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The ECEE Department offers two MS degree plans. Both require a total of 30 credit hours. Plan I consists of 24-26 credit hours of coursework plus four to six hours of master's thesis credit. Plan II does not include a thesis. The flowchart illustrates the required steps to complete the degree requirements on time.

Plan I Degree Requirements

Course Requirements

  1. A minimum of 30 credit hours.
  2. At least 18 hours in ECEN courses.
  3. All ECEN courses must be at the 5000 level or above.
  4. No more than 12 credit hours of non-ECEN courses in science, mathematics, or engineering. All of these may be at the 5000 level or above, or a maximum of 6 of these credit hours may be at the 4000 level with the remainder at the 5000 level and above.
  5. At least 6 hours must be in the 5000-level and/or 6000-level courses in technical and scientific disciplines outside the student's core specialization area. This requirement may be fulfilled using courses either outside or inside the department. Courses meeting this requirement must be approved by the student's advisor and the director of graduate studies.
  6. Four to six credit hours of Master's Thesis. The total number of combined hours of independent study and thesis research shall not exceed 9 hours.

Students must maintain a GPA of 3.0 or better. Because the MSEE degree is scientifically and technically based, courses with content in communication skills, humanities, writing, social sciences, fine arts, business, law, or education cannot be used towards the degree. In cases of doubt about a particular course, the student should contact the advisor and the director of graduate studies for prior approval.

All courses must be taught by members of the graduate faculty. It is the responsibility of the student to ensure that the instructors are members of the graduate faculty.

Two technical TLEN courses at the 5000 level or above, and one EMEN or non-technical TLEN course can be used toward the 30 credit hour requirement (with the exclusion of TLEN 5300 and TLEN 5310), subject to a new degree plan approval by the student's advisor.

In some instances, some ECEN 5000 course work is Telecomm or Power Management-based, less technical, and/or for non-majors. Such course work is considered equivalent to an EMEN course. You can only count a single such course toward the 30 hours needed for your degree. Therefore, you can use either:

  1. a single EMEN course, or,
  2. a single, non-technical TLEN course (but never TLEN 5300 nor TLEN 5310), or, you can use
  3. a single, ECEN 5006, 5007, or 5017 course or other ECEN 5XXX course that is for non-majors, and/or is non-technical.

If the course syllabus has 3000 (ideally 4000) level pre-reqs in the same field (e.g. Applied Math for an Applied Math grad course, or, in most cases, ECEN for an ECEN course), then the 5000-level course will be considered a grad-level course with sufficiently technical content in the respective area. The key is that if it is a course designed to be taken by students without an undergrad in the field of study, it's not a tech grad course in that field.

As always, in cases of doubt about a particular course, the student should contact the advisor and the director of graduate studies for prior approval.

Thesis

The master's thesis on a subject of substantial import in the student's field of interest will be written under the supervision of a graduate faculty member in the department, and must conform to the format specifications as set forth by the Graduate School. The student should find a faculty member who is willing to supervise the thesis as early as possible in the program. In addition to the electronic copy and hard copy of signature page required by the Graduate School, one bound copy of the thesis is required by the ECEE Department.

Thesis Defense

The final examination for a student enrolled under Plan I is the defense of the student's thesis before the Final Examination Committee. The defense must take place at least three weeks before commencement. The committee will consist of three members of the graduate faculty, including the student's thesis advisor and a second reader, both of whom shall have been appointed at least one month prior to the examination date. Appointment of the committee (one of whom may be from outside the department) and scheduling the exam will be done by the student and the thesis advisor. This information must be reported to the department's graduate office at least two weeks before the examination.

Students must be registered as full-time students during the semester of the final examination.

Plan II Degree Requirements

Course Requirements

  1. A minimum of 30 credit hours.
  2. At least 18 credit hours in ECEN courses.
  3. All ECEN courses must be at the 5000 level and above.
  4. No more than 12 credit hours of non-ECEN courses in science, mathematics, or engineering. All of these can be at the 5000 level or above; a maximum of 6 of these credit hours may be at the 4000 level (non-ECEN, non-TLEN, non-EMEN), with the remainder at 5000 and above.
  5. A maximum of 6 credit hours of independent study can be used toward the 30 credit hour requirement.
Students must maintain a GPA of 3.0 or better. Because the MSEE degree is scientifically and technically based, courses with content in communication skills, humanities, writing, social sciences, fine arts, business, law, or education cannot be used towards the degree. In cases of doubt about a particular course, the student should contact the advisor and the director of graduate studies for prior approval.

All courses must be taught by members of the graduate faculty. It is the responsibility of the student to ensure that the instructors are members of the graduate faculty.

Two technical TLEN courses at the 5000 level or above, and one EMEN or non-technical TLEN course can be used toward the 30 credit hour requirement (with the exclusion of TLEN 5300 and TLEN 5310), subject to a new degree plan approval by the student's advisor.

In some instances, some ECEN 5000 course work is Telecomm or Power Management-based, less technical, and/or for non-majors. Such course work is considered equivalent to an EMEN course. You can only count a single such course toward the 30 hours needed for your degree. Therefore, you can use either:

  1. a single EMEN course, or,
  2. a single, non-technical TLEN course (but never TLEN 5300 nor TLEN 5310), or, you can use
  3. a single, ECEN 5006, 5007, or 5017 course or other ECEN 5XXX course that is for non-majors, and/or is non-technical.

As always, in cases of doubt about a particular course, the student should contact the advisor and the director of graduate studies for prior approval.

A maximum of 6 hours of independent study can be used toward the 30 hour requirement.

Validated Completion of Required Coursework

There is no cumulative examination for the Plan II Master's program in CU Boulder's ECEE Department. However, the student's academic advisor and the department graduate director must validate the successful completion of the required coursework. The required forms are available in ECEE 1B63.

MS Degree by Distance Learning

Under the rules of the department, it is possible for a duly admitted graduate student to complete the requirements for the MS degree through participation in the Center for Advanced Engineering and Technology Education (CAETE) program. The student must fulfill all of the conditions specified herein. The mechanics of this program are handled by the CAETE office.

General Requirements

Academic Advisor

An academic advisor will be appointed for each student during the first semester of the program (early January, for those starting in spring; late July, for those starting in fall). The academic advisor is assigned on the basis of the student's specialty interests as noted in their application and may be changed upon request by the student and with the approval of the director of graduate studies and the requested advisor. The academic advisor is not necessarily the thesis advisor.

Quality of Work

An MS student must maintain a cumulative GPA of 3.0 on all coursework taken regardless of its level or the reason it was taken. Grades earned in transfer courses or courses taken as a special student (these are taken prior to admission at either another university, or, as a non-degreed student, via CU Boulder's Continuing Education dept) are not calculated into the GPA. Conversely, some courses taken after admission to our degree-seeking program may not count toward the degree (ECEN 3000-level coursework, for example, or, a history course), but their grades are calculated into the cumulative GPA. A student cannot be admitted to candidacy or graduate with a cumulative GPA below 3.0.

Application for Candidacy

Admission to the Graduate School is not equivalent to approval of candidacy for an advanced degree. A student who wishes to become a candidate for a degree must make special application at the time and in the manner prescribed for the degree sought.

Application for admission to candidacy must be made a student on forms from the ECEE graduate office (ECEE 1B63) at least 10 weeks prior to completion of the degree requirements.

A regularly admitted student who is also accepted as a candidate for the MS degree will be recommended for the degree only after the requirements have been met under Plan I or Plan II.

Residence Requirement

In general, the residence requirement may be met only by residence at this university for at least two regular semesters or three ten week summer terms. For full residence, a student must be registered within the time designated at the beginning of the semester and must carry the equivalent of
  1. not fewer than 5 semester hours of work in courses numbered 5000 or above,
  2. at least 8 semester hours of combined graduate and undergraduate coursework,
  3. any number of thesis hours, or
  4. registration as Masters Candidate for Degree (ECEN 6940).
The average time required for a student to complete the requirements for the MS degree is two calendar years. However, a student who is deficient in general training cannot expect to obtain a degree in two years. The maximum time allowed to complete the degree is four years.

Time Limit

All work, including the thesis for Plan I, must be completed within four years. Work done earlier will not be accepted for the degree unless validated by a special examination. A student is expected to complete the work with reasonable continuity.

Credit by Transfer

Resident graduate work of high quality done at a recognized graduate school elsewhere or at the University of Colorado prior to admission to the graduate program and within the four-year limit may be accepted up to a maximum of 9 semester hours, provided it is recommended by the department and approved by the dean of the Graduate School. Such credits will be transferred to the Graduate School only after the student has established a satisfactory record in residence for at least one semester. Provisional students must be transferred to regular degree status before transfer credits can be approved.

Work completed at CU as a special student or at another CU campus falls under the 9-hour rule. Work already applied toward another degree cannot be accepted, nor can extension work completed at another institution, nor can correspondence work, except to make up deficiencies. Transfer courses must have a grade of "B" or better but are not calculated into the GPA.

No graduate credit will be accepted that was earned as an undergraduate student elsewhere, even though the courses may be of graduate standing and may exceed the work required for a bachelor's degree.

Transferred credit will not reduce the residence requirement at the university but may reduce the amount of work to be done in formal courses. Request for transfer of credit must be initiated by the student after one semester of residency but prior to the beginning of the semester in which the student expects to receive the degree.

Withdrawing from School

MS students may participate in the Time Off Program. Any semester(s) on Time Off are included in the time limit to complete the degree. Students who are not on Time Out and do not register during a given fall or spring semester will be automatically withdrawn from the university and must fill out an application for re-admission in order to return. Students who withdraw from school permanently must do so formally with the Admissions Office. Please see http://registrar.colorado.edu/students/withdraw.html for specific procedures and details.

Contact Information

  • Adam Sadoff, Graduate Program Advisor, ECEE 1B63, (303) 735-0490, Adam.Sadoff@colorado.edu
  • Robert McLeod, Graduate Director, ECEE 1B47, (303) 735-0997, Robert.Mcleod@colorado.edu