Electrical Engineering
425 UCB
Boulder, CO 80309

The online Master of Science in Electrical Engineering (MS-EE), hosted on the internationally acclaimed Coursera platform, offers stackable graduate-level courses, graduate certificates, and a fully accredited master’s degree in electrical engineering. The MS-EE on Coursera students earn the same credentials as our on-campus students. There are no designations on official CU transcripts, degrees or certificates that this is an online program.

Focus Areas

Embedded Systems

Embedded system engineering is used in industries such as aerospace and defense, energy, industrial automation, health care, networking and communication, security, transportation and more. Embedded systems also drive the Internet of Things (IoT), enabling countless human-to-machine and machine-to-machine applications including home automation, security and more. 

The embedded systems engineering curriculum covers essential embedded technologies, synthesizes foundational principles, and directly applies them to current tools and trends. It is structured to provide you with a broad, versatile and highly competitive skill set. We emphasize practical, project-based learning across hardware and embedded software design that addresses numerous end markets, as well as multiple semiconductor technologies including sensors, controllers, programmable devices and development tools.

Power Electronics

Power electronics is a key enabling technology in essentially all electronic systems and is increasingly important in the grid interface of renewable energy sources and in efficient electrical loads. The necessity for power electronics technology in these rapidly expanding areas creates an increasing need for design engineers equipped with knowledge and skills to actively participate in multidisciplinary teams.

The power electronics curriculum addresses this demand for skilled power electronics design engineers, covering switching power supplies, DC-DC converters, inverters, power factor correction converters and LED lighting drivers. The power electronics curriculum emphasizes fundamentals and application in the power electronics field. This domain competency applies to end markets such as power management, portable power, computer systems, medical applications, spacecraft power systems, the automotive industry, renewable energy and the utilities.

Photonics & Optics

While 20th-century technology was defined by the growth of electronics, the 21st century belongs to photonics. LEDs will light households powered by photovoltaic panels and filled with displays and cameras communicating by optical fiber to distant owners wearing virtual reality glasses. Laser 3D printing will transform manufacturing. New microscopes and telescopes will peer into the depths of living cells and distant galaxies. 

The photonics curriculum provides a firm theoretical foundation on the generation, modulation, radiative or guided transmission, sensing, and detection of optical signals. It also covers optical telecommunications, medical instrumentation, photovoltaic power generation, information processing, optical instruments and environmental sensing. While some of these industries are mature, photonics continues to grow into new industries such as LED lighting and on-chip silicon photonics for multi-core CPUs.

Program Policies

This specialized program does not align with standard campus policies. Please refer to the Special Online Programs section of the catalog for more information.

Up to 9 credits offered by the MS in Data Science or ME in Engineering Management on Coursera programs may be applied toward the MS in Electrical Engineering degree's required 30 credits. Courses must be graduate level and meet all applicable academic standards and may not be double counted toward two credentials of the same level. Only courses offered through CU Boulder's for-credit programs on Coursera may be used. 

Admission Requirements

The MS-EE program utilizes performance-based admissions for enrollment. There is no traditional application for admission to the degree. Students do not need to take the GRE or submit letters of recommendation or proof of language proficiency. Neither a prior degree nor university transcripts are required for admission. Because this is a purely online program, students do not need to complete a background check to enroll.

A student desiring admission to the MS-EE program must complete four required protocols:

  1. Take one pathway specialization for credit with at least a grade of C in each course.
  2. Achieve a computed pathway specialization grade-point average (GPA) of at least 3.00.
  3. Have a cumulative GPA of at least 3.00 for all for-credit courses taken to date.
  4. Declare their intention to seek the degree, which they can do before, during, or after any work in a pathway specialization.

Upon completion of these four steps the student is admitted to the MS-EE program. Students may successfully complete a designated pathway specialization and declare intent at any point in their academic journey. Completion of a pathway specialization is not required for students to begin earning academic credit, only to earn the degree. Non-degree seeking students may enroll in for-credit courses.

All courses attempted and/or completed for credit will appear on an official CU Boulder transcript (unless dropped by the drop deadline) and will count toward the cumulative GPA.

Program Requirements

The diagram displayed on the Electrical Engineering website shows how the program's courses and certificates can be stacked into the full 30 credit hour degree.

Up to 9 credits offered by the MS-DS or ME-EM on Coursera programs may be applied toward the Electrical Engineering MS degree required 30 credits. Courses must be graduate level and meet all applicable academic standards and may not be double counted toward two credentials of the same level. Only courses offered through Coursera may be used.

Embedded Systems Track

Industrial Internet of Things - Graduate Certificate

To earn a graduate certificate (9 credits), students must complete the required specializations.

Required specializations:

  • Embedded Sensors and Motors Specialization
  • Embedded Interface Design Specialization
  • Developing Industrial Internet of Things Specialization
Advanced Embedded Linux Development Specialization
ECEA 5305Linux System Programming and Introduction to Buildroot1.0
ECEA 5306Linux Kernel Programming and Introduction to Yocto1.0
ECEA 5307Embedded System Topics and Project1.0
Embedding Sensors and Motors Specialization
ECEA 5340Embedding Sensors and Motors: Sensors, Sensor Circuit Design0.8
ECEA 5341Embedding Sensors and Motors: Motors, Motor Control Circuits0.8
ECEA 5342Embedding Sensors and Motors: Pressure and Motion Sensors0.8
ECEA 5343Embedding Sensors and Motors: Sensor Manufact, Process Ctrl0.6
FPGA Design for Embedded Systems Specialization
ECEA 5360FPGA Design for Embedded Systems: Intro to FPGA Dsgn for ES0.8
ECEA 5361FPGA Design for Embedded Systems: Hardwr Desc Lang FPGA Dsgn0.8
ECEA 5362FPGA Design for Embedded Systems: FPGA Softcore Proc, IP Acq0.8
ECEA 5363FPGA Design for Embedded Systems: Building FPGA Projects0.6
 Developing Industrial Internet of Things Specialization
ECEA 5385Industrial IoT Markets and Security1.0
ECEA 5386Developing Industrial IoT: Proj Planning, Machine Learning1.0
ECEA 5387Developing Industrial IoT: Modeling and Debugging Embed Sys1.0
Real-time Embedded Systems Specialization
ECEA 5315Real-Time Embedded Systems: Concepts and Practices0.6
ECEA 5316Real-Time Embedded Systems: Theory and Analysis0.8
ECEA 5317Real-Time Embedded Systems: Mission-Critical, SW Application0.8
ECEA 5318Real-Time Embedded Systems: Project0.8
Embedded Interface Design Specialization
ECEA 5346Embedded Interface Design: User Exp I/F Design for Emb Sys1.0
ECEA 5347Embedded Interface Design: Rapid Prototyping Emb I/F Designs1.0
ECEA 5348Embedded Interface Design: M2M, IoT I/F Design & Protocols1.0

Spectrum Engineering - Graduate Certificate

The spectrum engineering graduate certificate requires 12 credit hours of coursework. Three hours of coursework is recommended, though not required.

Recommended Specialization3
The Electromagnetic Spectrum
Signal Fundamentals
Economics, Management and Policy
Required Specializations12
The Science of Spectrum Access
Radio Frequency Engineering
Signals and Propagation
Radio Services and Broadcast Applications
Mobile Communication: Cellular and Wi-Fi
Radio Determination and Space Applications
The Electromagnetic Spectrum
History of Spectrum Management
Spectrum Sharing
Consumer Demand and Valuation
Firm Supply and the Structure of the Market
Optimal Pricing with Market Power

Power Electronics Track

Power Electronics - Graduate Certificate

To earn a graduate certificate (9 credits), students must complete the required specializations/courses.

Required specializations:

  • Power Electronics Specialization
  • Modeling and Control of Power Electronics Specialization
  • Power Electronics Project Course: ECEA 5715
Power Electronics Specialization
ECEA 5700Power Electronics: Introduction to Power Electronics0.8
ECEA 5701Power Electronics: Converter Circuits1.0
ECEA 5702Power Electronics: Converter Control1.2
ECEA 5703Power Electronics: Magnetics Design1.0
Modeling and Control of Power Electronics Specialization
ECEA 5705Modeling, Control of Power Elec: Avged-Sw Modeling and Sim0.8
ECEA 5706Modeling, Control of Power Elec: Tech Dsgn-Oriented Analysis0.6
ECEA 5707Modeling, Control of Power Elec: Input Filter Design0.6
ECEA 5708Modeling, Control of Power Elec: Current-mode Control1.2
ECEA 5709Modeling, Control of Power Elec: Mod/Ctrl 1-Phase Rect/Inv0.6
Power Electronics Project Course:
ECEA 5715Power Electronics Capstone Project1.2
Algorithms for Battery Management Systems Specialization
ECEA 5730Introduction to Battery-Management Systems0.8
ECEA 5731Equivalent-Circuit Cell-Model Simulation0.8
ECEA 5732Battery State-of-Charge (SOC) Estimation1.0
ECEA 5733Battery State-of-Health (SOH) Estimation0.8
ECEA 5734Battery-Pack Balancing and Power Estimation0.8
Photovoltaic Power Electronics Specialization
ECEA 5716Open-Loop Photovoltaic Power Electronics Laboratory1.0
ECEA 5717Closed-Loop Photovoltaic Power Electronics Laboratory1.0
ECEA 5718Photovoltaic Power Electronics Battery Management Laboratory1.0
Power Semiconductor Devices Specialization (3.6 credits) 
ECEA 5721Introduction to Power Switches0.6
ECEA 5722High-Voltage p-n and Schottky Diodes1.2
ECEA 5723MOSFETs, IGBTs and more1.2
ECEA 5724Power Device Fabrication0.6

Photonics and Optics Track 

Semiconductor Photonics - Graduate Certificate

Admission to a graduate degree-seeking program in the ECEE department is not required for students pursuing the certificate. Certificate credit hours may be applied towards a full master's degree, provided the student is admitted to the electrical engineering graduate program as a degree-seeking student.

The semiconductor photonics certificate is comprised of 3 specializations, each of which is comprised of 3–4 individual online courses (MOOCs), which deliver about one month of content:

To complete a certificate, you must complete the following required specializations/courses.

Semiconductor Photonics Graduate Certificate (9 credits)

Required specializations:

  • Optical Engineering Specialization
  • Semiconductor Specialization
  • Active Optical Devices Specialization
Optical Engineering Specialization
ECEA 5600Optical Engineering: First Order Optical System Design1.0
ECEA 5601Optical Engineering: Optical Efficiency and Resolution1.0
ECEA 5602Optical Engineering: Design High-Performance Optical Systems1.0
Semiconductor Devices Specialization
ECEA 5630Semiconductor Devices: Semiconductor Physics1.0
ECEA 5631Semiconductor Devices: Diode: pn junction and metal semiconductor contact1.0
ECEA 5632Semiconductor Devices: Transistor: Field Effect Transistor and Bipolar Junction Transistor1.0
Active Optical Devices Specialization
ECEA 5605Active Optical Devices: LEDs and Semiconductor Lasers1.2
ECEA 5606Active Optical Devices: Nanophotonics and Detectors1.2
ECEA 5607Active Optical Devices: Displays0.6
Quantum Mechanics for Engineers Specialization
ECEA 5610Foundations of Quantum Mechanics1.4
ECEA 5611Theory of Angular Momentum0.8
ECEA 5612Approximation Methods0.8
For further details regarding Photonics content under our online MS-EE degree through Coursera, see Photonics and Optics.