The Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering offers the following graduate degree programs:
- Master of Science in Electrical and Computer Engineering (MSECE)
- Master of Science in Electrical and Computer Engineering Leadership (MSECEL) *
- Doctor of Philosophy in Computer Engineering (PhD)
- Doctor of Philosophy in Electrical Engineering (PhD)
- Interdisciplinary Master of Science in Data Science and Master of Science in Robotics are also available.
All degrees can be pursued on either a full- or part-time basis consistent with the respective residence requirements for the degrees. The ECE curriculum includes areas of concentration in the following fields:
- Communications, Control, and Signal Processing (CCSP)
This concentration focuses on development of deterministic and stochastic methodologies and algorithms for modeling, analysis, and design of communications, control, and signal processing applications. The main areas of research strength in this concentration include communications, signal processing and robotics techniques for underwater deployment and related applications; wireless communication, coding, and information theory; biomedical signal processing, statistical and adaptive signal processing, brain-computer interface, pattern recognition and machine learning; robust, adaptive, and distributed control; image and video processing, mobile and assistive robotics; detection, estimation and object tracking, and data visualization. Students in this concentration are trained for careers in wireless and mobile communications industry, applications of modern signal and image processing techniques to communications, control, imaging, radar, and sonar and design and analysis of robust and adaptive control systems.
- Computer Systems and Software (CSYS)
The Computer Systems and Software concentration prepares students for careers in a wide range of areas including microprocessor design and verification, embedded hardware and software development, performance analysis and modeling, advanced computer system design and operating system design. Coursework includes computer architecture, simulation and performance evaluation, VLSI design, fault tolerant computing, operating systems and embedded design. Students will learn the proper design and implementation of both hardware and software systems, including microprocessors and graphics processors, high performance computing, computer-aided design tools, CMOS design rules, synthesis, compilers, computer arithmetic, resilient computation, advanced logic design, operating systems, power/performance analysis, hardware/software co-design.
- Computer Networks and Security (CNWS)
The Computer Networks and Security concentration prepares students for careers in a wide range of areas including wired/wireless network analysis and protocol design, sensor network design, and software and hardware security. Coursework includes network fundamentals, wireless communications, mobile and wireless networks, computer hardware security and computer software security. Students will learn the proper design and evaluation of wired/wireless networks, TCP/IP, Internet and OSI models, popular Internet applications (HTTP, SMPT, etc.), defensive and offensive approaches to cybersecurity, malware/attack analysis and remediation, side-channel leakage, and hardware/software hardening.
- Computer Vision, Machine Learning, and Algorithms (CVLA)
The Computer Vision, Machine Learning, and Algorithms concentration prepares students for careers in a wide range of areas including vision systems, big data analytics and mining, vision/image processing, visualization systems and software, and general algorithmic approaches to problem solving. Coursework includes computer vision, algorithmic approaches, machine learning, pattern recognition, big data analytics and visualization. Students will study image motion and tracking; algorithmic foundations of robotics; applications of parallel and high performance algorithms; the human visual system and visual cognition; localization, mapping and navigation; and clustering and regression analysis.
- Electromagnetics, Plasma, and Optics (ELPO)
This area is concerned with the theory and applications associated with the launching, propagation, confinement, and control of electromagnetic, acoustic, and optical wave fields, and the study and applications of the interaction of such waves with matter. This concentration prepares students for careers in RF and microwave engineering, antenna engineering, radar, sonar, wavefield imaging, remote sensing, optics, photonics, acoustics, magnetics, sensors, and their applications in biomedical electronics, optical fiber and wireless communications, geophysical exploration, radioastronomy, and nanotechnology which rely on the analysis, design, and utilization of wave-based systems and components. Students specializing in this area take courses covering theory and applications of electromagnetics, acoustics, optics, magnetism, modern imaging, photonic devices, biomedical optics, and microwave circuit design.
- Microsystems, Materials, and Devices (MSMD)
Students in the Microsystems, Materials, and Devices concentration will learn fundamental theories, design approaches, fabrication methods, and measurement techniques for applications in high performance and miniaturized sensing platforms, wireless devices, biochips, energy harvesting devices, bio sensors, and a variety of other emerging products with electronic components. Students interested in careers in the industry can use standard simulation software tools and equipment. They can also participate in research focused on magnetic, ferroelectric and magnetoelectric materials; design and fabrication of micro/nano electromechanical systems (MEMS/NEMS) devices; design of analog, radio frequency, digital and mixed-signal integrated circuits; and low-power very-large-scale integration (VLSI).
- Power Systems, Power Electronics, and Motion Control (POWR)
This concentration covers areas related to secure and efficient operation of electric transmission and distribution systems as well as design, modeling, and control of power converters and renewable energy systems. Coursework includes power system analysis, unbalanced operation, power electronics, sustainable energy, electric drives, advanced power electronics, and electric machines. Students will learn how to model and analyze large scale power grids during normal operation and under faults, they will also learn about the principles of the operation of dc-dc converters, inverters, rectifiers, and ac-ac converters, as well as modulation techniques used in power electronics.
The master's degree in ECE (MSECE) can be pursued in one of the two tracks: the thesis track or the course-only track. Students in both tracks most commonly complete the degree in three or four semesters.
MS: Course-Only Track
The course-only track is designed to increase the student's broad technical foundation while providing in-depth training in a focused area. Graduates of this program are ideally suited for electrical and computer engineering careers requiring a high level of technical competency.
MS: Thesis Track
The ECE master's degree thesis track is designed for students who--in addition to gaining in-depth knowledge in their chosen areas of concentration--wish to obtain research experience and contribute to the advancement of cutting-edge technologies.
For admission requirements, funding opportunities, policies & procedures, please refer to the College of Engineering section of the Graduate Catalog.
For a detailed overview of programs and degree requirements, please see the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering section of the Graduate Catalog.
Northeastern is nationally known for its unrivaled co-op program, which places students with work opportunities in their fields. For more information on pursuing these opportunities during your ECE master's degree, visit the Internships & Co-op page.
Northeastern ECE offers competitive doctoral degree programs in both electrical engineering and computer engineering. Both the PhD in EE and CE are completely research-based with flexible, minimal course requirements.
PhD applicants must select an EE or CE concentration at the time of application, which are available in the following fields:
- Computer Engineering
- Communications, Control, and Signal Processing
- Electromagnetics, Plasma, and Optics
- Microsystems, Materials, and Devices
- Power Engineering
For admission requirements, funding opportunities, policies & procedures, please refer to the College of Engineering section of the Graduate Catalog .
For a detailed overview of programs, degree requirements and stages of the ECE PhD degree, please see the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering section of the Graduate Catalog .
During the course of their degrees, many high-achieving students seek research-related work and internship experiences to augment their studies. Boston--an international hub of high-tech and biomedical industries--affords students the opportunity to do internships locally while pursuing their degrees. Our faculty are deeply connected with researchers, funding agencies, and collaborators across the country and are frequently instrumental in placing their students in synergistic learning environments outside their own labs.
Internships of varying lengths can be informally arranged throughout the year, while Northeastern ECE's co-op program formally places students in six-month paid work assignments. Co-ops further augment the Northeastern PhD experience and-- according to our current and former students --give them a major jump start on their careers.
ECE has several fellowships available for outstanding PhD students and we award over 10 of these each year to admitted students. These include Distinguished Dean's Fellowships, Dean's Fellowships, and Chair's Fellowships. The Dean's Fellowships are awarded to incoming students to immediately join a faculty member's research group (the student and faculty member will have been been in communication during the application process), while Chair's Fellowships are awarded to students who have not yet identified an advisor, with the requirement that they join a faculty member's research group by the end of the first academic year.
Many of our students take advantage of these work opportunities while completing their graduate degrees. ECE students consistently report that their experiences were invaluable components of graduate school!