Rice University logoGeorge R. Brown School of Engineering
Electrical and Computer Engineering


Year 1

Year 2

Year 3


Year 1
Your first semester at Rice will begin with Orientation Week (or O-Week) where you will learn about Rice and the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering. The week will include presentations by many of the faculty you will become familiar with. You will meet your academic advisor, discuss your career objectives, and select your courses for your first semester. 

The first academic year concentrates on foundation coursework followed by focus on a research area. The year consists of a minimum of 18 hours of coursework as follows. Any variance to this plan requires a written petition to and approval from the ECE Graduate Committee. See bit.ly/1MimLYF for more information.

Fall (1st semester):

  • By the end of the first week of class, the student must develop a M.S. course plan (see Section V – Degree Plan) approved by a member of the ECE Graduate Committee. It is then submitted to the Graduate Program Administrator for the student’s file. Course plans may be revised, re-approved and resubmitted at any time over the course of the degree program. 
  • A minimum of 9 credit hours of core course-work is required

Spring (2nd semester): 

  •      ELEC 599 (6 credit hours)
  •      3 credit hours in core or breadth courses

ELEC 599 is a research presentation, developed under the guidance of a faculty advisor and committee that qualifies the student for continuation in the Ph.D. program. A spring midterm progress evaluation will be conducted with the advisor to ensure the student’s project is on track. More on ELEC 599 can be found in Section V – Ph.D. Qualifier.

Year 2 and Thesis Defense
The second year consists of research credits (ELEC 800) and the remaining core and breadth course credits. 


  •      ELEC 800 (at least 6 credit hours) 

Fall (3rd Semester):

  •      6 credit hours in core or breadth courses
  •      ELEC 800 and/or additional course credits

M.S. degrees are expected to be obtained by the end of the 4th semester (second year), and no later than the end of the 8th semester. Once the student has completed the requisite hours and established a committee, the student must submit the Petition for Approval of M.S. Candidacy to the Graduate Program Administrator. Once the student has performed research, written a thesis and is ready to defend, the student will schedule their oral presentations with their committees. See graduate.rice.edu/boundaries for time boundaries and graduate.rice.edu/candidacy for candidacy information.

Years 3-8
In year 3 and beyond, the student will perform his/her additional coursework and ELEC 800 totaling at least 30 hours for the M.S. and 90 for the Ph.D. All Rice graduate students must petition for Ph.D. candidacy before the start of the 9th semester (fifth year). Ph.D. degrees are expected to be obtained by the end of the 10th semester (fifth year) and no later than the end of the 16th semester (eighth year). See graduate.rice.edu/boundaries for time boundaries.