Our department offers several master's degrees and subplans. This guide will help you determine which one is right for you. 

 Our Master's Options
​ Degree Costs
​ Funding Considerations for MS and PMP
​ Switching Between Degrees
​ Comparing Degrees and Subplans

Our Master's Options

A traditional master’s degree generally includes research and is often a bridge to a PhD. In our program, this is an MS degree. The admission process for a traditional master’s degree is competitive and typically evaluates applicants on their potential to do research, and possibly continue on to a PhD. A thesis is optional for students in this program.

Our traditional master's programs have courses that are held during normal business hours. This may make it difficult to complete as an on-campus program for applicants who wish to work full-time while completing their degree.

Our traditional Master of Science degree (MS) includes six research areas from which to express general interest but, if admitted, students are able to take classes among all our research areas (with the exception of restricted Embedded Systems Engineering courses) to best learn the varied knowledge they want for their future career path. 

Our applications for the next academic year open in mid-July; applications for Spring semesters close on September 1 annually, applications for Fall semesters close on February 15 annually.   

A professional master’s degree usually leads directly to work in industry. In our program, this includes MSEE and ME degrees. The goal of the professional master’s degree is to prepare students to be highly competitive in the professional job market. The target audience is the soon-to-be or current working professionals who want to further their education, obtain cutting-edge knowledge; further advance their communication, collaboration, presentation, organizational and networking skills; and apply what they learn and the graduate certificates and degrees they earn  to advance their career. The professional master’s degree admission process evaluates applicants primarily on their potential to complete a challenging degree, and not on their potential to do research or complete a PhD. There is no thesis option for these students.

Our professional master’s degrees are offered primarily under the Professional Master of Science degree (MSEE), but alternatively under the Master of Engineering degree. In either case, professional master's students may pursue one of four subplans.

The MS-EE on Coursera offers stackable graduate-level courses, graduate certificates and a fully accredited master’s degree in electrical engineering. The admission is performance-based, which means you don’t need exam scores, recommendations or transcripts. Earn your graduate degree and/or certificate by completing a series of for-credit courses in a “Pathway Specialization” and pass with a cumulative GPA of 3.0 or better and not less than 2.0 in any individual course. This “B” average qualifies you to be admitted into the degree program. Students earn the same credentials as our on-campus students.

Please contact ecegrad@colorado.edu if you would like to discuss your ability to work outside the university while completing a master's degree so we can help you to determine the best fit for your situation.

If you're a current undergraduate student in ECEE, the Bachelor’s / Accelerated Master’s (BAM) program offers you the opportunity to receive a bachelor’s and master’s degree in a shorter period of time.

Degree Costs

The traditional MS degrees, Professional MS and MS-EE on Coursera degrees have different billing structures you should review before applying:

Tuition is less expensive for PMP students who are out-of-state residents and visa students. PMP tuition is more expensive for in-state residents.

Funding Considerations for Traditional MS and PMP

You will automatically be considered for potential aid; there is no extra paperwork to fill out to be considered. However, it is rare that we are able to provide scholarships, funding or assistantships to our master’s students from the department. Nearly all research assistantships (RA) go to fully fund our PhD students, and we do not use teaching assistantships (TA). Additionally, Professional Master’s students are not eligible to hold a graduate appointment like a TA or an RA but may hold hourly student appointments.

ECEE hires Learning Assistants (LAs, undergraduates) and Graduate Learning Assistants (GLAs, graduate students) to assist with the majority of classroom support.

  • GLAs are graduate students who can work 20 hours per week during fall and spring terms without any tuition waiver. Please note some department roles limit GLAs to 10 hours per week. 

  • GLAs are available for responsibilities such as additional office hour coverage, holding course workshops and homework review sessions for our on-campus courses. For the MS-EE on Coursera program, GLAs help solve student issues, answer student questions and beta-test Coursera courses. All ECEE graduate-level students are eligible to apply for this role, though this does not guarantee being hired. 

Our Graduate School has additional funding information that may be helpful to you in determining how to fund your degree. You can explore on-campus employment opportunities.

Switching Between Traditional MS and PMP

You may apply to switch your master’s degree program (traditional MS to PMP or vice-versa) once during your tenure as a student. This means you must complete one semester in your program of entry with a GPA of 3.0 or higher and have permission from your advisor and the advisor of the program you wish to switch into (faculty advisors are assigned only two or three weeks prior to semester start). You may not switch during the term you plan to graduate--nor during, nor too close to the start of the semester you wish to start the new subplan. Your last term officially begins after census date of the prior term.

Compare Degrees and Subplans

If you are interested in a particular field or specialization within electrical and computer engineering, please check out the grid below to see what degrees are available to you. 

 

Traditional MS with Thesis

Traditional MS No Thesis

ME

Professional MS

MS-EE Coursera

Computer Engineering

Yes

Yes

Yes

No

No

Electromagnetics/RF

Yes

Yes

Yes

No

No

Embedded Systems Engineering (ESE)

No

No

Yes

Yes

Yes

Materials & Devices

Yes

Yes

Yes

No

No

Next Generation Power & Energy Systems

No

No

Yes

Yes

No

Optics & Photonics

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes (photonics only)

Yes

Power Electronics & Renewable Energy

Yes

Yes

No

No

No

Power Electronics

No

No

Yes

Yes

Yes

Quantum Engineering

Yes

Yes

Yes

No

Yes

Remote Sensing

Yes

Yes

Yes

No

No

Learning, Information, Network, Communication and Data (LINCD) Sciences

Yes

Yes

Yes

No

No

Systems & Controls

Yes

Yes

Yes

No

No