The department offers two Master of Science degree plans. Both require a total of 30 credit hours.

  • Plan I consists of 24-26 credit hours of coursework, plus four to six hours of master's thesis credit.
  • Plan II does not include a thesis (a thesis is optional for an MS degree).

Table of Contents


Plan I Degree Requirements

Coursework Requirements

Minimum 30 credit hours required; you must maintain a cumulative GPA of 3.0

18 credit hours of ECEN 5000-level or above courses are required, including:

  • 4-6 credit hours of Master’s Thesis.
  • The total number of combined hours of independent study and thesis research shall not exceed 9 hours
  • The remaining 12-14 credit hours can be ECEN courses or technical courses in science, mathematics or engineering. All of these should be at the 5000-level or above.
    • You are not restricted by the subplan selected when applying. You can take any variety of ECEN courses that meet your needs with the exception of restricted Embedded Systems Engineering courses.
    • A maximum of 6 of these credit hours may be at the 4000-level unless the course is ECEN, CYBR/TLEN, ATLS, or EMEN.
    • Additionally, these 12 credits can include:
      • a single EMEN course, or
      • a single, non-technical TLEN course (but never TLEN 5300 nor TLEN 5310).
      • a maximum of two technical TLEN/CYBR courses are permitted.
      • One three-credit ECEN Professional Internship Course.

If you are unsure if your course meets technical requirements, contact your academic advisor.

Generally, a ‘technical’ courses is one with technical undergraduate or graduate pre-reqs, and is not policy focused, but is math/engineering problem-solving focused.

Thesis

The master's thesis will be written under the supervision of a graduate faculty advisor in the department, and must conform to the format specifications as set forth by the Graduate School. A thesis is not required, and students are responsiblef or identifying a faculty member they would like to complete a thesis with and receiving approval to being a project.

Thesis Defense

The final examination for a student enrolled under Plan I is the defense of the student's thesis before their self-selected Final Examination Committee.

The student should work with their faculty research advisor, graduate program advisor and follow all Graduate School deadlines to select their committee, meet all deadlines and schedule their defense.

Students must be registered as full-time students during the semester of the final examination.


Plan II Degree Requirements

Course Requirements

  • 18 credit hours of ECEN 5000-level or above courses are required. You are not restricted by the subplan selected when applying. You can take any variety of ECEN courses that meet your needs with the exception of restricted Embedded Systems Engineering courses.

  • A maximum of 6 credit hours of independent study can be used toward the 30 credit hour requirement.

  • The remaining 12 credit hours can be ECEN courses or technical courses in science, mathematics or engineering. All of these should be at the 5000-level or above.

    • A maximum of 6 of these credit hours may be at the 4000-level unless the course is ECEN, CYBR/TLEN, ATLS, or EMEN. Additionally, these 12 credits can include:

      • a single EMEN course, or

      • a single, non-technical TLEN course (but never TLEN 5300 nor TLEN 5310).

      • a maximum of two technical TLEN/CYBR courses are permitted.

      • One three-credit ECEN Professional Internship Course.

If you are unsure if your course meets technical requirements, contact your advisor.

Generally, a ‘technical’ course is one with technical undergraduate or graduate pre-reqs, and is not policy focused, but is math/engineering problem-solving focused.

Validated Completion of Required Coursework

In the final semester of the program, students in Plan II must submit their approved and signed Candidacy Application by the Graduate School's deadline. Contact your Graduate Program Advisor to do this.


General Requirements

Academic Advisor

A faculty advisor will be appointed for each student during the first semester of the program (early January, for those starting in spring; late July, for those starting in fall). The faculty advisor is assigned on the basis of the student's specialty interests as noted in their application and may be changed upon request by the student and with the approval of the graduate program advisors. The faculty advisor is not necessarily the thesis advisor.

Quality of Work

Students must maintain a cumulative GPA of 3.0 on all coursework. Even courses that do not count toward the degree are calculated into the student’s GPA. A student cannot be admitted to candidacy or graduate with a cumulative GPA below 3.0.

Course Offerings

Visit the ECEE Course Catalog to view courses by semester. Graduate-level coursework is numbered 5000 and above.

The department also maintains a course offering plan for future semesters. Scroll to the far right to see recommended courses for each research area that will provide the baseline knowledge needed. Traditional MS students are not limited to the research area selected while applying, and are able to take any variety of ECEN courses to fulfill their degree requirements as listed above. Please note that Embedded Systems Engineering (ESE) courses are restricted to students within that program. 

Transfer Credit

A maximum of nine semester hours of acceptable, non-degreed coursework with a grade of “B” or higher may be transferred from another accredited institution after the completion of one semester within the program and with the approval of the department and your graduate advisor. Work completed at CU as a special student or at another CU campus falls under the nine-hour rule.

Only the credit hours will transfer — the course grade will not count toward your GPA.

Quarter system credits will transfer as .67 credit hours per 1 quarter credit hour. The registrar will not round up; if you are short any partial credit, you must take an additional credit/course.

Application for Candidacy

Admission to the Graduate School is not equivalent to approval of candidacy for an advanced degree. A Candidacy Application for Advanced Degree is required to be approved by the Graduate School's deadline in order for a student to graduate.

Time Limit

All work, including the thesis for Plan I, must be completed within four years.

Switching to Traditional MS or PMP

You may switch your master’s-level 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 current advisor and the advisor of the program you wish to switch into. You may not switch during the term you plan to graduate. Your last term officially begins after census date of the prior term. Program advisors will send out the form for this procedure near the end of each semester.

Learn About Moving from MS to PhD

Residence Requirement

In general, the residence requirement may be met only by residence at this university for at least two regular semesters or three, 10-week summer terms.

For full residence, a student must be registered within the time designated at the beginning of the semester and must carry the equivalent of:

  • not fewer than 5 semester hours of work in courses numbered 5000 or above
  • at least 8 semester hours of combined graduate and undergraduate coursework
  • any number of thesis hours
  • or registration as Masters Candidate for Degree (ECEN 6940).

The average time required for a student to complete the requirements for the MS degree is two calendar years. However, a student who is deficient in general training cannot expect to obtain a degree in two years. The maximum time allowed to complete the degree is four years.

Leave of Absence & Withdrawals

MS students may participate in the Leave of Absence Program. Any semester(s) on leave are included in the time limit to complete the degree. Students who are not on leave and do not register during a given fall or spring semester will be automatically withdrawn from the university and must fill out an application for re-admission in order to return. This also applies to degree-seeking distance learning students. Students who withdraw from school permanently must do so formally with the Admissions Office. Please visit the Office of the Registrar for specific procedures and details.