ECE Dept. & University Academic Requirements

Master's of Science Program Requirements

MS 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:
    • MS students must either pass a written thesis and oral defense (Plan I)
    • OR a course hosted MS Comprehensive Examination (Plan II) 
  3. Be in good academic standing which means that students will need to 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
    • ONLY 100+ courses will count towards your overall GPA
    • Minimum of 12 units (Plan 1) or 14 units (Plan II) must be 201+ ECE courses that must count towards your degree. 
    • All courses counted towards the degree must be taken for a letter grade with exception of research units. 
  4. Meet the UCSD Academic Senate Residency Requirement
    • The minimum residency requirement is three quarters. Academic Residency is established by satisfactorily completing six units per quarter, some of which must be at the graduate level.  In each of the three-quarters of residency, the student must be enrolled in at least one unit of any 200-level course, including research. 
      • Note: the one unit of 200-level does not necessarily need to count towards the degree. But it should at least be related to the program (ECE, CSE, MAE, BENG, CENG, NANO, SE, MATS, MATH, PHYS, COGS, and SIO). 
      • If you would like to waive the residency requirement, please contact your primary MS Advisor once you have started your MS program.

For more details on the MS Program requirements 

Still have questions?

Please contact your primary ECE MS Student Affairs Advisor.

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.

  • M.S. students are encouraged to thoroughly review the Thesis Guidelines for M.S. Students (detailed version of all the steps required).

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.

Capstone Requirement: Plan II - Comprehensive Examination

 
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 or midterm 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 or midterm 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 or midterm exam as your attempt. If you pass the final or midterm 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 or midterm exam as your comprehensive exam
  • On Monday of week 3 each quarter, we will send out an email for you to register 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 or midterm exam is your comprehensive exam, no additional work needed to be done
  • Once you register for a course as your comprehensive exam, you cannot withdraw from the course. If you do, it will count as 1 failed attempt
  • If you fail the MATH exam as part of the Summer or Fall 2021 online comprehensive exam then you can enroll in ECE 278 in Winter 2022 and register to take this course hosted exam to complete your capstone requirements.
  • If you pass the MATH exam as part of the Summer or Fall 2021 online comprehensive exam, you cannot enroll in ECE 278 and count it towards your course-hosted comp exams. You need to choose a different approved course.
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.
  • Please carefully read the ECE MS Comprehensive Exam Guidelines for a detailed outline and FAQs. 
  • Students can register for the WI22 course hosted exam HERE. The deadline to sign up is Friday, January 28th at 4:30 PM (Pacific Time). 

Important Academic Standing & Grading Information

Good Academic Standing

Academic standing is determined by meeting ECE Department and the Graduate Division policy; 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

 According to the Graduate Divsiion website, 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. 

Transferring / Waiving Course Credit Information
UCSD Undergraduate Degree (Waiving Courses)

To transfer/waive courses/units from your UCSD undergraduate record to reflect on your ECE MS graduate record, here are the guidelines:

  • Course(s) must have been used in excess (CANNOT count towards any aspect of your undergraduate major or college requirements, this would be in the electives section at the end of your Degree Audit Report)
    • Taken for a letter grade
    • Must be B- or better
    • Only courses that count towards the ECE MS graduate degree can be transferred
    • Up to 24 units (6 courses) can be transferred from your UCSD undergraduate record
    • Please read the UCSD Graduate Division Transferring Credit policy and procedures for more information.
    • Grades from your transferred undergraduate courses will NOT apply to your graduate GPA. Only the units transfer, not the grades.

Steps That Student Needs to Take:

  • Run the undergraduate Degree Audit Report
    • Go to TritonLink under the 'Advising & Grades' tab click 'Degree Audit' and run a new audit in PDF format. 
    • If the degree audit is correct, please download/save the PDF format with the following information as the title: 
      • Last Name, First Name_PID_ECE
    • The UCSD Registrar's Office will not accept the HTML version of this document so please save it as a PDF.
    • Students DO NOT need to sign this document just save it as a PDF. 
  • Highlight the courses you are looking to transfer in the “Units In Excess” box on the bottom of your degree audit and email this to your primary MS Advisor.
  • Your advisor will submit an UG Waiver/Transfer Credit form on your behalf via DocuSign.
  • You will need to sign off on this form electronically.  
  • The transfer will be completed in a few weeks so please plan accordingly with any graduation paperwork submission deadlines. 
  • Your primary MS advisor will inform you when the Registrar's Office has processed the forms. 

In any given quarter, please email your primary MS Advisor to transfer your courses/units at the start of the MS program so that there are no delays with your graduation paperwork.

Another UC Campus / UCSD Extension

To transfer/waive courses/units from another UC Campus or UCSD Extension to reflect on your ECE MS graduate record, here are the guidelines:

  • The student must have been in graduate student standing when taking the course(s). No exceptions.
  • The course(s) must have been used in excess and CANNOT count towards any aspect of your degree requirements at another UC campus / UCSD Extension.
    • Taken for a letter grade
    • Must be B- or better
    • Only courses that count towards the ECE MS graduate degree can be transferred
    • Up to 24 quarter units (6 courses) can be transferred
      • If transferring courses from UC Berkeley or UC Merced please use the semester to quarter unit conversion table below to assist with calculating the quarter units. 
    • Please read the UCSD Graduate Division Transferring Credit policy and procedures for more information.
    • Grades from your transferred courses will NOT apply to your graduate GPA
    • Only the units transfer, not the grades.  
    • The class name will not be listed on the transcript.

Steps That Student Needs to Take:

  • Compile a list of course(s) that will be requested to be transferred.
  • Gather the syllabus and Course Catalog from the school that you took the courses from. 
  • Compare that with the UCSD ECE Course Catalog and narrow down which courses might be equivalent.
  • Contact your ECE major's faculty advisor, via email, who can assist you with determining the course equivalency to the UCSD courses.
  • Present all of these components to the faculty and have them confirm the equivalency. 
  • Once confirmed, email primary ECE MS advisor and cc the faculty advisor onto the email. 
    • Include the course names and UCSD equivalency
    • UCSD Course catalog description and the Course Catalog description from another UC Campus
    • Original course syllabus
  • Did you disclose these courses on your Graduate Division admission application?
    • If not, you will need to provide a justification as to why you did not include them. 
  • Did you submit official transcripts that included these classes with your Graduate Division admission application?
    • If you did, you do not need to submit these transcripts again because they have them on record.
    • If you did not, you will need to submit the official transcripts to the Graduate Division so that they have them on record. 
  • Your MS advisor will submit a Transfer Credit form on your behalf via DocuSign and upload all of the attached documents that you provided via email. 
  • You will need to sign off on this form electronically.  
  • The transfer will be completed in a few weeks so please plan accordingly with any graduation paperwork submission deadlines. 
  • Your primary MS advisor will inform you when the Registrar's Office has processed the forms. 

In any given quarter, please email your primary MS Advisor to transfer your courses/units at the start of the MS program so that there are no delays with your graduation paperwork.

Non-UC Institution

To transfer/waive courses/units from a Non-UC Institution to reflect on your ECE MS graduate record, here are the guidelines:

  • The student must have been in graduate student standing when taking the course(s). No exceptions.
  • The course(s) must have been used in excess and CANNOT count towards any aspect of your degree requirements at another UC campus / UCSD Extension.
    • Taken for a letter grade
    • Must be B- or better
    • Only courses that count towards the ECE MS graduate degree can be transferred
    • A maximum of eight quarter units of work completed while in graduate standing
      • Please use the semester to quarter unit conversion table below to assist with calculating the quarter units
    • Please read the UCSD Graduate Division Transferring Credit policy and procedures for more information
    • Grades from your transferred courses will NOT apply to your graduate GPA
    • Only the units transfer, not the grades
    • The class name will not be listed on the transcript

Steps That Student Needs to Take:

  • Compile a list of course(s) that will be requested to be transferred.
  • Gather the syllabus and Course Catalog from the school that you took the courses from. 
  • Compare that with the UCSD ECE Course Catalog and narrow down which courses might be equivalent.
  • Contact your ECE major's faculty advisor, via email, who can assist you with determining the course equivalency to the UCSD courses.
  • Present all of these components to the faculty and have them confirm the equivalency. 
  • Once confirmed, email primary ECE MS advisor and cc the faculty advisor onto the email.
    • Include the course names and UCSD equivalency
    • UCSD Course catalog description and the Course Catalog description from another UC Campus
    • Original course syllabus
  • Did you disclose these courses on your Graduate Division admission application?
    • If not, you will need to provide a justification as to why you did not include them. 
  • Did you submit official transcripts that included these classes with your Graduate Division admission application?
    • If you did, you do not need to submit these transcripts again because they have them on record.
    • If you did not, you will need to submit the official transcripts to the Graduate Division so that they have them on record. 
  • Your MS advisor will submit a Transfer Credit form on your behalf via DocuSign and upload all of the attached documents that you provided via email. 
  • You will need to sign off on this form electronically.  
  • The transfer will be completed in a few weeks so please plan accordingly with any graduation paperwork submission deadlines. 
  • Your primary MS advisor will inform you when the Registrar's Office has processed the forms. 

In any given quarter, please email your primary MS Advisor to transfer your courses/units at the start of the MS program so that there are no delays with your graduation paperwork.

    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