Thesis Track Degree Requirements

About this track: This track provides students with a classical experience of writing a thesis document that solves a substantial ECE-related problem. This experience, combined with graduate courses that delve into related ECE topics, prepares students for careers in research or pursuing a doctoral degree.

Timeline: Most thesis students complete the MSECE in two academic years.

Research credit requirement: Student in the thesis track will register for ECE 69800, Research MS Thesis.


  • Students should consult with their major professor to determine the number of ECE 69800 hours to register for each semester; a maximum of 12 hours can be counted toward the needed 30 credit hours.  
  • ECE 69800 hours count toward the 15-credit hour ECE graduate-level credits requirement.
  • ECE 69600, Advanced ECE Projects, ECE 69700, Directed Reading EE, and ECE 69200, Introduction to Graduate Research credit hours cannot satisfy degree requirements for the thesis track (i.e., do not count toward the needed 30 credit hours).

Degree requirements:

  • Total credit hours: 30, including at least 15 credit hours of graduate-level ECE credits
    • Up to 12 credit hours may be ECE 69800, Research MS Thesis
  • Required ECE core courses: 2 (6 credit hours)
    • One core course from the student’s primary area and a second that adds breadth of ECE knowledge.
  • Required math courses: 1 (3 credit hours)
  • Required graduate seminar: All thesis-track students must complete ECE 69400: Graduate Seminar.
    • This is a zero-credit-hour course that does not go on your plan of study.
    • We recommend that you take course this during your first or second semester.
  • Not allowed: ECE 69600 (Advanced EE Projects) or ECE 69700 (Directed Reading EE)

Frequently Asked Questions

How to I find a faculty member to supervise my thesis?

Use the Purdue ECE faculty directory to research faculty members and their areas of interest. Once you identify faculty members with whom you might like to work, contact them by email, explaining your areas of interest.

Networking with current ECE students who are in the thesis track is also a good way to learn more about how to find a thesis advisor.   

What do I do if the semester has begun and I haven’t found a thesis advisor?

You can continue to look for a thesis advisor. You can register for research up until mid-semester if you are able to find an advisor.

What GPA do I need to earn the MSECE?

You must have a plan-of-study GPA of 3.0 to successfully complete the MSECE. Graduate-level transfer courses are not included in your GPA calculation.