Washington State University Tri-Cities

Electrical Engineering

Graduate Degree Program

Earn your Master of Science Degree in Electrical Engineering at WSU Tri‑Cities

There are three program options: exam, project and thesis. All require a minimum of 30 semester credits.

In the exam option 28 credits of coursework are followed by a comprehensive exam in a chosen focus area (2 credits). In the project option 26 credits of coursework are combined with a 4 credit project that is defended before a faculty committee.

In the thesis option 21 credits of coursework and 9 credits of research culminate in a thesis that is both defended and submitted for peer-reviewed publication.

Thesis Option

Under the thesis option, the student is expected to complete a significant research project and submit a thesis, which adheres to EECS standards and the formatting requirements of the advisory committee and the Graduate School.

The program must consist of 30 or more hours of credit including 21 or more hours of course work for which a grade of A-F is given and 9 or more credits of thesis research (EE 700).

In order to ensure that each student obtains a reasonable graduate-level understanding of a number of fundamental areas, each MS EE student must successfully complete at least three of the following courses:

  • EE 501 Linear Systems Theory
  • EE 503 Structure, Dynamics and Control of Large-Scale Networks OR EE 555 Computer Communication Networks
  • EE 507 Rando Processes in Engineering
  • EE 518 Advanced Electromagnetic Theory
  • EE 521 Power Systems Analysis
  • EE 524 Digital Systems Architecture
  • EE 596 Advanced Analog Integrated Circuits
  • CptS 516 Algorithmics

Note: Only one course from EE 503 and EE 555 can be counted as one of the three required core courses.

Non-Thesis Project Option

The project option shall consist of at least 27 graded credits and 6 credits of EE 702. Of the 27 credits of course work, at least 15 must be in electrical engineering and must satisfy the program requirements as stated in Section 2.1.4. Specific course requirements are the same as for other EE non-thesis programs. Students are required to complete a project and submit a report on the project that is satisfactory to the advisory committee. The project should represent work equivalent to two 3-credit hour graduate courses and the quality equivalent to a grade of “B” or better.

Non-Thesis Examination by Area

1) Computer Engineering: Of the 28 credits of course work, at least 9 credits must be from the following courses:

  • EE 530 Digital Signal Processing
  • EE 586 VLSI Systems Design
  • EE 524/CptS 561 Advanced Computer Architecture
  • CptS/EE 555 Computer Communication Networks or EE 503 Structure, Dynamics and Control of Large-Scale Networks
  • CptS 560 Operating Systems
  • EE 587 System on Chip Design and Test

Students who enroll in the non-thesis (course work only) Master’s degree in Electrical Engineering (see Section 2.2.2 for the requirements for a non-thesis MS degree in Computer Engineering) will be required to pass a final, comprehensive exam of their graduate program.

Three faculty members, of whom two will be in the computer and electrical engineering area and the third will be from the general faculty of the School of EECS, will administer this exam.

The examination committee will select material to evaluate the candidate. The evaluation will consist of a written exam on the subjects within the computer engineering field. The candidate will be given specific, written instructions on each of these components of the exam.

2) Electrophysics: The electrophysics area comprehensive MS exam will be an oral exam with the format and passing requirement determined by the student&rsqo;s committee. The student will be expected to make an oral presentation of material selected by the committee.

3) Energy and Power: The power systems area comprehensive MS exam will be an oral exam with the format and passing requirement determined by the student&rsqo;s committee. The student will be expected to make an oral presentation of material selected by the committee.

4) Microelectronics: Students choosing Microelectronics as their major area in their non-thesis Master program are required to take and pass EE 596 and EE 571. A pass is considered to be a grade of B or better.

There will be a two-part comprehensive evaluation near the end of the semester in which the student will complete the required number of credits for the degree. The examining committee will first select one research paper from which the student will have 2 weeks to provide a 4 page double-spaced paper summarizing and interpreting the research in the paper. After the student has submitted this written report to the committee, there will be an oral exam scheduled where the student will discuss the paper in a 20-30 minute presentation. After this time, the committee will have an oral question and answer period to assess the student&rsqo;s knowledge of the fundamentals and analytical abilities.

5) Systems: The systems area comprehensive MS exam will be identical to the systems PhD qualifying exam, with the following exceptions: (1) there will be no breadth category and (2) the passing threshold will be 60%. The exam committee reserves the option to reset the passing threshold, depending on the difficulty of a particular exam. Students who fail the systems area comprehensive MS exam on the first try will be allowed to retake the exam the next time it is offered. Students who fail the exam on their second attempt will not be allowed to take the systems area exam again.