
Detection and Estimation Theory
Advanced Digital Signal Processing
Optimum Array Processing I
Total Credits9

Concentration in Communications and Networking (CONE)

Required Courses
ECE 528Introduction to Random Processes in Electrical and Computer Engineering3
ECE 542Computer Network Architectures and Protocols3
Total Credits6
Electives
Select at least three courses from the following, including two courses at the 600 level or above:9
Internet of Things
Introduction to Wireless Communications and Networks
Optical Fiber Communications
Statistical Communication Theory
Software-Defined Radio
Error Control Coding
Satellite Communications
Design and Analysis of Computer Communication Networks
Network Switching and Routing
Applied Cryptography
Random Processes in Electrical and Computer Engineering
Digital Communications
Mobile Communication Systems
Detection and Estimation Theory
Wireless Networks
High-Speed Networks
Information Theory
Total Credits9

Concentration in Control and Robotics (CORO)

Required Courses
ECE 521Linear Systems and Control3
ECE 528Introduction to Random Processes in Electrical and Computer Engineering3
Total Credits6
Electives
Select at least three courses from the following list: 19
Real-Time Embedded Systems
Nonlinear Systems and Control
Optimal Control Theory
Systems Identification
Kalman Filtering with Applications
Adaptive Control
Adaptive Signal Processing
Discrete Event Systems
Total Credits9

Concentration in Electronics (ELE)

Required Courses
ECE 584Semiconductor Device Fundamentals3
ECE 586Digital Integrated Circuits3
Total Credits6
Electives
Select at least three courses from the following, including two courses at the 600 level or above:9
Applied Electromagnetic Theory
Introduction to Optical Electronics
Design of Analog Integrated Circuits
VLSI Design for ASICs
MOS Device Electronics
Nanoelectronics
Sensor Device Technology
Radio Frequency Electronics
Total Credits9

Concentration in Signal Processing (SIGP)

Required Courses
ECE 528Introduction to Random Processes in Electrical and Computer Engineering3
ECE 535Digital Signal Processing3
Total Credits6
Electives
Select at least three courses from the following, including two courses at the 600 level or above:9
Linear Systems and Control
Learning From Data
Sensor Engineering
Introduction to Digital Image Processing (DIP)
Medical Imaging
Digital System Design with VHDL
Systems Identification
Kalman Filtering with Applications
Statistical Communication Theory
Software-Defined Radio
Error Control Coding
Adaptive Signal Processing
Random Processes in Electrical and Computer Engineering
Digital Communications
Mobile Communication Systems
Detection and Estimation Theory
Advanced Digital Signal Processing
Digital Signal Processing Hardware Architectures
Information Theory
Optimum Array Processing I
Total Credits9

Concentration in Space-Based Systems (SBSY)

Required Courses
ECE 511Computer Architecture3
ECE 580Small Spacecraft Engineering3
Total Credits6
Electives
Select at least three courses from the following, including two courses at the 600 level or above:9
Real-Time Concepts
Applied Electromagnetic Theory
Linear Systems and Control
Introduction to Random Processes in Electrical and Computer Engineering
Sensor Engineering
Digital Signal Processing
Digital System Design with VHDL
System Engineering Design
Real-Time Embedded Systems
Software/Hardware Codesign
Optimal Control Theory
Kalman Filtering with Applications
Adaptive Control
Statistical Communication Theory
Software-Defined Radio
Adaptive Signal Processing
Satellite Communications
Optimum Array Processing I
Space Systems Engineering
Total Credits9

Upper-Level Course Requirement

A minimum of 9 credit hours of ECE courses at the 600 level or above, other than ECE 698ECE 798, and ECE 799 (including, but not limited to, the selected concentration elective), with the grade B or better in each course.

ECE Course Requirement

A maximum of 6 credits of non-ECE courses may be used to fulfill degree requirements, subject to prior approval by the student's academic advisor, in the form of a plan of study signed by the advisor and submitted to the ECE Office.

Electives

Electives can be chosen from among all ECE graduate courses, as well as related graduate courses with other designations. The students are encouraged to discuss their choice of electives with their academic advisor prior to the registration.

GPA Requirements

A maximum of 6 credits of courses with grades of C or B- may be applied toward the degree. The student must present a GPA of at least 3.00 for all courses submitted for the degree.

Seminar Requirement

Graduate students are expected to participate actively in the exchange of knowledge and ideas in their discipline. Towards this objective, all degree candidates must attend a minimum of 6 graduate seminars approved for the degree program. Approved seminars are publicized on the departmental website. 

To demonstrate completion of the seminar requirement, students must register for ECE 795 Engineering Seminar in their final semester. The department office will verify that the seminar requirement has been met and submit a grade of S (satisfactory) upon completion of the requirement. Students who have not met the seminar requirement in their final semester must continue to register for ECE 795 in subsequent semesters until the requirement is met.

Thesis/Scholarly Paper Option

To complete the program, students may select one of the following options:

Thesis Option

Students who select this option must complete:

ECE 799Master's Thesis6
Coursework24
Total Credits30

The thesis is particularly recommended for those students who wish to develop and document their research skills or contemplate subsequent enrollment in a PhD program. The thesis involves a research effort, which is conducted under the guidance of a faculty advisor. Choosing the thesis option requires approval of a full-time faculty member willing to serve as a thesis advisor. The topic and scope of the thesis must be approved by the thesis advisor. In some cases, permission may be granted to complete a portion of the work at the student’s place of employment. The final written thesis and oral defense are approved by the student’s advisory committee.

This committee consists of at least three full-time faculty members, including two from the student’s concentration, and one from outside the concentration. Thesis students may not register for ECE 798 Research Project. Students must register for at least 3 credits of ECE 799 Master's Thesis for their first thesis semester. Following their first thesis semester, they must register for at least 1 credit of ECE 799 Master's Thesis each fall and spring semester until graduation.

Scholarly Paper Option

Students who select to complete their degree program with a scholarly paper must:

Complete 30 credits of coursework30
ECE 797Scholarly Paper0
Enroll in a 600-level or above course requiring a research project
Write a Scholarly Paper project report and present findings as part of the course requirements
Total Credits30

An acceptable scholarly paper must be technically sound, adhere to accepted formatting standards for technical reports, and contain a significant literature review evidenced by a comprehensive list of cited references.

A list of courses requiring projects that can be used to satisfy the scholarly paper requirement will be published on the department website. Scholarly papers must be individual written project reports – not group projects. To qualify as a scholarly paper an oral presentation of the project is required. A passing grade for the project, reflecting both the written report and the oral presentation, satisfies the scholarly paper requirement.

A successful scholarly paper will be recorded by awarding a satisfactory (S) grade for ECE 797 Scholarly Paper. Students are eligible to attempt the scholarly paper and register for ECE 797 Scholarly Paper after completion of 18 hours of coursework. Students choosing the scholarly paper option are not eligible for graduation until they have received a final, passing grade for ECE 797 Scholarly Paper.

Computer Engineering, BS/Electrical Engineering, Accelerated MS

Overview

The university offers highly-qualified students in the Computer Engineering, BS the option of obtaining an accelerated Electrical Engineering, MS.

For more detailed information, see AP.6.7 Bachelor's/Accelerated Master's Degrees. For policies governing all graduate degrees, see AP.6 Graduate Policies.

Admission Requirements

Students in the Computer Engineering, BS program may apply to this option if they have earned 75 undergraduate credits with an overall GPA of 3.00. Criteria for admission are identical to criteria for admission to the Electrical Engineering, MS program.

Accelerated Option Requirements

Students must complete all credits that satisfy the requirements for the BS and MS programs, with 6 credits overlap.

Students take 6 credits of 500-level courses as part of their technical electives or substitutes for required courses as part of their 126-credit undergraduate program. The specific courses that may be taken and applied to the accelerated program will be specified by the ECE Department.

Students may take additional graduate-level courses as part of their BS technical electives with advisor approval. These additional graduate-level courses will not count toward the MS degree.

Degree Conferral

Students must apply the semester before they expect to complete the BS requirements to have the BS degree conferred. In addition, at the beginning of the student's final undergraduate semester, students must complete a Bachelor's/Accelerated Master's Transition form that is submitted to the Office of the University Registrar and the VSE Graduate Admissions Office. At the completion of MS requirements, a master's degree is conferred.

Electrical Engineering, BS/Electrical Engineering, Accelerated MS

Overview

Highly-qualified students in the Electrical Engineering, BS have the option of obtaining an accelerated Electrical Engineering, MS.

For more detailed information, see AP.6.7 Bachelor's/Accelerated Master's Degrees. For policies governing all graduate degrees, see AP.6 Graduate Policies.

Admission Requirements

Students in the Electrical Engineering, BS program may apply to this option if they have earned 75 undergraduate credits with an overall GPA of 3.00. Criteria for admission are identical to criteria for admission to the Electrical Engineering, MS program.

Accelerated Option Requirements

Students must complete all credits that satisfy the requirements for the BS and MS programs, with 6 credits overlap.

Students take 6 credits of 500-level courses as part of their technical electives or substitutes for required courses as part of their 121-credit undergraduate program. The specific courses that may be taken and applied to the accelerated program will be specified by the ECE Department.

Students may take additional graduate-level courses as part of their BS technical electives with advisor approval. These additional graduate-level courses will not count toward the MS degree.

Degree Conferral

Students must apply the semester before they expect to complete the BS requirements to have the BS degree conferred. In addition, at the beginning of the student's final undergraduate semester, students must complete a Bachelor's/Accelerated Master's Transition form that is submitted to the Office of the University Registrar and the VSE Graduate Admissions Office. At the completion of MS requirements, a master's degree is conferred.

Mechanical Engineering, BS/Electrical Engineering, Accelerated MS

Overview

The university offers highly-qualified students in the Mechanical Engineering, BS the option of obtaining an accelerated Electrical Engineering, MS.

For more detailed information, see AP.6.7 Bachelor's/Accelerated Master's Degrees. For policies governing all graduate degrees, see AP.6 Graduate Policies.

Admission Requirements

Students in the Mechanical Engineering, BS program may apply for this option if they have earned 90 undergraduate credits, with an overall GPA of at least 3.25, and passed MATH 203 Linear Algebra and STAT 346 Probability for Engineers, or their equivalents, with the grade C or better. Criteria for admission are identical to criteria for admission to the Electrical Engineering, MS program.

Accelerated Option Requirements

Students must complete all credits that satisfy the requirements for the BS and MS programs, with 6 credits overlapping.

Students take 6 credits of 500-level ECE or SYST courses as part of their technical electives or substitutes for required courses in the Mechanical Engineering, BS program.

Specifically, students are encouraged to take two of the following courses:

ECE 521Linear Systems and Control3
ECE 526Neural Engineering3
ECE 527Learning From Data3
ECE 528Introduction to Random Processes in Electrical and Computer Engineering3
ECE 580Small Spacecraft Engineering3
SYST 521Network Analysis3

Degree Conferral

Students must apply the semester before they expect to complete the BS requirements to have the BS degree conferred. In addition, at the beginning of the student's final undergraduate semester, students must complete a Bachelor's/Accelerated Master's Transition form that is submitted to the Office of the University Registrar and the VSE Graduate Admissions Office. At the completion of MS requirements, a master's degree is conferred.