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Daniel Felix Ritchie School of Engineering & Computer Science Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering

Electrical and Computer Engineering

Graduate Program Overview


The Department of ECE offers both part-time and full-time programs. The Department recognizes that a student may be employed full-time while studying for a degree. Therefore, most courses are offered at times and on days that will permit a student to complete the program by taking courses either late in the day or outside normal business hours. Many employers will permit additional flexibility by releasing employees early to attend classes. The MS degree programs can generally be completed in about four years if one course is taken each quarter, but it is usually possible to take two courses per quarter, bringing completion time closer to the more common duration of two years. For part-time students who are working in industry positions and who have chosen the thesis option, a topic related to the job function may be acceptable as the thesis research topic. Furthermore, a qualified staff member at the place of employment may be approved to serve as an adjunct faculty on the thesis committee.

Students not interested in pursuing a degree but interested in taking an occasional course may register as special status students by following an abbreviated admissions process. However, only 15 QH earned as a special status student may be applied toward a MS or PhD degree.

Minimum Credit Requirements

Every candidate for the MS degree must complete 45 QH of credit, at least 36 of which must be completed at the University of Denver.

Master of Science in Computer Engineering, Electrical Engineering, Mechatronic Systems Engineering, or Engineering-Traditional Program

The Master of Science in Computer Engineering (MSCpE), Electrical Engineering (MSEE), or Mechatronic Systems Engineering (MSMSE) is designed to advance the student’s knowledge in several areas of engineering. Each degree provides breadth while permitting the student to achieve depth in one of several specialization areas. These specialization areas, with thematic sequences of courses, have been selected to coincide with those of high current interest as well as those emerging technologies that hold promise of increasing importance for the future. The purpose of these programs is to serve the profession of engineering and the Colorado community through advanced study in computer engineering, electrical engineering, and other related fields. Each program prepares the student for academic and industrial advancement. All programs offer a thesis and a non-thesis option.

Program Structure

Candidates may elect either the thesis or non-thesis option. This choice may be made at any time, although a delay in declaration may impact the completion date. Students who are GTAs or who receive financial support from a University research grant, such as GRAs, are required to elect the thesis option. These programs are designed to be completed in about seven quarters if two courses (usually 8 QH) are taken each quarter.

Non-Thesis Option

The non-thesis option is the more flexible of the two options. This program is designed with the working professional in mind. For this option, a grade of B or better must be obtained in each course in order for that course to count toward the requirement of 45 QH. An overall minimum GPA of 3.0 is also required for graduation. Students may only take up to 8 quarter hours of independent study to be counted toward the degree.  Each student must take a minimum of 24 quarter hours at the 4000-level. 

Thesis Option

A thesis permits a candidate to obtain depth in an area of study and it is especially useful for individuals who seek to pursue a subsequent degree, for example, a PhD degree. Thesis candidates work closely with a thesis advisor. The thesis option is required for all GRAs and GTAs. For this option, a grade of C or better must be obtained in each course in order for that course to count toward the 45 QH hour requirements. An overall minimum GPA of 3.0 is also required for graduation. Students may only take up to 8 quarter hours of independent study to be counted toward the degree. Each student must take a minimum of 16 quarter hours at the 4000-level.

Breadth Requirement (Non-Thesis and Thesis Option)

Breadth Requirement courses (each with not less than 3 QH of credit) may be chosen from courses offered in other specialization areas. A course that appears in more than one specialization area may only be counted toward either the specialization requirement or the breadth requirement. The remaining courses are chosen from appropriate courses numbered 3000 or higher, offered by the Department Mechanical & Materials Engineering, Department of Computer Science or NSM (Natural Sciences and Mathematics). Prior approval by the student’s advisor is required.