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Academic Programs and Requirements
More than 800 students attend Santa Clara University’s graduate engineering programs each quarter. The School of Engineering offers a large variety of programs to meet the needs of these engineering professionals.
B.S./M.S. FIVE-YEAR DUAL DEGREE PROGRAM
The School of Engineering offers qualified Santa Clara University undergraduates the opportunity to earn both a bachelor of science and a master of science degree in five years. This is an excellent way to save time and open up more career possibilities early on. The degree is offered in bioengineering, civil engineering, computer science and engineering, electrical engineering, engineering management and leadership**, mechanical engineering and software engineering. This program is also open to students in the College of Arts and Sciences who are majoring in mathematics, biology, computer science or engineering physics.
The application fee and GRE General Test requirement are waived. Automatic admission into the five year program is based on a minimum GPA of 3.0 in the major. Upon notification of acceptance into the B.S./M.S. program, students may begin taking graduate-level courses in their senior year and a maximum of 20 units can be transferred into the graduate program.
Please Note: Undergraduate students will be charged the current undergraduate tuition rate while enrolled in those graduate courses. Once students have been matriculated into the master’s degree program, current graduate tuition rates will be charged.
**For more information on the engineering management and leadership option, visit the website .
Certificate programs are designed to provide intensive background in a focused area at the graduate level. With 16-20 required units for completion, each certificate is designed to be completed in a much shorter period of time than an advanced degree. Santa Clara’s certificate programs are appropriate for students working in industry who wish to update their skills or for those interested in changing their career path.
All Santa Clara University courses applied toward the completion of a certificate program earn graduate credit that may also be applied toward a graduate degree, subject to the requirements of the degree program. Students who wish to continue for such a degree must submit a separate application and satisfy all normal admission requirements. The general Graduate Record Examination (GRE) test requirement for graduate admission to the master’s degree will be waived for students who have been formally admitted to and who have completed a certificate program with a GPA of 3.5 or better.
Certificate programs are offered in frugal innovation, renewable energy, software engineering, information assurance, networking, ASIC design and test, analog circuit design, digital signal processing applications, digital signal processing theory, microwave and antennas, fundamentals of electrical engineering, technology jump-start, materials, mechanical design analysis, mechatronics systems engineering, dynamics, controls, and thermofluids. For more specific information on each certificate, please view the certificat program section of this site
Please Note: Santa Clara University does not issue F-1 visas to applicants who wish to enter directly into this program.
Continuation for a Master’s Degree
MASTER OF SCIENCE PROGRAM
The master’s program is designed to extend the technical breadth and depth of an engineer’s knowledge. Students in this program complete a program of studies approved by the faculty advisor in the major department. The program must include no less than 45 quarter units and a 3.0 GPA (B average) must be earned in all coursework taken at Santa Clara. Residence requirements of the University are met by completing 36 quarter units of the graduate program at Santa Clara. A maximum of 9 quarter units (6 semester units) of graduate-level coursework may be transferred from other accredited institutions that have not been applied to a previous degree at the discretion of the student’s advisor. All units applied toward the degree, including those transferred from other institutions, must be earned within a six-year period.
Students have the option to write a thesis as part of their master’s degree. Students who choose this option are responsible for obtaining an advisor for their thesis work. The maximum number of units awarded for the master’s thesis is nine. Please note that the thesis option is not available in Engineering Management.
The School of Engineering offers master’s programs in applied mathematics, bioengineering, civil engineering, computer science and engineering, software engineering, electrical engineering, engineering management and leadership, mechanical engineering and sustainable energy. The coursework requirements for the degree are determined by each of the major departments. In order to graduate, students must complete the required coursework for the program to which they are admitted and must have a cumulative GPA of 3.0 in all coursework listed on their approved program of study. In addition to this requirement, Engineering Management and Leadership degree candidiates must earn a 3.0 GPA in those courses applied to their technical stem and a 3.0 GPA in their engineering management course stem. Please note: Only classes with assigned grades of C- or higher will count toward the completion of the certificates, M.S. or Ph.D. degrees.
Note that the number of engineering management courses accepted for other degrees in the graduate engineering program is restricted to six units in computer engineering, electrical engineering, and most options of mechanical engineering.
GRADUATE MINOR IN SCIENCE, TECHNOLOGY, AND SOCIETY (STS)
The graduate minor in science, technology, and society (STS) is designed to help students gain a deeper understanding of the influence that engineering has on society (and vice versa). Knowledge of this kind has become essential in an increasingly complex and interconnected world, in which purely technical expertise often needs to be supplemented by additional skills. In order to successfully operate in such an environment, engineers must (at the very least) have the ability to communicate clearly, function on interdisciplinary and diverse teams, and make ethically and socially responsible decisions. The minor consists of a Core and a set of electives, and entails a minimum of 12 units of coursework. It is open to all students who are pursuing a master’s degree in engineering, regardless of the specific program in which they are enrolled.
For more comprehensive informationn, please view the Graduate Minor in Science, Technology, and Society section of the website.
ENGINEER’S DEGREE PROGRAM
The program leading to the engineer’s degree is particularly designed for the education of the practicing engineer. It is offered in the computer science and engineering, electrical engineering, and mechanical engineering departments. The degree is granted on completion of an approved academic program and a record of acceptable technical achievement in the student’s field of engineering. The academic program consists of a minimum of 45 quarter units beyond the master’s degree. Courses are selected to advance competence in specific areas relating to the engineering professional’s work. Evidence of technical achievement must include a paper principally written by the student and accepted for publication by a recognized engineering journal prior to the granting of the degree. A letter from the journal accepting the paper must be submitted to the department chairperson. In certain cases, the department may accept publication in the proceedings of an appropriate conference.
Admission to the program will generally be granted to those students who demonstrate superior ability in meeting the requirements for their master’s degree. Normally, the master’s degree is earned in the same field as that in which the engineer’s degree is sought. Students who have earned a master’s degree from Santa Clara University must file a new application (by the deadline) to continue work toward the engineer’s degree. A program of studies for the engineer’s degree should be developed with the assistance of an advisor and submitted during the first term of enrollment.
DOCTOR OF PHILOSOPHY PROGRAM
The doctor of philosophy (Ph.D.) degree is sought by those engineers who wish to become experts in a specific area within their field. The work for the degree consists of engineering research, the preparation of a thesis based on that research, and a program of advanced studies in engineering, mathematics, and related physical sciences. The student’s work is directed by the degree-conferring department, subject to the general supervision of the School of Engineering. The school grants the Ph.D. in computer science and engineering, electrical engineering, and mechanical engineering.
Students currently studying at Santa Clara University for a master’s degree who are accepted for the Ph.D. program and who are at an advanced stage of the M.S. program may, with the approval of their academic advisor, take the preliminary examination before completing the M.S. degree requirements.
Students who have completed the M.S. degree requirements and have been accepted for the Ph.D. program should take the preliminary examination as soon as possible but not more than one and one-half years after beginning the program.
Only those students who pass the preliminary examination shall be allowed to continue in the doctoral program. The preliminary examination may be repeated only once and only at the discretion of the thesis advisor.
It is strongly recommended that Ph.D. students find a thesis advisor before taking the preliminary examination. After passing the preliminary examination, Ph.D. students should have a thesis advisor before the beginning of the next quarter following the preliminary examination. Students currently pursuing a master’s degree at the time of their preliminary examination should have a thesis advisor as soon as possible after being accepted as a Ph.D. student.
The student and the thesis advisor jointly develop a complete program of studies for research in a particular area. The complete program of studies (and any subsequent changes) must be filed with Engineering Graduate Programs and approved by the student’s doctoral committee. Until this approval is obtained, there is no guarantee that courses taken will be counted toward the Ph.D. course requirements.
Comprehensive Examinations and Admission to Candidacy
The comprehensive examinations normally must be completed within four years from the time the student is admitted to the doctoral program. These examinations may be repeated once, in whole or in part, at the discretion of the doctoral committee.
Thesis Research and Defense
Thesis and Publication
All doctoral theses must also be reproduced on microfilm by University Microfilms International, which keeps on deposit the master microfilm copy and responds to requests for copies by individuals and libraries.
Time Limit for Completing Degrees
Students are required to complete their degree within eight years from their original admit term date. The eight year time frame includes quarters during which a student was not enrolled. Those who fail to complete their Ph.D. in eight years can request an extension only under special circumstances. In such cases, the student’s advisor will need to discuss the case with the Graduate Program Leadership Council, which will determine whether an extension is warranted (and for how long).
Note: Students who miss one or more quarters and fail to submit the appropriate form(s) will be discontinued automatically, and will have to reapply to the Ph.D. program. They will need to follow the same procedure as students who withdrew from the program.
Additional Graduation Requirements
THE INDUSTRIAL TRACK
In addition to our regular Ph.D. program, Engineering Graduate Programs also offer an “industrial track” for working professionals as an option to facilitate the collaboration between academia and industry. Details are as follows:
OPEN UNIVERSITY PROGRAM
Engineers who wish to update their skills or learn new technologies without pursuing a specific degree may enroll in the School of Engineering’s Open University program.
If a student from the Open University program is accepted into a degree program, a maximum of 16 units may apply toward the degree (if the courses are in the same discipline to which the student is accepted). The general GRE test requirement for admission to the master’s degree program will be waived if the student has completed a set of required courses in the department to which they are applying, and has earned a GPA of 3.5 or higher. A list of these courses can be found on the Graduate Engineering website .
Open University students who are considering enrolling in the master’s program should be aware that each specialization has its own set of requirements, and that the number of “free electives” is very limited. Such students are therefore strongly encouraged to choose their classes in consultation with a faculty advisor from the very beginning.
Students should remember, however, that all coursework taken at SCU, whether as a degree-seeking or an Open University student, becomes a part of the student’s academic history.
Please Note: Santa Clara University does not issue F-1 visas to applicants who wish to enter directly into this program.