Master of Science Program Requirements

Master of Science Degree Options

Thesis and coursework-only options are available in the ECE M.S. program. All ECE M.S. students are required to complete a study plan approved by their faculty advisers before completion of sixteen ECE graduate credits. M.S. students can follow one of the graduate tracks or develop a custom study plan with their faculty adviser. In addition to the university master’s degree requirements, an M.S. student choosing either option must complete at least 45 graduate level credits. Coursework taken without adviser approval may not be accepted as part of the student’s program. Each student will be assigned an interim adviser at the time of admission.

Each of the graduate tracks is comprised of a list of Core courses and a list of Depth and Breadth courses.

Thesis option

Thesis M.S. students usually follow one of the Graduate Track study plans consisting of four Core courses (16 credits), two Depth and Breadth courses (8 credits), 9 credits of thesis, and 12 elective credits. Elective Credits may include additional ECE graduate courses, ECE 501-509 credits, or, with adviser approval, graduate classes from another department.  Only 3 credits of ECE 507 may be counted as elective credits.  A student may substitute an appropriate alternative class or classes for Core or Depth classes in a track by obtaining written permission from his/her Adviser before taking the class(es).
Thesis M.S. students must also develop, write, and give an oral defense of a thesis approved by the student’s thesis committee. The defense is public and its schedule must be posted in the Electrical and Computer Engineering Department at least two weeks in advance. Please contact the Graduate Coordinator (email: to schedule the defense and announcement. 

Forms for thesis students can be found on the Graduate School website.

Coursework-only option

For the coursework-only M.S. option, students take courses following an adviser-approved track of graduate classes. These tracks were designed by the faculty to give both depth and breadth of knowledge in the specified study area. This depth and breadth approach greatly improves a student’s ability to get a job in the specified area or do research in the specified area. Most M.S. students will follow one of the pre-approved, faculty-designed tracks shown. These are the tracks used by the Degree Audit Reporting System (DARS) to determine if a student is ready to graduate. However, it is possible to develop a custom track with faculty adviser and Graduate Program Director approval. The credits required for this option are sixteen credits of ECE graduate lecture classes that form a core, sixteen credits of ECE graduate lecture classes that provide Depth and Breadth, four credits of elective ECE graduate lecture classes, and nine credits of approved graduate electives. Coursework-only students must submit an adviser-approved study plan Program Completion Form from their desired track no later than completion of sixteen ECE graduate credits.


Upon admission to the Master’s program, you will be assigned to a faculty member who will serve as your academic adviser.  Coursework taken without adviser approval may not be accepted as part of a student's program.

Students may change advisors as their study plans develop (please contact the department for the form), and a faculty member may withdraw from serving as thesis adviser to an M.S. student. The faculty recognizes its responsibility to provide adequate advising to all students, and the departmental Graduate Coordinator will ensure that all graduate students have an academic adviser. To successfully complete an M.S. thesis it is essential that you work very closely with your adviser.

General PSU Masters Program Requirements and Procedures

The Portland State University Bulletin is the definitive source for graduate policies and procedures. University-level graduate policies and procedures are shown on The Graduate School site for quick reference. The lists on these sites do not constitute a substitute for the Bulletin. If the requirement you are looking for is not listed in one of those, refer to the current Bulletin or contact the Graduate School at or 503-725-8410.

Students are responsible for knowing and following both university and departmental requirements and procedures for the graduate certificate or degree being pursued. Departments can set more rigorous standards than the University, and can be expected to have additional degree requirements beyond those listed in their section of the Bulletin.

General ECE Departmental Masters Program Requirements

  • All classes used to satisfy ECE lecture credit requirements for core and for depth and breadth requirements must be completed with a B- or better grade. One graduate class with a C or C+ grade may be used as an elective with adviser approval, if overall GPA is above 3.0 as required.
  • Lecture courses taken under the undifferentiated grading option (P/NP) shall not be used to satisfy any graduate degree program requirements.
  • Students may not register for ECE 507 unless they are formally admitted to a master's degree program.
  • No more than three credits of ECE 507 Graduate Seminar can be applied to a MS degree.
  • Each student is required to complete a tentative degree completion plan that has been approved by their adviser no later than the completion of sixteen ECE Graduate credits.  The degree completion form for this purpose is available with the chosen pre-approved track.
  • Coursework taken without adviser approval may not be accepted as part of the student’s program.
  • For a coursework-only M.S. program, up to nine graduate credits may be transferred from other institutions with adviser and departmental approval. For a thesis M.S. Program, up to twelve graduate credits may be transferred with adviser and departmental approval. Transfer courses are indicated on the Program Completion Form that is then signed by the adviser and the Graduate Program Director. Transfer credits count as electives.
  • M.S. students can use up to eight credits of ECE 504 internship work as part of their nine elective credits for a coursework-only M.S. program. See our internships page for more information.



All students admitted to graduate studies (regular, conditional, and graduate certificate) at Portland State University must maintain a GPA of at least 3.00 for all graduate credit earned at Portland State University. An admitted student is placed on probation if:

The student's cumulative graduate GPA at Portland State University, based on the completion of 9 graded graduate credits at Portland State University, is below 3.00 at the end of any term; or

The student's term graduate GPA, based on a minimum of 6 graded graduate hours, is below 2.67 for a given term.

While on academic probation the student will not be permitted to graduate, to be advanced to doctoral candidacy, to receive approval of the masters degree program (GO-12 form), to receive or continue to hold a graduate assistantship, or to register for more than a total of 9 credit hours in any term. Removal of academic probation occurs if the cumulative graduate GPA is brought to 3.00 within the next 9 graduate credits in graded courses in the case of probation due to a low cumulative GPA, or both cumulative and term GPA of 3.00 or above in the case of probation due to a low term GPA.


A student who is disqualified may not register for any graduate courses at PSU for at least one calendar year. Disqualification occurs if:

1. The student on academic probation for low GPA fails to achieve a cumulative graduate GPA of 3.00 or higher within the next 9 graduate credits in graded courses; or
2. The student on probation for a term GPA of below 2.67 does not receive at least a 3.00 term GPA, and does not achieve a 3.00 cumulative GPA with the next 9 graded graduate hours, if applicable; or
3. The student becomes subject to academic probation for a second time. 
Readmission after Disqualification

A disqualified student may petition for re-admission as a degree-seeking student in a graduate program after one calendar year. Re-admission after the mandatory one-year period is initiated by the student's filing of a petition for re-admission to the Graduate Council through the Office of Graduate Studies and Research. Re-admission is not automatic. To be readmitted the student must meet all current admission requirements with the exception of the graduate GPA.

If the student's graduate program has recommended re-admission, the Graduate Council may grant re-admission, with or without additional academic requirements, or may recommend continued disqualification. The readmitted graduate student is subject to all University and program requirements in effect at the time of readmission. The student must raise the PSU cumulative graduate GPA to 3.00 or better with 12 credits of graded graduate coursework after re-admission, or she/he will be disqualified.

Graduate courses completed at other institutions while a student is under disqualification at PSU will not be applied toward a graduate program at PSU.


A student in good academic standing may petition for a leave of absence of up to one year. The leave of absence status ensures the student will not be dropped from the program during an extended absence.  Students formally apply for a leave of absence, in writing, to the Chair of the ECE department graduate committee.  The application must state the dates of absence and the reason why the leave is requested. Any supporting documentation should be included.

A student may petition for a second leave of absence from a graduate program, but approval is required from the department chair and graduate committee of the college or school.  Any student who requests a leave of absence for a non-health related reason must provide supporting evidence that the situation prompting this request will not be repeated. The student must also present a work plan after coming back from the leave of absence. Applications submitted without this information will be returned without action.

A leave of absence will delay any ECE department degree deadlines but it does not constitute a waiver of the time limit for completion of a PSU graduate degree. Moreover, while on a leave of absence the student is prohibited from using any university resources that could contribute to completion of a degree. This prohibition includes, but is not limited to, access to the university library, CECS computer accounts and the student's faculty advisor, advisory committee members or thesis/dissertation members.


If a student wishes to appeal a departmental decision then a formal request must be made, in writing, within 60 day of notification (also see section “XI. Readmission Policy” if applicable). To appeal an ECE Department decision, a student must submit an appeal packet to the ECE graduate committee chair. The appeal packet must consist of the following:

1. A statement identifying which decision should be overturned.
2. A statement explaining why the prior decision should be overturned (include any supporting documentation).
3. A letter of support from the student's faculty adviser recommending the prior decision to be overturned.

An incomplete appeal packet will be returned without action.

The ECE graduate committee will review the appeal packet and make a recommendation to the ECE graduate program director who will then render a final decision. The student will be informed of the final decision in writing.

Not all decisions can be appealed. Students must check with ECE graduate program staff prior to submitting an appeal packet (email:


This policy applies to all students who were previously admitted to an ECE department graduate degree program or graduate certificate program, matriculated, and then were subsequently dropped from their ECE graduate program for any reason other than misconduct. Students removed for misconduct shall have their applications for readmission returned without action.

In this policy the phrase “graduate program” refers to a master’s degree program, a doctoral program or a graduate certificate program in the ECE department. Furthermore, the term “drop date” refers to the date the ECE department dropped the student from their degree program.

Students dropped from any ECE department graduate program must reapply within 12 months after the drop date. Any readmission application received more than 12 months from the drop date will be returned without action. Students must also comply with any university requirements for readmission.

The readmission application packet must contain the following:

  1. A statement describing why the student was dropped from the graduate program.
  2. A statement explaining why the conditions that lead to removal from graduate program no longer exist. Include any supporting documentation.
  3. Transcripts from any graduate coursework taken since being dropped from the ECE graduate program.
  4. A list of all graduate program requirements remaining before graduation.
  5. A plan showing when the remaining graduate program requirements are scheduled to be completed.
  6. A letter from the student’s faculty adviser supporting the readmission request.

The readmission packet shall be submitted to the ECE graduate program director for review. The readmission must be approved by the ECE department graduate committee.

Frequently asked questions for new graduate students

Who is my adviser?

Your adviser is usually assigned via your admission letter. If you're not sure, please check with

What classes should I take?

If you are an M.S. coursework-only student, please see our graduate tracks. All students should discuss their coursework with an adviser and fill out a study plan before the end of their second term. 

How do I use my transfer credits?

Transfer credit is applied to the PSU master's program via the GO-21 form. Transfer credit can only be used as elective. 

What about Research Assistant (RA) and Teaching Assistant (TA) positions?

The ECE department offers two forms of student financial assistance: The research assistant (RA) and the teaching assistant (TA). More information about TA appointments can be found on the Assistantships page.

Research Assistant (RA) positions are under control of each individual faculty member.  The ECE office does not keep any records on availability.  You will need to query each individual faculty member to check on their availability of RA funding. However, you should be aware that a faculty member will most likely NOT offer an RA position unless you are studying and conducting research in their specific research area.

Can I change my faculty adviser?

Yes, Master's students can. To change your faculty adviser please complete and return the Change of ECE Graduate Adviser form to the Graduate Coordinator. The new adviser will need to agree to serve.

How do I get access to the labs?

First, get a white access badge from ID Services in Fariborz Maseeh Hall. Then, take the access badge to Student Services in the Engineering Building (Suite 100). They will activate your card so you have access to general labs and the Fourth Avenue Building on nights and weekends. This access should last as long as you're a registered ECE student.

If you need access to another lab, the faculty member who is in charge of that lab must request access on your behalf. They will need your PSU ID number and access badge number.