Electrical Engineering — Graduate

The ECE Department offers three graduate degree options:

  • Master of Science (MS)

  • Master of Engineering (MEng)

  • Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

The MS program prepares students for development-oriented engineering careers and/or continuation onto doctoral studies by providing:

  • Increased depth in an area of specialization

  • Expanded breadth in supporting areas

  • Focused study of recent advances in your area of specialization

The MS program provides a balance of advanced theory and practical engineering knowledge necessary to prepare its graduates for professional practice and/or for continuation into a PhD program. The program culminates with either a thesis or a project report through which students develop their ability to perform independent investigation of recent advances and present the results in a written document. The typical time for completion is 18–24 months of full-time study.

The MEng program prepares students for careers in professional practice through a flexible combination of:

  • Broad study in several technical areas

  • Specialization in one or more areas

  • Studies in various business-related areas (if desired)

The MEng program is a 10-course-only program that requires no thesis or project. It can be completed in 12 months of full-time study. This makes it especially well-suited to students who seek to enhance their job marketability by extending their skills beyond the BS degree. The flexibility in the MEng program makes it especially well-suited to part-time students.

The PhD program is a research-focused program that prepares students for R&D careers in corporate, academic, and research lab environments by providing:

  • A flexible program of course work to support your research area

  • Extensive independent research on a cutting-edge research topic

Detailed degree requirements for the three programs are given below.

Full-time graduate students are encouraged to apply for part-time work as teaching assistants, research assistants or technical assistants to gain practical experience, as well as financial aid and tuition scholarship.

Specialization Areas

(Note:xin the course number represents any of the digits 0, 1, 2, … 9)

  • Control Systems: EECE 51x, EECE 61x

  • Signal Processing and Communications: EECE 52x, EECE 54x, EECE 62x, EECE 64x

  • Computer Engineering: EECE 55x, EECE 65x, EECE 573

  • Information Assurance: EECE 527, EECE 56x, EECE 66x, EECE 657, EECE 658

  • VLSI, Microelectronics, and Electro-Optics: EECE 501, EECE 504, EECE 53x, EECE 57x, EECE 67x

Note: With approval of the ECE graduate director, it is possible to form an ad hoc specialization area (e.g., power systems, solar cells, etc.). MS students wishing to form such an area should first consult with the professor who would oversee their thesis or project in the ad hoc area of interest and prepare a proposed ad hoc area; after that, approval from the ECE graduate director should be obtained.

[ top ]

Courses Cross-Listed with Undergraduate Courses

For graduate credit, students in these courses must complete an additional project. The following restrictions apply to cross-listed courses:

  • they may not be counted if the student has taken a similar course as an undergraduate;

  • they may not be counted after taking a course that has the cross-listed course as a prerequisite.

[ top ]

Admission Requirements

To be admitted, a student is required to have earned a bachelor of science degree in electrical engineering or computer engineering, or a related field. All students are expected to have the equivalent of the courses listed in the following content areas: calculus through differential equations, computer programming, electrical circuits (EECE 260), electronics (EECE 315), digital logic design (EECE 251) and laboratory experience. In addition to those areas, a student whose undergraduate degree was not in electrical and computer engineering (ECE) needs to complete, in addition to the master’s program, acceptable courses in three of the five areas below for the MS and two of five for the MEng:

  • signal processing (EECE 301);

  • control systems (EECE 361);

  • solid state theory (EECE 332);

  • data structures (CS 240);

  • computer organization and microprocessors (EECE 252).

Qualified students with non-ECE backgrounds are admitted on a conditional basis until the undergraduate ECE course(s) needed to fulfill this requirement are taken.

The Graduate Record Examination requirement is waived for graduates of ABET-accredited engineering programs. Applicants with strong credentials may petition to be evaluated without supplying GRE scores. GRE Quantitative-area scores must be 700 or above as an absolute minimum but preferably above 750.

An acceptable TOEFL or IELTS score is required if a student’s native language is not English. An internet-based TOEFL score of 80 or above is required for admission, while a score of 100 or above is preferred for students seeking teaching assistantships.

[ top ]

Master of Science in Electrical Engineering

Degree Requirements

The student must maintain at least a B average in all graduate coursework:

  • Specialization Courses :

    • 3 courses in a single area of specialization (see list of areas below);

    • Only in very special circumstances can EECE 597 Independent Study be used.

  • Breadth Courses :

    • For Thesis Option : 2 ECE Courses in two areas other than specialization;

    • For Project Option : 3 ECE Courses in at least two areas other than specialization.

  • Math Methods Course :

    • EECE 506 Mathematical Methods in Electrical Engineering; or

    • EECE 507 Mathematical Methods in Computer Engineering; or

    • Another approved relevant mathematical methods course.

  • Electives: 2 Coursesmay be either ECE courses or from other departments:

    • Any regular ECE Graduate Course not used above;

    • EECE 597 Independent Study (can be used for both electives);

    • Certain Graduate Courses (see the ECE Graduate Handbook):

      • Other Engineering, Math, and Science Departments;

      • The School of Management.

  • Thesis Option or Project Option:

    • EECE 599 Research Thesis (6 credits) and successful defense of MS Thesis, or

    • EECE 598 Project (3 credits) and acceptance of MS Project Report.

[ top ]

Master of Engineering with Specialization in Electrical Engineering

The student must maintain at least a B average in the following plan of study:

EECE Courses:

  • 6 EECE courses, with 3 from each of two areas of specialization (see list of areas above);
    • One area of specialization must be in an Electrical Engineering oriented area
  • Only in very special circumstances can EECE 597 Independent Study be used.
Electives: 4 courses; may be either ECE courses or from other departments:
  • Any regular ECE graduate course not used above;
  • EECE 597 Independent Study (only two can be counted);
  • Certain regular graduate courses (see the ECE Graduate Handbook): Other Engineering, Math & Science Departments Business School.
[ top ]

Master of Engineering with Specialization in Computer Engineering

The student must maintain at least a B average in the following plan of study:

EECE Courses:

  • 6 EECE courses, with 3 from each of two areas of specialization (see list of areas above);
    • One area of specialization must be in a Computer Engineering oriented area
  • Only in very special circumstances can EECE 597 Independent Study be used.

Electives: 4 courses; may be either ECE courses or from other departments:

  • Any regular ECE graduate course not used above;
  • EECE 597 Independent Study (only two can be counted);

Certain regular graduate courses (see the ECE Graduate Handbook):

  • Other Engineering, Math, and Science Departments;
  • The School of Management.
[ top ]

PhD in Electrical Engineering

[ top ]

General Academic Program Requirements

The PhD program meets the need of each student through an individualized learning program. The program is structured within general guidelines set by the department that establish the scope of the educational experience to be achieved by each student. For students who already hold an MS degree in an appropriate field, the PhD program requires a minimum of eight courses beyond the MS degree. For students who wish to pursue a direct-BS-to-PhD (without earning an MS along the way) the PhD program requires a minimum of 14 graduate courses, including no more than four independent study courses. To meet the residency requirement, students must complete a minimum of 24 credits at Binghamton University.

[ top ]

Admission

Applications received for the PhD program are administratively divided into three categories. The categories are:

1) students who are about to complete an MS degree in the department;

2) students who have completed or are about to complete an MS degree elsewhere; and

3) exceptional students completing their BSEE degree with a cumulative GPA above 3.7.

Students in the first category — i.e., in their last semester of the MSEE programs — may apply for the PhD program by indicating their intent to continue for the PhD on the Recommendation for Award of Masters Degree form that is submitted at the completion of the MS degree.

Students who have completed an appropriate master’s degree elsewhere can apply for the PhD program.

Exceptional baccalaureate students with a GPA above 3.7 in the BSEE program are eligible for direct admission to the PhD program.

Students apply to the PhD program by submitting a completed application and application fee to the Graduate School. Application forms are available at http://www.binghamton.edu/grad-school/prospective-students/admission-requirements.html. The application must include all transcripts, GRE scores, the TOEFL or IELTS score if English is a second language, two letters of recommendation and a statement of research interests.

[ top ]

PhD Advisor and Guidance Committee

The PhD student’s research advisor is central in directing the student’s development. Upon admission to the doctoral program, new students have as their advisor the ECE graduate director until an advisor is identified on the PhD Principal Advisor/Guidance Committee Form. A Guidance Committee Form should be completed during the first semester in residence.

The guidance committee must have a minimum of three members, two of whom must be from the ECE department (including the principal advisor). Each of these members is expected to take an active role in supervising the student’s development. Members, in addition to those mentioned above, may be added to enhance the committee. An outside examiner will be assigned by the vice provost of graduate studies and research.

When a proposed committee has been identified, the names and signatures are submitted on a Principal Advisor/Guidance Committee Form to the ECE graduate director. Once approved by the ECE graduate director, the form is forwarded to the graduate coordinator’s office. When the guidance committee is approved, the form is placed on file in the graduate coordinator’s office. Any subsequent changes made to the membership of this committee must be documented in a new copy of the Principal Advisor/Guidance Committee Form.

[ top ]

Learning Contract

The new doctoral student should start to work immediately with his or her advisor to develop a learning contract. The purpose of the learning contract is to define the knowledge and skills required in order to pass the comprehensive examination. The learning contract should identify core courses and concepts that must be mastered in order to provide breadth of background, as well as specialized courses and concepts germane to the proposed area of research. The learning contract may be modified later if additional knowledge is required or if the field of research is changed. A model for the learning contract is available from the coordinator of graduate studies.

A copy of the learning contract, with signatures indicating approval of the guidance committee, is placed in the student’s file in the graduate coordinator’s office.

[ top ]

Qualifying Examination

After the completion of one semester or nine credits, the student is required to take a department-wide qualifying written examination. Only the student’s principal advisor may give an extension to this date. Students are encouraged to attempt this examination as early in their program as possible. On the qualifying examination, students must demonstrate quantitative skills and subject knowledge in two core areas within ECE. A description of the qualifying examination is given in the Graduate Handbook on the ECE graduate webpage.

[ top ]

Comprehensive Examination and Admission to Candidacy

After completion of the required courses, and before completion of a significant portion of the dissertation research, the student must complete the comprehensive examination. This is an individual examination, with responsibility for the content given to the student’s guidance committee. The ECE graduate director is an ex officio member of the comprehensive examination committee to ensure uniformity in the level of examinations within the department. Once the guidance committee and graduate director have agreed on the examination content and format, it is clearly explained to the student and the examination date set. After successfully completing the comprehensive examination and any additional requirements such as the development of communication skills, the student is admitted to candidacy for the doctorate. The Graduate School is notified of the satisfactory completion of the comprehensive examination and the student’s admission to candidacy on the Recommendation for Admission to Candidacy for Doctoral Degree Form. Note that the candidate is required to defend the dissertation within five years of admission to candidacy.

[ top ]

Dissertation Prospectus

Upon completion of the comprehensive examination, the candidate prepares a prospectus, describing the proposed research. This prospectus is presented and defended in an open colloquium. Upon acceptance of the prospectus by the guidance committee, a copy is filed with the Watson School graduate coordinator.

[ top ]

Evidence of Proficiency in Teaching

The candidate is required to meet the teaching proficiency requirement in one of the following ways:

  1. be an instructor of record in an undergraduate course;
  2. complete practicum in teaching course and teach one or more seminars or a portion of a course; or
  3. show evidence of past teaching experience comparable to the first and second choices above, which must be verified and approved by the guidance committee.
[ top ]

Dissertation Defense

If an external examiner was not chosen at the time the Recommendation for Admission to Candidacy for Doctoral Degree form was submitted to the Graduate School, then the chair of the guidance committee makes a recommendation to the ECE graduate director, who upon approval of the recommendation forwards it to the dean of the Graduate School. The dean makes a formal appointment of the external examiner. The external examiner reviews and participates in the dissertation defense with the guidance committee. After distribution of the dissertation for review, an oral defense of the PhD dissertation is scheduled. The PhD candidate is required to present an oral defense of his or her dissertation in an open colloquium. Upon the candidate’s satisfactory defense of the dissertation, the ECE graduate director submits a signed copy of the Recommendation for Award of Doctoral Degree form to the graduate coordinator’s office. After verification of completion of the program of study, the graduate coordinator forwards the recommendation form to the Graduate School.

All forms are available in the Watson School graduate coordinator’s office. All forms must be signed by the ECE graduate director and submitted to the Watson School graduate coordinator’s office.