ECE Dept. & University Academic Requirements

Master's of Science Program Requirements

M.S. Degree Requirements

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

  1. Pass 52 units (Plan I) or 48 units (Plan II) 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 MS 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 MS Program
    • **Students CANNOT repeat a course unless they earned a D, F, U or W grade. If you would like to repeat a course, please submit the online form. More information about how to repeat a course can be found here
    • **Note that ONLY 100+ courses will count towards your overall GPA**

For more details on the MS Program requirements, please review the information  and read the rest of the information written on this website page. 

Capstone Requirement: Plan I - Thesis

Thesis Defense Information

Plan I – Thesis Defense

Speak with your primary ECE MS Advisor in the 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

OLD VERSION: Written Exam Info for Continuing & Graduating Students ONLY

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 via Zoom in FA21.***  

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 via Zoom in FA21.

The last exam will be held online in Fall 2021. It will take place on

Saturday, October 23rd, 2021 via Zoom

(9am - 3pm PST)

  • The first 1-1.5 hours 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 Fall 2021 MS Comp Exam, you will receive an email with the following information. If you have not received the email, please email Sueky Webber.
  • The exam will be given online (no in-person exam),
  • There are no mandatory sections for the online FA21 exam.
  • You are required to pre-select the sections that you would like to attempt on the sign-up form. A confirmation email will be sent out to you prior to the exam day with your choice of the sections. You will only have access to the sections you select on the exam day.
  • The length of your exam depends on how many sections you signed up for. The exam format is 1 exam/hour, you can choose to attempt 1-4 exams on the exam day: your choice of math, your graduate major, and 5 undergraduate sections. 
    • Example 1: you can attempt 4 undergraduate sections OR 3 undergraduate sections and your graduate major section. You have a total of 4 hours to complete the exam.
    • Example 2: you can attempt 1 undergraduate section and your graduate major section. You have a total of 2 hours to complete the exam. 
  • As long as you pass 3/4 sections within two attempts, you will pass the comp exam and meet the capstone requirement. For example, if you passed 2 sections in your last comp exam attempt, you can sign up for 2 sections to attempt this time, as long as you pass one of them, you pass the comp exam and fulfill the capstone requirement, 
  • You will only be provided with your graduate major exam; you will NOT be provided with any other graduate major exams.
Registration
  • If you are a continuing BS/MS, MS, or PhD student who will be graduating with an MS degree, then you are eligible to take the  FA21 exam.
  • You can register for the FA21 MS Comprehensive Exam HERE.
    • Your graduation eligibility will be verified; if you are not a continuing student then you will be emailed about being ineligible to take the online exam.
    • Students must register for the area of their major for the graduate section of the exam. 
    • Once you have registered for the online FA21 exam, Sueky will be in contact with you via email.
Important Policies
  • Due to COVID-19, the Comprehensive Exam will be offered via Zoom in FA21.
  • Students who fail the MS Comprehensive Examination twice will not receive the terminal Master's degree.
  • There are no mandatory sections for the online FA21 exam.
  • You are required to pre-select the sections that you would like to attempt on the sign-up form. A confirmation email will be sent out to you prior to the exam day with your choice of the sections. You will only have access to the sections you select on the exam day.
  • The length of your exam depends on how many sections you signed up for. The exam format is 1 exam/hour, you can choose to attempt 1-4 exams on the exam day: your choice of math, your graduate major, and 5 undergraduate sections. 
    • Example 1: you can attempt 4 undergraduate sections OR 3 undergraduate sections and your graduate major section. You have a total of 4 hours to complete the exam.
    • Example 2: you can attempt 1 undergraduate section and your graduate major section. You have a total of 2 hours to complete the exam. 
  • As long as you pass 3/4 sections within two attempts, you will pass the comp exam and meet the capstone requirement. For example, if you passed 2 sections in your last comp exam attempt, you can sign up for 2 sections to attempt this time, as long as you pass one of them, you pass the comp exam and fulfill the capstone requirement, 
  • 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, earphones, headsets, 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  FA21 exams). 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.
    • Due to COVID-19, the Comprehensive Exam will be offered via Zoom in FA21 for continuing students 

  • There are no mandatory sections for the online FA21 exam.
  • You are required to pre-select the sections that you would like to attempt on the sign-up form. A confirmation email will be sent out to you prior to the exam day with your choice of the sections. You will only have access to the sections you select on the exam day.
  • The length of your exam depends on how many sections you signed up for. The exam format is 1 exam/hour, you can choose to attempt 1-4 exams on the exam day: your choice of math, your graduate major, and 5 undergraduate sections. 
    • Example 1: you can attempt 4 undergraduate sections OR 3 undergraduate sections and your graduate major section. You have a total of 4 hours to complete the exam.
    • Example 2: you can attempt 1 undergraduate section and your graduate major section. You have a total of 2 hours to complete the exam. 
  • 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 depending on the number of sections that you signed up for.
  • 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 240A)

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

 

 

 

 

HYBRID VERSION: Written Exam + Course Hosted Format for Continuing & Graduating Students ONLY

Continuing students (admitted before Fall 2021) will have the option to use the hybrid format of Comprehensive Exam to fulfill the capstone requirement. 

The hybrid format means that you can combine the old written exam format with the new course-hosted exam format to pass 3 section(s)/course final exam(s) of your choice in order to meet the capstone requirement. 

For example, if you have passed 2 sections in your previous written comprehension exam, you need to pass 1 more section/course final exam in order to meet the requirement. You can either sign up to attempt the FA21 online written exam (our last written exam) OR you can choose to enroll in a course in FA21 and use that course’s final exam as your attempt. If you pass the final exam, you pass the comprehensive exam, hence you fulfill the capstone requirement.

  • You must be enrolled in the course in order to use that course’s final exam as your comprehensive exam
  • During the 3rd week of the quarter, we will send out an email for you to sign up for the course-hosted exam(s)
  • Students are permitted a maximum of five attempts in the course-hosted format, regardless of your attempts in your old format
  • Your course final exam is your comprehensive exam, no additional work needed to be done
  • Once you sign up for a course as your comprehensive exam, you cannot withdraw from the course. If you do, it will count as 1 failed attempt
NEW VERSION: Course Hosted Format Info for Newly Admitted Students
  • Effective Fall 2021, the ECE department will be changing the format for the comprehensive exam.
  • ECE will no longer host the old version of the 4 hour exam offered during Fall and Spring quarters.
  • All students that started the program in Fall 2021 and onward will need to follow the new format. There are no exceptions to this rule.
  • The new format will be a course-hosted exam.
  • Please carefully read the ECE MS Comprehensive Exam Guidelines for a detailed outline and FAQs. 
  • Students can sign up for the FA21 course hosted exam HERE. The deadline to sign up is Friday, October 22. 

Important Academic Standing & Grading 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.

UCSD Grading Information 
  • Please read the UCSD Grading System information to learn more about the Grade Point Average (GPA) and the value of each grade. 
    • 'A', 'B', 'C', 'D', or 'F' grades reflect performance in a class and result in specific points that count toward the GPA.
    • 'S' / 'U' courses show either earned a satisfactory or unsatisfactory mark for a class. Only research 299 classes with 'S' grades can count towards the technical electives but do not apply to the GPA.
      • Students must opt for S/U grading option by the end of the 4th week of classes via EASy. Once this deadline is passed, students cannot change their grading option
    • To drop a class, students must submit an EASy request.
    • If a class is dropped by Friday of Week 4 at 11:59 PM, it will not appear on the transcript.
    • If a class is dropped after the Friday of Week 4 deadline, it will appear on the transcript with a 'W' grade.
      • A 'W' means withdrawal and goes not impact the GPA.
      • A student may receive a maximum of one 'W' per course.
      • If a student would like to retake the class that they earned a 'W' in, they must take it for a letter grade and cannot drop it again with another 'W'.
  • More UCSD Grade information can be found here.

**It is a student's responsibility to know about the grading system and to maintain good academic standing (3.0 or higher GPA)**

 

 ECE Department EXCEPTION regarding S/U Grades: Spring 2020, Winter 2021, Spring 2021 ONLY

The ECE Department will allow graduate students to take courses with the grading option S/U in Spring 2020, Winter 2021 and Spring 2021. If students earn an 'S' it can be counted towards ECE degree requirements, regardless of which department is offering the course. 

  • Keep in mind that earning an 'S' is the equivalent of a 'B-' or higher. 
  • If a student decides to take courses for a letter grade, a C- or higher can be used towards the degree so long as the overall GPA is a 3.0 or higher at the time of graduation. 
  • There is no limit of S/U courses but keep in mind that you CANNOT graduate if you have more than 8 units of U/F grades.
  • Submit the change of grading option via EASy by the UCSD deadline
  • 'D', 'F', 'W' and 'U' grades CANNOT be used towards the degree requirements. 
  • Students can take courses outside of ECE and have the courses count towards the degree. Example, if a student takes CSE 202 or MAE 280A and earns an 'S' grade, it can be used towards the degree. 
  • If a student is in the BS/MS program and takes a course as an undergraduate student for P/NP, they can transfer over the 'P' onto their graduate record. 

Online Graduate Student Requests

Graduate Division Online Applications

Please find the instructions for the Online Graduate Student Requests. If you have any specific questions, please contact your primary ECE MS Student Affairs Advisor. 

Submitting MS Graduation Paperwork

Graduation Paperwork Process & Information
  • If you are almost done with your coursework and capstone requirements, you will need to read this information and submit your Graduation Paperwork Packet. 
  • You will be submitting these forms to your primary ECE MS Student Affairs Advisor. 
  • You will need to submit graduation paperwork during week 1 of the quarter that you intend on graduating. An email with the deadline info will be sent out every quarter as a reminder.

On behalf of the ECE Student Affairs Unit, congratulations on this HUGE achievement! You should be very proud!!!

If you have any specific questions, please contact your primary ECE MS Student Affairs Advisor. 

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. 

Useful ECE Dept. MS Student Website Links:

MS Frequently Asked Questions Page

ECE Enrollment Policies & Procedures

International Student iPortal Request Info