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Master of Science in Electrical Engineering

Students with undergraduate degrees in physics, mathematics, or related sciences, as well as in various branches of engineering, are invited to apply for admission. They should typically be able to complete the master's degree in five academic quarters; note that many courses are not taught during the summer. Students with undergraduate degrees in other fields may also be admitted for graduate study; see below.

The master's degree program may provide advanced preparation for professional practice or for teaching at the junior college level, or it may serve as the first step in graduate work leading to the degree of Engineer or Ph.D. The faculty does not prescribe specific courses to be taken. Each student, with the help of a program adviser, prepares an individual program and submits it to the faculty for approval. The master's program proposal must be submitted to the department office during the first quarter of graduate study; modifications may be made until one quarter prior to degree conferral. Detailed requirements and instructions are in the Handbook for Graduate Students in Electrical Engineering at Stanford University (http://ee.stanford.edu/gradhandbook). Programs of at least 45 units that meet the following guidelines are normally approved. Cognate (extradepartmental) courses of the appropriate level are considered as Electrical Engineering courses.

  1. A sequence of three or more letter-graded electrical engineering courses numbered above 200, to provide depth in one area. The student must maintain an average 3.0 grade point average (GPA) or better in both the depth area and overall.
  2. At least one letter-graded EE course numbered above 200 in each of three distinct course areas outside of the area selected under item 1 to provide breadth. Two courses are not considered to be in distinct areas if they can be found under a common depth area.
  3. Enough additional units of EE courses so that items 1 through 3 total at least 21 units of letter-graded EE courses numbered above 200, including at least 9 units of such courses numbered in the 300s or 400s. Some 600- or 700-level summer courses may also be considered for inclusion in the M.S. program. Special studies units may not be used.
  4. Additional course work to bring the total to 45 or more quarter units, including:
    1. at least 36 letter-graded units
    2. at least 36 units at or above the 100 level
    3. at least 30 units in technical areas such as engineering, mathematics, and science; thesis and special studies units cannot be included.
  5. Either (a) one formal EE seminar course for credit, or (b) attend a minimum of eight informal or formal EE research seminars, and submit with the final M.S. program a list of the seminars with a paragraph describing the content and the signature of the M.S. adviser. This requirement is to ensure that students sample the many available research seminars.

Capable students without formal undergraduate preparation in electrical engineering may also be admitted for graduate study. Such students may have graduated in any field and may hold either the B.S. or B.A. degree. Each student, with the help of an adviser, prepares a program of study to meet particular needs and submits it to the faculty for approval. A student with adequate preparation in mathematics through calculus and college physics including electricity can usually complete the M.S. degree requirements within two academic years. A student with some additional preparation in electrical engineering may be able to complete the M.S. requirements in only one academic year.

Graduate study in EE demands that students be adequately prepared in circuits, digital systems, fields, lab work, mathematics, and physics. Skill in using modern computing facilities is essential for electrical engineers, and an increasing number of courses routinely require it. This skill should be acquired early in the program, either by taking one of the regular computer science courses or one of the special short courses given by the Computation Center, or by self-study.

It is the student's responsibility, in consultation with an adviser, to determine whether the prerequisites for advanced courses have been met. Prerequisite courses ordinarily taken by undergraduates may be included as part of the graduate program of study. However, if the number of these is large, the proposed program may contain more than the typical 45 units, and the time required to meet the degree requirements may be increased.

Students working toward the Master of Science degree in Electrical Engineering who are considering a Ph.D. or Engineer degree program in Electrical Engineering at Stanford must request the addition of a new degree program by submitting a Graduate Program Authorization Petition for approval by the department. The petition must be submitted and approved at least one quarter prior to M.S. degree completion. Once the M.S. degree in EE has been conferred, a student may not register for additional course work without this approval. Permission to study beyond the M.S. degree is normally granted to students who were originally admitted to the Ph.D. program if the student:

  1. has passed the Ph.D. qualifying examination within the past year, or
  2. has a written commitment from a regular member of the EE faculty to serve as an Engineer or Ph.D. dissertation adviser, and has a satisfactory academic record to date.

Students originally admitted only for the M.S. degree and not to the Ph.D. program may petition the EE graduate admissions committee during Autumn Quarter of their second year at Stanford for a change of status to the Ph.D. program with permission to take the Ph.D. qualifying exam in January. Requirements for the petition include a grade point average of 3.5 on Stanford courses and a written statement of support from an EE faculty member with whom the student has conducted preliminary research through directed reading (EE 390 or 391) or as part of a 300-level project course. Decisions are based on performance and the strength of the support letter. If admitted to the Ph.D. program, permission to study beyond the M.S. degree is normally granted under the same conditions as those described above for students originally admitted to the Ph.D. program. Students not admitted to the Ph.D. program are normally granted permission to continue past the M.S. degree only if there is a written commitment from a regular member of the EE faculty to serve as an Engineer dissertation supervisor. The student should file for candidacy for the Engineer degree within one quarter of receiving the M.S.

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