Hajim School of Engineering and Applied Sciences Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering

MS Program

The MS degree requires at least 30 credit hours of graduate courses. In addition, each MS candidate must: (a) write a master's thesis and include from 6 to 12 credit hours of research in the 30-hour program or (b) take an MS exam.

At least 20 credit hours of the overall 30 must be at the 400 level or higher; and at least 16 of these credit hours must be in Electrical and Computer Engineering, exclusive of research or reading courses.

To be successful in the graduate program, the student must have a strong background in mathematics. If you think that you need more mathematics work, please consult with an ECE faculty member before proceeding with the formal program of study.

All thesis option Plan A MS students must successfully defend a thesis. The exam must be conducted by a committee of no less than two ECE faculty members and one outside faculty member. This thesis defense must be completed the MS exam by the end of November for Fall graduation or by the end of April for Spring graduation. Check with the Department about specific dates -- the deadlines vary each year. These deadlines are clearly stated on the Graduate Calendar.

All part-time and non-thesis option full-time students must pass a Plan B - MS exam, which can be a term project OR an essay OR an oral exam. The exam must be conducted by a committee of no less than two ECE faculty members. Make sure to complete the MS exam by the end of November for Fall graduation or by the end of April for Spring graduation. Check with the Department about specific dates -- the deadlines vary each year. These deadlines are clearly stated on the Graduate Calendar.

MS students should view the ECE Exam Flowchart for exam requirements.

Each MS candidate, including students who plan to pursue a PhD, must also declare a concentration of study. Concentrations are organized as three-course sequences. The goal is to provide depth in the MS education, as opposed to a random sampling of courses, with the expectation that students are able to follow the literature in at least one research concentration upon graduation. The areas of concentration are: Signal/Image Processing, Biomedical/Ultrasound, Superconducting Electronics, Solid-State Electronics, Optoelectronics, VLSI/IC Microelectronics Design, Computer Design, Fields and Waves, and the new MSEE with a Concentration in Musical Acoustics and Signal Processing.

At the bottom of this page is the list of approved courses required for the successful completion of each concentration. We recommend that you also refer to the Electrical and Computer Engineering Department Bulletin or ask your advisor for the latest information.

Areas of Concentration and Research

The Department's graduate research is partitioned roughly into a few categories, many of which overlap depending on the type of research that the student undertakes. As examples, signal and image processing projects are important in biomedical ultrasound and implemented in VLSI technology, and opto-electronics and solid-state electronics often overlap.

MSEE with a Concentration in Musical Acoustics and Signal Processing

In this new program, students can earn their Master of Science Degree in Electrical Engineering (MSEE) with a concentration in Musical Acoustics and Signal Processing. This 30-credit-hour program may be completed in one calendar year. Students may opt to complete 30 credit hours of course work and pass an exit exam or they may perform research leading to a Master's thesis that can count for up to 12 credit hours of their program of study.

In addition to taking a set of core courses in Digital Signal Processing, Musical Acoustics, Computational Music, Recording Arts, and Audio Signal Processing for Analysis and Synthesis of Music students may complete advanced course work in Acoustics, Music Perception and Cognition, or other areas of Electrical Engineering such as Digital and Analog IC Design, Computer Architecture, Communications or other directed independent studies.

Instructors will include faculty from both the ECE Department and the Eastman School of Music of the University of Rochester.

Students entering the program typically will have completed an undergraduate degree in Electrical or Computer Engineering. For students with alternative technical or science backgrounds (such as other Engineering Disciplines, Physics and other Physical Sciences, Math, or Computer Science) a core set of undergraduate electrical engineering courses (worked out in consultation with a faculty advisor) will prepare the student for graduate studies in EE. For students with a background in Music or other fields who have the requisite natural science and mathematics preparation e.g., college-level calculus and physics, an expanded set of background courses may be required and the program may extend beyond 30 credit hours - individual programs of study should be worked out in consultation with a faculty advisor.

Students are able and encouraged to participate in one of the many ongoing research areas in the Music Research Laboratory including projects on Internet enabled music telepresence and immersive audio environments, musical source separation and automated music transcription, physical modeling musical sound synthesis, music representations, audio watermarking, quantitative studies of musical timbre and audio embedded music metadata. Research in other allied laboratories is being conducted in the areas of music perception and cognition and music and language.

Click here for a brochure with more information.

The requirements for the Musical Acoustics and Signal Processing include:

ECE 446 Digital Signal Processing (required)
ECE 433 Musical Acoustics (required)
ECE 472 Audio Signal Processing for Analysis and Synthesis of Music (required)
ECE 477 Computer Audition
ECE 479 Theory and Practice in Audio Recording and Processing
ECE 429 Audio Electronics

AND EITHER: ECE 495 MS Thesis (8 - 12 Credit hours)
OR: elective courses to make up the balance of 30 credit hours

Signal and Image Processing and Communications

Research in this area includes studies of wide-band radar and sonar systems design, digital image and video processing, very low bitrate video compression, and medical image processing. Communications research focuses on frequency hop codes for multiple-access-spread-spectrum communications, designed to minimize interference in radar and sonar systems. Among the digital image processing projects are image enhancement and restoration, image segmentation/recognition, and processing of magnetic resonance images. Active research is being conducted on all aspects of digital video processing, including 2-D and 3-D motion estimation techniques, deformable motion analysis, stereoscopic image analysis, standards conversion and high-resolution image reconstruction, and object-based methods for very low bitrate video compression. The emphasis of biomedical signal processing is on applications in ultrasound and magnetic resonance imaging. Research projects include spectral analysis in one, two, and three-dimensional spaces, analysis and algorithms for computed tomography, and inverse scattering techniques for imaging tissue characterization.


ECE 446 Digital Signal Processing

Add two of the following:

ECE 440 Random Processes
ECE 441 Detection and Estimation Theory
ECE 447 Digital Image Processing
ECE 450 Information Theory
ECE 457 Digital Video Processing
ECE 477 Computer Audition
CSC 449 Machine Vision


Three of the following, including at least 444 or 445:

ECE 444 Digital Communications
ECE 445 Wireless Communications
ECE 440 Random Processes
ECE 441 Detection and Estimation Theory
ECE 446 Digital Signal Processing
ECE 448  Wireless Sensor Networks
ECE 450 Information Theory
CSC 457 Computer Networks


High-frequency sound (ultrasound) is used in many areas of medicine to obtain images of soft organs of the body. High-intensity ultrasound is used to destroy kidney and gallstones without surgery (lithotripsy). Basic scientific investigations focus on the interactions of ultrasonic energy with biological materials ranging from heart and liver tissues, to bones and kidney and gallstones. Studies are also underway to demonstrate applications of ultrasonic contrast-producing agents similar to radiological contrast and tracer techniques. The results from these efforts are used to improve or extend clinical applications of ultrasonic techniques, both in diagnosing diseases of the heart and liver, and in therapeutic users such as lithotripsy. This work is also used to set standards for exposure of patients during examination and to improve the application of high-intensity sound for therapy.

Three of the following:

ECE 432 Fundamentals of Acoustical Waves
ECE 452 Medical Imaging
ECE 446 Digital Signal Processing
ECE 447 Digital Image Processing
BME 451 Biomedical Ultrasound
ECE 453 (BME 453) Ultrasound Imaging

Integrated Electronics and Computer Engineering (Circuits and Computer Systems)

Department research in VLSI and CAE addresses topics in integrated circuit design methodologies and automation. Specific system-oriented research includes an analytical model for multi-access protocols with prioritized messages and distributed control architecture. Design for testability studies are exploring operational parallelism in any testing process to determine the set of automated test procedures which minimizes the silicon area consumed by the built-in self-test structures. A program in Low Temperature Superconducting Digital Electronics, described in more detail below, is applying VLSI design and analysis techniques to the development of new ultrafast superconducting digital integrated circuits. Other research in this area focuses on the design and analysis of high performance VLSI-based digital and analog integrated circuits and their systems. Specifically, speed, area, and power dissipation tradeoffs are investigated in terms of application-specific constraints and their fundamental circuit level limitations. System architectural issues which directly affect performance are considered, such as pipelining, retiming, and the design of clock distribution networks. System performance can also be improved by applying innovative technologies. Thus, specialized circuits, developed using advanced technologies, and their related design techniques and methodologies are investigated to permit the development of high-speed and low-power integrated systems.


Three of the following:

ECE 429 Audio Electronics
ECE 461 Digital Integrated Circuit Design
ECE 462 VLSI Design Project
ECE 463 VLSI Error Control Systems
ECE 466 RF and Microwave Integrated Circuits
ECE 467 Advanced Analog Integrated Circuit Design
ECE 468 Advanced Analog CMOS Circuits and Systems
ECE 469 High Speed Integrated Electronics


ECE 401 Advanced Computer Architecture

Add two of the following:

ECE 400 Computer Organization
ECE 404 Microprocessor Architecture
ECE 405 Advanced Digital Design Using FPGA
ECE 406 GPU Parallel Programming Using C/C++
CSC 455 Software Analysis and Improvement
CSC 456 Operating Systems
CSC 458 Parallel and Distributed Systems

Physical Electronics and Nanotechnology

Superconductivity and Solid-State Electronics

A major focus for research in the Department involves design, fabrication, and testing of ultrafast superconducting digital integrated circuits. This is carried out under the auspices of the University research initiative in Low-Temperature Superconducting Digital Electronics. This research is leading toward the development of integrated circuits that can carry out digital signal processing and analog-to-digital conversion at unprecented rates, using the new "single-flux quantum logic." In the area of ultrafast electronics, picosecond electrical and optical pulses probe the transient response of semiconducting and superconducting devices, such as Metal-Semiconductor-Metal (MSM) photodiodes and tunnel junctions. Research in high-temperature superconductivity is concentrated on developing thin-film devices based on Y-Ba-Cu-O for applications including high-speed electronic interconnects, passive microwave circuits, high-frequency Josephson junctions, and optoelectronic hybrid and monolithic devices. Also under study is a superconducting implementation of quantum computation, in which Josephson-junction based circuits may manipulate quantum superposition states to efficiently perform specialized computational tasks. Formerly believed intractable, computational problems such as factoring large numbers may eventually be implemented in such quantum computers.

ECE 423 Semiconductor Devices

Add two of the following:

ECE 427 Electric Power: Conversion, Transmission, and Consumption
ECE 435 Introduction to Optoelectronics
ECE 466 RF and Microwave Integrated Circuits


Information processing with optical pulses offers data rates much in excess of what is available with electronic signals. Examples are long-haul and local-area-fiber networks, and optical computing. Optoelectronics research is directed at obtaining a detailed understanding of ultrafast phenomena and ultrafast nonlinearities in semiconductors and high-temperature superconductors, and at using silicon quantum dots and nanometer-size objects in optoelectronics and biosensing. Using these basic results, novel optoelectronic and opto-optic devices are designed. This work is a combination of laser technology, solid-state physics, materials science, and device physics and engineering. Recent research includes the study of electron and hole thermalization and recombination in semiconductors and semiconductor quantum wells, and the optoelectronic properties of porous silicon, which unlike crystalline silicon emits light efficiently at room temperature. Studies span the range from fundamental materials characterization to device fabrication and testing. In the area of superconducting optoelectronic devices, studies have included laser processing of Y-Ba-Cu-O epitaxial thin films into oxygen-rich (superconducting) and oxygen-poor (semiconducting) regions, together with pump-probe femtosecond reflectivity measurements of both phases to determine relevant response times.

ECE 435 Introduction to Optoelectronics

Add two of the following:

ECE 423 Semiconductor Devices
OPT 421 (ECE 421) Optical Properties of Materials
OPT 425 (ECE 428) Radiation & Detectors
OPT 468 (ECE 426) Waveguides & Optoelectronic Devices


The objective of the Power/Smart Grid concentration is to orient students at the MS-level preparation to make technical contributions in the monitoring, management, and conservation of electric power and the most effective use of our power distribution system. The extraction and delivery costs of fuels such as coal, oil, and natural gas are rising inexorably and industry now recognizes that more efficient use must be made of electricity generated from these resources. New technologies can help manufacturing firms achieve production goals using less electric energy, off-peak power, and/or alternatives sources. Likewise, electric power quality, quantified by such measures as voltage regulation and harmonic content, is rapidly gaining consumer attention. All these schemes - and much more besides - fit loosely into the idea of the "Smart Grid", defined to be an electric power delivery system with a digital network that links generator units, transmission and distribution systems, and customers. Wireless sensors networks show great promise in practical realization of the Smart Grid. Robust, two-way communications amongst these elements coupled with system control leads to improved efficiency and reliability, through both design of the grids and consumer participation.

The requirements for the Power/Smart Grid concentration include two (2) specified courses:

ECE 427 Electric Power (required)
ECE 440 Random Processes or ECE 446 Digital Signal Processing (required)

Select two additional courses from the following areas:

Energy: ERG 460 Solar Cells, CHM 486 Energy Science Technology and Society, or CHE 488 Intro to Energy Systems 
Digital / Wireless Communication: ECE 443, ECE 444, ECE 445. ECE 448
Computer Security / Cryptography: CS 481
Networking: to be determined by CS Department
Electricity and Magnetism: ECE 466 or PHY 217
Advanced Power Engineering: off-site (prior approval required)
Electric Machines: off-site (prior approval required)

It is a requirement that all courses taken off-site to meet a departmental requirement must be approved in advance. Such courses, if they are three (3) credit hour classes, must be supplemented by an addition one (1) credit of ECE495 taken at the University of Rochester concurrently with the off-site course and supervised by an ECE faculty member.







Graduate Programs