ECE Master's Program

A Master of Science in CPE, CNE or EE may be obtained with a thesis (MST) or without a thesis (MSN or Option B). Each such student should formally select a non-thesis advisor by the end of his/her second semester's enrollment. A student may submit a written request to change his/her advisor at any time. Requests to appoint, or change the advisor are subject to the approval of the Current Advisor, the Director of Graduate Programs, and the Graduate School. An advisor must be either a regular or associate member of the ECE Graduate Faculty. Forms for advisor appointments and changes are available online.

A formal Plan of Graduate Work must be submitted before the end of the second semester's enrollment. Students failing to establish a Plan of Graduate Work within the prescribed time limits may be prevented from registering, asked to withdraw from the program, or have their admission terminated. Forms for establishing the Plan of Graduate Work are available online via the ECE Graduate Program webpage. The Graduate Dean must approve the Plan of Graduate Work after departmental approval by the Director of Graduate Programs. Continuous registration is required (See Registration Requirements under General Information for details). The Plan of Graduate Work may be changed at any time subject to the approval of the advisor, the ECE Director of Graduate Programs, and the Graduate School. Forms for changing the Plan of Graduate Work may be obtained online.

Plans of Work Requirements

  1. The MS degree requires at least 30 credit hours. The MS program requires both breadth and depth.
  2. Breadth is obtained by taking at least one course from each of three (3) specialty areas. See Table 1 and the ECE Graduate Handbook Appendices for more information.
  3. Depth is achieved by taking at least two advanced graduate level courses. Advanced courses are 700 level regularly scheduled courses. Special topics courses, 79x, may not be counted as advanced. At least one of the advanced courses must come from the major track (EE or CPE). For thesis MS students, ECE695 counts as an advanced course.
  4. The major, EE or CPE, is obtained by taking five (5) courses from major track from the entire list of courses in ECE. At least one of the advanced courses must come from the major track. Three hours of thesis can be credited as one course in the major. Only one course in the major track is subject to this substitution.
  5. The student must take 21 hours of ECE courses, 18 hours must be graded, i.e., only one S/U course allowed, (ECE633, 634, 682), exclusive of ECE695. ECE695 cannot be used for credit by non-thesis students. The student must have a GPA of at least 3.000 in ECE courses. This includes courses cross-listed with other departments.
  6. Maximum six (6) hours of ECE695 is allowed for MST students - an MST student may have up to nine hours of S/U, e.g., 6 hours ECE695 + 3 hours ECE633.
  7. Up to nine hours of graduate-level (500,700) courses outside of ECE may be taken. At most one senior-level (400) course may be included in these nine hours of outside ECE coursework. These courses must be in a technical area and part of a unified plan of study for an advanced ECE degree. These courses should be taken with prior approval of the director of graduate programs or the ECE Graduate Studies Committee. (As a guideline, note that the common graduate-level, technical courses in CSC, MA, STAT, PHYS, CH, or any engineering department are acceptable. BUS courses that are listed for the CNE program are acceptable. Substitutions for BUS courses require prior approval. It is wise to check with the graduate office before taking courses outside of the above mentioned areas.)
  8. Examples for plans of work for various areas can be found on the Graduate Plans of Work page.
TABLE 1: Specialty Areas
SpecialtyCourse Numbers
Computer Architecture (CPE)ECE506(FS), ECE521(FS), ECE561(S), ECE705(V), ECE706(S), ECE721(FE), ECE743(V), ECE747(S), ECE785(V), ECE786(V)
Software (CPE)ECE 517(F), ECE 566(S)
VLSI Systems (CPE)ECE 520(S), ECE544(S), ECE546(F), ECE 720(S), ECE745(F), ECE746(V), ECE761(S)
Networking(CPE)ECE 570(FS), ECE573(FS), ECE574(FS), ECE575(S), ECE 576(FS), ECE579(FS), ECE772(S), ECE773(S), ECE774(S), ECE775(F),ECE 776(S), ECE 777(F), ECE779(S)
Circuits (EE)ECE 511(F), ECE718(S), ECE 733(S)
Microwave Circuits and Applied Electromagnetics (EE)ECE532(S), ECE 540(S), ECE549(F), ECE712(S), ECE719(F), ECE732(S)
Communications (EE)ECE515(S), ECE582 (F), ECE 751(S), ECE752(SO), ECE 762(F), ECE766(S), ECE767(SE)
Signal Processing and Computational Intelligence (EE)ECE 513(F), ECE558 (F), ECE559(SE), ECE742(S), ECE759(SE), ECE763(F)
Robotics, Mechatronics, Control & Instrumentation (EE) ECE 516(S), ECE522(S), ECE536(F), ECE555(S), ECE556(F), ECE726(V), ECE755(F), ECE756(S)
Power Electronics and Power Systems (EE)ECE 534(F), ECE550(F), ECE553(S), ECE734(S), ECE 736(F), ECE753(SE)
Nanoelectronics and Photonics (EE)ECE523(S), ECE528(V), ECE 530**(F), ECE531(F), ECE538(F), ECE557(F), ECE722(F), ECE723(F), ECE724(S), ECE725(S), ECE727(V), ECE729(SA), ECE739(S)
** Required for students majoring in nanoelectronics and photonics.
Key to course offerings: F - fall, S - spring, FS - both fall and spring, FO - fall odd years, FE - fall even years, SO - spring odd years, SE - spring even years, V - variable, depending on instructor availability, Sum - summer, for courses that have an inconsistent history, we have noted the last time it was offered.

Information on Masters of Computer Networking (CNE) Program

Application to Ph.D. Program

A non-thesis M.S. student who wishes to apply for admission to the Ph.D. program should ask his/her advisor and one additional ECE graduate faculty member to complete a Recommendation for Admission during the final semester of the MS degree program and submit the request to the ECE Graduate Office. The form is available on the ECE Graduate Student Portal.

Masters Program with Thesis

A student who wishes to pursue the MS with thesis option is permitted to do so if a member of the ECE Graduate Faculty agrees to serve as the student's advisory committee chair and to direct the student's thesis research. A student who enters the program under the non-thesis (Option B) option may change to the thesis option if a faculty member agrees to serve as the student's advisory committee chair and to direct the student's thesis research.

A graduate student pursuing a Masters with Thesis will not be allowed to change to a Masters without thesis without approval from both the student's advisor and the Director of Graduate Programs. Approvals will only be rarely granted and must be justified in writing.

Advisory Committee

Each MS with thesis student must form a Graduate Advisory Committee by the end of the semester in which 12 or more credits are completed toward the degree sought. Use the form available online for establishing a Graduate Advisory Committee. The Advisory Committee consists of two representatives from the student's elected major (EE, CNE or CPE), and a graduate faculty member from outside the major. The intent of this rule is to add breath to the committee. The member from outside the major area can be from a different department or be from ECE but have as his/her major interest in an area different from that of the student. The Director of Graduate Programs may determine if a faculty is from outside the major area. Major representation may be either Regular Members of the major, or Associate Members (Associate members are faculty members in other departments who hold Associate status in ECE). However, the number of Associate Members may not exceed the number of Regular Members.

The following is from the NCSU Graduate Administration Handbook, http://www.ncsu.edu/grad/handbook/index.php.

Membership

All required members of the Advisory Committee must be members of the NCSU Graduate Faculty. Others may serve only in an ex-officio capacity, and must be identified as such on the appointment form. A vita for ex-officio members must be attached to the appointment form. A student may submit a written request to change the membership of his/her advisory committee at any time. The request is subject to the approval of the Committee Chair, the Director of Graduate Programs, and the Graduate School. If a minor is elected, a minor representative on the committee is required. Only one representative is required for regular or interdisciplinary minors. There must be a representative from each component of a split minor.

Final Oral Examination

Each MS student electing the thesis option must submit to a Final Oral Examination conducted by the student's Graduate Advisory Committee. Unanimous approval by the Advisory Committee is required for passing the examination. Such approval may be conditioned on satisfactory completion of additional work. Failure of the examination terminates the student's graduate study unless the student's Graduate Advisory Committee unanimously recommends re-examination. Only one re-examination is permitted and at least three full weeks must elapse before such a re-examination is held. The Final Oral Examination may be held no earlier than the semester during which the student will complete all courses on his or her Plan of Graduate Work. The examination must be held before the Graduate School's Deadline for Final Oral Examinations if the degree is to be awarded at the end of the semester in which the examination is given.

Scheduling

The Final Oral Examination is scheduled only at the request of the student and upon the approval of his or her Advisory Committee. A student may not submit a request to schedule the examination until the Graduate School has approved his/her Plan of Graduate Work. Copies of the thesis must be distributed to the members of the Advisory Committee and the ECE Graduate Office at least two weeks prior to the exam. The student must be in good academic standing when the request is submitted and when the examination is held. The request must be submitted to the ECE Graduate Office at least 3 weeks prior to the date of the examination. If a committee member cannot attend a scheduled examination, the Graduate School must approve a substitute prior to the examination. It is the responsibility of the chair of the committee to obtain a substitute and the required permission.

Conduct of Final Oral Exams

The Chair of the Graduate Advisory Committee has an obligation to maintain a scholarly atmosphere and to keep the student's best interest foremost. The student is expected to defend the methodology used and the conclusions reached in the research as reported in the thesis. It is the Chair's option to allow visitors to ask questions of the candidate during the presentation. Any Graduate Faculty Member in attendance must be allowed to express his or her opinions to the committee in the absence of the student, but the final deliberations and the vote are private to the Graduate Advisory Committee. A unanimous vote of approval is required for passing, although approval may be conditioned on the student's meeting additional requirements, specified in writing by the committee at the time of the examination. Failure to pass the examination terminates the student's work at this institution unless the Graduate Advisory Committee recommends a reexamination. Only one re-examination is permitted and at least 3 weeks must elapse from the date of the initial examination before the examination can be rescheduled.

Normal Practice

While it is entirely up to the Chair as to how to conduct the exam, within the requirements set forth above, the following practice is normally used. As a convenience, the Chair normally has the student's entire folder, obtained from the Graduate Office, so that the Graduate Advisory Committee members may review pertinent data. The Graduate Advisory Committee may or may not meet in private session for a short time immediately before the student enters to be examined, as deemed necessary by any committee member. Introductions and any special considerations may be discussed during this time. The student and visitors then enter, and the Committee, with the Chair of the Graduate Advisory committee moderating, examines the student. The Chair should announce his/her decision as to whether to allow visitor questions during the examination. When the examination is concluded, the Chair should ask those present for further questions/comments. Then he/she should ask all non-Graduate Faculty Members to leave, and invite comments from any non-committee Graduate Faculty who are in attendance. After non-committee Graduate Faculty comments have been received, the Chair should meet with the Graduate Advisory Committee in private session for final deliberations and then vote. The student is then invited to return and the Chair advises the student of the Graduate Advisory Committee's decision. Thesis signature sheets are normally available for signature at this time for signature by the Graduate Advisory Committee.

Application to Ph.D. Program (ECE only)

A master of science with thesis (MST) student who wishes to apply for admission to the Ph.D. program should ask his/her advisor and one additional ECE Graduate Faculty Member to complete a Recommendation for Admission during the final semester of the MS degree program. The request should be submitted to the ECE Graduate Office.

Submission of Thesis

Upon passing the MS Final Oral Examination, each MS thesis student must have the thesis approved by each member of the student's Advisory Committee. The thesis must be submitted to the Graduate School by the deadline given in the academic calendar, and must conform to the Guide For Preparation of Theses.