THE UNIVERSITY OF ALABAMA GRADUATE CATALOG
Table of Contents > College of Engineering

11.6.6  DEPARTMENT OF ELECTRICAL AND COMPUTER ENGINEERING (ECE)
Chair: Professor Tim Haskew, Office: 332A Houser Hall
 
The Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering offers programs leading to the master of science and doctor of philosophy degrees. The department has focused on three main research areas: devices and materials; electromechanical systems; and embedded systems. These efforts are supported by multiples research laboratories within the department. In addition to department research laboratories, students have access to facilities in the Center for Materials for Information Technology. For computing purposes, students may use numerous PC and workstation networks supported by the department and the College of Engineering.

 

 

Admission Requirements
Applicants for graduate work in electrical and computer engineering must apply for admission to the Graduate School. Each applicant must submit a statement of purpose. Regular admission may be granted to an applicant who has an electrical engineering degree from an ABET-accredited program and an overall GPA above 3.0 on a 4.0 scale. Electrical engineering graduates from non-ABET accredited programs can be awarded regular admission if they have overall GPAs of 3.0 on a 4.0 scale and an acceptable general test score on the Graduate Record Examination. Conditional admission may be granted to applicants who do not meet these requirements, such as those who have degrees in related fields or GPAs below 3.0. International students must have minimum TOEFL scores of 585 for the MS degree program and 620 for the PhD program.

 

Additional information is in the Admission Criteria section of this catalog.

 

 

Degree Requirements:


Master of Science

The department offers MS degrees with a thesis (Plan I) and a nonthesis (Plan II) option.

 

Plan I requires 30 credit hours with at least 24 at the graduate level (i.e., at the 500 or 600 level). These credit hours must include at least 12 hours in a concentration area within electrical and computer engineering; 3 hours in mathematics, general engineering studies, or the sciences (physics, chemistry, or biology); 9 hours in an approved elective area; and 6 hours of thesis research. Majoring in some areas of specialization may require specific courses in that area. The student must pass a final comprehensive examination, which typically is a presentation and defense of the thesis.

 

Plan II requires 30 credit hours with at least 24 at the graduate level (i.e., at the 500 or 600 level). These credit hours must include at least 15 hours in a concentration area within electrical and computer engineering; 3 hours in mathematics, general engineering studies, or the sciences (physics, chemistry, or biology); and 12 hours in an approved elective area. A graduate supervisory committee approved manuscript authored or co-authored by the candidate, and submitted to a refereed journal or conference shall constitute the University of Alabama Graduate School "culminating" or "capstone" experience requirement for an MS Plan II degree in Electrical and Computer Engineering.  In addition, the student must satisfy all the Graduate School Degree Requirements.

 

Doctor of Philosophy

In the electrical and computer engineering department, the PhD degree requires a minimum of 48 credit hours of coursework. This must include 27 credit hours of closely related coursework in the major area. In addition, each student's program must include 15 hours in a minor field of electrical and computer engineering or other approved area; 6 hours in mathematics, general engineering studies, or science (physics, chemistry, or biology); and 24 hours of dissertation research.

 

Early in the program each student meets with an advisor to complete a Plan of Study. The PhD Plan of Study is available at the Graduate School website. All doctoral students must have a completed Plan of Study approved by the Graduate School no later than the semester during which the student will complete 30 semester hours of UA and/or transfer credit for the doctoral degree. 

 

All candidates must pass a qualifying examination and a final examination. The final examination is generally is a presentation and defense of the dissertation. A department-approved Admission to Candidacy for the Doctoral Degree is submitted to the Graduate School as soon as possible after passing the qualifying examination. 

 

See the online Graduate Catalog (Sec. 4.11.3) and the College of Engineering (Sec 11.3 MS and Sec. 11.4 PhD) for details on plan of study, admission to candidacy, and all other degree requirements.

 

 

Course Descriptions
Master's degree students may earn graduate credit for a maximum of 6 semester hours of 400-level course credit but only if a form for Approval of 400-Level Course Work for Master's Credit is approved by the department and Graduate School prior to the semester in which the 400-level coursework will be taken.

 

ECE 504 Sensor Networks. Three hours.
Prerequisites: ECE 383.
Basic architecture and applications of wireless sensor networks (WSN). Hardware components of WSN, WSN operating systems, transport layer, routing layer, MAC layer, and data link layer of WSN.

 

ECE 506 Computer Communications and Networks. Three hours.
Prerequisites: CS 357, ECE 383, or consent of instructor.
Introduction to computer communications and networks. Topics include physical topologies, various protocols, the OSI and TCP/IP Reference Models, error detection and correction, routing algorithms, congestion control, example networks, and network applications.

 

ECE 508 Communications. Three hours.
Prerequisites: ECE 370 and MATH 355 or consent of instructor.
Analog and digital communication systems, random signals, sampling, filtering, analog-to-digital encoding, advanced digital modulation/demodulation, source encoding/decoding, channel encoding/decoding, multiplexing, system performance analysis.

 

ECE 509 Communications Laboratory. One hour.
Prerequisites: ECE 370 and MATH 355 or consent of instructor.

Corequisites: ECE 508.
Modeling and design of communication systems. Familiarization with specialized communications equipment and techniques. Proper use of laboratory instruments.

 

ECE 530 Solid State Devices. Three hours.
Prerequisites: ECE 330. Solid-state physics for semiconductor devices, PN junction, metal semiconductor junction, JFET/MESFET, MOSFET, BJT, and non-ideal behaviors of solid-state devices. Organic thin-film devices, including organic solar cells, thin-film transistors, light-emitting diodes, and their application for flexible displays.

 

ECE 532 VLSI Design. Three hours.
Prerequisites: ECE 332 or consent of instructor.
Digital design issues in the context of VLSI systems. Introduction to CMOS digital design methodology, layout techniques, behavioral models, circuit simulation and testing of complex systems.

 

ECE 534 Mixed-Signal Circuits. Three hours.
Prerequisites: ECE 332 or consent of instructor.
Design and testing issues in the context of mixed-signal embedded systems. Introduction to CMOS mixed-signal design methodology, layout techniques, analog-to-digital converters, digital-to-analog converters, circuit simulation, and testing and packaging of complex mixed-signal systems.

 

ECE 535 Microsystems Packaging. Three hours.
Prerequisites: ECE 332 or consent of instructor.
Microsystems packaging issues in the context of variety of packaging technologies in system-on-package, system-in-package, package-on-package, system-on-chip, and wafer-level packaging.

 

ECE 538 Integrated Circuit Fabrication Principles. Three hours.
Prerequisites: ECE 333, MTE 271, or consent of instructor.
Study of the processing tools used in semiconductor device fabrication. Topics include semiconductor fundamentals, semiconductor device fabrication processes, interconnections and contacts, integrated circuit packaging, and chip yield. Oral presentation and advance analytical work required.

 

ECE 539 Thin Film Technology. Three hours.
Prerequisites: ECE 225 or PH 253 or consent of instructor.
Crystal structure and defects, film nucleation and growth models, growth of polycrystalline and epitaxial films, vacuum science technology, physical and chemical vapor deposition, solution based methods, thin film characterization techniques.

 

ECE 540 Electromagnetic Waves. Three hours.
Prerequisites: ECE 340 or consent of instructor.
Mathematics and physics of the radiation, propagation, and scattering of electromagnetic waves. Boundary value problems involving finite and infinite structures, waveguides, antennas, and media.

 

ECE 545 Antennas. Three hours.  Prerequisites: ECE 340 or PH 332.
Transmission and reception of power and information in free space; antennas as interface elements; impedance and radiation characteristics of modern antennas.

 

ECE 551 Power Electronics. Three hours.
Prerequisites: ECE 332 and ECE 350.
Detailed study on the theory and operation of power electronic converters and systems.

Overview of enabling power semiconductor switching devices. Introduction to feedback control of converters. Machine drives fundamentals.

 

ECE 552 Power Electronics Laboratory. One hour.

Prerequisites: ECE 332 and ECE 350. Corequisites: ECE 551.

Laboratory experience in three-phase power systems and electric machinery. Laboratory experience on the theory and operation of power electronic converters, systems, and machine drives.

 

ECE 553 Power Systems. Three hours.
Prerequisites: ECE 350.
Basic power-system concepts and per-unit quantities; transmission line, transformer, and rotating machine modeling; power flow; symmetrical component of power systems; faulted power system analysis.

 

ECE 554 Power Systems Laboratory. One hour.
Prerequisites: ECE 350. Corequisites: ECE 553.
Test and analysis of power systems and machine devices and the design of systems using devices.

 

ECE 555 Electromechanical Systems. Three hours.
Prerequisites: ECE 225 and MATH 238.
Static and dynamic modeling, analysis, and simulation of mechanical, electrical, hydraulic, and mixed systems. MATLAB and SIMULINK model development and simulation.

 

ECE 561 Quantum Well Electronics and Devices. Three hours.
Prerequisites: ECE 330 or PH 253 or consent of instructor.
Energy levels and wave functions of semiconductor microstructures; envelope function approximation; quantum wells; superlattices; excitons; optical and electrical properties; selection rules; quantum confined Stark effect; Wannier-Stark localization; field-effect transistors, tunneling devices, quantum well lasers, electro-optic modulators, quantum-well intersubband photodetectors.

 

ECE 562 Semiconductor Optoelectronics. Three hours.
Prerequisites: PH 253 or consent of instructor.
Elemental and compound semiconductors; fundamentals of semiconductor physical properties; solid state physics; optical recombination and absorption; light emitting diodes; quantum well lasers; quantum dots lasers; blue lasers; semiconductor modulators; photodetectors; semiconductor solar cell; semiconductor nanostructure devices.

 

ECE 563 Magnetic Materials and Devices. Three hours.
Prerequisites: ECE 340 or consent of instructor.
Diamagnetism and paramagnetism, ferromagnetism, antiferromagnetism, ferrimagnetism, magnetic anisotropy, domains and the magnetization process, fine particles and thin films, magnetization dynamics.

 

ECE 566 Fundamentals of Nanotechnology. Three hours.
Prerequisites: ECE 330 or PH 253.
Nanofabrication with electron-beam lithography, focused-ion beam lithothgraphy, and nanoimprint; microscopies for nanostructures, including SEM, EDX, TEM, AFM, STM; nano-scale devices based on nanostructured materials (carbon nanotubes and metal-oxide nanomaterials).

 

ECE 575 Stochastic Processes. Three hours. Same as GES 575.
Prerequisites: GES 500.
Engineering applications of probability theory. Problems on sequences of random variables, convergence, stochastic processes, stationarity, ergodicity, correlation function, spectral densities, linear systems with random inputs, design of filters and predictors, and Markov processes.

 

ECE 579 Digital Control Systems. Three hours.
Prerequisites: ECE 370, ECE 475, and either GES 451 or MATH 237.
Frequency and time domain methods in discrete time control systems; sampling of continuous-time signals, stability, transform design techniques, state variable analysis, and design techniques.

 

ECE 580 Digital Systems Design. Three hours.
Prerequisites: ECE 383.
Corequisites: ECE 581.
Digital systems design with hardware description languages, programmable implementation technologies, electronic design automation design flows, design considerations and constraints, design for test, system on a chip designs, IP cores, reconfigurable computing, digital system design examples and applications.

ECE 581 Digital Systems Design Laboratory. One hour.
Prerequisites: ECE 383.
Corequisites: ECE 580.
Logic design and simulation via hardware description languages, use of electronic design automation tools, and CPU design.

 

ECE 582 Computer Vision and Digital Image Processing. Three hours.
Prerequisites: MATH 355 and ECE 285, or consent of instructor.
Introduction to computer vision and digital image processing with an emphasis on image representation, transforms, filtering, compression, boundary detection, and pattern matching.

 

ECE 584 Advanced Computer Architecture. Three hours. Same as CS 567.
Prerequisites: ECE 383.
Computer architectures, computer design, memory systems design, parallel processing concepts, supercomputers, networks, and multiprocessing systems.

 

ECE 585 Programmable Logic Controllers. Three hours.
Prerequisites: ECE 383 or consent of instructor.
Programmable Logic Controllers, fundamentals of ladder logic programming and PLC systems, advanced PLC operation and related topics including networking, control applications, and human-machine interface design.

 

ECE 586 Embedded Systems. Three hours.
Prerequisites: ECE 383
Corequisites: ECE 587
Integration of microprocessors into digital systems. Includes hardware interfacing, bus protocols and peripheral systems, embedded and real-time operating systems, real-time constraints, networking and distributed process control.

ECE 587 Embedded Systems Laboratory. One hour.
Prerequisites: ECE 383
Corequisites: ECE 586
Design and implementation experience with microcontrollers, interfacing, digital control systems, bus protocols and peripheral systems, real-time constraints, embedded and real-time operating systems, distribution process control.

 

ECE 593 Special Topics (Area). Variable credit.
Advanced topics of a specialized nature.

ECE 598 Research Not Related to Thesis. One to six hours.

ECE 599 Master's Thesis Research. One to twelve hours.

 

ECE 604 Advanced Sensor Networks. Three hours.
Prerequisites: ECE 404 or ECE 504.
Advanced topics in wireless sensor networks including time synchronization, sensor localization, network security, and sensor data mining.

 

ECE 637 Fundamentals of Solid State Engineering.  (Same as MTE 684)  Three hours.

Prerequisite:  PH 253 or by permission of the instructor.

Fundamentals of solid state physics and quantum mechanics are covered to explain the physical principles underlying the design and operation of semiconductor devices.  The second part covers applications to semiconductor microdevices and nanodevices such as diodes, transistors, lasers, and photodetectors incorporating quantum structures. 

 

ECE 638 Advances in Integrated Circuit Processing. Three hours.
Prerequisites: ECE 438 or ECE 538.
Semiconductor Roadmap; wafer cleaning; thin film deposition processes, advanced lithographic techniques; wet/dry etching; deep reactive ion etching; chemical mechanical planarization; ultra thin oxides; low k dielectrics; high k materials; interconnect metallization; and self assembly.

 

ECE 652 Operation and Control of Power Systems. Three hours.
State estimation in power systems; automatic generation control; load forecasting; economic dispatch; power pools and interchange evaluation; energy production costing; voltage collapse.

 

ECE 661 Advanced Quantum Electronics. Three hours.
Prerequisites: PH 253 or consent of instructor.
Advanced quantum mechanics; operators and Hilbert space; Lagrangian and Hamiltonian; quantization of harmonic oscillators and electromagnetic fields; perturbation theory; interaction of light and matter; quantum treatment of stimulated emission, spontaneous emission, and absorption, laser rate equations; semiconductor laser theory.

 

ECE 662 Advanced Nanoscience. Three hours.
Prerequisites: PH 253 or consent of instructor.
Advanced quantum physics; basics of nanotechnology; molecular and nanoelectronics; fundamentals in nanophotonics; interaction of light and matter; nanostructure characterization; Bionanotechnology.

 

ECE 663 Spin Electronics. Three hours.
Prerequisites: ECE 463 or ECE 563 or consent of instructor.
Electron spin. Giant magnetoresistance theory. Spin-tunneling phenomena in magnetic tunneling junctions. Spin structure to spin electronics. Image of magnetization configuration. Magnetic materials for spin electronics devices. Spin transport to design of magnetic nanodevices.

 

ECE 664 Ferroelectric/Multiferroic Devices. Three hours.
Prerequisites: ECE 439 or ECE 539 or consent of instructor.
Ferroelectricity, pyroelectricity and piezoelectricity; devices based on these properties, high permittivity and tunable dielectrics for broadband wireless communications, ferroelectric memory, pyroelectric IR sensors and piezoelectric devices for MEMS; multiferroic materials and their impact on future technologies.

 

ECE 674 Nonlinear Control Systems. Three hours. Same as AEM 578.
Prerequisites: ECE 475.
Classical and modern methods for the analysis and design of nonlinear automatic control systems. State variables, phase plane, describing functions, relay control, and optimal and adaptive control systems are covered.

 

ECE 680 System-on-Chip Design. Three hours.
Prerequisites: ECE 580 and ECE 581, or consent of instructor.
Basic issues in System-on-Chip (SOC) design, SOC hardware structures, SOC design methodologies, system-level design of complex SOCs, configurable processors, advanced topics in SOC design.

 

ECE 686 Real-Time Systems. Three hours.
Prerequisites: ECE 586 and ECE 587, or consent of instructor.
Introduction to real-time systems, hard vs. soft real-time, multi-tasking, real-time scheduling including rate monotonic, deadline monotonic, and several list-based and priority scheduling algorithms.

 

ECE 693 Special Topics (Area). One to five hours.
Advanced topics of a specialized nature.

ECE 698 Research Not Related to Dissertation. One to six hours.

ECE 699 Doctoral Dissertation Research. Three to twelve hours.

 


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