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February 7, 2024

Accelerated MS a great option for MLSP students

Written By: Allyson Crowley


The Accelerated Master’s program within the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering (ECE) at UW–Madison stands out as an exceptional choice for students seeking to fast-track their careers in the dynamic field of Machine Learning and Data Science (MLSP). A rigorous, accelerated curriculum with a hands-on component, this program equips students with the knowledge and skills to be well-prepared and excel in a wide-range of professional settings.

In just 12-16 months, students earn a Master of Science in Electrical and Computer Engineering: Machine Learning and Signal Processing. The program follows a course-only curriculum that does not have a research component. Instead, students complete a hands-on professional development project either via an internship, co-op, or an independent project. The ECE Department offers two Accelerated Master’s programs. In addition to MLSP, the Professional program offers a practical focus for nine different tracks that fall into four areas of emphasis: Computer Engineering; Electromagnetic Fields and Waves; Energy and Power Systems; and Solid State/Photonics.

Nico Ranabhat
Nico Ranabhat

Nico Ranabhat, who received his Engineering Physics BS degree from UW–Madison, is currently enrolled in the Accelerated MS MLSP program. “It’s great to be a part of a bigger program. I share a lot of classes with peers and can collaborate with them on homework, and at the same time build my network”, says Ranabhat.

Courses are taught by renowned faculty within the department who are leaders in their respective fields, offering invaluable expertise and mentorship to students as they pursue their academic and professional goals. ECE Assistant Professor Kangwook Lee, the faculty director for the accelerated MS: MLSP program, is an internationally recognized innovator and scholar in the field of machine learning.  His research focuses on theory and algorithms for deep learning with foundation models. In his role as the MLSP program’s faculty director, he works closely with other members of the program’s faculty steering committee to provide expert academic advising to each student in the program and ensures that the curriculum remains at the leading edge. 

Kangwook Lee
Assistant Professor
Kangwook Lee

According to Lee, “The Machine Learning and Signal Processing program at UW-Madison offers a unique blend of comprehensive study in both machine learning and signal processing, emphasizing their combined importance in modern machine learning-driven projects. It equips students with the practical skills to analyze, develop, and implement advanced machine learning and signal processing algorithms, preparing them for real-world problem-solving in the rapidly evolving fields of machine learning, deep learning, and signal processing industries.”

With the accelerated pace, students can take a “4+1” pathway to earn BS and MS degrees that fast-track their careers in just five years. Ranabhat speaks to how the program is preparing him for his future career, “After graduation, I plan to work on the most challenging problems in industry using machine learning. The MS: MLSP program will help me attain this goal by laying a broad foundation in machine learning that I can later use to specialize in a particular branch I find the most rewarding down the road.”

Lee earned his Ph.D. from UC Berkeley and served as a postdoctoral fellow and research assistant professor at KAIST prior to joining the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at the UW-Madison.  Prof. Lee has received multiple best paper awards including the IEEE Joint Communications Society/Information Theory Society Paper Award (2020). He also brings his expertise in deep learning technology to the video game industry.