2014 Course Catalogs | Fairfield University Graduate Catalogs 2013-14 | Graduate Catalog - SOE | Academic Program | MSECE 

Master of Science in

Electrical and Computer Engineering (MSECE)


Electrical and computer engineering at Fairfield University is an inter-disciplinary program that enables its graduates to study several fields including (but not limited to) engineering, mathematics, science and business. The interdisciplinary nature of the program affords the students a chance to establish an educational identity that is unique. Students can learn topics in subject areas that include computer hardware, power, VLSI, sensors, mixed signals, measurement, control, biomedical, computer and nanotechnology.

An MSECE graduate student can focus on topics that can result in a leadership position in a high-technology industry. In a time when the ability to innovate is the only sustainable competitive advantage, an ECE degree unlocks the door to an entrepreneurial career. Our graduates work to design and build state-of-the-art products and are highly sought after by employers.

The MSECE program takes advantage of elective courses offered by the School of Engineering master's degree programs in mechanical engineering, mathematics, software engineering and management of technology. As a consequence, students gain technical skills and a sense of the economic and business values needed to employ technology to serve society's needs. Some of our students have selected to participate in business plan competitions and engage in engineering entrepreneurship. We have strong ties to the Inventors Association of Connecticut, the Technology Venture community and local industry.

Program Overview

The MSECE program provides students with the knowledge and skills to innovate and lead in their discipline in the framework of research and development in academic institutions, the industrial workplace, research laboratories, or service organizations. The basic objectives of the MSECE program include the following:

  1. Students receive the tools they need to take the lead in creating next generation technologies using fundamental design disciplines. Sequences of electives, as well as a master's thesis, provide depth in their learning experiences.
  2. Students gain exposure to the high-tech areas of electrical and computer engineering, including system and product engineering, hardware and software design, embedded systems, communications, control systems, computer architecture, and visualization and multimedia systems. Students have the opportunity to become skilled in creating unique object-oriented designs. State of the art facilities available in the School of Engineering, and close interactions with industry, assist in those tasks.
  3. The MSECE program provides undergraduate students with the opportunity to pursue a graduate degree program that broadens their career path, ultimately leading to leadership roles.


Electrical and computer engineering embodies the science and technology of design, implementation, and maintenance of software and hardware components of modern electrical, electronics, computing and network systems. This discipline has emerged from the traditional fields of electrical engineering and computer science. Hence, the student population for the program has several origins. Typical examples include the following:

  1. Engineers and scientists who, responding to the specific needs of their industry across the spectrum of electrical and computer engineering domains, need to acquire skills to effectively guide the development of technologies that will enhance product quality and business opportunities
  2. Engineers and scientists who wish to fulfill their needs for personal and professional growth and achieve entrepreneurship in the IT domains
  3. Engineers aspiring to a career change
  4. Undergraduate engineering students and alumni with B.S. degrees, who seek an opportunity to continue their studies for a graduate engineering degree at Fairfield University.

In addition to mathematics and science, MSECE graduates have a solid foundation in electronics, logic design, micro-devices, computer organization and architecture, and networking, as well as an understanding of software design, data structures, algorithms, and operating systems.

Graduates are employed in several industries, including the computer, aerospace, telecommunications, power, manufacturing, defense, and electronics industries. They can expect to design high-tech devices ranging from tiny microelectronic integrated-circuit chips to powerful systems that use those chips, and efficient interconnected telecommunication systems. Applications include consumer electronics; advanced microprocessors; peripheral equipment; systems for portable, desktop, and client/server computing; communications devices; distributed computing environments such as local and wide area networks, wireless networks, Internets, Intranets; embedded computer systems; and a wide array of complex technological systems such as power generation and distribution systems and modern computer-controlled processing and manufacturing plants.

The MSECE Curriculum

Students in the MSECE program must complete either 33 credits, including a thesis, or a non-thesis option comprising 36 credits. Several electives are available to students across several areas of specialization. Upon admission, students meet with an advisor to prepare a plan of study that will lead to a master's degree in electrical and computer engineering in the most time-effective manner while meeting the student's professional needs.

Students must have an approved plan of study by the end of their first term. The curriculum advisor must approve the plan of study. A plan of study may be changed at any time, with advisor approval.

Required courses

  • Graduate Programming Elective
  • Graduate Mathematics Elective
  • ECE 420 Readings in Electrical and Computer Engineering

Thesis Option

  • ECE 550 Thesis I
  • ECE 551 Thesis II
  • ECE 552 Thesis III

Students may continue the thesis option provided they earn an A- or better in the Readings class, ECE 420, and secure the approval of the program director. In the event that a student in the thesis track wishes to switch to the non-thesis option, Thesis I and Thesis II credits that might have been earned in the pursuit of a thesis will not count toward fulfilling the graduation requirement.

Graduate Programming Electives:
SW 410 Enterprise Java
ECE 406 Advance Digital Design
ECE 410 Voice and Signal Processing
ECE 433 Biomedical Visualization
ECE 440 Computer Graphics
ECE 460 Network Programming
ECE448 Embedded Microcontrollers
ECE431 Biomedical Signal Processing

Graduate Mathematics Electives:
ECE 415 Numerical Methods of Engineering
MA 400-500 Mathematic Elective
MA 435/436 Algebra and Linear Algebra
MA 451/452 Probability and Statistics
MA 550 Financial Mathematics
MA 577 Numerical Analysis

Core Courses and Electives

Ten domains of knowledge and skills, shown below, specify available tracks and electives in the MSECE program. This portion of the program provides students with areas of study that are at the core of their major interest and career objectives.

ECE Domains

1. Electronic Product Design. The courses in this domain cover the nature and properties of materials used in electronic devices and, in particular, management of the thermal environment for the safe operation of the devices.

ECE 405 Electronic Materials
ECE 425 Thermal Management of Microdevices
ECE 448 Embedded Microcontrollers
ECE 448L Embedded Microcontrollers Lab
ECE 510L Product Design Lab

2. The Architecture of Microelectronics. The courses in this domain consider the design of analog, digital, and mixed-mode integrated circuits, along with the methods of fabricating high density interconnection structures for manufacturing microelectronic assemblies: thick films, thin films, printed circuit boards and nanotechnology.

ECE 435 Microelectronics
ECE 445 Digital Integrated Circuit Design
ECE 447 Analog Integrated Circuit Design
ECE 515L Microelectronics Lab
ECE 451 Nanoelectronics I
ECE 452 Nanoelectronics II

3. Systems Design. This domain includes studies of the fundamentals of linear and nonlinear electric circuits.

ECE 455 Sensor Design and Applications
ECE 457 Advanced Linear Systems
ECE 465 Nonlinear Control Systems
ECE 520L System Design Lab

4. Communications Systems. This domain considers the generation and transmission of electromagnetic waves. Structures used in microwave propagation, including transmission lines, waveguides, resonators, and antennas are also considered.

ECE 407 Fiber Optic Transmission and Communication
ECE 407L Fiber Optic Transmission and Communication Lab
ECE 475 Microwave Structures I
ECE 476 Microwave Structures II
ECE 480 Wireless Systems I
ECE 481 Wireless Systems II
ECE 485 Digital Communications
ECE 490 Analog Communications Systems
ECE 525L Communications Systems Lab

5. Power and Power Electronics. The courses in this domain consider the design and application of electronic circuits related to power generation, conversion and distribution.

ECE 495 Power Generation and Distribution
ECE 496 Fault Analysis in Power Systems
ECE 505 Advanced Power Electronics
ECE 530L Power Electronics Laboratory

6. Signal Processing. This domain covers one-dimensional and two-dimensional signal processing. These include audio devices like CD players, electronic music synthesizers, sound cards, etc. It also includes image processing applications like machine inspection,remote sensing, and security.

ECE 410 Voice and Signal Processing
ECE 430 Image Processing

7. Scientific Visualization. This domain examines the process of converting to a visual form to improve understanding of the data. Applications are in gaming, simulation computational physics, high-energy astrophysics, cosmology, and high-energy physics.

ECE 433 Biomedical Visualization
ECE 440 Computer Graphics
ECE 460 Network Programming

8. Embedded Systems. The embedded systems domain is critical to the creation and deployment of smart systems, which are today embedded in networks that use microchips and computers. Understanding the process by which software and hardware mechanisms allow computations and communications with networks of computers is crucial to this domain.

ECE 406 Advanced Digital Design
ECE 460 Network Programming

9. Enterprise Computing. The enterprise computing domain addresses the needs of companies based on information technology for their successful operations by providing expertise in server-side application development. This is the enabling technology for deploying business services on the Web; it is further in accord with the new model of Internet services where Web content is replicated in different geographic locations on the Internet for faster accessibility by Web users and Web-based technologies.

SW 402 Database Concepts
SW 410 Enterprise Java

10. Biomedical Engineering. The courses in biomedical engineering address the application of engineering principles and techniques to the medical field. It combines the design and problem solving skills of engineering with medical and biological sciences to help improve patient healthcare and the quality of life of individuals.

ECE 431 Biomedical Signal Processing
ECE 432 Biomedical Imaging
ECE 433 Biomedical Visualization