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Degree Programs

The ECE department offers Master's and Ph.D. degree programs in electrical (EE) and computer engineering (CPE) in Blacksburg, Virginia and the greater Washington, D.C., metro area in Falls Church and Arlington.

These programs are also available through extended campus site locations such as Roanoke, Richmond, Southwest Virginia, Central in Dahlgren, and Hampton Roads.

Detailed information on all ECE graduate programs can be found in the Graduate Student Policy Manual.

Research-Based Master's of Science (M.S.)

The ECE department offers both an M.S. (thesis) degree and an M.S. (non-thesis) degree—both are research-based degrees based on graduate coursework. The M.S. (thesis) student participates in independent research done under the direct supervision of an ECE faculty member culminating in an M.S. thesis. The M.S. (non-thesis) degree is a course-based degree culminating in a research project and report.

Broad areas of specialization are offered within the research-based programs. For more information, please see Areas of Focus.

Electrical Engineering

  • Autonomous Systems
  • Communications
  • Control Systems
  • Electromagnetics
  • Photonics and Optics
  • Power and Energy Systems
  • Power Electronics
  • Semiconductors and Microelectronics
  • Signal Processing
  • Space Science and Engineering

Computer Engineering

  • Configurable Computing
  • Embedded and Secure Systems
  • Machine Perception
  • Mobile, Cloud and Pervasive Computing
  • Networks and Cybersecurity
  • Neuroimaging Methodology and Analysis
  • Software Systems
  • Systems Biology and Bioinformatics
  • VLSI & Design Automation

Professionally-Oriented Master's of Engineering (MEng)

ECE offers a Master of Engineering (MEng) degree in Computer Engineering (CPE) and Electrical Engineering (EE). These professionally-oriented degrees offer graduate students a strong academic foundation in core ECE technological areas with a culminating, project-based learning experience.

Courses are available online and on-site and faculty teach at both our greater Washington, D.C., metro area and Blacksburg campuses. Students are able to participate in the program on a part-time, full-time, or full-time accelerated basis. The full-time accelerated program will allow the student to complete the program in one year.

We understand the time demands of working professionals. We offer online sections of courses to help better manage your time. In addition, many employers have educational benefits that may cover the cost of tuition, fees, and books. Check with the Human Resources department at your place of employment for their policies.

Master's of Information Technology (MIT)

ECE also offers a Masters of Information Technology (MIT), or IT graduate certificates in communications, networking, and computer engineering. The MIT program is offered at the National Capital Region campus, through the extended campus program, or as an entirely web-based study.

Ph.D. Programs

The Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) is the highest academic degree awarded by the university and is conferred upon students who demonstrate outstanding original scholarship during advanced study. It signifies that the student is able to conduct independent research and has both a broad basic knowledge of all areas of the field and a comprehensive knowledge of one area.

Students applying for the Ph.D. program typically have a masters degree from an accredited college or university in EE, CPE, or a related field.

Admission to the Ph.D. program requires a minimum 3.5/4.0 grade point average in M.S. work.

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) Program

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) Admissions


ECE's Direct-Ph.D. program is designed for highly qualified applicants without a masters degree. These applicants who wish to complete Ph.D. coursework must apply for the direct-Ph.D. program. The direct-PhD student must have established a relationship with at least one faculty member of the department who agrees to be the student's dissertation advisor.

Direct-Ph.D. applicants typically have a grade point average that exceeds 3.5/4.0 in their previous degrees.

More information about our Direct-Ph.D. program can be found in the ECE Graduate Policy Manual.