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Embedded Systems

CU-Boulder's Department of Electrical, Computer, and Energy Engineering (ECEE) is pleased to offer our Embedded Systems Engineering (ESE) Professional Masters program. Concepts were devised from the ground up, with comprehensive coverage of essential embedded technologies, current tools and trends, and coupled with industry input for continuous curriculum updates, and structured to generate differentiated embedded engineering skillset breadth and versatility.

This new Professional Masters program is offered under the College of Engineering and Applied Science's Master of Engineering degree. Through flexible core course options and electives, students enrolled in the ESE program may pursue a 9-credit hour certificate or a 30-credit hour degree.

Most ESE courses (after first run) offer distance learning options through our Be Boulder Anywhere (BBA) program. Please refer to BBA Enrollment information and BBA FAQs for further information.

Meanwhile, please refere to the attached ESE Program overview and our FAQ document, and our ESE Course Listing, and current course schedule under Quick Links in the left margin. This site will be updated with further details as the program evolves. Please stay tuned!

The Demand for Embedded Systems

Fundamentally, an embedded system is some combination of hardware and software that is designed for a particular function. It senses a real-world condition, does some computing, then produces output data or control of some kind. Personal computers, tablets, etc. are considered the exception because they do not have a single dedicated function, but almost everything else containing electronics and requiring a power source can be generally classified as an embedded system.

Most of us will casually encounter dozens of embedded systems by mid-morning each day throughout our residences, roadways, workplaces, retail stores and so on. These intelligent machines are a permanent part of our global landscape, and are continuously being expanded and upgraded by a world of forward-thinking engineers and entrepreneurs. Application domains include Aerospace and Defense, Energy, Industrial Automation, Medical, Networking and Communication, Security, Transportation and more. Also expected to fuel much more growth is an overarching megatrend referred to as the Internet of Things (IoT), which involves connecting more embedded systems to the internet with unique identifiers, enabling countless human-to-machine and machine-to-machine applications ranging from home automation to security and many beyond. Fueled largely by new internet protocols and wireless technology convergence, industry-wide estimates on the order of 20 to 30 billion connected devices by 2020 are common among major technology research companies. Of course, this trend ushers in greater hardware and software design challenges of effectively managing and securing connected devices, as well as capturing and harnessing the vast amounts of data the devices are meant to produce around their associated services.

Embedded Systems Engineering Program

The main objective of our ESE Professional Masters Program is professional career preparation with practical engineering skills using today's tools and knowledge around tomorrow's technology.

Our ESE Program consists of two options.

  1. The ESE courses lead to a Master of Engineering Degree through successful completion of 30 credit hours:
    • Any four ESE core courses
    • Six electives, chosen either from the pool of ESE Program electives, or from an approved list of other graduate-level electives, or a combination of both.
    • Students must first be admitted to the Graduate school with an ESE sub-plan for course credit towards the ME degree.
    • Students may also enroll in an ESE track under an MS degree or through our BS/MS Program, starting in AY 2016-17.

  2. A Professional Certificate in ESE requires successful completion of 9 credit hours:
    • Two of these three ESE core courses plus one other ESE course (core or elective) OR all three of these:
      • ECEN-4613/5613 Embedded System Design
      • ECEN-4623/5623 Real-Time Embedded Systems
      • ECEN-4003/5003 Mastering Embedded Systems Architecture
    • Graduate students pursuing an ESE Certificate are not required to matriculate into the ESE program sub-plan through the ME degree, although degree-seeking students enrolled in the ESE program will be given ESE course registration priority.
    • Admission to the Graduate School is also not required for students pursuing only the Certificate.
    • ESE Certificate credit hours may be applied towards a full Masters degree, provided the student is admitted to the Graduate School. However, credit hours may not count towards both a BS and a masters degree.

All ESE core courses, ESE electives and recommended ECEE electives are three credit hours each.

NOTE: Please refer to the attached overview for ESE course plans and our FAQ document. Further ESE Course details may be found here and will be updated as the program evolves.

To earn the certificate, all courses must be taken for a letter grade and the minimum grade for each must be a B-.

For information on how this certificate fits into a graduate degree in electrical and computer engineering, contact our Graduate Advisor, Adam Sadoff.

To register for a graduate-level course through the Electrical, Computer and Energy Engineering Department, contact Adam Sadoff, (303) 735-0490.

To register for a distance learning course through Be Boulder Anywhere (BBA), check the BBA webpage for schedule and application information.

Applying for the Certificate upon Completion of Courses

Once all three courses have been completed successfully, please fill out the appropriate application form and return it by fax, email, or in person to Adam Sadoff. Students whose first ESE course was in Fall 2015 or later, use this application form. Students working towards their certificate prior to Fall 2015, use the previous application form to include older valid embedded course credit. Certificates may take several weeks to issue. Application deadlines are as follows:
Fall:      December 31st
Spring:      May 15th
Summer:      August 15th

The certificate will be sent to the address on the application form.

If you have taken one or more certificate courses and are interested in pursuing a graduate degree, find application information on the graduate study page.