The ECE Department Master’s degrees in Electrical Engineering, Computer Engineering and Photonics can each be completed in two years on average and provide students with opportunities to tailor their studies to their own professional goals.

Overall, the Master of Science degrees require completion of 30 credit hours of work which may include 6 credits of thesis work for the M.S. in Electrical Engineering and M.S. in Computer Engineering degrees. There are core curriculum requirements for graduate students in each M.S. degree program. The purpose of these requirements is to guarantee that all students pursuing graduate studies in the department acquire appropriate breadth of knowledge within their discipline. The remaining credit hours can be used flexibly to build breadth or depth in particular areas of interests.

For M.S. students that select the thesis option, theses must be completed under the guidance of a faculty advisor.

In addition to satisfying the College requirements described in the RCEAS Graduate Student Handbook (PDF), the ECE department requirements for the Master’s degrees offered by the department are described in the following chart:

  M.S./M.Eng/Ph.D. in EE M.S./M.ENG/Ph.D. in CompE M.S. in Photonics

Select 3 of the following:

  • ECE 401- Advanced Computer Architecture
  • ECE 402-Advanced Electromagnetics
  • ECE 420-Advanced Circuits & Systems
  • ECE 451-Physics of Semiconductor Devices
  • ECE 441-Fundamentals of Wireless Communications/ OR ECE 414- Statistical Decision Making and Machine Learning Theory    

3 required courses:

  • ECE 319- Digital System Design / OR ECE 363-Computer Aided Design of Digital Systems
  • ECE 401-Advanced Computer Architecture
  • CSE 303- Operating System Design/ OR CSE 403-Advanced Operating Systems/ OR CSE 340-Design and Analysis of Algorithms/ OR CSE 440-Advanced Algorithms

5 required courses:

  • PHY352-Modern Optics
  • PHY 355/455-Lasers and Nonlinear Optics
  • ECE 451- Physics of Semiconductor Devices
  • ECE 350/450-Optoelectronic Physics & Lightwave
  • MAT 316/416-Optical Properties of Materials
ADDITIONAL None. None.   A minimum of 3 courses must be chosen from approved list of electives. See the ECE Graduate Student Handbook (PDF) for list.

In addition to the core classes listed above, please review additional Electrical and Computer Engineering (ECE) Courses offered and also Computer Science and Engineering (CSE) Courses offered. 


Electrical and Computer Engineering Ph.D. Requirements

The ECE Department offers the Ph.D. degrees in Electrical Engineering and in Computer Engineering. Students typically take three or more years to complete their doctoral studies.

Doctoral students whose graduate study is carried out entirely at Lehigh University must register for a minimum of 72 credits beyond the Bachelor’s degree. Students who have earned a Master’s degree at another institution must register for a minimum of 48 credits.  Once the student has been admitted to candidacy AND either met their credit minimum for the Ph.D. degree (72 or 48, depending whether they come in with an MS degree or not) or be wtihin 2 credits, the student is only required to be registered for one (1) credit Maintenance of Candidacy from that point on until they complete their program.

Besides meeting the college requirements specified in the College Graduate Student Handbook, the ECE Department has the following curriculum requirements:

  • All PhD students are required to serve as a half or full TA for a minimum of one semester during their PhD studies.

In addition to coursework, the steps required to complete the Ph.D. program are the following:

EE Program Requirements


Step 1: Complete Qualifying Exam

Within two years of entrance into the program, a student must complete a qualifying exam. The department offers different qualifying exams for the different areas of study. The student and his or her advisor may select the appropriate qualifying exam.

Step 2: Apply for Candidacy & Form Doctoral Committee

Once a Ph.D. student has passed their Qualifier Exam they may begin preparing to Apply for Candidacy. An information packet on the application process is provided from the Manager of Graduate Programs in the Engineering College. A prospective candidate must submit a written program proposal to their Doctoral Committee (guidelines on the formation and membership of this committee can be found in the College Handbook) that includes a discussion of proposed dissertation research. The student is a Ph.D. candidate once the Committee and the Manager of Graduate Programs of the P.C. Rossin College of Engineering and Applied Science approve the proposal.

Step 3: Take General Exam

The next step Ph.D. candidates must complete is passing a General Examination. Guidelines for the General Exam can be found in the P.C. Rossin College of Engineering and Applied Sciences Graduate Student Handbook (PDF)

Step 4: Write Dissertation and Defend Thesis

The dissertation work is regarded as an essential ingredient in this program and is conducted independently by the student under the guidance of a faculty advisor(s) and a doctoral committee. The student must defend the research work in the dissertation in a public presentation before the doctoral committee. Upon approval from the committee, the student must submit the dissertation and necessary paperwork as indicated in the P.C. Rossin College of Engineering and Applied Sciences Graduate Student Handbook (PDF)

Step 5: Graduate with Ph.D.

Ph.D. degrees are awarded in September, January and May of each academic year. For more, see the Graduation section of the P.C. Rossin College of Engineering and Applied Sciences Graduate Student Handbook (PDF)