PhD in Electrical & Computer Engineering

Doctor of Philosophy

The Electrical & Computer Engineering PhD (ECE) program at WPI inspires graduate students to deeply explore, investigate, and uncover groundbreaking research in the field.

Value Proposition Description

As you pursue a PhD in electrical and computer engineering, you’ll work alongside our dedicated faculty researchers and industry and government partners to explore compelling issues and solve critical problems: to produce more efficient and reliable wireless networks, to develop new data security and cryptography techniques, to improve medical diagnostic equipment and wearable sensors, to develop embedded systems, to control robots, or to develop smart cities and renewable energy.

Candidates in the Electrical & Computer Engineering PhD program work alongside faculty who challenge you to strengthen your knowledge through advanced course work, original research in our extensive and well-funded innovative labs, special graduate seminars, and supplementary courses in areas such as mathematics, computer science, and physics.

The PhD in electrical and computer engineering also requires two minors, seminar attendance, a diagnostic exam, an area exam, and preparation and defense of a dissertation.

As an Electrical and Computer Engineering PhD student, your research opportunities include access to state-of-the-art equipment and modern facilities to experiment, model, build, and innovate. Our department boasts over a dozen specialty labs with an annual funding level of nearly $5 million.

You may also tap into such resources as our fabrication lab, ECE shop, and dedicated computer clusters. Our more than 60 science and engineering computer applications range from development and modeling programs to digital signal processing and data visualization tools.

ECE PhD students will find a range of research possibilities at WPI. Faculty members are involved in research that encompasses a range of fields.

WPI’s ECE grad program prepares you for whatever career path you choose. Whether your plans include industry, academia, a start-up, or a leadership track, you’ll have the theoretical expertise and the hands-on proficiency to succeed.

Research possibilities here range from working on prosthetic devices that make life easier to cloud security and autonomous vehicles.

Society is undergoing dramatic changes—the real-world work you do in ECE will have an immediate impact.

No matter what your current schedule looks like, you can complete an ECE grad degree at WPI. Courses are online or on campus and your schedule can be on a full-time or part-time basis—we will help you make it work.

Our labs mimic real-life situations. Clinical partnerships with the nearby University of Massachusetts Medical School offer students additional exceptional healthcare delivery resources and a dozen specialized labs at WPI cater to varied interests.

Specialized research areas focus on some of the most pressing global issues, including healthcare delivery/quality of life, smart and connected world, and security and privacy.

Faculty who have particular expertise in Healthcare/Quality of Life research investigate areas including MRI/medical/electromagnetic imaging methods, biomedical signal processing/modeling/instrumentation, on-body antenna prototyping wearable sensors, and body area networking.

WPI faculty members lead cutting-edge research into Smart and Connected World areas. Their areas of specialty:

  • Robotics: Current research in optimization, robotic controls, localization for cooperative robotics, automata theory, and machine vision/recognition offers opportunities for direct and independent research.
  • CyberPhysical Systems: Faculty research includes cognitive and software-defined radio, embedded systems, real-time digital signal processing, high-performance computing, logic synthesis, RF/microwave circuits, mixed-signal/VLSI circuits, wireless communications and networking, localization, estimation, and detection, and applied and numerical electromagnetics.
  • Energy & Sustainability: Ongoing projects are looking at power systems and quality, solar/wind/renewable energy, high-voltage technology, power electronics, energy conversion, smart cities, and sustainability engineering,

Students interested in Security and Privacy research will find opportunities in cryptographic algorithm implementation, secure control of cyberphysical systems, network security, physical security, embedded security, and side-channel cryptanalysis.

Ted Clancy
Ted Clancy

Research Interests: Smart Prosthetics, Biomedical Signal Processing/Modeling, Assistive Technology, Wearable Sensors, Biomedical Instrumentation, Medical IoT.

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Ulkuhan Guler
Ulkuhan Guler

My research interests lie in the broad area of circuits and systems, and my primary area of interest is analog/mixed signal integrated circuits. More specifically, I am interested in the circuit design of sensing interfaces and energy harvesting and wireless power transmission systems for applications in the IoT.

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Berk Sunar
Berk Sunar

I received my PhD in ECE from Oregon State University in December 1998 and worked briefly as a member of the research faculty at OSU's Information Security Laboratory. In 2000 I joined WPI as an assistant professor. My research interests include applied cryptography and cybersecurity; 

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Earn a PhD in Computer Science Instead of an ECE PhD

Maybe you’re intrigued by computers and software rather than the electronics? Our PhD in computer science covers computer security, AI, human interaction, data mining, and more. Solve real-world problems in our world-class research labs alongside our renowned faculty for agencies like the NSF and US Army. If you’re fascinated by how technology can improve healthcare for humanity, our PhD in biomedical engineering is flexible and cutting edge. Students in our BME PhD program may research the medical devices and instruments that can improve quality of life, create new tissues that could have long-term impact on heart disease or wound care, or develop robotics to improve surgery.

Need a Masters First? Explore Our Flexible MS & MEng Options.

If you’re looking to earn your master’s degree in ECE, we have several flexible options equipped for your busy work-life balance. Whether you prefer a master of science or master of engineering, we offer both. Our MEng in electrical and computer engineering is great for students looking to gain a business edge while pushing the boundaries of ECE research. With the flexibility to take courses online at your leisure or a few on campus, this program meets your needs as a working professional. Maybe you’re looking to earn a master of science in ECE? Our MS in ECE is offered online and on-campus, full-time or part-time, with the option to tailor your studies to your individual interests. Delve into courses in CS, robotics, mathematics, and physics as you embark on the fast track to an electrical and computer engineering masters.

Are You Ready to Begin Your Path in Electrical and Computer Engineering?

Do you have your aspirations set on an ECE PhD, but need to get started with your bachelor’s in electrical and computer engineering? WPI’s comprehensive ECE degree program can take you from bachelor’s degree to PhD and will include the full spectrum of ECE topics—from medical devices to wireless sensors, cryptosecurity assessment, solar power, and more. If ECE interests you but you plan to major in another discipline, a minor in electrical and computer engineering with help you gain expertise in ECE concepts that you can apply to your work.

Looking to Boost Your Career?

If additional education in electrical and computer engineering would help you advance your career, but you don’t need a new degree, we have options. WPI’s electrical and computer engineering certificate gives you the additional training you need to get ahead. If you need flexibility to balance all your responsibilities with furthering your education, our electrical and computer engineering online certificate offers coursework in areas such as new hardware architectures, new methodologies, and advanced test and verification schemes so you can apply your skills right away.

WPI is proud to be the recipient of not one, but two National Science Foundation Research Traineeship programs. The programs provide exceptionally talented graduate students with specialized training and funding assistance to join careers at the forefront of technology and innovation. The programs are for graduate students in research-based master's and doctoral degree programs in STEM. Learn more.