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Henry M. Rowan College of Engineering – Electrical & Computer Engineering


Graduate Studies in Electrical & Computer Engineering

Why go to graduate school?

Among many reasons why students pursue graduate study, here are some of the most common:

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ECE Graduate Programs

Rowan ECE offers two graduate programs, a new Ph.D. in Engineering with specialization in Electrical and Computer Engineering, and a MS in Electrical and Computer Engineering, which consists of research track (with thesis) and professional track (courses only).

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Ph.D. in Engineering / Electrical and Computer Engineering

Electrical and Computer Engineering Department is now offering a Ph.D. in Engineering program with specialization in Electrical and Computer Engineering that consists of a unique and innovative curricular structure. Rowan’s Ph.D. Program is a terminal degree program that is specifically designed to meet the changing needs of researchers, scholars and scientists in academia, industry, and the government. The primary goal of this program is therefore to prepare students for careers in research and/or academics by providing an environment that closely reflects the realities and expectations encountered by today’s academicians, professional scientists and research engineers. The program is designed to offer a highly flexible inter and multi-disciplinary curricular structure, allowing specialization in any (or multiple) of the traditional or emerging engineering disciplines. The primary strength of the program is involving students in activities that they are most likely to encounter in a real-world academic or industrial settings.

The new PhD program consists of the following components and degree requirements:

Course Requirements:

Minimum of 72 credits of graduate level work beyond a bachelor degree, or 42 credits of graduate level work beyond a Master’s degree in a related field are required. Of these 72 total credits, 42 must come from course work including:

  1. At least one approved graduate level Math class. Certain math intensive engineering courses may be used to satisfy this requirement (3 credits).
  2. Effective Teaching in Academic and Corporate Environments (3 credits).
  3. Strategic Technical Writing and Winning Grant Proposals (2 credits).

At least 18 course credits (not including Effective Teaching and Strategic Technical Writing courses) must be obtained from graduate only classes (600-level classes, or 500-level classes with no corresponding 400-level equivalent offered at the same time).

A minimum of 21 credits must come from “Research.” Up to 9 Research credits may come from ENGR 599 (MS level research). Students who complete their Master’s degree elsewhere will be considered to have taken 9 credits of ENGR 599. All remaining Research credits must come from ENGR 699, the last 3 of which must be taken during the semester in which the Ph.D. Candidate plans to take his/her Ph.D. Dissertation Defense.

All additional courses to be taken will be determined jointly by the student and his/her Ph.D. advisor (the Advisor) based on the specific area of interest, research and career goals. Courses offered by one department (under any of the Specializations) will, in general, be available to students in any Specialization, as long as they fit the aforementioned goals.

All Ph.D. students will be required to complete all research compliance training required by the University for any research active employee.

Regular attendance and participation in (0-credit) graduate seminars (ENGR 01.600 ToughTalk: Graduate Seminar) will be required for students for each Fall and Spring semesters they are in the program. This course will be graded on a Pass/Fail basis.

CPRE will have four components in i) teaching, ii) grant writing, iii) publishing, and iv) service, each with its own requirements of diversity in that category. Specifically, teaching experience will require teaching at least 2 classes covering lower and upper level courses; grant writing experience will require small and medium / large scope proposals; publishing experience will require both conference and journal publications; and service will require students to be actively involved in a relevant professional society and serve at least twice on appropriate department / college level committees. Details are provided below.

  • Successful completion of a Ph.D. qualifier examination within the first 2 years of the program.
  • Successful defense of a candidacy exam, defending a Ph.D. proposal, twelve to eighteen months after the qualifier exam.
  • Successful defense of the Ph.D. dissertation. Students will conduct research in emerging areas for addressing unsolved and open problems in electrical and computer engineering, and leading to a dissertation and successful defense of the dissertation.

Career Preparation and Readiness Experience (CPRE):

One of the hallmarks of this new Ph.D. in Engineering program is the Career Preparation and Readiness Experience (CPRE), specifically designed to provide the students with a real-world environment that closely recreates the most important elements of their future career path, regardless whether that path leads to an academic, industrial or government setting. CPRE consists of four components, each allowing the student acquire important skills and experience pertinent to typical careers pursued by PhD in engineering degree holders. These components need to be completed before taking the Ph.D. Dissertation Defense:

  • Publishing: At least four published conference papers, one published journal paper (beyond MS) and at least one additional journal paper submitted (under review or published) will be required to satisfy the publishing requirement of CPRE. Depending on the nature of the research or publication venue, this requirement can be modified by the student’s Advising Committee.
  • Service: Ph.D. students will be expected to be actively involved in a relevant professional society, and serve at least twice on an appropriate department or college level committee. This requirement will allow the student to broaden his/her understanding and appreciation of different professional expectations, the importance of professional service as well as the role of professional societies in their chosen area of interest

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MS in Electrical and Computer Engineering

The ECE department at Rowan University offers two different tracks, both leading to the MS in Electrical and Computer Engineering degree. The program details can be found in the MS in ECE Program Guide and Overview [link] and below.

The program of study in both tracks consists of 30-credits, and is available with the following options:

Track 1 – Research Track:

This track is designed for those who are interested in developing an expertise within a specific area of focus within Electrical and Computer Engineering. To develop such an expertise, students in Research Track perform a rigorous research, supervised by an advising professor, on a specific topic of interest to solve a previously unsolved problem. The outcome of this research culminates in a MS thesis. Students who would like to excel in one of the areas of electrical and computer engineering, or those who are considering pursuing a Ph.D. one day, typically choose this track. Students who are accepted to this track are often eligible for research assistantships or teaching fellowships that can reduce or eliminate the out-of-pocket cost of the graduate education (see below for more details).

Track 2 – Professional Track:

This track is designed for those who are not interested in research or writing a thesis, but rather interested in expanding their breadth and depth of ECE knowledge by taking a larger number of courses in a wide spectrum of electrical and/or computer engineering fields. Students in this track do not work on a thesis, and take 30 credits of courses, which his typically 10 graduate level courses. While this is a course-only track, students who wish to obtain some research experience may choose to work on a smaller-scale project that can be count-ed for 3 credits (or 1 class).

MS in ECE Track 1 –Research (Thesis) Track Curriculum

At least one of the electives must include significant use of computing or programming. An approved graduate level computer science class may be used to satisfy this requirement:

TOTAL: 30 Credits

MS in ECE Track 2 – Course-only Track Curriculum

At least one of the electives must include significant use of computing or programming. A approved graduate level computer science class may be used to satisfy this requirement. An independent mini research project can be used to replace one of the 8 electives.

TOTAL: 30 Credits

Timeline Program of Study

The timeline of a typical program-of-study for the thesis option is as follows:


  • Math course
  • Business course
  • Identify advisor, research topic
  • Identify advising committee members


  • ECE graduate level elective
  • ECE graduate level elective
  • ECE graduate level elective
  • MS these (3 credits)
  • Start research


  • ECE graduate level elective
  • ECE graduate level elective
  • MS these (3 credits)
  • Continue research


  • MS these (3 credits)
  • Complete research
  • Write thesis
  • Defend thesis

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Thesis & Dissertation Requirements

Please visit the Thesis & Dissertation Requirements page at the College of Graduate and Continuing Education (CGCE) for information on thesis format requirements. Electronic templates are available at the above link, as well as a thesis manual. A typical MS thesis will have the following contents:

…and include the following steps to complete

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Rowan ECE Graduate Courses

ECE 09.59x series constitutes the Emerging Topics in Electrical and Computer Engineering se-quence – These classes can be taken multiple times, when approved by the advisor. Multiple sections of this course are offered during each semester with different content on emerging topics. The following courses have recently been taught under this class

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Paying (or getting paid) for Graduate School: Research and Teaching Fellowships

Rowan ECE program offers two types of financial aid in the form of research or teaching fellowships. Fellowships are only available to PhD students or MS students in Track 1 (Research track), and are only awarded to exceptionally qualified students. All students who apply for Track 1 graduate program in ECE are automatically considered for a fellowship. Selection is competitive. Applicants awarded Fellowships will be notified of such by CGCE Admissions via the admission offer packet, which will include the Graduate Fellowship Agreement Form. Fellowship amounts vary but may be available up to the full cost of attendance. In order obtain and maintain status as a Fellow, all students must, at a minimum:

In addition to the above, Fellows receiving stipends must:

In addition to all of the above, those designated as Teaching Fellows must:

Research fellowships are awarded primary by individual faculty and are paid from their externally funded research grants. To increase your likelihood of getting a research fellowship, contact the professor with whom you would like work early in the application process. Award amounts varies and may include any combination of the following across different semesters based on the satisfactory research and academic performance and availability of funds

Teaching fellowships are awarded by the department, in conjunction with faculty members who express interest in working with that student towards a thesis. Since teaching fellowship also requires research work and completion of a thesis, contact the professor with whom you would like work early in the application process and inform him/her as well department chair about your skills that may uniquely qualify you for a teaching assistantship. Once awarded, continuation of the fellowship to subsequent semesters requires satisfactory performance in both teaching and research (and availability of funds). A typical teaching fellowship award includes:

Full details about the student costs, funding provided, and all expectations and responsibilities required of Fellows are included in the official Graduate Fellowship Agreement Form, which can be obtained from the department or from CGCE Academic Services. Fellowship Agreements are subject to change due to changes in funding availability. No university or department-sponsored fellowship is available for MS students after students have reached the 30-credit limit.

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Applying to Graduate Programs in ECE

Minimum academic requirements for admission to either the MS or the PhD Program include:

A GRE exam is NOT required, but encouraged; however, GRE scores will be used in evaluating the applicant should the applicant choose to provide these scores. Students are particularly encouraged to submit GRE scores if they believe their academic background is stronger than what is implied by their GPA. Applicants for the PhD program are also encouraged to submit GRE scores.

Note that the above is an abbreviated list, including academic requirements only. For complete admission requirements and the application process see the MS in ECE Program Guide and Overview and go to MS in ECE Information and Application Page to apply.

Any Rowan student who completes his / her B.S. degree in Engineering with a GPA of 3.5 or higher; or completes his / her M.S. in Track 1 (research option with thesis) with a GPA of 3.3 or higher will automatically qualify for the PhD program.

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