Post-Baccalaureate Bridge Program


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. 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. 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. Some even end up teaching in our department as adjunct instructors.

Please contact Nate Rose if you have any general questions about the program.

How to Get Started

Interested in enrolling in the ECE Bridge Program? Please fill out the questionnaire so we can get to know you and come up with a course plan related to your future graduate school and career goals. 

Bridge Advising Appointments

Current and prospective ECE bridge students can book an appointment with Nate to go over general questions about the program. Technical engineering questions should be directed to Dr. Hall. Prospective students should fill out the questionnaire and wait for an initial response from us before booking an appointment with Nate or emailing Dr. Hall with questions.

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 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, but may allow lower grades if they happen infrequently.

IMPORTANT: If you take some of the courses at a community college, be aware that some use a different sequence than PSU (the physics courses at PCC, for instance). You can see the equivalent courses here and if you have any questions please contact Nate Rose at

Focus Areas

We currently support nine 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

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

Electromagnetics, Optics, and Acoustics (please note that there is no longer an MS track in this area, but a custom track can still be created for you if this is the area you would like to study. We have active research happening in this area and the opportunity is there. Email Nate at if you have any questions).

  • 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 and Machine Learning

  • 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

VLSI Design Automation

  • Math 251-252, 261
  • Statistics 351
  • Physics 221-223
  • ECE 102-103, 171-172, 221-222, 321, 351, 361, 371

Please contact Dr. Hall if you are interested in pursuing the communication track.

Further information on each of these focus areas is available on our web site. Students may change their focus area part way through the program, but all students must meet the bridge requirements for their chosen focus area.

Frequently Asked Questions

Do I need to apply and be accepted to the bridge program?
No, there is no formal admission to the program itself, you just begin taking courses once you have created a course plan with the help of Nate and Dr. Hall. You will need to apply to PSU as a Postbaccalaureate (preferred) or Non-Degree student in order to classes, however. You will also need to apply to the M.S. program once you have completed the bridge courses but we will waive the letters of recommendation and GRE for bridge students.

Are International students eligible for the bridge program?
We unfortunately cannot accept International students due to the limitations of visas for "graduate prep" programs and our sequence of courses.

Do I earn a BS degree with the bridge program?
You do not earn a bachelors degree in the program. You take undergraduate-level courses that are focused on what you need to succeed in the graduate program and skip many of the BS-required courses along the way. You will eventually earn a Masters in ECE once you complete your bridge courses and the MS program requirements.

But do employers find it strange that someone would have an MS degree in ECE without the bachelors?
No, the MS is the career degree in the field and what is important is that you earned it, not necessarily how you got there. Many former bridge students now have successful careers as engineers or have gone on to Ph.D. programs at Portland State and elsewhere. The ECE MS program at Portland State also has many opportunities for internships to help you gain experience while you are working towards your degree.

Can I get started at a community college?
You are welcome to begin the program by taking equivalent courses at a community college if that is more convenient for you. Please keep us updated regularly with your progress to ensure you are on the right track, and keep in mind that you will have to transfer to PSU in order to take courses that are 300-level and above.

How long will it take me to finish all of my bridge courses and start the ECE M.S. program?
This is different for every student due to the individualized nature of the program. Some students come from a STEM background and may only need a handful of bridge courses. Others may have to start from scratch with math, engineering, and programming courses and the bridge courses may take up to 4 or 5 years to complete. Nate and Dr. Hall can help give you an estimate of what the program may look like for you.

I did very poorly when I earned my bachelors degree and my GPA is very low. Is there still hope for me?
Yes! You will have to complete your bridge courses with B's or better and then take 3 graduate-level ECE courses, also with B or better, to override your undergrad GPA and be admitted to the ECE MS program. We will discuss this further with the individual students it applies to.