Electrical and Computer Engineering

Main Content

Graduate Programs and Research Areas

The Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering offers programs of study and research leading to i) the Master of Engineering (M.Eng.) degree in Electrical and Computer Engineering, ii) the Master of Science (M.S.) degree (thesis/non-thesis) in Electrical and Computer Engineering, and iii) the Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) degree in Electrical and Computer Engineering.

The Department provides a rich environment for educational and professional advancement in the following areas:

  1. Electrical Systems: Autonomous Vehicles, Control Systems, Robotics, Electric Energy & Renewables, Power Systems, Electric Vehicles, Medical Instruments, Optics & Photonics, Antennas
  2. Microelectronics: Electronic Design Automation, Emerging Nanoscale and Quantum Technologies, VLSI Circuits, Integrated Systems, Medical Electronics, Sensors
  3. Signals and Communications: Image processing, Signal Processing, Telecommunications, Communication Networks
  4. Hardware and Firmware: Computer Architectures, Embedded Systems, Network Systems, Robotics, Programmable Logic Controllers
  5. Systems Software: Cloud Computing, Digital Design Automation, Multi-Core Programming, High-Performance Scientific Computing, Operating Systems, Software Engineering, Systems Programming.

The ECE programs of study provide a balance between formal classroom instruction and research, and are tailored to the individual student’s academic and professional goals. Graduates of the program enjoy excellent employment opportunities and are highly recruited worldwide in industry, government, and academia.

Courses (ECE)

Graduate work in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering is offered towards: i) the Master of Engineering (M.Eng.) degree in Electrical and Computer Engineering, ii) the Master of Science (M.S.) degree (thesis/non-thesis) in Electrical and Computer Engineering, and iii) the Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) degree in Electrical and Computer Engineering. Safety glasses are required for some of the courses in this department. Note that only 3 credit hours from each eligible 400-level course (listed in the graduate catalog) will be counted towards the graduate degree. Also, for cross-listed courses, graduate students must register for the 500-level equivalent.

Accelerated Master’s Program

Objectives

The Accelerated Master’s Program is designed for high-achieving students who are currently enrolled in the undergraduate ECE program at SIU. The program will allow students to earn both Bachelor’s degree and Master’s degree within 5 years by completing 147 credit hours (instead of 156 credit hours if pursuing Bachelor’s and Master’s studies separately).

Admission

Interested students will consult their undergraduate Academic Advisor to learn more about the program and how to apply. Students who have earned or are in the process of earning 60 or more credit hours with a minimum GPA of 3.0/4.0 overall could apply. Two recommendation letters from SIU faculty members are needed. The GRE or equivalent test requirement is waived for the accelerated Master’s program.

Apply as early as the beginning of the first semester of junior year for acceptance into the program. Work with the undergraduate Academic Advisor (and a potential graduate faculty advisor, if needed) to develop a program of study identifying 9 credit hours that may be counted towards both the Bachelor’s degree and the Master’s degree.

Students are considered as undergraduates until all requirements for the Bachelor’s degree have been fulfilled. For the Master’s degree, they will have the option to select either the M.S. (thesis/non-thesis) or the M.Eng. track.

Curriculum

Junior/Senior Year - Complete up to 9 graduate-level credit hours during the junior/senior year taken from the ECE Department (excluding ECE 492 and ECE 592). At most 9 graduate-level credit hours will be counted towards both the Bachelor’s and the Master’s degree requirements. Graduate Year - Complete the remaining Master’s coursework within one year of full-time graduate study.

Retention

Any graduate student whose cumulative grade point average falls below 3.0 on courses that count towards the Master’s degree will be placed on departmental academic probation.

Master of Engineering (M.Eng.) in Electrical and Computer Engineering

Objectives

The program is designed to allow a graduate student to earn non-thesis Master of Engineering (M.Eng.) degree in 2-3 semesters (with the possibility of completing within one year). The M.Eng. program is coursework-oriented and is inclined towards professional development, allowing more flexibility in taking online/distance education hours.

Admission

The M.Eng. program is designed for individuals holding a Bachelor’s degree in electrical or computer engineering or related field. Qualified applicants with Bachelor’s degree in other areas of engineering and science may be able to enroll in the programs with additional preparation (approved by the Department on a case-by-case basis).

Admission to the M.Eng. program is based on the following factors: grade point average of 2.75 or higher on a scale of 4.0 on approximately the last 60 semester hours of undergraduate coursework, class ranking, and faculty recommendation letters. GRE scores are not required for admission. However, out-of-state or international students whose GRE Verbal score or Quantitative score percentile is 80% or higher will have the advantage of paying in-state graduate tuition rate. The minimum TOEFL score requirement for international applicants is 550 (paper based) or 80 (computer based). The program requires a nonrefundable $65 application fee that must be submitted with the application for Admissions to Graduate Study in Electrical and Computer Engineering. Applicants must pay this fee by credit card.

Please address any correspondence to “Master of Engineering Program,” Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, Southern Illinois University Carbondale, Carbondale, Illinois 62901-6603. For telephone inquiries please call 618-536-2364, and refer to the Master of Engineering Program. The Electrical and Computer Engineering facsimile number is 618-453-7972, and the email address is ecedept@siu.edu. The Electrical and Computer Engineering home page address is engineering.siu.edu/elec.

Curriculum

The program requires a total of 30 semester hours of graduate-level credit. ECE 592 and ECE 580 (seminar) will not count towards the degree. With the approval of the Department, online/distance education hours offered by the University could be applied towards the degree. Also, with the approval of the Department, a maximum of 6 hours from academic units outside the ECE Department, could be applied towards the degree. These courses may include topics such as business fundamentals, entrepreneurship, management and leadership.

A student pursuing the M.Eng. degree could switch to the M.S. program upon the recommendation of ECE faculty, provided all requirements of the M.S. degree are met.

Retention

Any student whose cumulative grade point average falls below 3.0 on courses that count towards the degree will be placed on departmental academic probation. Any graduate student on academic probation whose grade point average remains below 3.0 on courses that count towards the degree for two consecutive semesters in which she or he is enrolled will be permanently suspended from the program, unless the department grants an exception.

Master of Science (M.S.) in Electrical and Computer Engineering

Objectives

The Master of Science (M.S.) program has two tracks: i) The non-thesis track is coursework-oriented; ii) The thesis track is research-oriented and is designed for students who want to pursue research or a Ph.D. degree. The degree (non-thesis/thesis) can be completed in 3-4 semesters.

Admission

Individuals holding a Bachelor’s degree in electrical or computer engineering or related field may apply. Qualified applicants with Bachelor’s degree in other areas of engineering and science may be able to enroll in the program with additional preparation (approved by the Department on a case-by-case basis).

Admission to the M.S. program is based on the following factors: grade point average of 3.0 or higher on a scale of 4.0 on approximately the last 60 semester hours of undergraduate coursework, class ranking, and faculty recommendation letters. GRE scores are not required for admission. However, out-of-state or international students whose GRE Verbal score or Quantitative score percentile is 80% or higher will have the advantage of paying in-state graduate tuition rate. Also, GRE scores, especially Quantitative, may be considered for fellowships/assistantships/scholarships. The Department admission requirements of this program are higher than the minimum requirements of the Graduate School. The minimum TOEFL score requirement for international applicants is 550 (paper based) or 80 (computer based). The program requires a nonrefundable $65 application fee that must be submitted with the application for Admissions to Graduate Study in Electrical and Computer Engineering. Applicants must pay this fee by credit card.

Please address any correspondence to “Master of Science Program,” Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, Southern Illinois University Carbondale, Carbondale, Illinois 62901-6603. For telephone inquiries please call 618-536-2364, and refer to the Master of Science Program. The Electrical and Computer Engineering facsimile number is 618-453-7972, and the email address is ecedept@siu.edu. The Electrical and Computer Engineering home page address is engineering.siu.edu/elec.

Curriculum

The program requires a total of 30 semester hours of graduate-level credit. For the non-thesis track, at least 6 credit hours must be in ECE 500-level courses that are not cross-listed to ECE 400-level courses. ECE 592 and ECE 580 (seminar) will not count towards the degree. For the thesis track, six hours of thesis (ECE 599) are required. A maximum of three hours of ECE 592 could be counted towards the degree requirements. ECE 580 (seminar) will not count towards the degree. Students in this track will develop a program of study in consultation with their thesis advisor/committee. For both non-thesis and thesis tracks, with the approval of the Department, a maximum of 3 online/distance education hours offered by the ECE Department, and a maximum of 6 hours from academic units outside the ECE Department, could be applied towards the degree. Also, note that, for cross-listed courses, graduate students must register for the 500-level equivalent.

Retention

Any student whose cumulative grade point average falls below 3.00 on courses that count towards the degree will be placed on departmental academic probation. Any graduate student on academic probation whose grade point average remains below 3.0 on courses that count towards the degree for two consecutive semesters in which she or he is enrolled, excluding summer sessions, will be permanently suspended from the program, unless the department grants an exception.

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) in Electrical and Computer Engineering

Objectives

The program is designed to achieve the following academic objectives:

  1. to fulfill the obligation of the ECE Department to provide high quality education through the doctoral level as is mandated by the mission statement of the University;
  2. to provide the students with the training necessary to successfully apply the fundamental concepts and methods of electrical and computer engineering to specific areas of research and development;
  3. to provide the graduates with the ability to independently organize and conduct research in electrical and computer engineering;
  4. to provide the graduates with the ability to concisely disseminate existing and new knowledge and to accurately present their research plans in writing.

Program Structure

The program offers the following areas of concentration: Biomedical, Communications, Computers, Control, Electronics, Electromagnetics, Very Large-Scale Integration (VLSI), Networks, Optics, Power Systems, and Signal Processing.

Admission

Individuals holding a Master’s degree in electrical or computer engineering or related field with a GPA of 3.25/4.0 or higher may apply. Applications for admission must include the following: a statement of research interest, transcripts, official GRE scores, three reference letters and TOEFL/ IELTS score (where appropriate), as required by the Graduate School.

For direct and accelerated entry into the Ph.D. program, a Bachelor of Science degree in Electrical or Computer Engineering or a related field with a GPA of 3.20/4.0 or higher is required. Applications for admission must include the following: a statement of research interest, transcripts, official GRE scores, three reference letters and TOEFL score, as required by the Graduate School.

Advisement

The student must select a committee consisting of three members within the semester of admission. One member will serve as the student’s advisor and also chair the committee. The committee will assist the student in selecting six 500-level ECE courses that define the core and in developing a plan of study. The advisor committee members must be voting ECE faculty members and must meet the requirements of the Graduate school.

Retention

Any graduate student whose cumulative grade point average falls below 3.25 on courses that count towards the degree will be placed on departmental academic probation. Any graduate student on academic probation whose grade point average remains below 3.25 on courses that count towards the degree for two consecutive semesters in which she or he is enrolled, excluding summer sessions, will be permanently suspended from the program, unless the department grants an exception.

Curriculum

For applicants with a Master’s degree, the curriculum consists of 50 hours of credit beyond the Master’s degree, of which 26 credit hours must be at the 500/400 level and 24 are dissertation hours. 12 hours of ECE 500-level courses that are not cross-listed to 400-level courses, of which 9 hours must be taken from the selected core, 3 hours of mathematics or science or other engineering, and 2 hours of ECE seminar are required. A maximum of 3 hours of ECE 592 and 2 hours of ECE seminar could be counted towards the degree requirements. A maximum of 6 hours from academic units outside the ECE Department could be counted towards the degree requirements. The courses from academic units outside the ECE Department must be approved by the student’s Committee and the Department. With the approval of the Department, a maximum of 3 online/distance education hours offered by the ECE Department could be applied towards the degree. Core courses successfully completed for the M.S. degree can be used to fulfill the core requirements, but additional courses must be taken to satisfy the requirement of 12 hours of 500-level ECE courses beyond the M.S. degree. Also, note that, for cross-listed courses, graduate students must register for the 500-level equivalent.

For direct and accelerated entry into the Ph.D. program, the curriculum consists of 80 hours of credit beyond the B.S. degree, of which 56 credit hours must be at the 500/400 level and 24 are dissertation hours. 24 hours of ECE 500-level courses that are not cross-listed to 400-level courses, of which 9 hours must be taken from the selected core, 3 hours of mathematics or science or other engineering, and 2 hours of ECE seminar are required. A maximum of 9 hours of ECE 592 and 2 hours of ECE seminar could be counted towards the degree requirements. A maximum of 9 hours from academic units outside the ECE Department could be counted towards the degree requirements. The courses from academic units outside the ECE Department must be approved by the student’s Committee and the Department. With the approval of the Department, a maximum of 3 online/distance education hours offered by the ECE Department could be applied towards the degree. Also, note that, for cross-listed courses, graduate students must register for the 500-level equivalent.

The objective of the core is to provide the candidate with the foundation necessary to engage successfully in the selected research area. Thus, the core design fulfills the research tool requirement specified in the Graduate School guidelines.

Qualifying Examinations

Upon completion of the core courses, the student may take the qualifying examination, which has two components: written exam and oral exam. Prior to taking the exam, the student must form an examining committee comprised of three voting ECE faculty members or two voting ECE faculty members and the ECE chair. The written examination covers at least three major areas of ECE and consists of questions from each member of the examining committee. The oral exam, conducted by the student’s examining committee, is held within two weeks of the written exam. The student should score at least 75 percent in each area tested and must satisfactorily answer the questions in the oral exam. If not successful, the committee may allow the student to repeat the whole or part of the examination. The qualifying examination, in whole or in part, cannot be taken more than two times. The written exam, which is administered by the ECE Graduate Affairs Committee, is offered in the second week of February and the second week of September.

Candidacy

Admission to candidacy requires: (a) successful completion of the qualifying examination (which satisfies the research tool requirement of the Graduate School) and (b) successful completion of 24 hours of credit (which satisfies the residency requirement of the Graduate School).

Dissertation Committee

Following the admission to candidacy, the Department Chair in consultation with the student’s advisor (dissertation supervisor) appoints the dissertation committee, which shall consist of five faculty members with at least one (but not more than two) outside the ECE Department. The student’s dissertation supervisor shall be one of the five members and shall chair this committee. The dissertation supervisor must have Direct Dissertation status. A non-ECE faculty member with Direct Dissertation status may serve as a co-Supervisor along with a co-Supervisor who is a regular ECE faculty member with Direct Dissertation status.

Dissertation Proposal

Following the admission to candidacy and upon completion of all the coursework, the candidate will prepare and submit a formal written dissertation proposal, defining the proposed research and the proposed line of inquiry. The candidate subsequently must make an oral presentation of the dissertation proposal to the members of the dissertation committee in an open forum. A public announcement of this event must be made at least five days in advance.

Comprehensive Oral Examination

In the framework of the oral presentation of the dissertation proposal, the candidate is expected to address and respond to any question (by the members of the committee) related to material covered by all the courses taken during his doctoral studies or to the background necessary for the specific area of the proposed research. In addition, the candidate is expected to defend the research methodology and the proposed line of inquiry.

Dissertation

The Dissertation must be prepared in accordance to the “Guidelines for Dissertations, Theses and Research Papers” of the Graduate School. Dissertation approval is based on successful defense of the research performed in terms of originality, relevance and presentation (written and oral). This requires approval by at least 80 percent of the members of the dissertation committee.

Dissertation Defense

Upon completion of the dissertation, which must demonstrate the ability of the candidate to conduct independent research, the committee will administer the final oral examination. The objective of the final oral examination, conducted in an open forum, will be the defense of the dissertation. Upon satisfactory completion of the dissertation and the final oral examination the committee will recommend the candidate for the doctoral degree.

Technical writing and oral presentation skills are important particularly for a possible academic career. During the course of study, the student will be provided with opportunities to develop these skills (by attending technical writing classes and seminars). It is desirable to assign some teaching assistant duties to the candidate to gain some teaching experiences. The dissertation committee shall evaluate the candidate’s skills both in technical writing and oral presentation.

Graduation

The student must complete the curriculum with a minimum grade point average of 3.25 on courses that count towards degree. For entry with an M.S. degree, a dissertation approved by the committee must be completed within five years after entry.

For direct and accelerated entry, a dissertation approved by the committee must be completed within six years after entry.

The Department has established a timetable for advisement, qualifying examination, candidacy, dissertation committee formation, dissertation proposal, oral examination, and dissertation defense.