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Electrical and Computer Engineering announces new masters emphasis in semiconductors

The Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering in the College of Engineering announced a new graduate academic option in semiconductors. Starting in fall 2024, potential students can apply for the Master of Science in Electrical and Computer Engineering program and may complete their coursework in-person at the Boise State campus.

The new semiconductor emphasis will ensure students who are focused on microelectronics and semiconductors are proficient in multiple areas and can collaborate effectively between design and manufacturing processes. 

“This new emphasis is one of the many initiatives underway in the College of Engineering as Idaho and the country will see a new demand for semiconductor expertise to fill the future workforce,” College of Engineering Dean JoAnn S. Lighty said. “Along with our robust partnerships with other Idaho schools and higher education institutions, we are excited to lead the significant strides in semiconductor research and education to meet those needs.”

Boise State is at the forefront of semiconductor research and training in Idaho, establishing the Institute for Microelectronics Education and Research in 2023. The new degree emphasis is another addition to the semiconductor efforts already underway at the university.

With a tremendous interest and expected growth in semiconductor jobs, a master’s degree with a semiconductor emphasis is an opportunity for graduate students to demonstrate deeper knowledge in specific fields such as devices, processing and manufacturing, or circuit design.

“We’re excited to be offering this new masters program in Electrical and Computer Engineering with a semiconductor emphasis,” said Electrical and Computer Engineering Department Chair Neal Bangerter. “The program enhances our offerings for students with an interest in working in the semiconductor industry, and will equip them with the skills needed to succeed in this exciting and rapidly growing industry. The creation of this program builds on our excellence in the microelectronics industry, and will help meet the needs of evolving semiconductor workforce demands both locally and nationally.”

With the addition of the new semiconductor emphasis, the College of Engineering now offers an additional emphasis for their engineering degrees in five academic options, including civil engineering, computer science, electrical and computer engineering, mechanical engineering, and materials science and engineering.

The College of Engineering also recently added a PhD in Engineering and undergraduate certificates in integrated circuit design, semiconductor processing and device physics to address the state and national need for trained experts in the field of semiconductors. These initiatives are part of the Idaho Workforce Development Council $5 million grant awarded to Boise State. With Boise State’s match of $5 million, the efforts are a total investment of $10 million for the university community.

“I’ve always been fascinated by the intricate process of the way chips functioned,” said electrical and computer engineering undergraduate student Ant Lakatos. “Since I’ll be continuing my education into graduate school, I’ll have the opportunity to further develop integrated circuits of my own and eventually use that design experience in the workforce, hopefully contributing to cutting-edge technology.”

The integration of microelectronics and semiconductors degree emphases, certificates, minors and other programs allows Boise State to serve the growing demand of semiconductor companies in Idaho, including Micron Technology, ON Semiconductor, American Semiconductor, Applied Materials, NxEdge and more.