The M.S. degree program satisfies a number of different needs. Many students enter the M.S. degree program to round out their educational objectives, prior to seeking employment in a specialized field of study within Electrical Engineering. In this case, the M.S. degree represents a terminal point in their formal studies.
Other students plan on continuing their studies at the Ph.D. level. The M.S. degree in this case represents a preparatory period designed to give the student the tools and background needed to carry out the more individualized and self-directed research involved in Ph.D. studies.
Either approach is designed to provide comprehensive knowledge of the theoretical and applied aspects of the student’s chosen area of concentration (Electronics and Photonics or Information, Communication, and Decision Systems). The graduate program is predicated on students having developed a strong technical background in basic Electrical & Computer Engineering through work in undergraduate courses. The objective of the graduate program is to enhance this background by providing more advanced course work, along with insight into state-of-the-art problems and new research areas.
Plan A or Plan B M.S. degree?
The Master’s degree may be earned under either of two plans as determined by the student and the advisory committee. The first plan, Plan A, emphasizes research, whereas the second, Plan B, requires comprehensive understanding of the field of study.
Time for Completion of the M.S. Degree
A student with a bachelors degree in Electrical Engineering will usually complete degree requirements in two or three semesters of full-time study, under Plan B, and in three to four semesters under Plan A. A student who is not as well prepared for the M.S. program will usually require an additional one or two semesters to complete a plan of study. Teaching and research assistants usually take four semesters to complete their program. Under normal conditions, it is expected that an on-campus full-time student will complete all the requirements for an M.S. in less than 2 1/2 years. If, at the end of two years of study, it appears that the student will not finish in the allotted period of time, the student’s advisory committee will review the progress made to date and recommend an appropriate remedial action.