Master of Science in Electrical and Computer Engineering
The objective of the faculty of the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering and its Graduate Studies Committee is to provide a graduate program that is both broad and deep, covering the diverse technical areas within electrical and computer engineering. Nine named academic tracks within the program support this objective: Architecture, Computer Systems, and Embedded Systems; bioECE; Decision, Information and Communications Engineering; Electromagnetics and Acoustics; Energy Systems; Integrated Circuits and Systems; Plasma/Quantum Electronics and Optics; Software Engineering and Systems; and Solid-State electronics. In each academic track, a program of study can be designed to meet the educational objectives of each student.
Facilities for Graduate Work
Facilities are available for graduate work in almost all specialties of electrical and computer engineering, from experimental, theoretical, and computational perspectives. Graduate activities of the department are housed in the Engineering Education and Research Center, and in several special-purpose facilities located in the Peter O'Donnell Jr. building and on the J. J. Pickle Research Campus. Numerous facilities for experimental research are provided by the well-equipped research laboratories within the department. The Texas Advanced Computing Center, also housed on the J. J. Pickle Research campus, supports computationally intensive research. In addition, the University of Texas Libraries provide a rich source of literature to support graduate activities in electrical and computer engineering, including online access to numerous journals.
Faculty of the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering participate in several widely-recognized centers for research including: the Center for Advanced Research in Software Engineering, the Center for Electromechanics, the Center for Identity, the Center for Perceptual Systems, the Center for Transportation Research, the Computer Engineering Research Center, the Microelectronics Research Center, the Texas Materials Institute, and the Wireless Networking and Communications Group.
Areas of Study
Graduate courses and research are offered with varying degrees of specialization in the following named academic tracks. Topics of specialization within each track reflect the research interests of the faculty.
Architecture, Computer Systems, and Embedded Systems. Computer architecture is at the interface of computer hardware and software. Its practitioners are responsible for specifying, designing, and implementing at the architecture level the hardware structures that carry out the work specified by computer software. Computer architects share the responsibility for providing mechanisms that algorithms, compilers, and operating systems can use to enhance the performance and/or energy requirements of running applications. Computer architecture spans many dimensions, such as the scope of a processor (embedded processors, desktop systems, servers, and supercomputers); the target application (general-purpose versus domain-specific); the characteristics of the design objectives (speed, power consumption, cost, reliability, availability, and reconfigurability); and the measurement and analysis of resulting designs.
bioECE. Understanding, engineering, and interfacing with biological systems are among mankind's most important challenges, impacting numerous fields from basic science to health. Motivated by this larger vision, the bioECE track is focused on the intersection of electrical and computer engineering with biology and medicine. It includes biomedical instrumentation, biophotonics, health informatics, bioinformatics, neural engineering, computational neuroscience, and synthetic biology. Associated faculty have expertise in diverse topics: cardiovascular instrumentation, neuroscience, neural engineering and the machine-brain interface, image and signal processing (feature extraction and diagnostic interpretation), health information technologies (data mining, electronic medical records analysis), VLSI biomedical circuits (biosensing, lab-on-a-chip), algorithms for large-scale genomic analysis, and molecular programming (engineering molecules that compute).
Decision, Information, and Communications Engineering. This track involves research and design in the following fields: (1) Communications and networking: all aspects of transmission of data, including: wireless communications, communication theory, information theory, networking, queueing theory, stochastic processes, sensor networks; (2) Data science and machine learning: all aspects of extraction of knowledge from data, including: algorithms, data mining, optimization, statistics, pattern recognition, predictive analytics, artificial intelligence; and (3) Controls, signals, and systems: estimation and detection; signal, image and video processing; linear and nonlinear systems.
Electromagnetics and Acoustics. This track includes the study of electromagnetic and acoustic phenomena ranging from ultralow frequencies to the visible spectrum. The activities in electromagnetics involve research in antenna design, radar scattering, computational methods, wave-matter interaction, bioelectromagnetics, wave manipulation using artificial materials, wireless propagation channels, microwave and millimeter-wave integrated circuits, guided wave devices and systems, electromagnetic forces (including electrostrictive and magnetostrictive forces), and Maxwell's stress tensor. The activities in acoustics involve research in transducers, microelectromechanical systems, atmospheric and underwater acoustics, and noise and vibration control.
Energy Systems. This track involves research in the production, distribution, conversion, and use of electric energy. Present investigations are concerned with renewable and alternative energy, advanced electrical machines, power system-related analyses, simulation of power systems, energy system economics and optimization, open-access transmission, electricity markets, energy efficiency and demand-side management, power system harmonics, power quality, distributed generation, power electronics, electromagnetic levitation, intelligent machines and drives for robotics and control, and electromechanical devices for pulsed power applications.
Integrated Circuits and Systems. This track involves all aspects of analysis, design, synthesis, and implementation of digital, analog, mixed-signal, and radio frequency (RF) integrated circuits and systems for applications in computing, sensing, and communications. Research in the area spans levels of abstraction from devices to systems-on-chip (SoC), and involves transceiver architectures, data converters, signal processing systems, integrated bio-chips, high-performance and low-power design, fault tolerance, design for manufacturability (DFM), design for test (DFT), verification, and computer-aided design (CAD).
Plasma/Quantum Electronics and Optics. This track involves research in plasma dynamics, optics, quantum-optic and photonic devices, and plasma processing of semiconductors. Plasma investigations include the design of plasma diagnostics, high-order spectral analysis of plasma waves, and plasma-enhanced chemical vapor deposition. Research in quantum electronics includes optical systems, lasers and laser applications, optical signal processing, optoelectronic devices, and lightwave systems. Investigations include quantum transport studies of double barrier heterostructures, components for very-high-speed communications and computation, high-energy laser applications in materials synthesis and processing, nanophotonic devices and materials, and plasmonics.
Software Engineering and Systems. This track involves all aspects of engineering software systems. In addition to the problem of requirements, research and study in the area addresses architecting, designing, building, testing, analyzing, evaluating, deploying, maintaining, and evolving software systems. Problems investigated include theory, techniques, methods, processes, tools, middleware, and environments for all types of software systems in all types of domains and applications. This area of study is also available through the alternatively scheduled program in software engineering to professionals who are working full time.
Solid-State Electronics. This track focuses on the development and improvement of micro- and nanoelectronic, optoelectronic, and electromechanical devices, and associated materials for a variety of applications. Devices include nanoscale and nontraditional complementary metal-oxide-semiconductor (CMOS) transistors, and beyond CMOS devices; photodetectors, photodiodes and lasers, solar cells, and nanostructured optical metamaterials; and electronic and microelectromechanical sensors and actuators, including chemical and biological sensors. Material systems include unstrained and strained conventional column IV and III-V semiconductors; organics and polymers; novel materials such as graphene and topological insulators; and insulators such as silicon dioxide and high and low dielectric permittivity materials; along with their thin films and heterostructures.
To be admitted to the graduate program of the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, a student normally should have an undergraduate degree in this field. A student with a degree in another field also may be admitted if his or her background is appropriate for the chosen academic track of specialization; however, the academic track adviser or supervising professor may require the student to complete additional coursework to address any academic deficiencies. Another exception exists for students in the Integrated BSEE/MSE program who receive their BSEE and MSE degrees simultaneously. Standards for entrance into the program generally exceed the minimum standards established by the University.
Graduate students in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering are expected to be proficient in English. Any student who does not meet the proficiency standards of the University may be required to complete a three-semester-hour English course. The course is counted toward the student’s course load for the semester but is not counted toward the fulfillment of course requirements for the graduate degree.