Masters Degree Programs | ECE | Virginia Tech


The Department offers the thesis option and the non-thesis option leading to the Master of Science degree. Each plan of study is developed by the student in consultation with his or her advisor, and must be submitted prior to completing 12 hours of graduate credit. Core requirements for both options are discussed below.

Master of Science (Thesis)

The thesis option is encouraged for most students — particularly for all students interested in pursuing a Ph.D. degree. The thesis represents the results of independent research performed under close supervision of a faculty advisor.

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 (Non-Thesis)

The non-thesis option 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.