This is a named option in the Electrical and Computer Engineering M.S.

The Electrical and Computer Engineering Department (ECE) offers the Electrical and Computer Engineering M.S.-Machine Learning and Signal Processing (MLSP) named option program which is intended for students looking for an advanced entry into a data science career in industry.

Students will learn quantitative thinking, practical problem-solving, computer programming, and applications to a variety of domains. It is designed to deepen the student's technical knowledge and sharpen their professional skills for a well-prepared entry into industry. The program provides a practical focus through a course-only curriculum, an accelerated and predictable 16-month completion time, and a professional development hands-on project requirement. Well-prepared students and UW–Madison undergraduates may find it feasible to complete the program in 12 months.

The required coursework draws upon foundational and cutting-edge methods in MLSP, and is taught by faculty conducting pioneering research in the field. Successful students will have some experience with linear algebra, statistics, and programming. The combined focus on the mathematical foundations of data science and their practical application to real-world problems will prepare graduates to be ready to immediately contribute in a variety of different jobs across data science, machine learning, and signal processing.

The focus of the MLSP program differs from the traditional research-based M.S. program. MLSP students do not conduct independent research and prepare a thesis, but rather have an accelerated course plan focused in the MLSP area with a professional development hands-on project, either via an internship/co-op or an independent project. Students also have the opportunity to take select courses from Engineering Professional Development. If you are interested in research and advanced concept development, you are better served pursuing a research-based M.S. program or a Ph.D. program. If you want to complete your degree in 12–16 months and have a fast-track into the data science workforce, then the MLSP program is right for you.

MLSP students cannot be simultaneously enrolled in another graduate program at UW–Madison while completing this program. 

After completing the program, students will earn a diploma stating “Master of Science in Electrical and Computer Engineering,” and the transcript will include the indication "Named Option: Machine Learning and Signal Processing."

For more information on this specific degree plan, please visit the program website.

Please consult the table below for key information about this degree program’s admissions requirements. The program may have more detailed admissions requirements, which can be found below the table or on the program’s website.

Graduate admissions is a two-step process between academic programs and the Graduate School. Applicants must meet the minimum requirements of the Graduate School as well as the program(s). Once you have researched the graduate program(s) you are interested in, apply online.

Fall Deadline December 15*
Spring Deadline This program does not admit in the spring.
Summer Deadline This program does not admit in the summer.
GRE (Graduate Record Examination) Required.**
English Proficiency Test Every applicant whose native language is not English or whose undergraduate instruction was not in English must provide an English proficiency test score and meet the Graduate School minimum requirements (https://grad.wisc.edu/apply/requirements/#english-proficiency).
Other Test(s) (e.g., GMAT, MCAT) n/a
Letters of Recommendation Required 3
*

Complete applications as of December 15 are guaranteed to be reviewed, but applicants are welcomed up to March 15 and will be reviewed as space is available.

**

For Fall 2023 applications, the GRE is optional, but we recommend submitting scores.
Applicants who have earned, or will be earning before starting the program, a bachelor's degree from UW-Madison are exempt from submitting a GRE test score.

A submitted online application is required, consisting of:

  • Resume/CV;
  • Statement of purpose; see the suggested guidelines provided by the Graduate School 
  • Most up to date unofficial transcript(s) from all previous higher education institutions, regardless of whether or not a degree was earned (official transcripts are requested of only recommended applicants); international academic records must be in the original language accompanied by an official English translation.
  • Test scores and three letters of recommendation as detailed above.

Applications must be entirely complete by the deadline, including test scores and letters of recommendation. Please note that it is highly advised to take the GRE and TOEFL/IELTS tests well in advance of the application deadline in order to ensure time for receiving and processing of the scores. Please do not mail any paper copies of application materials, except IELTS scores. They will not be reviewed.

Information for international students, including proof of funding and visa information, can be found on the Graduate School's website (https://grad.wisc.edu/international-students).

The department welcomes applications from scientific, engineering, and mathematical disciplines other than ECE. Applicants with a bachelor's degree may apply directly to the Ph.D. program.

Reentry admissions

If you were previously enrolled as a graduate student at UW–Madison, but have had a break in enrollment for at least one fall or spring semester, you will need to apply to resume your studies.

For applicants previously enrolled in a graduate program other than ECE, you must complete a new online application, including all materials, for admission.

For applicants previously enrolled in ECE as a graduate student, you must complete a reentry application. Reentry applicants may apply for the fall term with a deadline of June 1.

In order to apply as a reentry applicant, you must:

  • complete the online application (https://apply.grad.wisc.edu), including the personal information section, program and term selection, and supplementary application;
  • upload a CV/resume in the application portal;
  • upload a statement of purpose in the application portal;
  • upload any new unofficial transcripts from previous higher education institutions, excluding UW-Madison; and
  • submit three letters of recommendation if the break in enrollment equals or is greater than four semesters (fall, spring).

If the reentry applicant is unable to upload any of the additional required materials, please email them to the ECE Graduate Admissions Team (ecegradadmission@engr.wisc.edu). 

Current graduate student Admissions

Students currently enrolled as a graduate student at UW-Madison, whether in or other than ECE, wishing to apply to this degree program should contact the ECE Graduate Admissions Team (ecegradadmission@engr.wisc.edu) to inquire about the process and respective deadlines several months in advance of the anticipated enrollment term. Current students may apply to change or add programs for any term (fall, spring, or summer).

QUESTIONS?

Please review the frequently asked questions answered by the Graduate School here

If you have any admissions questions, please do not hesitate to contact the ECE Graduate Admissions Team at ecegradadmission@engr.wisc.edu.

Graduate School Resources

Resources to help you afford graduate study might include assistantships, fellowships, traineeships, and financial aid. Further funding information is available from the Graduate School. Be sure to check with your program for individual policies and restrictions related to funding.

program resources

Students enrolled in this program are not eligible to receive tuition remission from graduate assistantship appointments at this institution.

Tuition Scholarships for Accelerated MS Programs

The Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering offers a limited number of scholarships for highly qualified students that are accepted to the department’s accelerated MS programs. Award of the scholarships is merit based.

Eligibility Requirements

  • Must enroll in one of the Department's two named options programs:
    • Electrical and Computer Engineering: Machine Learning and Signal Processing
    • Electrical and Computer Engineering: Professional
  • Must have submitted a complete application prior to the December 15th application deadline.

Scholarship Amounts

  • The amount of the scholarship is indicated when the student is notified of the award.

Additional Information

  • Students who meet the above criteria are automatically eligible for this scholarship. No formal application by the student is necessary.
  • Students will be notified of scholarship award after acceptance to the program.

Minimum Graduate School Requirements

Review the Graduate School minimum academic progress and degree requirements, in addition to the program requirements listed below.

Named Option Requirements

MODE OF INSTRUCTION

Face to Face Evening/Weekend Online Hybrid Accelerated
Yes No No No Yes

Mode of Instruction Definitions

Accelerated: Accelerated programs are offered at a fast pace that condenses the time to completion. Students are able to complete a program with minimal disruptions to careers and other commitments.

Evening/Weekend: ​Courses meet on the UW–Madison campus only in evenings and/or on weekends to accommodate typical business schedules.  Students have the advantages of face-to-face courses with the flexibility to keep work and other life commitments.

Face-to-Face: Courses typically meet during weekdays on the UW-Madison Campus.

Hybrid: These programs combine face-to-face and online learning formats.  Contact the program for more specific information.

Online: These programs are offered 100% online.  Some programs may require an on-campus orientation or residency experience, but the courses will be facilitated in an online format.

CURRICULAR REQUIREMENTS

Minimum Credit Requirement 30 credits
Minimum Residence Credit Requirement 16 credits
Minimum Graduate Coursework Requirement 15 credits must be graduate-level coursework. Details can be found in the Graduate School’s Minimum Graduate Coursework (50%) policy (https://policy.wisc.edu/library/UW-1244).
Overall Graduate GPA Requirement 3.00 GPA required.
This program follows the Graduate School's GPA Requirement policy
(https://policy.wisc.edu/library/UW-1203).
Other Grade Requirements 1. A grade of B or better in any graduate course is acceptable.
2. A grade of BC in an E C E course is acceptable, provided the total cumulative GPA for graduate E C E courses is greater than or equal to 3.00.
3. A grade of BC or C in a non-E C E course is acceptable only if approved by the Graduate Committee.

Assessments and Examinations A specified course sequence must be completed.
Language Requirements Non-native speakers of English who enroll in the M.S. program must take the ESLAT test on arrival at the university and then take any recommended courses based on the exam results. In addition, if a student's advisor believes that his or her technical writing ability needs improvement, the student may be required to undertake remedial work.

Required Courses

Required Seminar:1
Seminar in Electrical and Computer Engineering 1
Hands-on project requirement. Choose one: 22-5
Capstone Project in Machine Learning and Signal Processing
Graduate Cooperative Education Program
At least one course in Machine Learning:3
Matrix Methods in Machine Learning
Introduction to Artificial Neural Networks
Probability and Information Theory in Machine Learning
Machine Learning
Mathematical Foundations of Machine Learning
Theoretical Foundations of Machine Learning
At least one course in Signal Processing:3
Digital Signal Processing
Image Processing
VLSI Array Structures for Digital Signal Processing
Signal Synthesis and Recovery Techniques
Advanced Digital Image Processing
At least 15 credits from the following (may not double-count a course from above):15
Digital Signal Processing
Communication Systems I
Communication Systems II
Introduction to Optimization
Matrix Methods in Machine Learning
Image Processing
Introduction to Artificial Neural Networks
Probability and Information Theory in Machine Learning
Special Topics in Electrical and Computer Engineering (as approved by faculty advisor)
Linear Systems
Optimal Systems
Information Theory
Probability and Random Processes
VLSI Array Structures for Digital Signal Processing
Signal Synthesis and Recovery Techniques
Wireless Communications
Advanced Digital Image Processing
Machine Learning
Mathematical Foundations of Machine Learning
Nonlinear Systems
Estimation and Decision Theory
Theoretical Foundations of Machine Learning
Special Topics in Electrical and Computer Engineering (as approved by faculty advisor, max of 3 credits)
Additional courses from the previous list, or up to 9 credits of relevant coursework 300-level or above in other departments with approval from faculty advisor 36-9
Typically in COMP SCI, MATH, STAT, or E P D (Engineering Professional Development)
Up to 3 credits of independent study (such as E C E 699 or equivalent in other department)
Total Credits30-36
1

All on-campus E C E graduate students must register for 1 credit of E C E 610 during their first semester of graduate studies.  

2

These courses are taken in Summer. Students taking E C E 702 should enroll for 2 credits.

3

Please keep written communication (emails are acceptable) of approvals from your faculty advisor.

The following courses are not allowed: E C E 611 Introduction to Doctoral Research in Electrical & Computer Engineering or E C E 790 Master's Research, E C E 890 Pre-Dissertator's Research.

Students in this program may not take courses outside the prescribed curriculum without faculty advisor and program director approval. Students in this program cannot enroll concurrently in other undergraduate, graduate or certificate programs.

Graduate School Policies

The Graduate School’s Academic Policies and Procedures provide essential information regarding general university policies. Program authority to set degree policies beyond the minimum required by the Graduate School lies with the degree program faculty. Policies set by the academic degree program can be found below.

Named Option-Specific Policies

Prior Coursework

Graduate Work from Other Institutions

This program follows the Graduate School's policy for Satisfying Requirements with Prior Graduate Coursework from Other Institutions.

UW–Madison Undergraduate*

With program approval, up to 7 credits from UW–Madison numbered 400 or above can be counted toward the minimum graduate degree credit requirement. Up to 7 credits of E C E courses numbered 700 or above can be counted toward the minimum graduate coursework (50%) requirement. No credits can be counted toward the minimum graduate residence credit requirement. Coursework earned five or more years prior to admission to a master’s degree is not allowed to satisfy requirements.

*ABET-Accredited Undergraduate Credit from Other Institutions: With program approval, students may count up to 7 credits of undergraduate coursework from a bachelor of science degree in Electrical Engineering, Computer Engineering, Electrical and Computer Engineering, Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, or Computer Science from an ABET-accredited program at other institutions (not UW–Madison) toward fulfillment of minimum degree requirements. 

Courses numbered 300 or above may be counted towards the minimum graduate degree credit requirement and courses numbered 700 or above may be counted towards the minimum graduate coursework (50%) requirement. No credits from other institutions can be counted toward the minimum graduate residence credit requirement. Coursework earned five or more years prior to admission to a master’s degree is not allowed to satisfy requirements.

UW–Madison University Special

With program approval, students are allowed to count up to 9 credits of coursework numbered 400 or above taken as a UW–Madison University Special student toward the minimum graduate residence credit requirement, and the minimum graduate degree credit requirement. Courses numbered 700 or above taken as a UW–Madison Special student can count toward the minimum graduate coursework (50%) requirement. Coursework earned five or more years prior to admission is not allowed to satisfy requirements.

Probation

This program follows the Graduate School's Probation policy.

See program policies under "Other," below, for more details.

ADVISOR / COMMITTEE

New students must declare a course plan approved by an advisor by the end of the second week of classes in the first semester.

CREDITS PER TERM ALLOWED

Students will be required to enroll in at least nine credits per semester of relevant MLSP courses chosen from i) a list of courses inside the department, ii) or relevant courses outside the department with faculty adviser approval as specified in the graduate program handbook. In the final semester, students only need to enroll in enough credits to graduate.

Enrollment in the summer term is required.

Time Limits

Students are expected to complete the degree requirements and graduate within 3 academic semesters.

Otherwise, this program follows the Graduate School's Time Limits policy.

Grievances and Appeals

These resources may be helpful in addressing your concerns:

ECE Grievance Procedures

Exceptions, Extensions, and Appeals

Petitions for exceptions to academic requirements are considered on an individual case-by-case basis and granted exceptions do not constitute a precedent. Deviations from established policies are strongly discouraged, but certain extenuating academic and personal circumstances may warrant exceptions. Petitions for course exceptions/substitutions, exceptions to the Satisfactory Progress Expectations (academic or conduct), or other policy exceptions shall be directed to the ECE Graduate Committee, and in some circumstances to the appropriate program coordinator. The following procedures apply to all petitions:

  1. Student must first consult with their advisor(s).

  2. Student is advised to also consult with the ECE Graduate Student Services Coordinator for additional advice.

  3. Student and advisor(s) must both submit written documentation requesting and explaining the petition to the ECE Graduate Student Services Coordinator:

  4. Identify the specific requirement/rule/expectation pertinent to the petition;

  5. Explain the rationale for petition and why it should be granted;

  6. Advisor(s) must support the petition.

The ECE Graduate Student Services Coordinator will forward the petition to the ECE Graduate Committee and appropriate program coordinator for adjudication. Student and advisor(s) will be notified of the ECE Graduate Committee’s decision and the note will be placed in the student’s file.

Please note that petitions for exceptions to clearly-defined program rules are rarely approved by the ECE Graduate Committee.

Progress Requirements

The ECE Graduate Committee may grant extensions to normal progress requirements in circumstances such as childbirth, adoption, significant responsibilities with respect to elder or dependent care obligations, disability or chronic illness, or circumstances beyond one’s personal control. Petitions for extensions should provide evidence of plans and ability to return to conformance with program expectations and to acceptably complete the program. Extensions beyond one semester will be granted only in the event of highly extraordinary circumstances. Extensions will be recorded with a note of explanation placed in the student’s file.

Students desiring confidentiality of their circumstances should consult with the Associate Chair for Graduate Studies.

Appeal of Previous Decisions

Appeals of ECE Graduate Committee decisions may be pursued regarding any academic issue, including exceptions to program requirements, progress requirements, AGS and Qualifying Exam decisions.  Appeals will only be considered if the student provides new information that was not available to the ECE Graduate Committee at the time the original decision was made. Appeals must be submitted within one month of the date the student was notified of the ECE Graduate Committee action being appealed.

If the student believes their appeal was not appropriately handled or resolved by the ECE Department, the student may further appeal to the College of Engineering by contacting the Assistant Dean for Graduate Affairs. Such appeals must be submitted within one month of the date the student was notified of the ECE Graduate Committee denial.

Grievances

The ECE Department, College of Engineering, and University of Wisconsin offer multiple avenues to resolve unfair or inappropriate treatment by faculty, staff, or another student. This includes hostile and intimidating research group climate, authorship disputes, unreasonable expectations, and disrespectful behavior.  The manner in which the grievance is handled depends on the nature of the issue and specific concerns of the aggrieved student. Graduate Assistants in TA, PA and/or RA appointments may utilize the Graduate Assistantship Policies and Procedures (GAPP) grievance process to resolve employment-related issues. Examples of matters appropriate for the GAPP grievance process include allegations of excessive work hours, violations of sick days or vacation policies, or disputes regarding the assignment of duties.

In some cases the best approach is for the aggrieved student to discuss their concern directly with the person responsible for the objectionable action.

If the student is uncomfortable making direct contact with the other individual or desires a confidential consultation about their concern, they may contact the ECE Associate Chair for Graduate Studies, the ECE Grievance Advisor, or the College of Engineering Assistant Dean for Graduate Affairs.  These individuals work to resolve the concern while being sensitive to student confidentiality. 

Change of advisor

Students who believe they are in a research environment that fails to meet ECE and College of Engineering standards for climate and culture should contact the ECE Associate Chair for Graduate Studies, the ECE Grievance Advisor, or the College of Engineering Assistant Dean for Graduate Affairs for additional consultation.  They will work with the student to explore alternate advising arrangements and ensure continuity of financial support should the student need to leave the research group. Note that immigration status is NOT tied to a specific research advisor.

Formal Written Complaint Process

Issues that are not resolved to the student’s satisfaction may be pursued at the student’s discretion by submitting a written complaint to the ECE Grievance Advisor. The steps described below are based on the Definition and Procedure section of the Graduate Assistantship Policies and Procedures (GAPP) Grievance Procedure.

Step One: The grievant must file a written statement with the ECE Grievance Advisor specifying the grievant’s name, a clear and concise statement of the grievance and the issue(s) involved, the date(s) the incident or violation took place and the specific departmental, college, or university policies involved, and the relief sought. The grievance shall be signed and dated by the grievant(s) and representative (if any).

Within twenty (20) days of receipt of the written grievance, the ECE Grievance Advisor will meet with the grievant and their representative (if chosen) to hear the grievance and will return a written answer to the grievant and their representative (if chosen) no later than ten (10) days after this meeting. This answer will include a copy of the grievance procedure appeal process timeline, a list of resources and relevant contact information for future steps.

Step Two:  If the decision in Step One is not accepted by the grievant, the grievant shall have 10 days from receipt of the answer in Step One to file an appeal with the College of Engineering Assistant Dean for Graduate Affairs.  The Assistant Dean for Graduate Affairs will meet with the grievant and their representative (if chosen) within twenty (20) days from receipt of the appeal of Step One and attempt to resolve the grievance.  The Assistant Dean for Graduate Affairs will provide the grievant and their representative (if chosen) with a written response to the grievance no later than ten (10) days after this meeting.

Step Three:  If the decision in Step Two is not accepted by the grievant, the grievant shall have 10 days from the receipt of the answer in Step Two to file an appeal with the Graduate School as described in Grievances and Appeals.

Other

Students enrolled in the MLSP program may not change their degree goal to different M.S. program or a Ph.D. without formally applying to and being accepted into the new program.

Students are strongly discouraged to pursue positions as Project Assistants, Teaching Assistants or Research Assistants during their time in this program, as the rigor and accelerated nature of this program may not accommodate those work time commitments. Students in this program will not receive the tuition remission that is typically part of the compensation package for a graduate assistantship.

Graduate School Resources

Take advantage of the Graduate School's professional development resources to build skills, thrive academically, and launch your career. 

DEPARTMENT OF ELECTRICAL AND COMPUTER ENGINEERING RESOURCES

UW–Madison, the College of Engineering, and ECE have an abundance of professional development opportunities for students to take advantage of in order to better prepare themselves for internships and job positions during and following their education. First of all, the ECE Department strongly encourages students to utilize the Graduate School's  professional development resourcesEngineering Career Services (ECS) hosts multiple career fairs each semester where students can directly interact with prospective employers, schedule interviews, and find internships and full-time jobs. ECS also maintains job listings and hosts a variety of professional development workshops each semester. The ECE Department provides unique opportunities throughout the year for students to attend and participate in various lectures, workshops, and trainings. The ECE Graduate Student Association (GSA) organizes professional development opportunities for fellow students. Students are made aware of events and opportunities via email and other communications.

Professors

Susan Hagness (Chair)
David T. Anderson
Nader Behdad
John Booske
Dan Botez
Azadeh Davoodi
John A. Gubner (Associate Chair for Operations)
William N. Hitchon
Yu Hen Hu
Hongrui Jiang
Irena Knezevic
Bernard Lesieutre (Associate Chair for Undergraduate Studies)
Mikko Lipasti
Zhenqiang Ma
Luke J. Mawst
Robert Nowak
Parameswaran Ramanathan
William A. Sethares
Daniel van der Weide
Barry Van Veen (Associate Chair for Graduate and Online Studies)
Giri Venkataramanan
Amy E. Wendt

Associate Professors

Steven Fredette
Mikhail Kats
Daniel Ludois
Paul H. Milenkovic
Umit Ogras
Bulent Sarlioglu
Zongfu Yu

Assistant Professors

Joseph Andrews
Kassem Fawaz
Dominic Gross
Chirag Gupta
Younghyun Kim
Bhuvana Krishnaswamy
Kangwook Lee
Chu Ma
Matthew Malloy
Pedro Morgado
Dimitris Papailiopoulos
Shubhra Pasayat
Line Roald
Joshua San Miguel
Eric Severson
Andreas Velten
Ramya Korlakai Vinayak
Ying Wang

Teaching Faculty

Mark C. Allie
Eduardo Arvelo
Eric Hoffman
Joe Krachey
Srdjan Milicic

See also Electrical and Computer Engineering Faculty Directory.