The Holcombe Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering

Degree Programs

The Holcombe Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering offers M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in both Electrical Engineering and Computer Engineering. The M.S. program includes an all-coursework option and a thesis option. In addition, there is a Master of Engineering (M.Engr) degree program in Electrical Engineering available to off-campus students. The Ph.D. program includes a direct-entry option for suitably qualified students having completed a baccalaureate degree. The research activities of the Holcombe Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering are clustered into the four major areas of communications, electronics, computer systems architecture, and intelligent systems. You can learn more about these research areas here.

Please see the Graduate Student Handbook for specific details about each program.

For a current listing of ECE graduate course descriptions, view the courses of instruction in Clemson's graduate catalog.

For a current listing of courses of instruction by academic year, view the Graduate Announcements by academic year.

M.S. in Electrical or Computer Engineering
Students who enroll in the Department's M.S. program may choose an all-coursework option or a thesis option. All M.S. students must take a final examination (oral and/or written) administered by their advisory committee.

Each Master's candidate may also include a minor area in the degree program. The addition of a minor requires two courses (six hours) in an area outside of the major, such as math, physics, computer science, or industrial engineering, as approved by the Department’s advisory committee.

  • All-Coursework Option
    The student’s plan of study must include a minimum of 33 credit hours, at least 18 of which must be at the 800 level.
  • Thesis Option
    The thesis-option student must write a thesis that is approved by the advisory committee and the Graduate School. The thesis-option student must take a minimum of 30 credit hours, including 12 credit hours at the 800 level and an additional six hours of ECE 891 (Master’s Thesis Research). Students supported as research assistants are almost always required by their advisors to choose the thesis option. Those students anticipating continued studies toward the Ph.D. should strongly consider the thesis option.

    The thesis-option student must pass a final examination exam consisting of an oral defense of the student’s thesis or report.

M.Engr. in Electrical Engineering
The M.Engr. program does not require students to satisfy a focus area requirement. The M.Engr. student submits an Engineering Report in lieu of a conventional master's thesis. The engineering report is fundamentally the same as a thesis but is required to conform to College formatting standards as opposed to University thesis standards. While a small number of graduate courses are currently offered on-line, we anticipate that most graduate courses will only be offered in the standard on-campus lecture format for the foreseeable future. Students interested in applying for the M. Engr. degree in electrical engineering should factor this information into their plans for their program of study.

Ph.D. in Electrical Engineering
The Ph.D. in Electrical Engineering requires 24 hours of graduate course work and 18 hours of research beyond the Master’s degree. Direct entry into the Ph.D. program is available for highly qualified students with baccalaureate degrees. Each student in the program must pass qualifying and comprehensive exams before completing and orally defending a dissertation.

Ph.D. in Computer Engineering
Students in the Computer Engineering Ph.D. program complete a minimum of 24 hours of graduate course work and 18 hours of research beyond the Master's degree. Direct entry into the Ph.D. program is available for highly qualified students with baccalaureate degrees. Each student in the program must pass qualifying and comprehensive exams before completing and orally defending a dissertation.

Ph.D. students select a major advisor, who, in consultation with the student, chooses additional advisory committee members. The student's advisory committee must include at least four tenure-track faculty members; three of the members must be from within the ECE department and one must be from outside the department.