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New Master of Engineering in ECE provides professional training for industry-track students

The program is highly structured and emphasizes rigorous theory combined with practical training.

 

A new Master of Engineering (MEng) in Electrical and Computer Engineering degree program will be offered beginning fall 2020. The MEng program is specially designed for students who plan to enter industry after graduation and who have decided their specialty.

The program is highly structured and emphasizes rigorous theory combined with practical training. Additional areas of focus are project management, communication, and entrepreneurship. The program leverages the strong course content of the College of Engineering’s #1 nationally ranked Center for Entrepreneurship.

“The goal of the program is to train students with basic knowledge, hands-on experience, practical training, and entrepreneurship in areas where there are high demands from industries,” says Prof. Leung Tsang, who oversaw the development of the program. “I hope that the graduates find good placement and excel in industries.”

MEng will be offered in a variety of concentrations. Current students can enroll in the Data Science & Machine Learning (DS/ML) concentration beginning fall 2020, and prospective students can also apply for the concentration in Autonomous Systems, available fall 2021. More MEng concentrations will be added in the future, including Semiconductor Manufacturing, VLSI, and Embedded Systems & Cybersecurity.

I am very excited about the hands-on components in this program.

Mingyan Liu, Peter and Evelyn Fuss Chair of ECE

The concentration in Data Science & Machine Learning focuses on the use of data science and machine learning in modern engineering projects and systems for sensing, control, inference, planning, and decision making. Students will learn to understand the engineering problem and the skills needed to use data in solving the problem; obtain the process data in large-scale complex engineering systems; and apply the resulting analytics to solve the problem.

There has been a huge rise in demand for data science and machine learning training from ECE students and their potential employers. In a recent conversation with researchers and engineers from Ford, they observed that it is very easy for them to hire someone trained in automotive engineering or data science, but much harder to find someone trained in both, and nearly impossible to find someone versed in automotive engineering, data science, and data engineering, which is what they really want. Other employers have given similar comments.

The concentration in Autonomous Systems, also being offered in response to demand from students and employers, focuses on the design and engineering aspects of autonomous systems and operations. Students will gain knowledge in sensors, sensing, signal processing, and control, and apply that knowledge to the broad family of autonomous systems that includes robots, autonomous driving, and any engineering system that can be made to operate independently.

A strong focus of the MEng program is hands-on learning and practical experiences.

“I am very excited about the hands-on components in this program, as well as the systems principle behind the design of these hands-on experiences,” says Mingyan Liu, Peter and Evelyn Fuss Chair of ECE. “In the case of the DS/ML concentration, the lab design is set within the context of an engineering system and is not just about analyzing data. It really focuses on the acquisition system and how data-driven decisions are/should be made.”

Students should be able to complete the MEng degree in one calendar year, and possibly two semesters (Fall followed by Winter semester). An internship can fulfill six academic credits, giving students and ECE opportunities to partner with industries.

The MEng program is distinct from the Master of Science (MS) program, particularly in terms of flexibility. The MS program is highly flexible in terms of curriculum, making it suitable for students who either may not know exactly which field they want to focus on, or who want to have greater input on which courses they take.

The concentrations available in the MEng program are aligned with emerging application areas of high workforce demand. Individual courses within the concentrations are selected due to their direct relevance to industry needs. Several companies have already supported the classes through software and hardware donations, and through in-class contests that help serve as recruiting opportunities. The new MEng program will continue to foster and grow these close relationships between individual companies and the department.

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