Our Graduate Programs

The Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering is one of the core engineering programs within the College of Science and Engineering (CSE) at the University of Minnesota. We offer two graduate degree programs:

  • The Master of Science in Electrical and Computer Engineering (MSECE)
  • The Doctor of Philosophy in Electrical and Computer Engineering (PhD) 

Pursuing graduate studies in electrical and computer engineering opens up many new opportunities in a field that is key to global innovation in areas such as renewable energy, biomedical devices, computer systems, communications, nanotechnology, robotics, artificial intelligence, and more. A master's degree provides you with specialized skills that are in high demand in some of the largest global companies, most of which are based in the United States. A PhD puts you on a path toward developing expert level knowledge that will make you a leader in the technology of tomorrow. Transitioning from our master's to our doctoral program is seamless, but if you know you want to earn a PhD, you can apply directly with your undergraduate degree.

The MSECE degree program can be completed in one of two ways:

  • MSECE in person
  • MSECE online through the University’s UNITE Distributed Learning office

The master’s degree program can be typically completed in 1.5 to 2 years, although time to completion might be slightly longer for students pursuing the degree part-time.

The PhD typically takes 3 to 4 years if you have a relevant master's degree. If you enter the program directly with a relevant undergraduate degree, it usually takes 4 to 5 years. 

Most of our graduate students have bachelor's degrees in electrical engineering or computer engineering, but students of physics, math, and other engineering fields are often qualified for admission and can apply their special brand of knowledge to various courses and research groups. If you look through our faculty, you will see that they come from various academic backgrounds, including physics, math, systems engineering, and robotics.

Our PhD students are typically full-time due to the intensive nature of the research program that employs them as research and teaching assistants, if they are not on fellowship. The full cost of tuition and living expenses is offset by these opportunities.

Master's students can take their course load full-time, part-time, in-person, or remotely. Flexibility is built into the program including access to almost all of our courses via UNITE Distributed Learning.

MSECE Degree

The MSECE degree can be earned either through a thesis option or a coursework only option.

MSECE Coursework Only Option (Plan C)

  • Approved EE coursework credits = 18 
  • Approved non-EE coursework credits = 6 
  • Additional EE or non-EE coursework credits = 6 
  • Total credits for the degree = 30

MSECE Thesis Option (Plan A)

  • Approved EE coursework credits = 14 
  • Approved non-EE coursework credits = 6 
  • MS thesis credits = 10
  • Total credits for the degree = 30

Note that if you are applying to the MSECE online degree program, Plan C is the only option available to you.

PhD Degree

The PhD typically takes 3 to 4 years if you have a relevant master's degree. It typically takes 4 to 5 years if you come directly from a relevant undergraduate degree program. 

  • EE major field coursework credit requirement = 14
  • Non-EE coursework credit requirement = 12
  • Additional EE or non-EE coursework credits = 14
  • PhD thesis  credits (EE 8888) = 24
  • Total credits for the degree = 64