University of California, Riverside

Computer Engineering



MS in CEN



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Master's Degree in Computer Engineering

1. Admission Requirements and Undergraduate Preparation

A. Admission

All applicants to this program must have completed a Bachelor’s degree or its approved equivalent from an accredited institution and to have attained undergraduate record that satisfies the standards established by the Graduate Division and University Graduate Council. Applicants should have at least an undergraduate major in Computer Engineering, Computer Science, Electrical Engineering or a closely related field. Applicants who fail to meet this criterion may sometimes be admitted with course deficiencies. However, no more than three deficiencies will be allowed.

A student who is deficient in a competency area may be asked to complete the corresponding UCR course with a letter grade of at least B+, or to pass a challenge examination based on that course’s final exam with a grade of at least B+. All such remedial work should be completed with the first year of graduate study, and in all cases the deficiency(s) must be corrected BEFORE a student can enroll in any graduate course from the same specialty area.

All applicants must submit scores from the Graduate Record Exam, General Test (GRE). The GRE subject test in Computer Science or Electrical Engineering is recommended but not required. Applicants whose first language is not English are required to submit acceptable scores from the TEST of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) or the International English Language Testing System (IELTS) unless they have a degree from an institution where English is the exclusive language of instruction. Additionally each applicant must submit three letters of recommendation, at least two of which must be academic references. All other application requirements are specified in the graduate application.

B. Prerequisite Material

Competence in the areas defined by the following UCR courses is essential to graduate study in computer engineering:

  • EE 100A, CS 153, CS 161,and CS/EE 120A.

The complete catalogue description of these courses is presented in Section V.

Please note that additional course specific pre-requisites may exist. A student who is deficient in any of these competency areas may be asked to complete the corresponding UCR course with a letter grade of at least B+, or to pass a challenge examination based on that course’s final exam with a grade of at least B+. All program pre-requisites should be completed within the first year of graduate study, and in all cases the deficiency must be corrected BEFORE a student can enroll in any graduate course that requires the missing pre-requisite.

C. Course Requirements

Students must be in residence for one year and complete a minimum of 44 quarters units of graduate and upper division undergraduate courses in or related to the major subject area. Students who have completed similar courses elsewhere may petition for waiver of a required course or for substitution of an alternative course. For students interested in interdisciplinary research, individual study programs can be approved.

  1. Core Requirement (12 units). Three courses from the list of core courses below, with no grade lower than B-.
  2. Technical Electives (16 units). Four 200 level courses from the CSE or ECE department. These must be regular graduate classes; excluded are directed reseach or studies, and seminar courses which can be counted under "General Electives".
  3. General Electives/Additional Requirements (16 units) An additional four classes that can be selected as follows. Any additional class that fit the core requirement or technical elective requirement can be counted in this category. In addition, two upper division undergraduate classes from the list of approved undergraduate technical electives can be counted in this category. Students may also count up to two seminar classes (CS 260/EE260). Other graduate classes from BCOE or other schools can only be used with prior approval of the graduate advisor. Note that project and thesis credit also count in this category.
  4. Colloquium (3 units, changing to 1 unit for 2017/2018 cohort and later). Satisfactory completion of three quarters of CS 287 (Colloquium in Computer Science) or EE 259 (Colloquium in Electrical Engineering) in three distinct quarters.
  5. Capstone Experience - All students must complete a capstone experience that synthesizes and integrates the knowledge and skills obtained throughout the master’s program, according to one of the following options. It is the responsibility of the student to find a faculty member willing to supervise the master’s project or thesis, to form the faculty examining committee, and to schedule the oral examination.
    1. Comprehensive Exam Option (Default). A minimum of 44 units are required, of which 28 must be selected from the Core Requirement and Technical Electives courses above. The remaining 16 units must be in approved graduate-level courses related to the major subject area, and/or approved Computer Engineering undergraduate technical electives. Units obtained in graduate research for the thesis or dissertation, directed research, or directed studies (CS 290, CS 297, CS 299, EE 290, EE 297, EE 299) may not be used to satisfy any course requirements under this plan. Students must pass a comprehensive examination administered by the Computer Engineering Program. 
    2. Project Option. A minimum of 44 quarter units of graduate and upper division undergraduate courses in or related to the major subject area are required; of these at least 18 units must be in graduate courses taken at this University, of which none may be in graduate research (CS 299 or EE 299) for the thesis or dissertation. In addition, a student pursuing this option must include 4 units of graduate research (typically, CS 297 or EE 297). Students must complete a research project under the guidance of a faculty member. This project will require a written report and will be presented to a committee of at least two faculty members one of whom must be a CEN faculty.
    3. Thesis Option. A minimum of 44 quarter units of graduate and upper division undergraduate courses in or related to the major subject area are required. At least 28 of the units must be in graduate courses taken at this University; of these 6-10 must be graduate research units (CS 299 or EE 299). Students must submit a master’s thesis in accordance with the general requirements of the university. The thesis is original research work, and it should demonstrate the student's ability to study a research area, identify an open problem and make a research contribution. The thesis must be presented to and approved by a committee of at least three faculty members at least one of whom must be a CEN faculty.

D. Core Courses

  • CS 203 - Advanced Computer Architecture
  • CS 220 - Synthesis of Digital Systems
  • CS 201 - Compiler Construction OR CS 202 - Advanced Operating Systems
  • EE 213 - Computer-Aided Electronic Circuit Simulation
  • EE/CS 217 -- GPU Architecture and Parallel Programming

E. Technical Elective Courses

Any core course not used to fulfill the core requirement can be used as a technical elective. Additional technical elective courses include any regular 200 level class in CSE or ECE departments. Research credit and seminar courses may not be counted in this category. Examples of courses acceptable in this category include:

  • CS 210. Scientific Computing
  • CS 211.  High Performance Computing 
  • CS 213. Parallel Processing Architectures
  • CS 217. GPU Architecture and Parallel Programming
  • CS 218. Design and Analysis of Algorithms
  • CS 223. Reconfigurable Computing
  • CS 253. Distributed Systems 
  • CS 255. Computer Security
  • CS 204. Advanced Computer Networks
  • CS 257. Wireless Networks and Mobile Computing
  • CS 246. Advanced Verification Techniques in Software Engineering
  • CS 240. Network Routing
  • CS 239. Performance Evaluation of Computer Networks
  • EE 202. Fundamentals of Semiconductors and Nanostructures
  • EE 203. Solid-State Devices
  • EE 210. Advanced Digital Signal Processing
  • EE 211. Adaptive Signal Processing
  • EE 217. GPU Architecture and Parallel Programming
  • EE 222. Advanced Radio-Frequency Integrated Circuit Design
  • EE 226. Wireless Communications
  • EE 229. Video Processing and Communication
  • EE 241. Advanced Digital Image Processing
  • EE 243. Advanced Computer Vision
  • EE 215. Stochastic Processes
  • EE 235. Linear System Theory

F. Approved Undergraduate Technical Elective Courses

CS 120B, CS 122A, CS 122B, CS 130, CS 133, CS 141, CS 150, CS 152, CS 160, CS 161L, CS 162, CS 164, CS 165, CS 166, CS 169, CS 170, CS 171, CS 172, CS 177, CS 179 (E-Z), CS 180, CS 181, CS 183, CS 193

EE 105, EE 111, EE 115, EE 128, EE 132, EE 133, EE 134, EE 135, EE 140, EE 141, EE 144, EE 146, EE 150, EE 151, EE 152, EE 175A, EE 175B

2. Sample Program for M.S. CEN Student

The following is a sample program for an M.S. CEN degree with the Project/Thesis options.

Year in Program Fall Winter Spring
Year 1

(4) Core Course 1

(4) Technical Elective 1

(4) Graduate level CS/ECE course OR approved undergraduate technical elective (General Elective 1)

(1) CS 287 – Colloquium in Computer Science OR EE 259 – Colloquium in Electrical & Computer Engineering 

(4) Core Course 2

(4) Technical Elective 2

(4) Graduate level CS/ECE course OR approved undergraduate technical elective (General Elective 2)

(1) CS 287 – Colloquium in Computer Science OR EE 259 – Colloquium in Electrical & Computer Engineering 

(4) Core Course 3

(8) Technical Elective 3 and 4

(1) CS 287 – Colloquium in Computer Science OR EE 259 – Colloquium in Electrical & Computer Engineering 

Year 2 (4) CS 297 OR EE 297 – Directed Research

(4) General Elective 3
(8) CS 299 OR EE 299 – MS thesis
(8) General Electives 4 and 5

More Information 

General Campus Information

University of California, Riverside
900 University Ave.
Riverside, CA 92521
Tel: (951) 827-1012

Program Information

Computer Engineering Program
351 Winston Chung Hall
Tel: (951) 827-5639
Fax: (951) 827-4643
E-mail: madie@cs.ucr.edu

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