Bridge Program to a Master of Science Degree in Electrical and Computer Engineering

Overview

Many people who have a bachelor’s degree decide that they would like to pursue a different career path. Electrical and Computer Engineering are appealing possibilities, but a bachelor’s or higher degree is required by almost all employers. This can be a substantial obstacle because there are many people who are interested in changing careers, but who are not able to make the financial or time commitments to complete a second bachelor’s degree. Additionally, a bachelor’s degree usually only provides the foundation to begin a career in electrical and computer engineering and commands lower starting salaries than those with more advanced graduate degrees.

We offer a bridge program in which students are able to complete a Master of Science degree in approximately the same time that would normally be required to complete a second bachelor’s of science degree. This enables students to efficiently attain a graduate degree that prepares them in a specialized area of electrical and computer engineering and begin their careers in engineering. After completing the bridge courses, many of the bridge students obtain internships in industry, and work in these internships as they go through their master’s program. Bridge students with bachelor’s degrees in diverse fields such as physics, biology, philosophy, international studies, graphic arts, math, English, and performing arts have successfully completed our program.

You can read about a successful bridge students by visiting the bridge student profiles page.

How to Get Started

Please fill out this questionnaire so that we can get to know you. Also please attach a resume and unofficial transcripts if you have them. We will be in contact with you a few days after you have submitted the form. If you would like to meet in person right away, Dr. Hall has walk-in Office hours Tuesdays and Thursdays from 12:45 – 2:45,  in room 160-06 of the 1900 Building at 1900 S.W. 4th Avenue in Portland. You can also work with him by email if you are unable to come in (d2dh@pdx.edu). Please fill out the questionairre prior to coming to speak with Dr. Hall.

Message from the Program Director

Dr. Douglas Hall is the Bridge Program Director and a faculty member of the Electrical and Computer Engineering Department.

Prospective Students,

If you have a bachelor’s degree in some field other than Electrical or Computer Engineering and want to move to an exciting and productive career in Electrical or Computer Engineering, there are two possible paths. One path is to successfully complete all the undergraduate classes required for a Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering or in Computer Engineering. The second path is our Bridge Program, which is a shorter route directly into the Master of Science program in Electrical and Computer Engineering.

  1. The first step in determining whether this program or any engineering program is a good match for you is to thoughtfully answer the following three questions: Do you get bored easily? To put this another way, do you really like and look forward to learning new concepts and skills? In an engineering position you need to be constantly in learning mode, since you are designing circuits and systems that use new technology and may never have been designed before. This continuous learning is good for those of us who tend to get bored easily and like new challenges.
  2. Do you enjoy solving problems and figuring out how things work? You don’t have to be the person who took everything apart to see how it worked when you were young but, if you are a person who sees some poorly design kitchen gadget, intersection, or electronic device and comments, “Why didn’t they design it this way?”, that is a good start.
  3. Are you willing to work hard? Obtaining an engineering degree is doable but challenging. It takes work to learn engineering concepts and skills well enough that you can teach them to someone else or use them to design a new product in a company. You do not have to be a math genius to be a good engineer but you do have to overcome any allergic reactions to math you may have and just learn to use it as a tool.

If you answered yes or mostly yes to these three questions, the next step is to think some about which area of Electrical or Computer Engineering you would like to work in for your career.

Douglas V. Hall

How It Works

Bridge students take a specific sequence of undergraduate “bridge courses” to ensure they are prepared to begin our master’s program. The bridge courses include adequate preparation in mathematics, physics, programming, and engineering. The courses listed below are the minimum that should be taken before applying for the master’s program. You can always take more courses than the ones listed and should progress at a pace that is comfortable for you. Students who have already learned some of the foundational material as part of their bachelor’s degree or through independent learning may have some of the required courses waived. The number of bridge courses required depends on the background of the student and the chosen area of specialization. We require a letter grade of B or better in all of the bridge courses for admission to our MS program.

Most of our bridge courses are offered twice a year, and most courses are offered at least once a year in the later afternoon or evening to accommodate the schedules of students who work full time. The MS program typically takes five quarters of two classes a term but the actual time for the bridge program is dependent on your background, work schedule, class schedule, etc. so the time for completion will vary.

Focus Areas

We currently support ten different focus areas of specialization in our Master of Science program. Listed are the minimum undergraduate-level bridge courses necessary to be admitted to the MS program:

Analog, RF, and Microwave Circuits

  • Math 251-254, 256, 261
  • Physics 221-223
  • ECE 102, 221-223, 315, 321-323, 331-2

Computer Architecture and Design

  • Math 251-252
  • ECE 103, 171-172, 221, 351, 361-362, 371-373

Digital IC Design, Test, and Validation

  • Math 251-253, 256, 261
  • ECE 102-103, 171-2, 221-3, 321, 351, 361, 371

Electromagnetics, Optics, and Acoustics

  • Math 251-254, 256, 261
  • Physics 221-223
  • ECE 221-222, 331-332, 315-316

Embedded Systems

  • Math 251-252
  • Physics 221-223 (recommended but not required)
  • ECE 103, 171-172, 221-223, 351, 361-362, 371-373

Power Engineering

  • Math 251-254, 256, 261
  • Statistics 351
  • Physics 221-223
  • EE 347-8
  • ECE 221-223, 315-317, 321, 331

Signal Processing

  • Math 251-254, 256, 261
  • Statistics 351
  • ECE 221-223, 315-16

Design Verification and Validation

  • Math 251-253
  • Physics 221-223
  • ECE 103, 171-172, 221, 351, 361-362, 371-372

Please contact Dr. Hall if you are interested in pursuing the design automation or communication tracks.

Further information on each of these areas is available on our web site (https://www.pdx.edu/ece/graduate-tracks). Interested students are strongly encouraged to study the focus areas that are of interest. Students may change their focus area part way through the program, but all students must meet the bridge requirements for their chosen focus area.

At the bottom of each track plan is a link to a Program Completion Plan for a Coursework-only MS and a link to a Thesis Completion Plan for a Thesis MS. These show the actual credit requirements for the two possible types of MS. Note that only four Depth and Breadth classes from the list are required. With Adviser Approval, ECE graduate courses not on the list can be substituted. For more course detail, you can look at the individual course descriptions, most of which are also accessible from this webpage under Courses.