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Machine Learning & Signal Processing

Master of Science in Electrical Engineering

Electrical engineer looking at computer screen

Participate in cutting-edge research while mastering both classical and modern data analysis methods in the Machine Learning and Signal Processing master’s program from the University of Wisconsin–Madison.


Is this program right for you?

The University of Wisconsin–Madison’s Machine Learning and Signal Processing (MLSP) program is designed for students looking for a jump start on a career in data science with a passion for quantitative thinking, practical problem-solving, and computer programming. The Electrical Engineering MLSP master’s degree is an accelerated program intended to prepare students to excel in the data science workforce in just one year.

The required coursework draws upon both classical and modern methods in data science, and is taught by faculty conducting cutting-edge MLSP research. You learn topics such as optimization, digital image processing, advanced machine learning, and decision theory, all with a focus on practicality in modern data science. The combined focus on the mathematical foundations of data science and their application to real-world problems prepares graduates to immediately contribute to the MLSP workforce and solve even the most challenging data science questions.

The focus of the Machine Learning and Signal Processing MS program differs from research-based programs by focusing on both theory and application rather than research. Therefore, instead of writing a thesis, the summer term is devoted to a culminating summer practicum, meant to fully integrate classroom topics into a hands-on, practical setting. Dive into the workforce quickly and with the necessary skills to succeed, all while surrounded by a community of engineers at the forefront of machine learning and signal processing research.

Is this program right for you?

The University of Wisconsin–Madison’s Machine Learning and Signal Processing (MLSP) program is designed for students looking for a jump start on a career in data science with a passion for quantitative thinking, practical problem-solving, and computer programming. The Electrical Engineering MLSP master’s degree is an accelerated program intended to prepare students to excel in the data science workforce in just one year.

The required coursework draws upon both classical and modern methods in data science, and is taught by faculty conducting cutting-edge MLSP research. You learn topics such as optimization, digital image processing, advanced machine learning, and decision theory, all with a focus on practicality in modern data science. The combined focus on the mathematical foundations of data science and their application to real-world problems prepares graduates to immediately contribute to the MLSP workforce and solve even the most challenging data science questions.

The focus of the Machine Learning and Signal Processing MS program differs from research-based programs by focusing on both theory and application rather than research. Therefore, instead of writing a thesis, the summer term is devoted to a culminating summer practicum, meant to fully integrate classroom topics into a hands-on, practical setting. Dive into the workforce quickly and with the necessary skills to succeed, all while surrounded by a community of engineers at the forefront of machine learning and signal processing research.

Admissions requirements

All applicants must:

  • Have a Bachelor of Science in electrical or computer engineering from an accredited institution, however bachelor’s degrees in other fields of engineering, computer science, mathematics, statistics or a related discipline will be considered.
  • Have a minimum undergraduate GPA of 3.0.
  • Submit GRE test scores using code 1846.*
  • Submit evidence of English language proficiency, if applicable. The required proficiency scores are: TOEFL IBT 92, PBT 580; or IELTS 7.0.

*Waived for UW–Madison students or alumni and for all fall 2022 applicants.

Application materials required:

  • Online application
  • Resume/CV
  • Statement of purpose
  • Transcripts
  • Three letters of recommendation.

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Program highlights

  • The Machine Learning and Signal Processing master’s degree is accelerated, so you graduate in just one year.
  • It’s also course-only, so you complete your degree in a predictable time frame.
  • With more than $12.8 million in annual research expenditures, nearly 100 patents, and 13 startups, our faculty and students are at the forefront of scientific discovery and real-world translation.
  • Our flexible curriculum allows you to customize your degree program to fit your personal objectives.
  • Merit-based scholarships available

University of Wisconsin–Madison ranked Best Online Graduate Engineering Programs and Best Engineering Grad Schools by U.S. News & World Report.

How you'll learn

  • Twelve months of full-time study on campus to earn your degree.
  • Complete 30 credits.
  • Culminating summer practicum.
  • Half of degree coursework (15 out of 30 total credits) must be graduate coursework. Must maintain 3.00 GPA to remain in the program.

Sample curriculum

Fall Semester (14 credits) – choose at the minimum four courses from the list below

  • Digital Signal Processing
  • Communication Systems
  • Introduction to Optimization
  • Matrix Methods in Machine Learning
  • Image Processing
  • Introduction to Artificial Neural Network and Fuzzy Systems
  • Linear Systems
  • Theory of Information Processing and Transmission
  • Modern Probability Theory and Stochastic Processes: Mathematical Foundations of Machine Learning
  • Special Topics (if approved by program director/advisor)
  • Technical Project Management

Spring Semester (13 credits) – choose at the minimum four courses from the list below

  • Communication Systems II
  • Introduction to Optimization
  • Optimal Systems
  • Signal Synthesis and Recovery Techniques
  • Wireless Communications
  • Advanced Digital Image Processing
  • Estimation and Decision Theory: Theoretical Foundations of Machine Learning
  • Special Topics (if approved by program director/advisor)
  • Communication Technical Information

Summer (3 credits)

  • Directed Project in Signal Processing and Machine Learning
  • Co-op (up to 2 credits)

Job outlook

Top Job Titles
  • Machine Learning Engineer1
  • Electrical Engineer
  • Systems Engineer
  • Data Scientist
  • Software Development Engineer

Market Salary
$117K median salary in 20192

Projected Job Growth
8.6% for Electrical Engineers (2016-2026)

Job Postings
17,953 in 2019

Top Employers
  • Amazon
  • Northrop Grumman
  • Raytheon
  • Deloitte
  • Qualcomm
  • Capital One

Source: Burning Glass Technologies: Labor Insight. 2020.
Source 1: Burning Glass and UW–Madison Alumni Survey
Source 2: NACE 2019 Salary Survey

Ready to learn more about Machine Learning & Signal Processing?
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Our friendly, knowledgeable enrollment coaches are here to answer your questions. Contact an enrollment coach to:

  • Learn how to make this program work with your life/schedule
  • Verify credit transfers
  • Get help with your application
  • Determine if financial aid is available

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