ECE & University Academic Requirements

ECE Master's of Science Program Requirements

M.S. Degree Requirements

To earn your ECE Degree, you must successfully complete the following:

  1. Pass 48 or 52 units as indicated by your degree planner and capstone requirement route
  2. Pass the UCSD capstone requirement:
    • M.S. students must either pass a written thesis and oral defense (Plan I) OR a written ECE Comprehensive Examination (Plan II) 
  3. Be in good academic standing (have a GPA that is a 3.0 or higher) within 6 quarters of starting the ECE MS Program
    • **Note that ONLY 100+ courses will count towards your overall GPA**

For more details on the MS Program requirements, please review the information here

Capstone Requirement: Plan I

Thesis Defense Information

Plan I – Thesis Defense

Speak with your primary M.S. Advisor in the ECE Graduate Student Affairs office for assistance if you are interested in selecting the thesis option as your capstone. You must declare your intent to do Plan I (thesis) no later than the end of the Fall quarter of your second year of study.

Changes due to COVID-19

  • Here is an edited version of the MS Thesis Checklist. Please read the entire document and see the changes in blue.

  • Defending online via Zoom may be new to you. Please see MS or PhD Defense - Zoom Tips to take steps for ensuring a successful defense.

  • If you plan to defend your thesis this quarter, please sign up here.

Capstone Requirement: Plan II

Comprehensive Examination Information

Plan II - Comprehensive Exam

Students who select Plan II must pass the departmental written comprehensive exam no later than the last quarter of their MS program. All MS Students have a maximum of 6 quarters to complete course and capstone requirements.

***Due to COVID-19, the Comprehensive Exam will be offered every quarter or four times a year until further notice - in Fall, Winter, Spring, and Summer quarters. Only those graduating in Fall 2020 or Winter 2021 are eligible and required to take the FA20 exam. Due to COVID-19, it is not mandatory to take the Comp Exam in your 4th quarter.***

This exam covers a broad range of topics at the undergraduate level plus a single depth topic (must be your graduate major area of study) at the graduate level. Please refer to the information below for further details.

Plan II students will have their Final Report Form filed upon passing the comprehensive exam. Students will only have two chances to take and pass the Plan II Comprehensive Exam (the second-to-last and last quarter of their program).

If not taken/passed in the second-to-last quarter of their program, then their last quarter will be the final opportunity to pass the written Comprehensive Exam. Students who fail the written examination twice will not receive the terminal Master’s degree.

M.S. students are encouraged to thoroughly review the Comprehensive Examination Guidelines for M.S. Students.

 

Exam Offerings

Due to COVID-19, the Comprehensive Exam will be offered every quarter or three times a year until further notice - in Fall, Winter, Spring, and Summer quarters. 

Additionally, there have been some changes (please see in detail below) to the next exam which will be held online in Fall 2020. It will take place on Saturday, October 25th, 2020 at the following times based on location:

If you are outside the US, 6 - 12PM (Pacific Standard Time or California Time)

If you are in the US, 9 - 3PM (Pacific Standard Time or California Time)

***The first hour will be dedicated to checking ID's and scanning your testing environment (requirements below). The last hour will allow time for scanning the completed exam to an email (will be provided later).*** 

If you are eligible for the online FA20 MS Comp Exam, you should have received an email with the following information. If you have not received the email, please email Stephanie Mathew (s6mathew@eng.ucsd.edu).

  • The exam will be given online (no in-person exam),
  • It will be 4 hours for 4 sections and you need to pass 3/4 sections EXCEPT math is NOT a mandatory pass or attempt for the online FA20 exam,
    • You can choose any combination of 4 sections out of 7 provided sections (your graduate major, math, and five undergraduate exams). As long as you pass 3/4 sections, you will pass the comp exam exam. For example, you can take 4 undergraduate sections OR you can take 3 undergraduate sections and your graduate major section.
    • You will only be provided with your graduate major exam; you will NOT be provided with any other graduate major exams.
  • Only those graduating in Fall 2020 or Winter 2021 are eligible and required to take the FA20 exam. Due to COVID-19, it is not mandatory to take the Comp Exam in your 4th quarter.

 

Registration
  • If you are a graduate student who will be graduating in Fall 2020 or Winter 2020, then you should have been emailed.
  • This means if Fall 2020 or Winter 2021 is your final quarter of coursework, and/or second attempt of the MS comp exam, you are eligible to take the MS Comp Exam in Fall 2020.
  • If you are a B.S./M.S. student graduating in Fall 2020 or Winter 2021, you are eligible to register for the FA20 online comp exam. 
  • If you have not already, please register for the Fall 2020 MS Comprehensive Exam: https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSem1SnN4vypU1WgT4FlHURLGamSqkG6QYsNyXRT2TFiXuIKcg/viewform?usp=sf_link.
    • Your FA20 or WI21 graduation eligibility will be verified; if you are not graduating in FA20 or WI21, then you will be emailed about being ineligible to take the online FA20 exam.
  • Students must register for the area of their major for the graduate section of the exam. 
  • Once you have registered for the online FA20 exam, Stephanie Mathew will be in contact with you via email.

 

Important Policies
  • All full-time students must take the exam during their 4th quarter of enrollment. Refusal to take the exam during the fourth quarter will result in a failing grade for their first attempt. 
    • Amendment due to COVID-19 - the Comprehensive Exam will be offered every quarter or four times a year until further notice - in Fall, Winter, Spring, and Summer quarters. Your first attempt should be in your second-to-last quarter and if needed, your second attempt would be in your last program of study.
    • Amendment due to COVID-19 - Only those graduating in Fall 2020 or Winter 2021 are eligible and required to take the FA20 exam. Due to COVID-19, it is not mandatory to take the Comp Exam in your 4th quarter.
  • If you failed the Summer Exam (or failed to take the exam per point above), then the Fall Exam will be the final opportunity to pass the MS Comprehensive Exam.
  • Students who fail the MS Comprehensive Examination twice will not receive the terminal Master's degree.
  • The exam consists of 4 hours for 4 sections and you need to pass 3/4 sections EXCEPT math is NOT a mandatory pass or attempt for the online FA20 exam,
    • You can choose any combination of 4 sections out of 7 provided sections (your graduate major, math, and five undergraduate exams). As long as you pass 3/4 sections, you will pass the comp exam exam. For example, you can take 4 undergraduate sections OR you can take 3 undergraduate sections and your graduate major section.
    • You will only be provided with your graduate major exam; you will NOT be provided with any other graduate major exams.
  • All relevant tables and charts will be provided for corresponding exams (ECE 101 Signals and Systems and ECE 164/264 and ECE 166/265).
  • If you are an ECS student, you may bring a compass and ruler.
  • No calculators allowed during the exam. The problems are designed so that a calculator is not necessary, no additional notes are allowed.
  • NO phones, laptops, smart watches, study materials, hoodies, hats, or sunglasses will be allowed, whatsoever. If you are found with any of these items during the exam, it will be reported to the Academic Integrity Office.
  • Please do not bring your belongings other than your photo ID, pencils/pens, snacks, and water. If you choose to bring any items other than the ones mentioned above (e.g., your backpack, bag, calculator, notes, etc.), you will not be allowed to take the exam.
  • You can bring a snack or a drink for consumption during the exam.
  • You can use the restroom and upon your return your testing environment will be re-evaluated.
  • The ECE Department will report any instance of suspected or observed cheating to the campus Academic Integrity Office.
     
Format

The Comprehensive Exam is a written exam covering a range of topics at the undergraduate level, plus a single topic covered at the graduate level (must be your graduate area of study).  Students must pass 3 of the 4 sections of the exam (EXCEPT math is NOT a mandatory pass or attempt for the online FA20 exam). The exam is 4 hours in duration.

  • All full-time students must take the exam during their 4th quarter of enrollment, with the exception of students in the 5-year B.S./M.S. program.  Part-time (7-11 units) and half-time (6 units or less) students should see an advisor to assess their exam eligibility.  Refusal to take the exam during the required quarter will result in a failing grade.
    • Amendment due to COVID-19 - the Comprehensive Exam will be offered every quarter or four times a year until further notice - in Fall, Winter, Spring, and Summer quarters. Your first attempt should be in your second-to-last quarter and if needed, your second attempt would be in your last program of study.
    • Amendment due to COVID-19 - Only those graduating in Fall 2020 or Winter 2021 are eligible and required to take the FA20 exam. Due to COVID-19, it is not mandatory to take the Comp Exam in your 4th quarter.
  • The exam consists of 4 hours for 4 sections and you need to pass 3/4 sections EXCEPT math is NOT a mandatory pass or attempt for the online SU20 exam,
    • You can choose any combination of 4 sections out of 7 provided sections (your graduate major, math, and five undergraduate exams). As long as you pass 3/4 sections, you will pass the comp exam exam. For example, you can take 4 undergraduate sections OR you can take 3 undergraduate sections and your graduate major section.
    • You will only be provided with your graduate major exam; you will NOT be provided with any other graduate major exams.
  • Students must work only within the time allotted - 4 hours.
  • No calculators allowed during the exam.  The problems are designed so that a calculator is not necessary.
  • Students who fail the written examination twice will not receive the terminal Master's degree.  No other options are available.

**We cannot determine how much of each question must be completed correctly in order to pass a section - it is determined for each question by the instructors when grading. Students should do their best.

 

Results
  • Notification of exam results will be released via email 4-5 weeks following the exam. 
  • All study materials have been updated on August 19, 2019.

 

Selected Past Comprehensive Exam Questions and Solutions

Prior exams (pre-Spring 2015) are made available below as study material. All questions/solutions are provided directly by the exam's writers; some years may have missing entries (an exam wasn’t offered, a solution was not sent to the SA office). Exams given post-Spring 2015 are unavailable. 

Subject

Questions

Solutions

Mathematics
(No longer required to be attempted or passed)

(Math 20A-F, ECE 109)

Math Study Info

Spring 2015

 

Fall 2014

Fall 2014

Spring 2014

 

Fall 2013

Fall 2013

Spring 2013

 

Fall 2012

Fall 2012

Spring 2012

 

Fall 2011

Fall 2011

Spring 2011

Spring 2011

Plus, the student’s choice, during the exam, of any two of the following:

Electricity & Magnetism

(ECE 107)

Study Info

Spring 2015

 

Fall 2014

 

Spring 2014

 

Fall 2013

 

Fall 2012

Fall 2012

Signals & Systems

(ECE 101)

Study Info

Spring 2015

 

Fall 2014

 

Spring 2014

Spring 2014

Spring 2013

Spring 2013

Fall 2012

Fall 2012

Solid State Electronics

(ECE 103)

Study Info

Spring 2015

 

Fall 2014

 

Spring 2014

Spring 2014

Fall 2013

 

Spring 2013

 

Electronic Circuits & Systems

(ECE 102)

Study Info

Spring 2014

Spring 2014

Fall 2013

Fall 2013

Spring 2013

Spring 2013

Fall 2012

Fall 2012

Spring 2012

Spring 2012

Logic Design

(CSE 140)

Study Info

Spring 2015

 

Fall 2014

 

Spring 2014

Spring 2014

Spring 2013

Spring 2013

Fall 2012

Fall 2012

Plus one of the following depth topics
(you will specify your major when you sign up for the exam):

 

 

Applied Electromagnetics

(ECE 222B)

Study Info

 

 

Practice Problems

Solutions to Practice

Problems are Included

on the Left

Applied Physics – Electronic Devices and Materials

(ECE 230AB)

Study Info

Spring 2015

 

Fall 2014

 

Fall 2012

Fall 2012

Fall 2011

 

Fall 2010

Fall 2010

Communication Theory and Systems

(ECE 250)

Study Info

Spring 2015

Spring 2015

Fall 2014

Fall 2014

Spring 2014

Spring 2014

Fall 2013

Fall 2013

Spring 2013

Spring 2013

Computer Engineering

(ECE 260A)

Study Info

Fall 2014

 

Spring 2014

Spring 2014

Fall 2013

 

Spring 2013

Spring 2013

Fall 2012

Fall 2012

Fall 2011

Fall 2011

Electronic Circuits & Systems

(ECE 166/265A OR 164/264A)

Study Info

Smith Chart

Spring 2015

 

Spring 2014 (ECE 164/264)

Spring 2014 (ECE 164/264)

Spring 2014 (ECE 166/265)

Spring 2014 (ECE 166/265)

Fall 2013 (ECE 166/265)

Fall 2013 (ECE 166/265)

Spring 2013 (ECE 164/264)

Spring 2013 (ECE 164/264)

Intelligent Systems, Robotics & Control

(ECE 276A)

Study Info

Spring 2019

Spring 2019 - Key

Spring 2018

Spring 2018 - Key

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Machine Learning & Data Science

(ECE 271A)

Study Info

 

ECE 271A Practice Problems  


Medical Devices & Systems

(ECE 201)

Study Info

 

Spring 2015

 

Fall 2014

 

Nanoscale Devices & Systems

(ECE 212ABC)

Study Info

Fall 2013

 

Spring 2013

 

Fall 2012

Fall 2012

Fall 2011

Fall 2011

Fall 2010

 

Photonics

(ECE 240ABC)

Study Info

Fall 2015

Fall 2015

Fall 2014

 

Fall 2013

 

Spring 2013

 

Fall 2012

 

Radio & Space Science

Fall 2011

 

Signal & Image Processing

(ECE 251A)

Study Info

Spring 2015

Spring 2015

Spring 2014

Spring 2014

Fall 2013

Fall 2013

 

 

 

 

Important Academic Standing Information

Good Academic Standing

Academic standing is determined by meeting ECE Department and Graduate Division standards; a GPA of 3.0 or above, in upper-division, graduate and professional course work; satisfactory spring evaluation; and having no more than a total of eight units of "F" and/or "U" grades. 

Good Academic Standing is a requirement for:

  • Obtaining a graduate degree from UC San Diego
  • Holding academic and employment appointments
  • Receiving fellowship, scholarship, or traineeship appointments.
  • Advancing to candidacy for a graduate degree
  • Going on a leave of absence
  • Participating in UC Intercampus Exchange or SDSU exchange programs. 

Graduate students who are not in good academic standing for any reason are subject to probation and/or disqualification from further graduate study.

Academic Probation

If it is a student's first instance of academic difficulty and the GPA is above 2.0, the letter serves as a warning and advises the student of the academic situation,  its consequences, and the next steps.

In subsequent quarters if the student:

  • Raises the GPA above a 3.0, no further action is taken
  • Raises the GPA but not to a 3.0, student may have probation extended either by Graduate Division decision or by request of the program faculty with a plan for improvement
  • Shows no change, then student may have probation extended either by Graduate Division decision or by request of the program faculty with a plan for improvement; however, this is dependent on the overall GPA
  • Lowers the GPA further, a hold is placed on the student's registration

Depending on the student's academic progress during the quarter following an academic probation notice, the Dean of the Graduate Division will advise the student of any further academic action via letter posted to the Graduate Division’s Student Portal.

ECE MS to PhD Transfer Process

PhD Transfer Guidelines

Students who are interested in transferring to the ECE PhD Program should read and follow the outlined PhD transfer guidelines. If you have any specific questions, please contact an ECE PhD Student Affairs Advisor.