Master of Science

The Duke Master of Science (MS) is an advanced engineering degree that provides you with the skills you need to succeed in a technology career in industry, research, or government.

As a Duke Master of Science student, you will also become part of an engaging and inclusive community of scholars located near one the premier high-tech corridors in the world. See more reasons why you should study at Duke.

During the program, you will take specialized technical coursework. The program also includes a project and thesis options for promising students invited by faculty to conduct research. Many of our students also broaden their professional foundations through activities such as internships. Exceptional students also have the opportunity to serve as teaching assistants.

Our curriculum is flexible and tailor-made by you, working in collaboration with your adviser and your graduate committee.

HIGHLIGHTS OF MS

  • 18 to 24 months to complete
  • Advanced technical degree prepares you for working in industry, research, or government
  • Coursework-only, Project and Thesis options
  • Graduate study at a top research institution, putting you at the forefront of your field of choice

 

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Note: Admission is managed by the Duke Graduate School.

 

Areas of Concentration

Computer Engineering

Our concentration area in computer engineering is especially geared toward preparing you for a job in the technology industry.

Masters students interested in a research-focused degree (often in preparation for a PhD) can complete a degree one in any of these areas, working closely with our world-class faculty.

We have courses designed to give you deep technical knowledge and experience in:

Software Development

Our highly dedicated and experienced computer engineering faculty includes leading researchers who literally wrote the book on programming.

Our curriculum is designed for students whose undergraduate degrees may not be in engineering or computer science. We’ll make you a serious programmer.

Key Courses
  • ECE 551: Programming, Data Structures, and Algorithms in C++
  • ECE 550: Fundamentals of Computer Systems and Engineering
  • ECE 651: Software Engineering
  • ECE 650: Systems Programming and Engineering

Other Notable Courses

  • ECE 553: Compiler Construction
  • ECE 555: Probability for Electrical and Computer Engineers.
  • ECE 558: Computer Networks and Distributed Systems
  • ECE 590: Mobile Application Development
  • ECE 590: Performance, Optimization, and Parallelism
  • ECE 590: Enterprise Storage Architecture
  • ECE 563: Cloud Computing
  • ECE 590: Engineering Robust Server Software [New in Spring 2017]

Hardware Design

Duke ECE master's students learn in the classroom and the lab from faculty working on new, resilient hardware architectures for emerging platforms, spanning the gamut from major datacenters to personal mobile devices.

Several faculty members working hardware design have industry experience, including holding visiting research positions at Microsoft Research and Intel Corp.

Key Courses
  • ECE 550: Fundamentals of Computer Systems and Engineering
  • ECE 552: Advanced Computer Architecture I
  • ECE 559: Advanced Digital Design
  • ECE 539: CMOS VLSI Design Methodologies

Other Notable Courses

  • ECE 555: Probability for Electrical and Computer Engineers.
  • ECE xxx: Datacenter Computing
  • ECE xxx: Energy Efficient Computing
  • ECE 652: Advanced Computer Architecture II
  • ECE 590: Enterprise Storage Architecture
  • ECE 554: Fault Tolerant and Testable Computer Systems
  • ECE 526: Semiconductor Devices for Integrated Circuits.
  • ECE 532: Analog Integrated Circuit Design.
  • ECE 538: VLSI System Testing.

 

Sample Degree Plan – Computer Engineering

First Year

Fall Semester

Most students take both of these:

  • ECE 551: Programming, Data Structures and Algorithms in C++
  • ECE 550: Fundamentals of Computer Systems and Engineering

And, one of these math-for-engineers classes:

  • ECE 555: Probability for Computer Engineers
  • ECE 590.xx: Vector Space Methods With Applications

Spring Semester

Most students take both of these:

  • ECE 651: Software Engineering
  • ECE 650: Systems Programming and Engineering

And, one of these based on their interests:

  • ECE 590.xx: Engineering Robust Server Software
  • ECE 563: Cloud Computing

Other available courses, based on offerings, include:

  • Engineering Robust Server Software
  • Datacenter Architecture
  • Heterogenous Computing
  • Energy-Efficient Computer Systems
  • Fault Tolerant and Testable Computer Systems

Second Year

Choose from a variety of advanced ECE and Computer Science courses, such as:

  • ECE 590.xx: Mobile App Development
  • ECE 552: Advanced Computer Architecture I
  • ECE 590.xx: Perf/Optimize/Parallel
  • ECE 558: Computer Networks
  • ECE 553: Compiler Construction
  • CompSci 512: Distributed Systems
  • CompSci 510: Grad OS
  • CompSci 531: Graduate Algorithms

Other courses, based on available offerings, may include:

  • Datacenter Architecture
  • Heterogenous Computing
  • Energy Efficient Computer Systems
  • Fault Tolerant and Testable Computer Systems
  • Advanced Computer Architecture II

Or, take pursue advanced opportunities such as:

  • Independent study
  • MS Final Project

Signal and Information Processing and Robotics

Duke ECE has a strong experimental and theoretical research presence in novel and structured metamaterials, surface science, electromagnetic and acoustic waves, quantum sciences, imaging systems and communication systems. 

Our concentration area in Signal and Information Processing and Robotics is designed to give you deep technical knowledge and experience in:

Big Data Analysis

Our courses in data analysis prepare you for a role in the fast-emerging field of Big Data, through which many of the most important scientific and technological advances of the next several decades will flow.

Our focus on data analysis provides master's students with the tools to manage and interpret large amounts of data through a thorough grounding in the mathematical foundations of Big Data, training in practical programming, and instruction in machine learning, statistics and information theory.

Key Courses
  • ECE 590: Vector Space Methods With Applications
  • ECE 581: Random Signals and Noise
  • ECE 551: Programming, Data Structures, and Algorithms in C++
  • ECE 681: Pattern Classification and Recognition Technology.
  • STA 561: Probabilistic Machine Learning

Other Notable Courses

  • ECE 582: Digital Signal Processing
  • ECE 590: Textual Data Acquisition and Analysis
  • ECE 590: Uncertainty Analysis [new Spring 2016]
  • STA 601: Bayesian Methods and Modern Statistics
  • ECE 587: Information Theory

Robotics

Our Robotics Group trains students in the Duke ECE master's degree programs for work in the design of unmanned aerial vehicles, intelligent vehicles, sensor networks, motion planning and controls, and cyber-physical systems.

Key Courses
  • Fundamentals of Robotics (offered starting fall 2017)
  • Robot Decision Making (offered starting spring 2018)
  • Robot Planning, Perception and Control
  • Advanced Robot Systems Design (offered starting fall 2018)

Other Notable Courses

  • CEE 690: Numerical Optimization
  • ECE 551: Programming, Data Structures, and Algorithms in C++
  • ECE 590.xx: Vector Space Methods With Applications
  • ECE 581: Random Signals and Noise
  • ECE 681: Pattern Classification and Recognition Technology
  • ECE 588: Image and Video Processing
  • STA 561: Machine Learning
  • ME 548(263). Multivariable Control
  • ME 542(230). Modern Control and Dynamic Systems
  • ME 555.XX: Autonomous Systems Engineering
  • ME 555.XX: Human Factors Engineering

Engineering Physics

Duke ECE is home to international leaders in information physics research, embodied in pathbreaking programs in metamaterials, quantum devices, and optical systems. This interdisciplinary research involves the design, fabrication and testing of revolutionary new devices, based on novel physical concepts, with a foundation in rigorous computational modeling in electromagnetics and quantum mechanics.

Microelectronics, Photonics and Nanotechnology

Microelectronics, photonics and nanotechnology (MPN), is highly vertically integrated research domain, ranging from innovative materials, devices, and interconnects, through chip scale integrated systems. MPN research includes revolutionary microfluidic systems, nanoelectronics, optoelectronics, integrated optics, sensors, integrated multifunctional systems, energy conversion devices, and quantum sensors.

MPN research at duke is highly interdisciplinary, and focused on design, fabrication through Duke’s Shared Materials Instrumentation Facility (SMIF) cleanroom and characterization facility, and device and system test. 

 

MS Degree Details

The information below is a summary of the formal degree requirements for each the three MS in ECE curriculum pathways.

Coursework MS

Coursework Requirements (30 units total)

  • 12 units of ECE Graduate-Level Coursework
  • 6 units of Approved Graduate-Level Technical Electives from Engineering (including ECE), Math, Statistics, Computer Science, or Natural Science, or other courses approved by the faculty
  • 12 units of Approved Electives chosen to provide a coherent program of study

Note:

  • No more than two ECE 899: Independent Study and/or 300 to 400-level (upper-level undergraduate) courses may be used to satisfy MS degree coursework requirements.
  • In order to count for the MS degree, a grade of B- or better must be earned in undergraduate courses.
  • Courses numbered between 0 and 299 do not satisfy coursework requirements for the MS degree.
  • English for International Students (EIS) courses do not count toward the 30 total units required for the MS degree.
  • Students must maintain a 3.0 cumulative GPA to remain in good standing and to graduate.
  • Course selection is formally approved by submitting a Program of Study form

Coursework MS Final Exam

The Graduate School requires a final exam approved by a committee made up of three Graduate Faculty members, one of whom must be from a department other than ECE or outside the student’s main curricular area. The committee must be approved by the Director of Graduate Studies and the Dean of the Graduate School at least one month prior to the examination date. The student is not required to generate a written document for the ECE department, and the format of the exam is determined by the department.

Download the MS Coursework Evaluation Form

Project MS

Coursework Requirements (30 units total)

  • 12 units of Graduate-Level ECE coursework
  • 15 units of Approved Electives chosen to provide a coherent program of study
  • 3 units of Research (RESEARCH 1; ungraded)

Note:

  • No more than two ECE 899: Independent Study and/or 300 to 400-level (upper-level undergraduate) courses may be used to satisfy MS degree coursework requirements.
  • In order to count for the MS degree, a grade of B- or better must be earned in undergraduate courses.
  • Courses numbered between 0 and 299 do not satisfy coursework requirements for the MS degree.
  • English for International Students (EIS) courses do not count toward the 30 total units required for the MS degree.
  • Students must maintain a 3.0 cumulative GPA to remain in good standing and to graduate.
  • Course selection is formally approved by submitting a Program of Study form

Project MS Final Exam

For the project option, a written research report and oral presentation are required to be presented to a committee made up of the student's advisor and two other members of the graduate faculty, one of whom must be from a department other than ECE or outside the student’s main curricular area. The committee must be approved by the Director of Graduate Studies and the Dean of the Graduate School at least one month prior to the examination date. The format of the written and oral project reports are determined by the student’s advisor. The project report is not submitted to the Graduate School; however, a final copy must be submitted to the ECE Department.

Download the Project MS evaluation form

Thesis MS

Coursework requirements (30 units total)

  • 12 units of Graduate-Level ECE coursework
  • 12 units of Approved Electives chosen to provide a coherent program of study
  • 6 units of Research (RESEARCH 1; ungraded)

Note:

  • No more than two ECE 899: Independent Study and/or 300 to 400-level (upper-level undergraduate) courses may be used to satisfy MS degree coursework requirements.
  • In order to count for the MS degree, a grade of B- or better must be earned in undergraduate courses.
  • Courses numbered between 0 and 299 do not satisfy coursework requirements for the MS degree.
  • English for International Students (EIS) courses do not count toward the 30 total units required for the MS degree.
  • Students must maintain a 3.0 cumulative GPA to remain in good standing and to graduate.
  • Course selection is formally approved by submitting a Program of Study form

Thesis MS Final Exam

A written thesis must be uploaded by the guidelines presented in the Graduate School’s Guide for the Electronic Submission of Thesis and Dissertation, and the thesis must be defended orally before a committee composed of the faculty member under whose direction the work was done and at least two other members of the graduate faculty, one of whom must be from a department other than ECE or outside the student’s main curricular area. The committee must be approved by the Director of Graduate Studies and the Dean of the Graduate School at least one month prior to the examination date.

Download the Thesis MS evaluation form

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