Microelectronic engineering affects nearly all aspects of life–from communication, entertainment, and transportation to health, solid state lighting, and solar cells. RIT’s microelectronic engineering master's program is a world leader in the education of semiconductor process engineers.
Integrated microelectronic or nanoelectronic circuits and sensors drive our global economy, increase our productivity, and help improve our quality of life. Semiconductor and photonic devices impact virtually every aspect of human life, from communication, entertainment, and transportation to health, solid state lighting, and solar cells. RIT’s microelectronic engineering program is considered a world leader in the education of semiconductor process engineers.
The microelectronic engineering masters provides a unique combination of physics, chemistry, and engineering in a state-of-the-art facility to prepare graduates for the real world. With internationally renowned professors with years of experience, courses are grounded in reality – practical skill and advanced theory, combine for comprehensive learning. Put your knowledge to work with a microelectronic engineering masters from RIT.
The objective of the microelectronic engineering master's degree is to provide an opportunity for students to perform graduate-level research as they prepare for entry into either the semiconductor industry or a doctoral program. The degree requires strong preparation in the area of microelectronics and requires a thesis.
Understand the fundamental scientific principles governing solid-state devices and their incorporation into modern integrated circuits.
Understand the relevance of a process or device, either proposed or existing, to current manufacturing practices.
Develop in-depth knowledge in existing or emerging areas of the field of microelectronics such as device engineering, circuit design, lithography, materials and processes, yield, and manufacturing.
Apply microelectronic processing techniques to the creation/investigation of new process/device structures.
Communicate technical material effectively through oral presentations, written reports, and publications.
Plan of Study
The program consists of core courses, graduate electives, graduate seminar, and a thesis. The curriculum is designed for students who do not have an undergraduate degree in microelectronic engineering. Students who have an undergraduate degree in microelectronic engineering develop a custom course of study with their graduate advisor.
A thesis is undertaken once the student has completed approximately 20 semester credit hours of study. Planning for the thesis, however, should begin as early as possible. Generally, full-time students should complete their degree requirements, including thesis defense, within two years (four academic semesters and one summer term).
What’s different about RIT’s engineering education? It’s the opportunity to complete engineering co-ops and internships with top companies in every single industry. You’ll earn more than a master’s degree. You’ll gain real-world career experience that sets you apart.
Cooperative education, or co-op for short, is full-time, paid work experience in your engineering field of study. And it sets RIT engineering graduates apart from their competitors. RIT co-op is designed for your success.
Cooperative education is optional but strongly encouraged for graduate students in the MS in microelectronic engineering.
Microelectronic Engineering, MS degree, typical course sequence
Sem. Cr. Hrs.
This course introduces the beginning graduate student to the fabrication of solid-state devices and integrated circuits. The course presents an introduction to basic electronic components and devices, lay outs, unit processes common to all IC technologies such as substrate preparation, oxidation, diffusion and ion implantation. The course will focus on basic silicon processing. The students will be introduced to process modeling using a simulation tool such as SUPREM. The lab consists of conducting a basic metal gate PMOS process in the RIT clean room facility to fabricate and test a PMOS integrated circuit test ship. Laboratory work also provides an introduction to basic IC fabrication processes and safety. (Prerequisites: Graduate standing in the MCEE-MS or MCEMANU-ME program or permission of instructor.) Lab 3, Lecture 3 (Fall).
Semiconductor Process Integration
This is an advanced level course in Integrated Circuit Devices and process technology. A detailed study of processing modules in modern semiconductor fabrication sequences will be done through simulation. Device engineering challenges such as shallow-junction formation, fin FETs, ultra-thin gate dielectrics, and replacement metal gates are covered. Particular emphasis will be placed on non-equilibrium effects. Silvaco Athena and Atlas will be used extensively for process simulation. Graduate paper required. (Prerequisites: MCEE-601 or equivalent course.) Lab 2, Lecture 3 (Spring).
This course focuses on the deposition and etching of thin films of conductive and insulating materials for IC fabrication. A thorough overview of vacuum technology is presented to familiarize the student with the challenges of creating and operating in a controlled environment. Physical and Chemical Vapor Deposition (PVD & CVD) are discussed as methods of film deposition. Plasma etching and Chemical Mechanical Planarization (CMP) are studied as methods for selective removal of materials. Applications of these fundamental thin film processes to IC manufacturing are presented. Graduate paper required. (Prerequisites: Graduate standing in the MCEE-MS or MCEMANU-ME program or permission of instructor.) Lab 3, Lecture 2 (Fall).
Lithography Materials and Processes
Microlithography Materials and Processes covers the chemical aspects of microlithography and resist processes. Fundamentals of polymer technology will be addressed and the chemistry of various resist platforms including novolac, styrene, and acrylate systems will be covered. Double patterning materials will also be studied. Topics include the principles of photoresist materials, including polymer synthesis, photochemistry, processing technologies and methods of process optimization. Also advanced lithographic techniques and materials, including multi-layer techniques for BARC, double patterning, TARC, and next generation materials and processes are applied to optical lithography. Graduate paper required. (Prerequisites: Graduate standing in the MCEE-MS or MCEMANU-ME program or permission of instructor.) Lab 3, Lecture 3 (Fall, Spring).
This course focuses on CMOS manufacturing. Topics include CMOS process technology, work in progress tracking, CMOS calculations, process technology, long channel and short channel MOSFET, isolation technologies, back-end processing and packaging. Associated is a lab for on-campus section (01) and a graduate paper/case study for distance learning section (90). The laboratory for this course is the student-run factory. Topics include Lot tracking, query processing, data collection, lot history, cycle time, turns, CPK and statistical process control, measuring factory performance, factory modeling and scheduling, cycle time management, cost of ownership, defect reduction and yield enhancement, reliability, process modeling and RIT's advanced CMOS process. Silicon wafers are processed through an entire CMOS process and tested. Students design unit processes and integrate them into a complete process. Students evaluate the process steps with calculations, simulations and lot history, and test completed devices. (Prerequisites: MCEE-601 or equivalent course.) Lecture 8 (Spring).
Microelectronics Research Methods*
Weekly seminar series intended to present the state of the art in microelectronics research. Other research-related topics will be presented such as library search techniques, contemporary issues, ethics, patent considerations, small business opportunities, technical writing, technical reviews, effective presentations, etc. (Prerequisites: Graduate standing in the MCEE-MS or MCEMANU-ME program or permission of instructor.) Seminar 1 (Fall, Spring).
Physical Modeling of Semiconductor Devices
A senior or graduate level course on the application of simulation tools for physical design and verification of the operation of semiconductor devices. The goal of the course is to provide a more in-depth understanding of device physics through the use of simulation tools. Technology CAD tools include Silvaco (Athena/Atlas) for device simulation. The lecture will explore the various models that are used for device simulation, emphasizing the importance of complex interactions and 2-D effects as devices are scaled deep-submicron. Laboratory work involves the simulation of various device structures. Investigations will explore how changes in the device structure can influence device operation. (This course requires permission of the Instructor to enroll.) Lab 3, Lecture 3 (Fall).
Graduate Independent Study*
This course number should be used by students who plan to study a topic on an independent basis under the guidance of a faculty member. A written proposal with an independent study form is to be submitted to the sponsoring faculty member and approved by the department head prior to the commencement of work. (Enrollment in this course requires permission from the department offering the course.) Ind Study (Fall, Spring, Summer).
Choose one of the following:
Graduate Paper, plus one Graduate Elective
This course is used to fulfill the graduate paper requirement under the non-thesis option for the MS degree in electrical engineering. The student must obtain the approval of an appropriate faculty member to supervise the paper before registering for this course. Project (Fall, Spring, Summer).
The master's thesis in microelectronic engineering requires the student to prepare a written thesis proposal for approval by the faculty; select a thesis topic, adviser and committee; present and defend thesis before a thesis committee; prepare a written paper in a short format suitable for submission for publication in a journal. (Enrollment in this course requires permission from the department offering the course.) Thesis (Fall, Spring).
Total Semester Credit Hours
* Students who are enrolled in the program and take courses on campus must complete MCEE-795 in the first year. Students who are enrolled in the program online do not take MCEE-795. Instead, they complete MCEE-799 in the second year.
To be considered for admission to the MS program in microelectronic engineering, candidates must fulfill the following requirements:
Applicants applying with a bachelor’s degree in fields outside of electrical and microelectronic engineering may be considered for admission; however, bridge courses may be required to ensure the student is adequately prepared for graduate study.
International applicants whose native language is not English must submit official test scores from the TOEFL, IELTS, or PTE. Students below the minimum requirement may be considered for conditional admission. Refer to Graduate Admission Deadlines and Requirements for additional information on English requirements. International applicants may be considered for an English test requirement waiver. Refer to Additional Requirements for International Applicants to review waiver eligibility.
Assistantships and Fellowships
A limited number of assistantships and fellowships may be available for full-time students. Appointment as a teaching assistant carries a 12-hour-per-week commitment to a teaching function and permits a student to take graduate work at the rate of 9 credits per semester. Appointment as a research assistant also permits taking up to 9 credits per semester while the remaining time is devoted to the research effort, which often serves as a thesis subject. Students in the MS program are eligible for research fellowships. Appointments provide full or partial tuition and stipend. Applicants for financial aid should contact to the program director for details.
Supply chain disruptions and a strong demand for consumer electronics during the pandemic led to a global chip shortage. The shortage has highlighted the need to strengthen the domestic semiconductor industry and has put a new emphasis on microelectronic engineering education.
Research findings and signs of computer chip industry demands were the top subjects at the 40th Annual Microelectronic Engineering Conference April 8 at RIT. With indications of growth and novel functions being developed, there were also discussions of the pressing need for even more skilled workers in the field to sustain that expected growth.
WROC-TV talks to Sean Rommel, professor and director of the microelectronic engineering program, and Michael Jackson, associate professor in the Department of Electrical and Microelectronic Engineering, about semiconductors.