Oct 27, 2020  
2020-2021 Graduate Catalog 
    
2020-2021 Graduate Catalog

Electrical Engineering, MSEE


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Colleges  > Cullen College of Engineering  > Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering  > Electrical Engineering, MSEE

Master of Science in Electrical Engineering (MSEE, with thesis)

The Master of Science (MSEE) degree is a research-oriented degree and requires the completion of a thesis that describes the results of research conducted under the guidance of a faculty advisor. This is a good option for students who haven’t yet decided if they want to pursue an R&D career and/or aren’t set on their exact area of study. As such, it is very important that students select an advisor as soon as possible, ideally prior to beginning the program.

Master of Science in Electrical Engineering (MSEE, Non-thesis option)

The Master of Science in Electrical Engineering (MSEE) non-thesis master’s program provides advanced instruction emphasizing engineering practice, making it well suited for practicing engineers who want to grow their knowledge and skillset but aren’t necessarily pursing a career in R&D. In fact, the MEE program can be counted as one year’s experience towards registration as a Professional Engineer.

The program focuses on electrical engineering design, systems operation, manufacturing, and management. Students may specialize in one of four areas of strength in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering. These areas are: Control and Power Systems, Electromagnetics and Microelectronics, Electronics and Computers, and Signals and Communications. Under the guidance of a faculty member, students may complete the MSEE with a capstone project focusing on a practical engineering problem.

In addition, students can select electives outside the electrical and computer engineering department. Options include courses in other Cullen College departments, the College of Business Administration, and the College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics. This flexibility allows students to design a degree program that best matches their goals for the future.

Although the thesis and non-thesis programs are open to both part-time and full-time students, part-time students and working engineers typically find the non-thesis program is the better fit. Students who do not wish to pursue the degree can take individual classes as a Non-Degree Objective (NDO) student.

For more information, please visit the Electrical & Computer Engineering program page.

Admission Requirements


  • A Bachelor of Science degree in electrical or computer engineering or closely related field.
  • GPA ≥ 3.0/4.0 (or equivalent) for the last 60 hours of the undergraduate degree and on any coursework completed since graduation.
  • Recommended GRE scores: Verbal of 150, Quantitative of 159, Analytical Writing of 4.0.
  • TOEFL of 92 or IELTS of 7 (Required if applicant does not have a degree from a US institution).
  • Three letters of recommendation on official letterhead that includes the mailing address, phone number, and email of the recommender.

For full details on application process, visit the How to Apply to UH Graduate School page.

Degree Requirements


Credit hours required for this degree: 30.0

Master of Science (MSEE, with Thesis) Program

  1. To receive the degree of Master of Science in Electrical Engineering, a student is required to complete, on a part-time or full-time basis, a minimum of 30 semester credit hours of graduate studies, to include at least 18 hours of coursework, and 12 hours of thesis and research. Specifically,
    • At least 15 hours of structured coursework in ECE, at or higher than the 6000 level. Out of these, at least 6 hours should be in the area of concentration of the student.
    • Out of the minimum of 18 hours of coursework, at most 3 hours could be in a related technical field. These courses should be deemed appropriate for the professional development of the student (i.e., courses related to the thesis topic), and must be from a department outside ECE at the 4000 level or higher. Both the student’s thesis advisor and the Director of Graduate Studies must approve them. In any case, no credit will be given for courses that are equivalent to courses used in the student’s undergraduate degree.
    • Six hours of thesis (ECE 6399 and ECE 7399) and at least 6 hours of research (ECE 6x98).
  2. Preparation of a written thesis and an oral defense thereof.
  3. Completion of all work above in accordance with the procedures described in the Procedures, Requirements, and Standards Section

Master of Science in Electrical Engineering (MSEE, Non-thesis) Program

To receive the degree, Master of Science in Electrical Engineering, non-thesis, a student must complete, on a part-time or full-time basis, a minimum of 30 semester credit hours of approved graduate courses. There is no thesis requirement. A maximum of two courses (i.e., a maximum of 6 hours of coursework) taken from Course Categories A (Core) and B (Electives) can be replaced by an approved project to be completed under the supervision of a faculty member from the Electrical and Computer Engineering Department.

Specifically:

  • Core. A minimum of 18 hours of course work from 6000-level or higher ECE courses.
    • A maximum of 6 hours of 6000-level courses equivalent to 5000-level courses is allowed in this category.
    • All the courses in this category must be chosen from one of the four specialization areas, as described below.
    • Other courses may be used in this category only with the prior approval of the Director of Graduate Studies.
  • Electives. Three to six hours* of course work offered in the College of Engineering or in the College of Business Administration.
    • The non-ECE courses must be graduate level.
    • Courses in ECE must be at the 6000 level or higher.
    • In all cases, no credit will be given for courses that are equivalent to courses used in the student’s undergraduate degree.
    • Business courses should be selected from the approved list (see below).
    • Other courses may only be used in this category with the prior approval of the Director of Graduate Studies.
  • Breadth. Six to nine hours* of course work outside of your chosen specialization area in the College of Engineering or in the College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics (NSM).
    • NSM courses must be at the graduate level and should be selected from the approved list (see below).
    • Other courses may only be used in this category with the prior approval of the Director of Graduate Studies.

*Elective and Breadth course hours must add up to 12 hours.

Special Projects

Special projects are sometimes initiated by an advisor or by the graduate director. These projects require a committee consisting of at least two regular, tenure-track, ECE faculty, one of which will serve as project advisor. A student desiring to complete a special project needs to identify a project advisor and committee member(s). The student should prepare a project description and secure approval from the committee members. A general petition, together with the approved project description, should be filed well in advance of the start of the semester in which the special project will take place. Once the Director of Graduate Studies has approved the project and project committee, the student may enroll in ECE 6393 .

At the end of the semester, the student must prepare a written report, which must be successfully defended in the presence of the committee. If desired, and warranted by the progress made, the student may request to enroll in ECE 7393  for another semester to continue work on the project. This request should be petitioned by a general petition, accompanied by the approved progress report and a statement of work. Such requests must be made at least three weeks before the start of the semester.

Please use the special project request form.

Approved List Of Non-ECE Courses
  • College of Engineering
    • All courses at the 6000 level or higher unless approved by the Director of Graduate Studies.
  • College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics
    • All Graduate level courses, with the exception of the following:
      • COSC 6301, 6302, 6303, 6304, 6305, 6306, 6308, 6309, 6310
      • GEOL 6321, 6322
      • MATH 5310
      • PHYS 5311, 5312, 5397
  • College of Business Administration:
    • All courses at the 6000 level or higher, with the exception of any courses in General Business Administration (GENB).
    • Reminder: course(s) that do not receive a letter grade, but are graded S, U, or W will not be counted towards the degree plan.

Regarding the Industrial Power Systems (IPS) specialization, the department of Electrical and Computer Engineering also offers a non-thesis online MSEE program.

For detailed information on the online IPS program click here.

Appropriate Coursework


  • Courses used to satisfy structured course requirements must receive a letter grade (i.e., not S, U, or W).

  • Some departments other than ECE offer graduate level courses (6000 or above) with similar content to ECE graduate courses. In those situations, ECE graduate students must take the ECE version of the course. If the ECE course in question is not offered around the time of the graduating semester, then the student may be allowed to take the non-ECE version by general petition. Please see related deadlines on the department calendar.

  • Graduate credit will not be awarded for both the ECE and non-ECE versions of a course.

  • Courses offered by other institutions, such as Rice University/UT Health, etc., may be taken with prior approval from both the student’s advisor and the director of the graduate program if a similar class is not offered at UH. For permission to take a non-UH course, complete a general petition and an inter-institutional form, which are linked in our forms page.

  • Courses taken for personal enrichment will not count towards the degree and must be approved by the advisor and the Director of Graduate Studies prior to enrollment. Enrichment hours cannot be used to satisfy minimum enrollment requirements when an assistantship is being received.

Leveling Courses


Master’s students who do not have a Bachelor of Science in Electrical or Computer Engineering must show competency in four areas:

  • Electronic devices

  • Circuit theory

  • Electromagnetics

  • Computers

Students may accomplish this through leveling coursework or by passing a core competency exam. The Graduate Admissions Committee will identify leveling requirements with the assistance of the thesis advisor.

Competence in each area can be demonstrated by passing the following course(s) with a grade of B or better, respectively:

- Circuit Analysis (ECE 2201 and ECE 2202) and its Laboratory (ECE 2100)
- Applied EM Waves (ECE 3317)
- Signal & System Analysis (ECE 3337)
- Electronics (ECE 3355)
- Microprocessor Systems (ECE 4436)

The graduate level courses Microwave engineering (ECE 5317) and Computer architecture (ECE 5367) may be taken in place of Applied EM Waves (ECE 3317) and Microprocessor Systems (ECE 4436), respectively, with instructor permission.

Dissertation and Thesis Guidelines


The Dissertation document is written as part of the Ph.D. degree program and the Thesis is written as part of the M.S. degree. The dissertation should be at such a level as to be a significant contribution to the field of knowledge in electrical and computer engineering, and worthy of publication in one of the recognized professional journals. This section describes the common elements in these documents and specifies any differences.

Here is a summary of the steps a student takes to complete this requirement.

  1. Form a Thesis/Dissertation Committee

  2. Write a Proposal and submit it to the Committee for approval. Ph.D. students must also defend their proposal orally

  3. Prepare the Thesis/Dissertation document

  4. Defend the Thesis/Dissertation in a public setting with an announcement filed at least two weeks prior to the defense

More details for each step are provided in the next sections.

Committee


The student should form a Thesis/Dissertation Committee with the Advisor as chair as soon as the research topic is selected.

Thesis Committee must consist of at least three members, with

  • the advisor as chair,

  • at least one additional faculty members from the Electrical and Computer Engineering Department, and

  • at least one University of Houston tenure-track faculty member outside this Department.

Dissertation Committee must consist of at least five members, with

  • the advisor as chair,

  • at least two additional faculty members from the Electrical and Computer Engineering Department, and

  • at least two University of Houston tenure-track faculty member outside this department.

In either case, the advisor can assist the student in forming an appropriate committee. A committee form must be submitted well before the proposal defense is scheduled since the committee must be approved by the Department and Dean’s Office prior to the defense. A student need not be enrolled while requesting to form a committee but must be enrolled when the defense takes place.

Should changes to the committee membership be necessary, the student simply submits an updated committee form listing all committee members. Only the new member(s) have to sign the form, but please complete this at least two weeks prior to defending the proposal or the Thesis/Dissertation.

Proposal


Once the Thesis/Dissertation Committee has been formed and approved, the student should prepare and, for Ph.D. students, defend a Thesis/Dissertation Proposal. During the semester where the proposal submission takes place, the student must be enrolled in ECE 6399  (MSEE) or ECE 8399  (Ph.D.). The Thesis/Dissertation Committee will approve the proposal by signing the Proposal Form. This form, together with a copy of the proposal document, has to be submitted to the ECE Department by the deadline specified on the semester calendar. The forms for the Thesis/Dissertation Committee formation and the Thesis/Dissertation Proposal defense can be obtained from the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering.

The proposal document should outline the scope of the research, and it should contain, at least, a statement of the objectives, a review of the relevant literature, and a description of the principal methods to be used. Copies of this proposal should be provided to the members of the Committee.

Since the Committee may request substantial changes in the research objectives, the proposal should be prepared during the early stages of the dissertation research. In no case should a proposal and dissertation defense occur in the same semester.

After the successful defense of the Thesis/Dissertation Proposal, students should register for ECE 7399  (MSEE) or continue to enroll in ECE 8399  (Ph.D.). MSEE students should ideally enroll in ECE 7399  during the semester in which the thesis is defended and in which the student plans to graduate. The student should adhere to the thesis submission deadlines posted on the department calendar. In case the student does not complete the thesis while enrolled in ECE 7399 , he/she should enroll in research courses (ECE 6x98) in future semesters until the thesis is completed to the satisfaction of the committee.

Thesis/Dissertation Document


When most of the research has been completed, the student should describe the main results to the committee and describe plans for the contents and structure of the thesis/dissertation. A student may request that the members of the committee review and comment on a preliminary version of the dissertation. This procedure is encouraged since it should provide the student with ideas of how to enhance the quality of the dissertation and should facilitate its acceptance.

When preparing the Thesis/Dissertation, it is critical to follow the guidelines defined by the College of Engineering.

A student should provide the members of the committee with the final version of the dissertation no later than two weeks prior to the dissertation presentation and defense. The student should be aware that he/she may be required to make substantial changes in the dissertation in order to satisfy the requirements of the committee.

Thesis/Dissertation Defense


Each candidate is required to present and defend his/her thesis/dissertation at a public meeting and post an announcement with an abstract with the ECE office at least two weeks before defense date. Please check with the ECE Department for further details. The Thesis/Dissertation Committee will make the final judgment of the acceptance of the defense of the document.

The thesis/dissertation announcement is to let the public know that the student has completed successfully his/her research and that he/she is ready for graduation. The announcement must be distributed to all faculty and students. One additional copy must be submitted to the ECE Department for filing. Refer to the web site given for more information.

Note: The student may request that the members of the Thesis/Dissertation Committee review and comment on a preliminary version of the thesis. This practice is encouraged since it should provide the student with ideas on how to improve the quality of the thesis and should also facilitate its acceptance. The student is required to present the final draft of the thesis to the members of the committee no later than two weeks prior to the date of the thesis defense. The student should be aware that he/she may be required to make substantial changes, before and after the defense, in the thesis in order to satisfy the requirements of the committee.

Submission Form


Upon successful defense of the thesis, and once all signatures of the committee members have been obtained, the student must submit one copy of the thesis to the Director of Graduate Studies for review. A thesis submission form and this copy, together with the correct number of signature pages, must be submitted to the ECE front desk before the deadline stated in the Department calendar.

Obtaining ECE Department’s Chair signature


Once the thesis has been approved by the director of graduate studies, thesis and official signature pages will be submitted to the chairman for his signature. The student will be notified by staff for pick up. Department process for thesis submission is now complete. Students must now submit the Department approved thesis submission form with appropriate documents to the Dean’s office for review.

Official thesis submission for binding


The college web site provides instructions on how to submit the thesis once the dean’s office has given approval for binding. Once the student is at this stage, he/she must submit a copy of the thesis binding agreement received from the Dean’s office to the ECE Department so that appropriate letter grade(s) can be awarded.

 

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