Electrical and Computer Engineering

Graduate Study

For information on graduate admission see Graduate Programs on page 26.

The following introductory information is based on 2019-20 program requirements for UCLA graduate degrees. Complete program requirements are available at Program Requirements for Graduate Degrees. Students are subject to the detailed degree requirements as published in program requirements for the year in which they enter the program.

The Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering offers Master of Science (M.S.) and Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) degrees in Electrical and Computer Engineering.

Electrical Engineering M.S.

Areas of Study

Students may pursue specialization across three major areas of study: (1) circuits and embedded systems, (2) physical and wave electronics, and (3) signals and systems. These areas cover a broad spectrum of specializations in, for example, communications and telecommunications, control systems, electromagnetics, embedded computing systems, engineering optimization, integrated circuits and systems, microelectromechanical systems (MEMS), nanotechnology, photonics and optoelectronics, plasma electronics, signal processing, and solid-state electronics. Students must select a number of formal graduate courses to serve as their major and minor fields of study according to the requirements listed below for the thesis (seven courses) and non-thesis (eight courses) options. The selected courses must be approved by the faculty adviser.

Course Requirements

Students may select either the thesis plan or the non-thesis (comprehensive examination) plan. The selection of courses is tailored to the professional objectives of the students and must meet the requirements stated below. The courses should be selected and approved in consultation with the faculty adviser. Departures from the stated requirements are considered only in exceptional cases and must be approved by the departmental graduate adviser.

The minimum requirements for the M.S. degree are as follows:

  1. Requisite. B.S. degree in Electrical Engineering or a related field
  2. All M.S. program requirements should be completed within two academic years from admission into the M.S. graduate program in the Henry Samueli School of Engineering and Applied Science
  3. Students must maintain a minimum cumulative grade-point average of 3.0 every term and 3.0 in all graduate courses
  4. Thesis Option. Students selecting the thesis option must complete at least the following requirements: (a) five formal graduate courses to serve as the major field of study, (b) two formal graduate courses to serve as the minor field of study, (c) Electrical and Computer Engineering 297, (d) two Electrical and Computer Engineering 598 courses involving work on the M.S. thesis, (e) no other 500-level courses, other seminar courses, nor Electrical and Computer Engineering 296 or 375 may be applied toward the course requirements, and (f) an M.S. thesis completed under the direction of the faculty adviser to a standard that is approved by a committee comprised of three faculty members. The thesis research must be conducted concurrently with the coursework
  5. Non-Thesis Option. Students selecting the non-thesis option must complete at least the following requirements: (a) six formal graduate courses to serve as the major field of study, (b) two formal graduate courses to serve as the minor field of study, (c) Electrical and Computer Engineering 297, (d) Electrical and Computer Engineering 299 to serve as the M.S. comprehensive examination, which is evaluated by a committee of three faculty members appointed by the department. In case of failure, students may be re-examined only once with consent of the departmental graduate adviser, and (e) no 500-level courses, other seminar courses, nor Electrical and Computer Engineering 296 or 375 may be applied toward the course requirements
  6. Students must select a number of formal graduate courses to serve as their major and minor fields of study according to the requirements listed above for the thesis (seven courses) and non-thesis (eight courses) options. The selection of the major and minor sequences of courses must be from different established tracks, or approved ad hoc tracks, or combinations thereof. The selected courses must be approved by the faculty adviser
  7. For the thesis option at least four, and for the non-thesis option five, of the formal graduate courses used to satisfy the M.S. program requirements listed above must be in the Electrical and Computer Engineering Department
  8. A formal graduate course is defined as any 200-level course, excluding seminar or tutorial courses
  9. At most one upper-division undergraduate course is allowed to replace one of the formal graduate courses covering the major and minor fields of study provided that (a) the undergraduate course is not required of undergraduate students in the Electrical and Computer Engineering Department and (b) the undergraduate course is approved by the faculty adviser
  10. A track is a coherent set of courses in some general field of study. The department suggests lists of established tracks as a means to assist students in selecting their courses. Students are not required to adhere to the suggested courses in any specific track

Circuits and Embedded Systems Area Tracks

  1. Embedded Computing Track. Courses deal with the engineering of computer systems as may be applied to embedded devices used for communications, multimedia, or other such restricted purposes. Courses include Computer Science 251A, Electrical and Computer Engineering 201A, 201C, M202A, M202B, M216A
  2. Integrated Circuits Track. Courses deal with the analysis and design of analog and digital integrated circuits; architecture and integrated circuit implementations of large-scale digital processors for communications and signal processing; hardware-software codesign; and computer-aided design methodologies. Courses include Computer Science 251A, 252A, Electrical and Computer Engineering 215A through 215E, M216A, 221A, 221B

Physical and Wave Electronics Area Tracks

  1. Electromagnetics Track. Courses deal with electromagnetic theory; propagation and scattering; antenna theory and design; microwave and millimeter wave circuits; printed circuit antennas; integrated and fiber optics; microwave-optical interaction, antenna measurement, and diagnostics; numerical and asymptotic techniques; satellite and personal communication antennas; periodic structures; genetic algorithms; and optimization techniques. Courses include Electrical and Computer Engineering 221C, 260A, 260B, 261, 262, 263, 266, 270
  2. Photonics and Plasma Electronics Track. Courses deal with laser physics, optical amplification, electro-optics, acousto-optics, magneto-optics, nonlinear optics, photonic switching and modulation, ultrafast phenomena, optical fibers, integrated waveguides, photodetection, optoelectronic integrated circuits, optical microelectromechanical systems (MEMS), analog and digital signal transmission, photonics sensors, lasers in biomedicine, fundamental plasma waves and instability; interaction of microwaves and laser radiation with plasmas; plasma diagnostics; and controlled nuclear fusion. Courses include Electrical and Computer Engineering 270, 271, 272, 273, 274, 285A, 285B, M287
  3. Solid-State and Microelectromechanical Systems (MEMS) Devices Track. Courses deal with solid-state physical electronics, semiconductor device physics and design, and microelectromechanical systems (MEMS) design and fabrication. Courses include Electrical and Computer Engineering 221A, 221B, 221C, 222, 223, 225, M250B, Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering 281, 284, C287L

Signals and Systems Area Tracks

  1. Communications Systems Track. Courses deal with communication and telecommunication principles and engineering applications; channel and source coding; spread spectrum communication; cryptography; estimation and detection; algorithms and processing in communication and radar; satellite communication systems; stochastic modeling in telecommunication engineering; mobile radio engineering; and telecommunication switching, queuing system, communication networks, local-area, metropolitan-area, and wide-area computer communication networks. Courses include Electrical and Computer Engineering 205A, 210A, 230A through 230D, 231A, 231E, 232A through 232E, 238, 241A
  2. Control Systems and Optimization Track. Courses deal with state-space theory of linear systems; optimal control of deterministic linear and nonlinear systems; stochastic control; Kalman filtering; stability theory of linear and nonlinear feedback control systems; computer-aided design of control systems; optimization theory, including linear and nonlinear programming; convex optimization and engineering applications; numerical methods; nonconvex programming; associated network flow and graph problems; renewal theory; Markov chains; stochastic dynamic programming; and queuing theory. Courses include Electrical and Computer Engineering 205A, M208B, M208C, 210B, 236A, 236B, 236C, M237, M240A, M240C, 241A, M242A
  3. Signal Processing Track. Courses deal with digital signal processing theory, statistical signal processing, analysis and design of digital filters, digital speech processing, digital image processing, multirate digital signal processing, adaptive filtering, estimation theory, neural networks, and communications signal processing. Courses include Electrical and Computer Engineering 205A, 210A, 210B, 211A, 212A, M214A, 214B, M217, 238

Ad Hoc Tracks

In consultation with their faculty advisers, students may petition for an ad hoc track tailored to their professional objectives. This may comprise graduate courses from established tracks, from across areas, and even from outside electrical and computer engineering. The petition must justify how the selection of courses in the ad hoc track forms a coherent set of courses, and how the proposed ad hoc track serves the professional objectives. The petition must be approved by the faculty adviser and the departmental graduate adviser.

Comprehensive Examination Plan

The M.S. comprehensive examination requirement is satisfied either (1) by solving a comprehensive examination problem in the final project, or equivalent, of every formal graduate electrical and computer engineering course taken. A grade-point average of at least 3.0 in the comprehensive examination problems is required for graduation. The M.S. individual study program is administered by the academic adviser, the director of the area to which the students belong, and the vice chair of Graduate Affairs or (2) through completion of an individual study course (Electrical and Computer Engineering 299) under the direction of a faculty member. Students are assigned a topic of individual study by the faculty member. The study culminates with a written report and an oral presentation. The M.S. individual study program is administered by the faculty member directing the course, the director of the area to which the students belong, and the vice chair of Graduate Affairs. Students who fail the examination may be reexamined once with consent of the vice chair of Graduate Affairs.

Electrical Engineering Ph.D.

Areas of Study

Students may pursue specialization across three major areas of study: (1) circuits and embedded systems, (2) physical and wave electronics, and (3) signals and systems. These areas cover a broad spectrum of specializations in, for example, communications and telecommunications, control systems, electromagnetics, embedded computing systems, engineering optimization, integrated circuits and systems, microelectromechanical systems (MEMS), nanotechnology, photonics and optoelectronics, plasma electronics, signal processing, and solid-state electronics.

Course Requirements

The selection of courses for the Ph.D. program is tailored to the professional objectives of the students and must meet the requirements stated below. The courses should be selected and approved in consultation with the faculty adviser. Departures from the stated requirements are considered only in exceptional cases and must be approved by the departmental graduate adviser. Normally, students take additional courses to acquire deeper and broader knowledge in preparation for the dissertation research.

The minimum requirements for the Ph.D. degree are as follows:

  1. Requisite. M.S. degree in Electrical Engineering or a related field granted by UCLA or by an institution recognized by the UCLA Graduate Division
  2. All Ph.D. program requirements should be completed within five academic years from admission into the Ph.D. graduate program in the Henry Samueli School of Engineering and Applied Science
  3. Students must maintain a minimum cumulative grade-point average of 3.5 in the Ph.D. program
  4. Students must complete at least the following requirements: (a) four formal graduate courses selected in consultation with the faculty adviser, (b) Electrical and Computer Engineering 297, (c) one technical communications course such as Electrical and Computer Engineering 295, (d) no 500-level courses, other seminar courses, nor Electrical and Computer Engineering 296 or 375 may be applied toward the course requirements, (e) pass the Ph.D. preliminary examination which is administered by the department and takes place once every year. In case of failure, students may be reexamined only once with consent of the departmental graduate adviser, (f) pass the University Oral Qualifying Examination which is administered by the doctoral committee, (g) complete a Ph.D. dissertation under the direction of the faculty adviser, and (h) defend the Ph.D. dissertation in a public seminar with the doctoral committee
  5. A formal graduate course is defined as any 200-level course, excluding seminar or tutorial courses. Formal graduate courses taken to meet the M.S. degree requirements may not be applied toward the Ph.D. course requirements
  6. At least two of the formal graduate courses must be in electrical and computer engineering
  7. Within two academic years from admission into the Ph.D. program, all courses should be completed and the Ph.D. preliminary examination should be passed. It is strongly recommended that students take the Ph.D. preliminary examination during their first academic year in the program
  8. The University Oral Qualifying Examination must be taken when all required courses are complete, and within one year after passing the Ph.D. preliminary examination
  9. Students admitted originally to the M.S. program in the Electrical and Computer Engineering Department must complete all M.S. program requirements with a grade-point average of at least 3.5 to be considered for admission into the Ph.D. program. Only after admission into the program can students take the Ph.D. preliminary examination
  10. Students must nominate a doctoral committee prior to taking the University Oral Qualifying Examination. A doctoral committee consists of a minimum of four members. Three members, including the chair, are inside members and must hold appointments in the department. The outside member must be a UCLA faculty member in another department. By petition, one of the four members may be a faculty member from another UC campus

Written and Oral Qualifying Examinations

The written qualifying examination is known as the Ph.D. preliminary examination in the department. The purpose of the examination is to assess student competency in the discipline, knowledge of the fundamentals, and potential for independent research. Students admitted originally to the M.S. program in the Electrical and Computer Engineering Department must complete all M.S. program requirements with a grade-point average of at least 3.5 to be considered for admission into the Ph.D. program. Only after admission into the program can students take the Ph.D. preliminary examination, which is held once every year. Students are examined independently by a group of faculty members in their general area of study. The examination by each faculty member typically includes both oral and written components, and students pass the entire Ph.D. preliminary examination and not in parts. Students who fail the examination may repeat it once only with consent of the departmental graduate adviser. The preliminary examination, together with the course requirements for the Ph.D. program, should be completed within two years from admission into the program.

After passing the written qualifying examination described above, students are ready to take the University Oral Qualifying Examination. The nature and content of the examination are at the discretion of the doctoral committee, but ordinarily include a broad inquiry into the preparation for research. The doctoral committee also reviews the prospectus of the dissertation at the oral qualifying examination.

Students must nominate a doctoral committee prior to taking the University Oral Qualifying Examination. A doctoral committee consists of a minimum of four members. Three members, including the chair, are inside members and must hold appointments in the department. The outside member must be a UCLA faculty member in another department. By petition, one of the four members may be a faculty member from another UC campus.