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Master's Programs

Graduate Programs

The Bradley Department of Electrical & Computer Engineering offers both research-based and professionally-oriented Master's-level programs. The Master of Science (M.S.) degree is suitable for students interested in research who wish to pursue a Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) degree. The Master of Engineering (MEng) is designed for professionals in industry to advance their careers in a more convenient format.

Master of Science (M.S.) Thesis-Based

ECE's Master of Science (M.S.) is a research-based degree based on graduate coursework and culminating in the defense of an M.S. thesis. The M.S. thesis documents results of independent research done under the direct supervision of an ECE faculty member.

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

Oral Exam

The final oral exam is a defense of the thesis before an examining committee of three faculty members. Upon application for the thesis defense, students are required to submit a technical paper or abstract, based on some aspect of the thesis research, in a form suitable for submission to a regional technical conference.

Course Work

Students pursuing the thesis option are required to complete a minimum of 21 credit hours of course work, plus a maximum of 9 credit hours of thesis work to be applied toward the degree.

Master of Engineering (MEng) Project-Based

The project-based Master of Engineering degree is primarily intended to meet the needs of off-campus students whose access to regular meetings with an advisor is limited and is not recommended for those students wishing to continue for a Ph.D..

Oral Exam

Students will take an oral final exam, consisting of either a presentation of a project by the student (either individual or from a class) or questions over course work from the examination committee.

Course Work

Students pursuing the non-thesis option are required to complete a minimum of 30 credit hours of course work.

Core Requirements


In order to ensure that the student’s background in Electrical and Computer Engineering is reasonably broad, candidates for MSEE degrees must successfully complete at least three ECE courses in different subject areas or at least two courses in each of two subject areas. In addition, students are encouraged to take six credit hours in mathematics or statistics.


MSCPE students must complete at least 6 credit hours in software courses and at least 6 credit hours in hardware courses. Specific math requirements are part of the degree program.

A minimum grade point average (GPA) of 3.0 is required to remain a student in good standing and to graduate. For further details, see the ECE Graduate Student Policy Manual.


Applicants applying to the Master of Science program are encouraged to have a 3.3/4.0 or higher GPA on their most recent 60 course credit hours in addition to receiving their bachelor's degree. See admissions.

Bradley Fellowships

Each year, ECE offers renewable Bradley Fellowships to several top applicants. See financial awards.

Master of Information Technology

An online masters degree in information technology, or graduate certificates, are available through Virginia Tech's MIT program.

Admissions for non-EE/CPE students

Students who do not have EE or CPE backgrounds are welcome in the MS programs. They may, however, need to make up courses in certain areas. For more information, please see the ECE Graduate Student Policy Manual.