Jul 15, 2024  
2016-2017 Graduate Catalog 
2016-2017 Graduate Catalog [Not Current Academic Year. Consult with Your Academic Advisor for Your Catalog Year]

Electrical Engineering, MS

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Colleges  > Cullen College of Engineering  > Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering  > Electrical Engineering, M.S.E.E.



The Master of Science (MSEE) degree is a research-oriented degree and requires the completion of a thesis.  A thesis describes the result of contemporary research capable of being published in a scientific or engineering journal and conducted under the guidance of a faculty advisor.  Selection of an advisor is critical to completing the degree and therefore should be done as soon as possible.

Although the MSEE program is open to both part-time and full-time students, the MEE program (structured courses only) may be more appropriate for part-time students because of the research element of the MSEE.  A change to the MEE program from an MSEE program involving financial support requires approval of the advisorthe advisor.


Admission Requirements    
  1. Unconditional Admission  
  2. Conditional Admission  
General Requirements    
  1.Transfer of Credits  
  2. Official Advisor  
  3. Advising  
  4. Enrollment Hours  
  5. Reduced Course Load  
  6. Cumulative Grade Point_Average (GPA)   
  7.Major Grade Point Average (MGPA)  
  8.Change of degree objective plan within the  department  
  9. Change of major  
  10. Curricular Practical Training (CPT)  


General Course and Program Requirements

  1. Course Requirements  
  2. Thesis Information  


Admission Requirements

 1. Unconditional Admission:

  • A bachelor’s degree in Electrical Engineering, or in a closely related field, from an accredited institution, with a grade point average of at least 3.0/4.0 (or equivalent) for the last 60 hours of the undergraduate degree and on any coursework completed since graduation.
  • General GRE scores must be submitted.  While no minimum GRE scores are used to exclude students, typically students entering the program have GRE scores greater than 150 on the Verbal, greater than 159 on the Quantitative, and greater than 4.0 on the Writing Assessment.
  • International students must submit an official TOEFL score of 92 or better.
  • Three letters of recommendation on official letterhead with mailing address, phone and fax numbers, and e-mail address of the recommender.

2. Conditional Admission:

  • Same as above, except the grade point average may be between 2.6 and 3.0 with high GRE scores.
  • Must be a citizen or permanent resident of the United States.
  • The conditionally admitted student must earn a grade point average of at least 3.0 on the first 12 semester hours of graduate work after enrolled at the University of Houston.  A general petition needs to be submitted to change conditional admission status after the first 12 hours.




1. Transfer of Credits

A student may transfer up to 6 hours of graduate-level work completed elsewhere or at the University of Houston upon the approval of the Director of Graduate Studies.  The student will need to file a general petition within one semester after admission to graduate program.

(Courses in Technology programs cannot be transferred.)

2. Official Advisor

The faculty member charged with supervising your dissertation will be your official advisor.  The Graduate Director will serve as your default advisor during the first year if no official advisor has been found.

Students must declare an official advisor on a general petition at end of the second semester.

If a student is interested in working with another advisor, the official advisor must initially approve the change to a new advisor via general petition.  The general petition must also include the new advisor’s signature prior to submission for the Department to review.


3. Advising

Graduate advising is mandatory upon admission into the graduate program in Electrical and Computer Engineering, both prior to the first registration and in subsequent semesters.  MSEE students are advised by their thesis advisors.  The thesis advisor should approve all proposed coursework during registration cycles before each academic semester.  If the student does not have a thesis advisor upon initial enrollment, the Director of Graduate Studies shall advise the student.

If your advisor has a joint appointment, he/she must have ECE research/dissertation hours set up with the Department prior to the registration cycle each semester.    Research and dissertation course numbers are unique to each professor, who will supply the numbers to students. 

4. Enrollment Hours

Early enrollment is highly recommended for all students.  Classes fill up quickly and may not be available during the early semester rush.  Department enrollment deadlines as well as the official calendar are posted on the Department web site.  General information on supported enrollment hours can be found at the following college website, http://www.egr.uh.edu/graduate/policies/?e=gradpolicies1.

Be aware that courses taken for personal enrichment will not be counted towards the degree plan and must be approved by the advisor and the Director of Graduate Studies prior to enrollment.  Enrichment hours cannot be used towards the required total number of hours when an assistantship is being received.

  • Non-supported (US/Int’l.) students must maintain enrollment of at least 3 hours (US) or 9 hours (international) during each Fall/Spring semester.  Summer enrollment is not necessary (no special permission is required).
  • Supported (US/Int’l.) students must enroll full time in each semester (i.e., Fall, Spring - 12 Hours, and Summer - 6 Hours).

See details at http://www.egr.uh.edu/graduate/policies/?e=gradpolicies1


5. Reduced Course Load

Requests to enroll below the minimum number of hours required may be granted for non-supported students on a one-time basis.  Students must have filed an approved degree plan showing that all degree requirements (except thesis) have been met.  For a 3-hour reduced course load, a student must defend their thesis no later than the 12th day of class (approximately September 5, February 1, or June 10).  A copy of the research announcement, plus a signed letter from the research advisor confirming the date of the defense must accompany the request.

Students must supply the following supporting documents:

1. A copy of the thesis defense announcement.

2. An approved degree plan for graduation.

3. An approved statement of your time line for defense and graduation.

4. Reduced course load form from ISSSO office.

Reduced course load may be requested for a one time approval.  Students are required to enroll full-time if additional semesters are needed.  Please note that full-time enrollment prior to the start of the semester is required for all students seeking an exception to enrollment requirements.  The Department will adjust the enrollment once the petition to enroll below the minimum hours has been approved.

6. Cumulative Grade Point Average (GPA)

This average is on all courses attempted at the university during the graduate program.  Students must maintain an overall GPA of 3.0 or better in order to remain in good academic standing for the graduate program.  An academic stop will be placed on the student record when he/she fails to maintain this average.  The student will receive an academic letter from the department outlining the reinstatement procedure each semester until the GPA has reached 3.0 or better.  At that time, he/she must seek the academic advisor’s assistance on the removal of this stop for future enrollment.

  • Cumulative Grade Point Average (GPA) for supported students:
    • The cumulative GPA must be 3.0 or better at all times in order to maintain eligibility for assistantships or in-state tuition waivers when applicable.
  • Cumulative Grade Point Average (GPA) for scholarship students
    • The cumulative GPA must be 3.0 or better at all times in order to receive the in-state tuition waiver.  If you do not meet this requirement, you will lose the scholarship and no longer be eligible for in-state tuition.  If you drop below the 3.0 GPA in the first semester, you may not receive the 2nd installment of the scholarship.


7. Major Grade Point Average (MGPA)

This average is only on courses that are on the student’s degree plan.  Students must maintain a MGPA of 3.0 prior to applying for graduation.

8.Change of degree objective plan within the  department.

Students seeking a change in degree plan will need to submit a general petition to officially request such a change.  The current advisor must initially approve the general petition.  The general petition must be submitted way in advance for the plan change and will only be effective in the upcoming semester.  A petition will not be processed once a new semester has already begun.  Students on visa must notify ISSSO when a change of major has been approved.  Change in degree objective request can be submitted one time.

9. Change of major

Students who have an interest in another major must file an approved general petition from the other Department to the ECE Department in order to have files transferred to the new Department.  An academic stop will remain on student’s record until this procedure is completed.


10.  Curricular Practical Training (CPT)

The purpose of curricular practical training (CPT) is to gain practical insight into the student’s academic program; therefore, it must be considered as “an integral part of an established curriculum.”

The ECE Department will allow up to six (6) hours of CPT (“internships”) in the following situations:

1. MSEE students who need to be employed by an outside agency in order to collect data for their thesis.  These data must be part of the thesis.

2. A CPT Form is submitted before the start of the semester in which the student intends to participate in an internship.  The Form must include an attached formal job offer on the hiring company’s stationary, a description of the work to be performed, a beginning and ending date, and the salary offered.  MSEE candidates must obtain approval from their thesis advisor as well.

3. The work must be related to the practice of electrical and/or computer engineering.

4. Only half-time employment is allowed during Fall and Spring semesters.  Full-time employment is allowed during the Summer semester.

5. MSEE students can substitute internship hours up to six hours as a substitute for required research courses (ECE 6x98).

6. MSEE students will not be able to apply for graduation in the same semester as the semester of CPT.

7. CPT candidates must officially return to campus prior to the beginning of the new semester.

CPT will not be approved under any othercircumstances.  All procedures must be approved by the ECE department prior to approval by any other offices.  CPT COOP is not part of the MSEE degree program.

For more information on the College and University requirements regarding CPT, please review websites indicated below.




11. Notes

The student should refer to the Graduate and Professional Studies Catalog for other requirements and regulations such as course load, time limitations, 4-C rule, etc.  Nothing in this document is intended to supersede or supplant the regulations set forth by the University of Houston in the Graduate and Professional Studies Catalog.


Course Requirements

To receive the degree of Master of Science in Electrical Engineering, the student is required to complete (on a part-time or full-time basis), with a grade point average of at least 3.0, a minimum of 30 semester credit hours of graduate studies, at least 21 hours of structured coursework, and 9 hours of thesis and research.  Specifically, the following are required:

1. At least 15 hours of 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.

2. Exactly six hours of thesis (ECE 6399  and ECE 7399 ) and at least 3 hours of research (ECE 6x98).

3. Out of the minimum of 21 hours of coursework, at most 6 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.

4.  Course(s) that do not receive a letter grade, but are graded S, U, or W will not be counted towards the degree plan.


Non-ECE Courses

In case a graduate level (6000 or above) course exists with similar content to a regularly offered ECE graduate course, graduate ECE students must take the ECE version.  If the course in question is not offered regularly, or in the graduating semester, then the students may be allowed to take the non-ECE version by general petition.  Please see deadline on the Department calendar.

Under no circumstances will graduate credit be awarded for both the ECE and non-ECE version of the course.  Courses offered at other institutions such as Rice University/UT Health, etc. may be available for enrollment pending prior approval from both advisor and the Graduate Director.  Students must take coursework, if available at our main campus.  Complete a general petition and an inter-institutional form for the process.  Refer to the University website below for more information.


Thesis Information



Thesis Committee

The student should form a Thesis Committee with the Thesis Advisor (who must be a tenure-track faculty member in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering) as chair as soon as the thesis topic is selected.  The Committee must consist of at least three members, with

1. Thesis advisor as chair;

2. At least one additional faculty member from the Electrical and Computer Engineering Department

3. At least one University of Houston tenure-track faculty member outside this Department.

The thesis committee form must be submitted well before the proposal defense is scheduled, since the latter cannot take place unless the thesis committee has been formally approved by the ECE Department and Engineering Dean’s Office.  This is not required to be enrolled while requesting to form a committee; however, enrollment is required when the proposal defense takes place.

In the event that some members of the previously approved committee have to be replaced, the student must submit an updated committee form listing all committee members.  Only the new member(s) have to sign the form.


Thesis Proposal

Once the Thesis Committee has been formed and approved, the student should prepare and defend a Thesis Proposal.  During this semester, the student must be enrolled in ECE 6399 .  The Thesis Committee should confirm their approval by signing the Thesis Proposal Form.  This form, together with a copy of the approved thesis proposal, has to be submitted to the ECE Department by the deadline specified on the semester calendar.  Appropriate forms for the Thesis Committee formation and the Thesis Proposal defense can be obtained from the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering. 


Thesis Defense

The thesis 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 available to all faculty and students.

One additional copy must be submitted to the ECE Department for filing.  

After the successful defense of the Thesis Proposal, the student may register for


Ideally, the student should 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.

The student may request that the members of the Thesis 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 its defense) in order to satisfy the requirements of the committee.


Preparation and Submission of the Thesis

It is important for students to follow the current guidelines written by the College of Engineering while preparing the thesis for submission to avoid delays in approval.  The link below contains official guidelines for students to follow.


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, the thesis and official signature pages should be submitted to the Chairman for his signature.  The student will be notified by staff for pick up.  The Department process for thesis submission is now complete.  Students must now submit  an approved thesis submission form with appropriate documents to the Dean’s office for review.


Official Thesis Submission for Binding

The College web site listed below 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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