Comparison of MS Degree at ECE and CSE


ECE Department – CE major

CSE Department


Applicants are only considered for admission to the CE major at the time of initial application.

Admission to the CSE department is offered to students who have had CS/CE experience.

Program Length

48 units; 2 years (full-time students)

49 units; 2 years (full-time students)

Class Requirements

The CE major is its own concentration within the ECE department. For a degree in this concentration/major: 1 required core course (4 units), 5 “additional units” courses (20 units), to be chosen from a list of 20 ECE and CSE options, and 6 technical elective courses (24 units). Students must take 16 units of ECE courses.

There are 12 concentrations available to students within the CSE department. For a degree in any concentration: 4 required core courses (including a 1 unit seminar – 13 units), 3 “concentration courses” offered from the list provided for each concentration (12 units), and 5 technical elective courses (20 units).

Degree Requirements

Students must complete 48 units of coursework and either Plan I (Thesis) or Plan II (Comprehensive Exam)

Students must complete 49 units of coursework, including a one-quarter project and either Plan I (Thesis) or Plan II (Comprehensive Exam)


Up to 8 units of research (ECE 299) can count toward the degree.

12 units of research (CSE 298) are required.

Comprehensive Exam

The ECE Comprehensive Exam is a 4-hour written test, comprised of 4 parts: 1) Math (mandatory pass), 2) Graduate Major Area, 3) & 4) Undergraduate exams of the student’s choosing (i.e. Signals & Systems, Logic Design).

There are 2 Comprehensive Exam options for CSE. The Standard Plan exam includes coursework from CSE, and the Interdisciplinary Plan exam includes CSE courses, as well as a secondary concentration from another, pre-approved department (i.e. COGSCI, ECE). Both exams consist of a project presentation and oral exam.

GPA Requirements

All courses used toward the degree must be taken for a letter grade, except ECE 299 which can only be taken S/U.

A cumulative GPA of 3.0 is required to remain in good standing; each quarter a GPA of 2.0 is required to remain in good standing.

All courses used toward the degree must be taken for a letter grade, where applicable. Core courses must be completed with a “B” average. All courses must be passed with a grade of B- or higher.