45.00 Hours Required

The profession of electrical engineering demands a strong foundation in physical science and mathematics, a broad knowledge of engineering techniques, and an understanding of the relation between technology and society. Curricula at Stanford are planned to offer the breadth of education and depth of training necessary for leadership in the profession.

The Master's degree program in Electrical Engineering requires the completion of at least 45 units that represent an approved academic plan. This plan breaks down into the following 3 categories:

  • Breadth Courses
  • Depth Courses
  • Additional EE Courses (21 units)

A particular course may be used to satisfy only 1 guideline. Students completing an approved program with a grade point average of 3.0 or better will normally be recommended for the Master of Science degree.

Breadth Requirement


Breadth of training provides protection against technical obsolescence, opens up new areas of interest, and provides a foundation for future self-education.

At least 1 graded electrical engineering course numbered 200-level or above in each of 3 distinct course areas outside of the area selected for depth must be taken to provide breadth. Here and elsewhere "graded" means being assigned letter grades as opposed to taking the course only for pass or no credit. 2 courses are not considered as being in distinct areas if they can be found under a common depth area (some courses appear in multiple depth areas). Ideally, every MS student would gain some graduate level knowledge in every important area of electrical engineering. Since this is not a realistic possibility, the three-area breadth requirement is a practical compromise. Contact the Electrical Engineering Student Services office for information about courses that contribute to the breadth requirement: admissions@ee.stanford.edu

Depth Requirement


An MS program should provide, among other things, some continuity and depth of penetration in one subject area. The phrase "depth in one area" means 9 or more units in closely related courses, leading to study at a reasonably advanced level. A sequence of 3 or more graded electrical engineering courses numbered 200-level or above must be taken to provide depth in one area. The student must maintain a GPA of 3.0 or better in the depth area. The following depth areas are available either totally or partially at a distance:

  • Computer Hardware
  • Computer Software Systems
  • Control and System Engineering
  • Communication Systems
  • Dynamic Systems and Optimization
  • Electronic Circuits
  • Electronic Devices, Sensors, and Technology
  • Fields, Waves, and Radioscience
  • Image Systems
  • Network Systems
  • Signal Processing

A depth sequence consists of 3 courses taken in a single depth area, and must contain a minimum of 1 class at 300-level or above. Contact the Electrical Engineering Student Services office for information about courses that contribute to the depth requirement: admissions@ee.stanford.edu

Additional EE Courses


Because the MS degree is an advanced degree in electrical engineering awarded entirely on the basis of course work, the program should contain a substantial amount of advanced electrical engineering course work. Mezzanine (200-series) courses, suitable for beginning graduates may be used in partial satisfaction of this requirement, but at least part of the program should be in the more advanced 300 and 400 series courses. Enough additional units of electrical engineering courses should be taken to satisfy the following requirements:

  • At least 36 graded units
  • At least 36 units at or above the 100-level
  • At least 30 units in technical areas such as science, mathematics, and engineering; Thesis, Special Studies, and seminar units cannot be included among these 30 units.

Cases may sometimes arise in which a desired course is normally graded on a PASS/NO CREDIT basis rather than a letter grade. Where such a case is critical for meeting the 36-graded-unit requirement, a student should check in advance with the instructor to make sure the course will be recorded with a letter grade.

Additional Requirement

To ensure that all MS students sample the many available research seminars, one of the following options must be selected as part of the academic program:

  • Participation in at least 1 formal seminar course for credit
  • Participation in a minimum of 8 informal or formal research seminars *

* Submit with the final MS Program a list of the seminars with a paragraph describing the content and the signature of the student's advisor.


For course tuition and fees, please click Tuition & Fees.

Time Commitment

Most part-time students take an average of 3 to 5 years to complete the 45-unit requirement. You must complete a Master's degree within 5 years of starting the program.


For assistance while in the application process, please contact the Electrical Engineering Student Services Office using the following email address: admissions@ee.stanford.edu

Expected Background

The ability to take advantage of modern computing facilities is an essential skill for electrical engineers, and an increasing number of our courses routinely require programming ability, which is considered to be a requirement for the MS degree. If students do not already possess such skills, they are required to acquire this skill, preferably early in their programs, by taking a regular Computer Science course, or one of the special "short courses" given by the Computation Center, or by self-study.

Program Proposal

To ensure adequate planning towards the MS degree, each student must file the Program Proposal form and submit it during the first quarter of enrollment in the program. Each student, with the help of a program advisor, prepares a program of study to meet his or her particular needs and submits it to the faculty for approval. If changes to the program are required, a Master's "Program Revision Form" should be submitted no later than the quarter prior to expected graduation.


Although every attempt should be made to meet the program guidelines, MS programs that deviate from 1 or more of the guidelines for good educational reasons may be submitted for consideration by the department on an individual basis following approval by their MS advisor. Submitting a petition for such a program for consideration by the MS Degree Committee does not automatically result in its approval and each case will be evaluated on its individual merits. Students should have their MS advisor initial the petition to show their approval.

Additional Details