Masters Degree Programs

School of Engineering Graduate Page

Masters Program

Masters Program Files

Finding an Advisor, Advising and Course Registration

Plan of Study


ECSE Graduate Programs Presentation

ECSE Master's Program Presentation

ECSE offers the Master of Science (MS) and the Master of Engineering (MEng) in Electrical Engineering (ELEC) and Computer & Systems Engineering (CSYS).  Students may pursue master’s degrees on either a full- or part-time basis at either the Troy, NY campus or Hartford, CT campus (

The MS degree is a research-based degree, focusing on depth, and can either be a terminal degree or used as preparation for a PhD program.  The MEng is intended to be a terminal degree and for those who wish to enter professional practice upon completion.  Although students may elect to pursue the PhD after completing the MEng, it is strongly recommended that any student considering the PhD should choose the MS degree program.

Students may transfer up to six credits of relevant coursework that was not used previously to obtain another academic degree.


Students pursuing the MS in ELEC or CSYS need to complete the following:

  • Minimum of 30 credits total
  • 24 credits of coursework and 6 credits of thesis (in some cases, students may be allowed to complete 21 credits of coursework and 9 credits of thesis)
  • Complete a masters thesis or, in some cases, a project under the supervision of an advisor
  • Maintain a minimum 3.0 gpa

Students pursuing the MEng in ELEC or CSYS need to complete the following:

  • Minimum of 30 credits total
  • All coursework based, no thesis or project required
  • Must demonstrate a clear, technical focus
  • Must complete a two-course sequence outside ECSE for breadth
  • Maintain a minimum 3.0 gpa

For more detailed information on the guidelines for completing the MS or MEng, please refer to the Masters Program Files page.

Finding an Advisor, Advising and Course Registration

All graduate students pursuing a thesis (masters or doctoral) or project (masters) must have an official ECSE faculty advisor.  MEng students  pursuing an all-coursework program may elect to have an advisor in their particular area of study or be advised by the ECSE Director of Masters Programs.  Students are welcome to have a faculty advisor from another department but must have an ECSE professor as a co-advisor.

Students who are admitted with RA funding are automatically assigned to an advisor.  Students who are admitted without funding are not assigned to a specific advisor and have the flexibility to choose an advisor from among the faculty.  These students are encouraged to meet with the professors in their particular area of study as soon as possible after arriving to determine the best research fit.   All students, except MEng, are required to submit an official advisor form (PDF) during their first semester of study.  This form must be on file no later than October 1 for those who enter in the fall and March 1 for those who enter in the spring.  If a student changes advisors during the course of study, a new form must be filled out and placed on file with the department.

Full-time students must be registered for 12-15 credits each semester until they graduate.  The only exception is for those students awarded Teaching Assistantships.  TA’s may register for a minimum of 9 credits, maximum of 15 credits in the semester(s) they are carrying TA assignments.  Part-time students must be continuously registered each semester until they graduate to remain in good standing.  Students who need to take a break during their studies for any reason should discuss the possibility of taking an official leave of absence with the department and the Graduate Education office prior to leaving.

It is the responsibility of the student to meet with his/her advisor and discuss appropriate courses.  Those who are pursuing the MS with a thesis or the PhD are allowed to register for thesis credits as early as the first semester of study.  Typically, students will register for a combination of course and thesis credits until all the necessary coursework is complete.  Students will then register for thesis credits until completion of the thesis.

Plan of Study

All students must file a Plan of Study outlining all course and (if applicable) thesis credits that will be counted for the degree.   

  • Official RPI Plan of Study Form: Link.

Students should discuss the plan of study with their advisor early in the program and have an initial plan of study on file with the department by the end of the first semester.  The plan of study must be signed by the student, the advisor and then submitted to the department for approval by either the Director of Masters Programs or Director of Doctoral Programs. 

Masters degree students must also submit a plan of study worksheet along with the plan of study to the department.  The plan of study may be updated as many times as necessary to reflect any changes in the program.  It is the responsibility of the student to make sure that an up to date plan of study is on file with the department.


Ms. Priscilla Magilligan
Administrative Assistant
Office: JEC 6012
Phone: 518-276-6225

Professor Kenneth S. Vastola
Graduate Program Director
Office: JEC 6003
Phone: 518-276-6074

For master’s program questions, please send email to:

For doctoral program questions, please send email to: