by Emily Wade
The digital revolution has shifted and blurred the once-rigid boundaries between electrical engineering (EE) and computer engineering (CE). As cities and environments become smarter, virtual reality becomes part of daily life, devices become more connected, and cybersecurity vaults to the forefront of global awareness, engineers need skills from both EE and CE for success in the 21st century workplace.
To address these needs, the College of Engineering has developed a new Master of Science in Electrical and Computer Engineering to train engineers who are prepared for evolving, technically demanding careers.
“This new degree gives students the flexibility to largely craft their own program across the traditional EE and CE fields, one which will allow them to exercise the agility they will need in this rapidly advancing field,” said Professor Clem Karl, chair of the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering. “For example, the Internet-of-things involves challenges that merge computers, computer networks and cybersecurity from CE with photonic and optical devices, physical sensors, and signal processing from EE. This new degree obviates the requirement for our master’s students to silo their credentials in just EE or just CE.”
For students with an undergraduate background in EE, the new ECE degree offers the opportunity to complement their backgrounds in EE with expertise in CE. The carefully crafted foundational classes, together with proper elective choices, open the door to many graduate CE courses, such as those on advanced data structures, cybersecurity and computer architecture.
Conversely, students with CE backgrounds can extend their expertise with breadth in EE related areas. The required foundational classes put students on the path to expanding their knowledge base into areas like digital signal processing or photonics, for example. They also have the option to use software design skills to carry out design tasks in various EE application domains.
Students have the flexibility to design their program with both depth and breadth by selecting courses from multiple areas of focus, including signal processing and communications; systems and control; sensing and information; computational and cyberphysical systems; bioelectrical engineering; electromagnetics and photonics; solid state circuits, devices, and materials; computer communications and networks; computer hardware; software; and cybersecurity. Students also have the option of obtaining their master’s degree with engineering practice and/or with any of the interdisciplinary MS specializations in Cybersecurity, Robotics, or Data Analytics.
Students interested in the new MS in Electrical and Computer Engineering for Fall 2017 should apply to one of the current master’s programs in EE or CE. After admission, students will have the option of pursuing a degree in their applied program or to switch to the new combined ECE program.