Requirements

The graduate program in Computer Engineering (CE) accepts students for both the MS and the PhD degrees. Graduate students in this program establish a solid foundation in computer algorithms and architectures and then proceed to a thorough study of recent developments in their selected area of specialization.

Base Requirement (for both MS and PhD)

In their first year, CE graduate students (both MS and PhD) must show proficiency in areas of the base requirements either by:

  1. passing one of the undergraduate courses listed, or
  2. having passed an equivalent course elsewhere, or
  3. by passing the final exam (or project when deemed appropriate by the faculty responsible) of an associated course when it is regularly offered.
Subject Course(s) Faculty
Required courses:
Data Structures CS101 or CS102 or CE177 Tantalo
Computer Architecture CE110 Litz, Miller, Renau
Pick one additional course from the following:
Logic Design CE100/L Schlag
Circuits CE121/L or EE101 Varma (121/L) or AbrahamssonKang, Mantey (101)
Software Systems CS104 or CS111 or CS115 Mackey (104) or Miller (111) or Jullig (115)

Fulfilling the CE base requirement is a degree requirement for the MS and PhD degree. Each student should download the CE Graduate Base Requirement Worksheet and complete it by obtaining the necessary signatures from the faculty listed above for each subject area. The form must be submitted no later than the start of Spring quarter of the first year so that it will be available for the annual review of progress. Enrollment in Spring quarter courses which will be used to fulfill the CE base requirement should be indicated on the form.

Letter Grade Policy (for both MS and PhD)

Effective for New Students Entering Fall 2018 and Forward:
The Computer Engineering Department requires letter grading for all courses applied toward the MS and PhD degrees with an exception for up to 10 credits of the student’s choice and the following courses: Research and Training in Computer Science and Engineering (CMPE 200), Master's Project (CMPE 296), Independent Study or Research (CMPE 297), Thesis Research (CMPE 299), and seminar courses (CMPE 280 series). This policy includes courses used for these degrees that are sponsored by other departments. To ensure they will receive a letter grade, students should check that they have selected the letter grade option no later than the 15th day of instruction each quarter for each class in which they are enrolled.

Requirements for the Master's Degree Thesis Track

Course Requirements

Each MS student is required to complete a total of at least 48 credits. The coursework must include:

  1. Completion of base requirement as described above.

  2. Core requirements:

    • Computer Engineering 200, Research and Teaching in Computer Science and Engineering (to be taken in fall quarter of the first year)
    • Computer Science 201, Analysis of Algorithms
    • Computer Engineering 202, Computer Architecture

  3. Research credits: Up to 10 credits of Computer Engineering 297, Independent Study or Research; or Computer Engineering 299, Thesis Research

  4. Up to 10 credits of either graduate courses (not seminars) in related disciplines outside the School of Engineering (requires adviser and computer engineering graduate director approval) or upper-division undergraduate courses when necessary to strengthen the student's preparation for graduate studies (requires adviser approval).

  5. All remaining courses must be regular 5-credit graduate courses from within the School of Engineering (with adviser and grad director approval); courses that do not count include all courses numbered 200, 280, 296, 297, and 299.

At least half of the credits from the graduate-level courses must be computer engineering graduate courses.

Thesis

Completion of a Master's thesis is required for award of the Master's degree. To fulfill this requirement, the student must submit a written proposal to a faculty member, usually by the third academic quarter. By accepting the proposal, the faculty member becomes the thesis adviser for the proposed thesis. In consultation with the adviser, the student must form a Master's Thesis Reading Committee with at least two additional faculty members, each of whom is provided a copy of the proposal. It is recommended that the student give an expository talk on the thesis research. The approved reading committee must accept the final thesis before the Master of Science degree can be awarded.

Requirements for the Master's Degree Project Track

Course Requirements

Each student is required to complete a total of at least 48 credits. The coursework must include:

  1. Completion of base requirement as describe above.
  2. Core requirements:

    • Computer Engineering 200, Research and Teaching in Computer Science and Engineering (to be taken in fall quarter of the first year)
    • Computer Science 201, Analysis of Algorithms
    • Computer Engineering 202, Computer Architecture
  3. Up to 10 credits of either graduate courses (not seminars) in related disciplines outside the School of Engineering (requires adviser and computer engineering graduate director approval) or upper-division undergraduate courses when necessary to strengthen the student's preparation for graduate studies (requires adviser approval).

  4. All remaining courses must be regular, 5-credit graduate courses from within the School of Engineering (with adviser's and grad director's approval); courses that do not count include all courses numbered 200, 280, 296, 297, and 299.

At least half of the credits from the graduate-level courses must be computer engineering graduate courses.

Project

Completion of a Master's project is required to satisfy the Master’s degree capstone requirement. The Master’s project is the culmination of the student's academic experience and builds upon the knowledge acquired during the program. In consultation with the adviser, the student forms a Master's Project Reading Committee of at least two faculty members, each of whom is provided a copy of the project report. The final project must be accepted by the review committee before the award of the Master of Science degree.

Requirements for the PhD Degree

Course Requirements

A PhD student is required to take a total of 58 credits of graduate courses, which must consist of:

  1. Completion of base requirement as describe above

  2. Core requirements:

    • Computer Engineering 200, Research and Teaching in Computer Science and Engineering (to be taken in fall quarter of the first year)
    • Computer Science 201, Analysis of Algorithms
    • Computer Engineering 202, Computer Architecture

  3. Research credits: Up to 10 credits of Computer Engineering 297, Independent Study or Research; or Computer Engineering 299, Thesis Research

  4. Up to 10 credits of graduate courses (not seminars) in related disciplines outside the School of Engineering (requires adviser and computer engineering graduate director approval).

  5. All remaining credits must be regular, 5-credit graduate courses from within the School of Engineering (with adviser and computer engineering graduate director approval); credits that do not count include all courses numbered 200, 280, 296, 297, and 299. At least 20 credits of these remaining courses must be Computer Engineering courses.

Course selection should form a coherent plan of study and requires adviser approval. Undergraduate courses may not be used to satisfy PhD course requirements.

PhD students who have satisfied the requirements for the Master's degree are eligible to receive a Master's degree.

Internships

Where appropriate, research internships with companies, research organizations, or government labs are recognized as an integral part of the research leading to the PhD dissertation. At the adviser's discretion, internships in an appropriate company, research organization, or government lab may be required for individual students.

Examinations and Dissertation

To continue in the PhD program, students must pass a preliminary examination in their chosen research area by the end of their third year. Preliminary examinations are held during the first three weeks of each spring quarter; students must petition the computer engineering graduate committee for an examination in their chosen area two weeks before the end of winter quarter.

Examination committees consist of four faculty members, two chosen by the student and two by the computer engineering graduate director. The format of this oral examination is up to the examination committee; the examination will typically evaluate both general knowledge of the chosen area and specific understanding of selected technical papers. The preliminary examination requirement is waived for students who advance to candidacy by the end of their third year.

Each student must write a PhD dissertation. The dissertation must show the results of in-depth research, by an original contribution of significant knowledge, and include material worthy of publication. As the first step, a student must submit a written dissertation proposal to a School of Engineering faculty member. By accepting the proposal, the faculty member becomes the student's dissertation supervisor. The student may choose a faculty member outside the Computer Science and Engineering Department but within the School of Engineering as adviser only with approval from the computer engineering graduate director. The dissertation proposal is publicly and formally presented in an oral qualifying examination given by a Qualifying Exam Committee, approved by the computer engineering graduate director and the graduate council. The student must submit his or her written dissertation proposal to all members of the qualifying examination committee and the graduate adviser at least one month in advance of the examination.

Students are advanced to candidacy after they have completed the course requirements, passed both the preliminary and qualifying examinations (or just the qualifying examination if passed prior to the end of the student's third year in the program), cleared all Incomplete grades from their records, have an appointed Dissertation Reading Committee, and paid the filing fee. Students who have not advanced to candidacy by the end of their fourth year will be placed on academic probation.

Each Ph.D. candidate must submit the completed dissertation to a reading committee at least one month prior to the dissertation defense. The appointment of the dissertation reading committee is made immediately after the qualifying examination and is necessary for advancing to candidacy. The candidate must present his or her research results in a public seminar sponsored by the dissertation supervisor. The seminar is followed by a defense of the dissertation to the reading committee and attending faculty who will then decide whether the dissertation is acceptable or requires revision. Successful completion of the dissertation fulfills the final academic requirement for the PhD degree.

Transfer Credit

Up to 3 School of Engineering courses fulfilling the degree requirements of either the MS or PhD degrees may be taken before beginning the graduate program through the concurrent enrollment program.

MS students who have previously successfully completed graduate-level classes in a related field at another institution may substitute courses from their previous institution with the approval of the graduate director. The number of courses that can be substituted is limited so that, in all cases, students must complete a minimum of four graduate-level classes during their matriculation at UCSC. These classes must be School of Engineering graduate-level courses and must be approved by the student's advisor and the computer engineering graduate director.

Petitions for course substitutions should be submitted along with the transcript from the other institution or UCSC extension. For courses taken at other institutions copies of the syllabi, exams, and other coursework should accompany the petition. Such petitions are not considered until the completion of at least one quarter at UCSC.

Ph.D. students who have previously earned a Master's degree or have successfully completed graduate-level classes as regular students in a graduate program in a related field at another institution may apply for a modified program of course requirements taking into account their previous coursework. Such a modified program should specify the coursework that will be completed at UCSC, which must include no fewer than four graduate-level courses and must be approved by the student's adviser and the computer engineering graduate director. These four courses must be taken while in the graduate program at UCSC.

Application for a modified program of course requirements must be made within the first year of graduate study at UCSC, and will be reviewed by the graduate director and a committee of three faculty members approved by the graduate director. Copies of the syllabi, exams, other relevant coursework, and the relevant transcript from the other institution, must accompany the application. Interviews with the committee members may be required to properly assess the coursework. The petition for a modified PhD course study can be downloaded here.

Acceptance of prior work for course transfer and modified programs of study is at the discretion of the department.

Review of Progress

Each year, computer science and engineering faculty reviews the progress of every student in the graduate program. Students not making adequate progress towards completion of degree requirements (see the Graduate Handbook for policy on satisfactory academic progress) are subject to dismissal from the program. Students with academic deficiencies may be required to take additional courses. Full-time students with no academic deficiencies are normally expected to complete the degree requirements at the rate of at least two courses per quarter. Full-time students must complete Computer Science 201 and Computer Engineering 202 within two years and normally must complete all course requirements within two years for the MS and three years for the PhD program.

Students receiving two or more grades of U (Unsatisfactory) or below B in School of Engineering courses are not making adequate progress and will be placed on academic probation for the following three quarters of registered enrollment. Withdrawing or taking a leave of absence does not count as enrollment. Part-time enrollment is counted as a half of a quarter of enrollment.

Should any computer engineering graduate student fail a School of Engineering course while on probation, the Computer Science and Engineering Department may request the graduate dean to dismiss that student from the graduate program. If, after being removed from probation, the student again fails a School of Engineering course, he or she will return immediately to academic probation.

Graduate students experiencing circumstances or difficulties that impact their academic performance should contact their adviser and the graduate director immediately. Students may appeal their dismissal.

For graduate admissions information and applications, please direct e-mail inquiries to bsoe-ga@rt.ucsc.edu.