Prospective students

  • With Andrew Tinka at NBC after the interview with Janelle Wang
  • Special forum at the UN General Assembly, organized by US Aid anf the New York Academy of Science: A. Bayen and J. Beard demonstrate the floating sensor network
  • Graduation Day
  • CEE Alum Professor Kristen Parish and her students in an Engineering and Project Management site visit
  • Dr. Kristen Parrish and her advisor Iris Tommelein on graduation day
  • Hooding of Aude Hofleitner for her EECS PhD, Greek Theater, 2013
  • E7 Tiger team with floating tubes prior to demonstrating the Hanoi Tower recursive solution to the class, using human poles.
  • With the drifter team after the launch of the Floating Sensor Network at Walnut Grove, CA
  • E7 Tiger Team of GSIs prepares for the lecture on 3D visualization in Matlab with anaglyphs
  • Surprise birthday in the lab!
  • PhD Student Branko Kerkez soldering up some wireless sensors during the Glaser Lab roadshow at the Technical University of Munich.
    Branko soldering
  • Ph.D. student Andrew Tinka demonstrates the floating sensor network to Former California Governor Gray Davis at the CITRIS museum
    Tinka Davis
  • Samer Madanat's Research Group 2012-2013
    Samer Madanat's Research Group 2012-2013
  • Connected Corridor research team at a brainstorming meeting at PATH
  • Traffic Management Team checking the development of new macro models for simulations of traffic at super large scale
    Studying Traffic
  • Glaser and McLaskey turning dial
    Glaser and McLaskey turning dial
  • Winter maintenance of a wireless hydrological sensor node at the Southern Sierra Critical Zone Observatory near Shaver Lake, CA. Kerkez is now a professor at the University of Michigan.

Systems Program Detailed Program Requirements


We welcome applicants with undergraduate degrees in any scientific or engineering discipline.


Master of Science

Under Plan I, an MS degree is awarded upon completetion of 21 units of course work and 3 units of research. The student must submit a manuscript reporting on their work.

Under Plan II, an MS degree is awarded upon the completion of 24 units of course work and the successful completion of a 40 minute oral examination.

The program coursework must be reviewed and accepted by the Systems program graduate advisor. The MS degree normally takes 2 semesters to complete.

All MS students must receive signed approval of their proposed course work by the first week of each semester.  Failure to do so can result in not graduating in a timely manner!

MS Degree: Two Tracks

Technical Track

The technical track requires 3 technical core courses and 1 policy/societal course. The other 4 courses to fulfill the MS requirements can be chosen by you with the approval of your graduate advisor. All courses should be chosen to realize a definable intellectual goal rather than just 4 unrelated courses. Course substitutions can be made by petitioning the Systems program graduate advisor.

The systems program is technical and rigorous.  A systems student must be competent and comfortable with mathematics and computer programming.  A mastery of linear algebra, differential equations, and multivariate calculus is expected, as well as command of a computer programming language such as C++, MatLab, Java, Python, etc. 

Core classes:

  • CE 271 Sensors and Signal Interpretation *
  • CE 290I Civil Systems: Control and Information Management *
  • CE C291F Control and Optimization of Distributed Parameters Systems *
  • CE 229 Structural and System Reliability

required for technical track

Policy/Societal Track

The policy/societal track requires 3 such classes and 1 technical class from the Systems core. Policy/Societal core classes include, but are not limited to:

  • CE 268E Civil Systems and the Environment
  • CE 268I Business Fundamentals for Engineers
  • CE 250 Transportation Policy and Planning

This is not an exhaustive list. Other courses from throughout the university can qualify with approval of your program graduate advisor.

Master of Engineering (MEng)

Large Cyber-Physical Systems Track

This program prepares you to use computational innovations for sensor networks, cloud computing, behavioral science, mobile communications and distributed parameter control to create entrepreneurial solutions for industries such as transportation, water, or energy.

Engineering core leadership classes (6 units):

  • E 271: Engineering Leadership I
  • E 272: Engineering Leadership II

This track also requires a minimum of 12 units of technical electives including:

  • CE 271 Sensors and Signal Interpretation
  • CE 290I Control and Information Management
  • CE C291F Control and Optimization of Distributed Parameters Systems
  • CE C289/EECS 249 Design of Embedded Systems

Additional coursework includes a minimum of 5 units of Integrative Capstone Projects complementing the core leadership curriculum (E 296 MA/MB) and 1 unit per semester (for a total of 2 units) of capstone integration (E 295).

For more information about the professional MEng, see Fung Institute. The website includes information on part-time/full time enrollmentcurriculum models, and possible career paths of graduates.


The coursework requirements for the PhD program will include the same structure as the MS program, with the coursework taken under the advice and approval of the graduate and dissertation advisors. The recommended minimum number of units of formal course work (major and minors) in graduate study for the doctoral degree is 33 units. The minimum major requirement is approximately 17 units (excluding research) of which 4 may be upper division courses. Two minor fields must be completed, only 1 of which can be within the CEE department. The minor normally consists of a group of 2 to 3 upper division undergraduate and graduate courses totaling at least 8 units.

Your major field of study may be within a single department, with essential related courses from other departments; in several departments; or in an interdisciplinary group. Twelve units must be taken within the department. Once you have chosen a field of study, you must confer with your graduate and research advisor to select the sequence of courses that will best prepare you for the qualifying examination and research work.

Preliminary Examination

You will need to take the preliminary examination within the first 6 months of registering as a PhD. The examining committee is made up of 3 Systems program faculty chosen by you, including your research advisor. The examination is to test your in-depth domain knowledge as well as the ability to extrapolate to related problems with larger scope. You can retake the examination once if you are unsuccessful in the first sitting.

The examination consists of a question formulated by the examination committee. The questions will be communicated to you 3 days in advance of the examination. The question usually will ask you to address an unfamiliar aspect of your field of interest. The examination is structured so that you cannot gain advantage by studying in advance of seeing the question. The examination consist of a short (15 ~ 20 min.) presentation, followed by questions.

You must pass a preliminary examination to remain in the program.

Qualifying Examination

Before advancement to candidacy, you must pass a Qualifying Examination administered by a committee appointed by the Graduate Division. The University requires that you have a 3.5 (or higher) GPA in the major field to sit for this examination.

The committee consists of 5 members, 2 of whom must be outside the field of the major and represent the 2 minor fields. One member of the committee must come from outside CEE, and 2 from the Systems committee (or designated alternate); 1 member must be designated as the chair. The committee may include the thesis supervisor who is not permitted to serve as chair.

The Graduate Council sets the rules and regulations concerning the Qualifying Examination. If you fail the examination the first time, and a second examination is recommended, it must be given not less than 3 months after the first examination. Two failures in the Qualifying Examination constitute cause for denying you the privilege to continue in the Civil Systems program.

The request for appointment of the Qualifying Examination Committee is made by submission of the Program of Study for Doctoral Candidates form (the "white card") to the CEE Academic Affairs Office (AAO) no later than the second week of the semester after completion of the course requirements.

The names of the Committee for the major and minor fields of study, the proposed dissertation topic, the name of the faculty member designated in charge of the your research, and the proposed dissertation committee must appear on the white card in the spaces provided. The Systems program advisor shows, by signature, approval of the card. You must give the examining committee a 3-5 page summary of your dissertation research plan no later than 2 weeks prior the date of examination.

The CEE Vice-Chair for Academic Affairs reviews the program of courses, the suggested qualifying examination committee, and the proposed dissertation topic. Approval of the Vice Chair for Academic Affairs is necessary prior to the formal request for appointment of the Qualifying Examination Committee.

After approval by the Vice Chair for Academic Affairs, the AAO requests the appointment of the Qualifying Examination Committee by the dean of the Graduate Division. Any change in the constitution of the Qualifying Examination Committee should be requested using the general Petition Form before the examination is given. All examinations contain an oral portion, and examiners in the minor fields may require a written portion at their option.

You may also take the qualifying examination during your last semester of courses if you have met the Systems program-specific requirements. You should refrain from delaying this exam beyond the semester following completion of course requirements.

Note: For students paying out-of-state fees, Advancement allows reduction of the out-of-state portion by 75%.

Doctoral Dissertation

The Systems program advisor, upon consultation with the research advisor, recommends a Dissertation Committee, which is appointed by the Dean of the Graduate Division. The Committee will consist of at least 3 members. One of the 3 members must be from a department other than CEE, and one from the systems committee or designated alternate. The dissertation must be of the form required by the Graduate Division as specified in the "Graduate Division" section of the General Catalogue. The selection of the dissertation topic is made by you working with the faculty member best qualified to supervise research in your particular area of study.

Other Requirements

All Systems PhD students must serve as a Graduate Student Instructor (GSI) for a course approved by the Civil Systems graduate advisor.