M.S. Degree - Plan I (Thesis)

M.S. Degree - Plan I (Thesis)

M.S. Degree - Plan I (Thesis)

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This master’s program in electrical and computer engineering gives the student an opportunity to perform in-depth research and thesis writing.

The Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering prepares graduate students to do meaningful research and acquire skills and insights vital to solving some of the world’s most complex technological problems. Many of our graduates go on to leadership and technology management roles in industry.

Graduate program highlights include:

  • A challenging and stimulating environment
  • Depth of resources
  • Highly interdisciplinary culture
  • Generous financial support.

Degree Requirements

  • General Reminders and Information
  • Students should note that ECE program requirements are more stringent than those stated by Graduate Studies. The ECE program requirements, therefore, take precedence. Plan I requires a minimum of 36 units of graduate and upper division courses (the 100 and 200 series only), at least 15 units of which must be graduate engineering courses (200 series), with 12 out of the 15 units of graduate work in the major field, excluding seminar and research units. No more than 3 graduate seminar units and 9 research units may be used to satisfy the 36-unit requirement. In addition, a thesis is required. The thesis serves as the capstone requirement. All courses listed on the Program of Study must be passed with a “B-“ or higher. A course in which a student receives a “C+” or lower cannot be used to satisfy the unit requirement for the M.S. degree, but will count in determining the grade point average. 

  • Course Requirements
  • 36 units of upper-division and graduate course work, a thesis and a minimum of three quarters of academic residence are required.

    At least 15 units must be in graduate engineering courses (excluding 29X seminar series and 299) and of these 15 units, at least 12 units must be in graduate electrical and computer engineering courses (again excluding 29X seminar series and 299). The balance of the 36-unit requirement may be met with a combination of upper division technical elective courses and 29X and 299 in ECE or other approved programs. No more than three seminar units (290-297, excluding 290C) can be counted. A student should register for the number of 299 research and independent study units that reflects the actual effort and time devoted to thesis work, although no more than nine units can be counted.

    Courses required for the ECE undergraduate degree, or the following courses: EEC100, EEC110A/B, EEC130A/B, EEC140A/B, EEC150A/B, EEC161, EEC170, EEC172, and EEC180A/B, may not be used to satisfy the requirements of the ECE M.S. degree.

    Full-time students must enroll for 12 units per quarter, including research, academic and seminar units. Courses that fulfill any of the program course requirements may not be taken S/U unless the course is normally graded S/U. Once course requirements are completed, students can take additional classes as needed, although the 12 units per quarter are generally fulfilled with a research class (299) and perhaps seminars. Per UC regulations, students cannot enroll in more than 12 units of graduate level courses (200) or more than 16 units of combined undergraduate and graduate level (100, 200, 300) courses per quarter.

  • Special Requirements
  • All graduate students are required to take EEC290, Seminar in Electrical and Computer Engineering, each fall quarter. An S grade in EEC390, the Teaching of Electrical and Computer Engineering, is required to be eligible to hold a teaching assistantship in ECE, but may not be used to satisfy graduate coursework requirements. International students may need to take LIN25, LIN26, LIN391 or a combination thereof, to meet university language proficiency requirements.

  • Committees
  • ♦   Admission Committee
    Once the completed application, all supporting materials, and the application fee have been received, the application will be submitted to the admissions committee. The admissions committee consists of the faculty members of ECE’s Graduate Study Committee (GSC) and the GSC admissions chair. Applicants who apply by the space available deadline (but after the general deadline) are not guaranteed to have their application reviewed by the graduate program. Their application will be reviewed only if the graduate program determines that they have additional space available. Based on a review of the entire application, a recommendation is made to accept or decline an applicant’s request for admission. The recommendation to accept or decline an applicant’s request for admission is forwarded to the Dean of Graduate Studies for final approval of admission. Notification of admissions decisions will be sent by Graduate Studies. Applications are accepted from the date the admission system opens (typically in September) through the space available deadline for the next fall-entering class

    ♦   Course Guidance or Advising Committee
    The major professor and the ECE Graduate Advisor will assist the student in developing a Program of Study. See the section below on “Advising and Mentoring.” By the third quarter of enrollment the student must file a Program of Study that must be routed through the ECE Graduate Program Coordinator for the ECE Graduate Advisor’s approval.

    ♦   Thesis Committee for M.S. Plan I
    When the student advances to candidacy, they will declare an M.S. thesis committee. The ECE Graduate Advisor will nominate the committee based on consultations with the student and the major professor. This committee is chaired by the major professor and made up of at least two other members. The majority of this committee must be members of the ECE graduate program. The responsibility of this committee is to assist in the guidance of the student and to read and approve the thesis. The thesis must be prepared in accordance with Graduate Studies guidelines.

  • Advising and Mentoring
  • The major professor is the primary mentor during the student’s career at UC Davis and will assist with developing the student’s Program of Study. The major professor serves as the chair of the Thesis Committee (for Plan I) or Comprehensive Exam Committee (for Plan II). The student must select a major professor from the members of the ECE Graduate Program as soon as possible, but no later than the beginning of the third quarter of enrollment. Changing a major professor, requires the signatures of the previous and new major professor, acknowledging the change. The ECE Vice Chair for Graduate Studies, also referred to as the Graduate Program Chair, will serve as the interim advisor to new students during the process of selecting a major professor.

    The Graduate Advisor, who is nominated by the department chair and appointed by the Dean of Graduate Studies, is a resource for information on academic requirements, policies and procedures and registration information until a major professor is selected. The ECE Graduate Advisor is responsible for reviewing programs of study for each student and acting on student petitions.

    The Graduate Program Coordinator should be the first person consulted on all actions regarding graduate affairs. The Graduate Program Coordinator may advise the student to contact the ECE Graduate Advisor or the Office of Graduate Studies to address particular issues.

  • Advancement to Candidacy
  • Every student must file an official application for candidacy for the Master of Science degree and pay the candidacy fee after completing half of their course requirements and at least one quarter before completing all degree requirements. This is typically the third quarter. The candidacy for the Master of Science degree form can be found online at: http://www.gradstudies.ucdavis.edu/forms/. A completed form includes a list of courses the student will take to complete degree requirements. If changes must be made to the student’s course plan after they have advanced to candidacy, the Graduate Advisor must recommend these changes to Graduate Studies. Students must have the ECE Graduate Advisor and committee chair, if applicable, sign the candidacy form before it can be submitted to Graduate Studies. If the candidacy is approved, the Office of Graduate Studies will send a copy to the appropriate graduate program coordinator and the student. The thesis committee chair will also receive a copy, if applicable. If the Office of Graduate Studies determines that a student is not eligible for advancement, the program and the student will be told the reasons for the application’s deferral. Some reasons for deferring an application include grade point average below 3.0, outstanding “I” grades in required courses or insufficient units.

  • Thesis Requirements
  • The M.S. thesis must demonstrate the student’s proficiency in research methods and scientific analysis, as well as a thorough knowledge of the state-of-the-art of the student’s chosen field. Original contributions to knowledge are encouraged, but not expected, at the M.S. degree level. Thus, an M.S. thesis may consist of:

    ♦   An original technical or research contribution of limited scope
    ♦   A critical evaluation of the state-of-the-art of a current research area
    ♦   An advanced design project, either analytical or experimental.

    Research for the master’s thesis is to be carried out under the supervision of a faculty member of the program. The thesis research must be conducted while the student is enrolled in the program. The thesis is submitted to the thesis committee at least one month before the student plans to make requested revisions. All committee members must approve the thesis and sign the title page before the thesis is submitted to Graduate Studies for final approval. Should the committee determine that the thesis is unacceptable, even with substantial revisions, the program may recommend to the Dean of Graduate Studies that the student be disqualified from the program.

    The thesis must be filed in a quarter in which the student is registered or on filing fee. Instructions on preparation of the thesis and a schedule of dates for filing the thesis in final form are available from Graduate Studies; the dates are also printed in the UC Davis General Catalog and in the Class Schedule and Registration Guide issued each quarter. A student must have a GPA of 3.0 for the M.S. degree to be awarded.

  • Typical Timeline
  • Although work for the Master of Science degree can be completed in three quarters of full-time study, generally 18-24 months of full-time study are required to complete the M.S. Plan I. In order to make satisfactory progress, the expectation is that full-time students in the M.S. program will follow the timeline below. The number in each column is the consecutive quarter of enrollment. Students not holding an ECE degree may require additional quarters of study to complete their M.S. degree requirements depending on the number of remedial courses needed.
    ECE MS Timeline

  • Sources of Funding
  • Please see more information on helpful funding resources.

  • PELP, In Absentia and Filing Fee Status
  • Information about PELP (Planned Educational Leave), In Absentia (reduced fees when researching out of state) and filing fee status can be found in the graduate student guide:  https://grad.ucdavis.edu/resources/graduate-student-resources. M.S. students are eligible for filing fee status after completing their coursework (Program of Study) and a working draft of their thesis or comprehensive examination report. In order to be approved for filing fee status, a student must submit the filing fee request along with signatures of all three members of the Thesis Committee or Comprehensive Examination Committee stating they have received an acceptable working draft of the thesis or comprehensive examination report. This application must be routed through the ECE Graduate Program Coordinator for the ECE Graduate Advisor’s approval and then must be filed with Graduate Studies. Filing fee is available for one quarter only, but extensions may be approved on a case-by-case basis. In the event that filing fee status expires, the student must file a readmission application.