Requirements & Courses

The Master of Electrical and Computer Engineering (MECE) degree is a non-thesis degree program offered through the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at Rice. It's intended primarily for students who wish to strengthen their academic background through three or four semesters of additional coursework. The MECE program is a bridge to industry, designed to provide advanced learning and training in the applied aspects of ECE technology beyond the typical undergraduate electrical and computer engineering degree program.

Students are admitted to the MECE degree program in the fall semester. The majority of MECE students complete the program in three major semesters (fall, spring, fall) with the summer reserved for internship opportunities. MECE students consult with an academic advisor on the MECE committee each semester in order to identify and clearly document their individual curricular requirements or degree plan to be followed.

Upon matriculation, the MECE is assigned a faculty advisor in their primary area of interest. The advisor will counsel the student in developing a degree plan consistent with the student’s career objectives. The MECE may be pursued on a part-time or full-time basis. Students must maintain continuous program enrollment and involvement unless granted an official leave of absence.

Visit General Announcements for all up-to-date MECE requirements.

Academic Advisors

Each incoming MECE student is assigned an academic advisor, usually a member of the Professional Master’s Committee, to help with course selection and other initial academic concerns. Final course selection does not need to be completed until after the start of classes but must be completed before the ADD deadline, typically the Friday of the second week of classes. Students should submit their approved degree plans to Nyetta Meaux at least two days before the deadline.

MECE Degree Requirements

  • A minimum of 10 courses (30 credit hours) to satisfy degree requirements.
  • A minimum of 30 credit hours of graduate-level study (coursework at the 500-level or above).
  • A minimum of 27 credit hours must be taken at Rice University.
  • A minimum residency enrollment of one fall or spring semester of part-time graduate study at Rice University.
  • A minimum of 3 courses (9 credit hours) from the core requirements.
  • A minimum of 3 courses (9 credit hours) for one area of specialization (see pp. 12-13 of this handbook.
  • A minimum of 4 courses (12 credit hours) from the elective requirements:
  • 2 courses (6 credit hours) from the General MECE requirement
  • 2 courses (6 credit hours) from the Free Elective requirement.
  • ELEC 698 each semester in residence at Rice University.
  • A maximum of 1 course (3 credit hours) of graduate-level coursework as transfer credit. For additional departmental guidelines regarding transfer credit, see the Policies tab.
  • A minimum overall GPA of 2.67.

MECE Research

ELEC 590 Electrical Engineering Research Projects is a course where MECE students can conduct theoretical and experimental investigations under ECE faculty direction. Students must complete the Independent Study Petition which requests a short one-paragraph abstract of the project at the start of the semester. This abstract should be discussed with the student's research advisor for approval. Once submitted it will be reviewed and subject to the approval of the ECE Professional Master's Committee.

About 3 hours of work per week per 15 week semester would translate to 1 credit hour. 30 hours of 500-level credits are required for the M.E.C.E. degree. No ELEC 590, 591, or 599 may count for the major or minor area (you may count 3 hours of ELEC 590, 591 or 599 as a Free Elective.) MECE students taking less than 3 credit hours of ELEC 590 per semester will not be able to have the course counted towards their degree. ELEC 590 projects do not count towards ECE specialization credit, and the maximum total ELEC 590 is limited to 6 hours. Students can petition if they have a special project. If a student is being paid to work on the research project, then ELEC 590 credit cannot also be earned.

The student is expected to prepare a final presentation and report for the research advisor by the end of the semester so that the research advisor can assess the student's performance and give the student a grade. (The student's level of effort should be comparable to that in a traditional lecture/lab course.) The student's research advisor should then contact Nyetta Meaux regarding grading.

ELEC 698 Seminar

The ELEC 698 seminar course broadens an MECE student’s exposure to activities and opportunities in all fields of electrical engineering, both in industry and research settings. All MECE students are required to take and successfully complete ELEC 698 for each semester in residence at Rice University. The course requires registered attendance at three (3) ECE sponsored or co-sponsored seminars per semester, and at the featured departmental events described in the following paragraph.

In addition to the attendance at three seminars, ELEC 698 requires that each student attend and sign in for the following events: ECE Corporate Affiliates Day, the Brice Distinguished Lecture, and the Chapman Distinguished Lecture in the years they are held. These featured departmental events provide each MECE student with excellent opportunities to expand their professional network by interacting with alumni and industrial affiliates of the ECE department.

Details of seminars are emailed and posted on the ECE website. Some seminars hosted by the Engineering Professional Master’s Program (EPMP) can count for one of the three seminars. Please check with the MECE Administrator for a list of approved seminars. Students are responsible for signing in during the first 10 minutes of the seminar. Attendance logged after that time will not be counted. If there are any difficulties with signing in, students should contact the MECE Administrator within 24 hours of the seminar.

Guidelines for Independent Study

ELEC 590 Graduate Non-Thesis Research Projects is intended for MECE students who wish to undertake specific research projects under the direction of a faculty member. The parameters of the research, as well as a brief abstract for the project and grade determination, should be discussed with the faculty member and submitted to the MECE Program Administrator prior to enrollment in the course. The form may be found on the ECE website. A maximum of three (3) credits of ELEC 590 can be applied to the MECE degree as an elective course.

ELEC 591 Vertically Integrated Projects (VIP) at Rice University. This program unites graduates and undergraduate education and faculty research in a team-based context. Students interested in VIP should meet and consult with the faculty lead of that project. Visit for more information.


Semester 1

Your first semester at Rice will begin with Orientation Week (or O-Week) where you will learn about Rice and ECE. The major events of this week will include presentations by several of the faculty with whom you will become familiar. You will meet your advisor, discuss your career objectives, and select your courses for your first semester.

In consultation with your advisor, you will determine a degree plan and timeline for completion. This must be submitted to the MECE Program Administrator.

MECE students are to consult with an academic advisor on the MEE Committee each semester in order to identify and clearly document their individual curricular requirements or degree plan to be followed. A degree plan must be submitted for each semester in residence, but degree plans may be revised, re-approved, and resubmitted at any time.

Semesters 2 and 3

Students should consult their Degree Works audit through ESTHER to evaluate how they are meeting the university and departmental degree requirements. In the final semester of MECE studies, an “Application for Degree” is completed. The pre-printed form can be found on ESTHER and is submitted to the Office of the Registrar.

The MECE program must be completed within 5 years.


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