Washington University, St. LouisEngineering

Imaging Science & Engineering

A certificate program in Imaging Science & Engineering is offered jointly by the Departments of Electrical & Systems Engineering, Computer Science & Engineering, and Biomedical Engineering. Built on the strengths in imaging science throughout the University, this multidisciplinary program is constructed to expose students to the breadth of imaging research activities at Washington University. The requirements of the program vary by department, but are flexible in allowing students and their advisors to construct academic programs ideally suited to complement their individual research programs. Students in the program are brought together for a joint seminar course and all students engage in a practicum in imaging science and engineering. For more information, see either the information available through the Department of Electrical & Systems Engineering website, the description in this bulletin, or by contacting the department directly.

Over recent years, the application of microelectronic circuitry, high-performance digital computers, wideband communication networks, high-density storage, and new instrumentation has resulted in major new ways to acquire, process, and distribute image data, permitting a wide variety of properties of an object to be visualized. At the same time, the understanding of the physical and mathematical basis of image data has improved so that sounder quantification and interpretation of images are possible. The exquisite detail of the brain and other internal organs of living people that can now be produced by magnetic resonance imaging has been made prominent by the popular as well as scientific literature. Revolutionary developments like this that rely heavily on technical achievements are occurring not just in the medical sciences but, also, in a wide variety of other disciplines in which image data are acquired, whether the acquisition is of image data directly, as with telescopes, microscopes, and visible/infrared cameras, or indirectly, as with tomographic systems and radio- and optical-frequency radar systems. Imaging science and engineering encompasses the broad range of scientific and engineering knowledge and skills necessary to understand and further the production, manipulation, and use of images.

Entering & Completing the Program

Graduate students in participating departments may apply for admission to the IS&E Program. Admission requires graduate standing in a participating department, recommendations from faculty participating in the program, and a demonstrated interest in aspects of imaging.

Upon the awarding of a graduate degree by their home department and by completing certain requirements of the program, students are awarded a certificate indicating their successful participation in the IS&E Program. The requirements for receiving a certificate are: acceptance into the IS&E Program, completion of core subjects as specified by the student's home department, completion of requirements for a graduate degree in the student's home department, participation in the tutorial seminar required for all students in the IS&E Program, and completion of the practicum required of all students in the IS&E Program.


Seminars by students and faculty in the IS&E Program, others at Washington University, and experts from outside the University convey new developments and directions in the field of imaging science and its applications. These seminars also provide the opportunity for interactions among those involved in the program. Special extended seminars and short courses on emerging topics of importance are also important for disseminating new information and trends.

Courses of Instruction

Fundamentals underlying imaging science and engineering and the application of these fundamentals to contemporary problems of importance form the theme of the program of instruction in the IS&E Program. Topics that can be studied include:

  • physics of sources detectors, and devices that yield image data
  • instrumentation used to acquire image data
  • mathematical models and methods for representing and understanding image data and images produced from such data
  • conventional and model-based image processing, restoration, and reconstruction
  • image-based decision, estimation, cognition, and control
  • computer architectures, parallel computers, and specialized digital systems for processing and simulating image data
  • physics, psychophysics, and technology of image display
  • image digitization, compression, storage, and transmission
  • image representation, interpretation and evaluation

The IS&E Program is structured around required and elective courses that are offered in the participating departments. Each participating department specifies required core courses for their students in the program, as listed below. All students in the program take a tutorial seminar in imaging during their first year, and all participate in a practicum in which they are exposed to research having a strong imaging component.

Required Core Courses in Electrical Engineering

  • ESE/CS/SSM/BMED/PHYS 596, Seminar in Imaging Science and Engineering
  • ESE/CS/SSM/BMED/PHYS 597, Practicum in Imaging Science and Engineering
  • ESE588, Quantitative Image Processing
  • ESE520, Probability and Stochastic Processes
  • ESE524, Detection and Estimation Theory
  • plus, select at least one from the following:
  • ESE545, Visions, Dynamics and Control
  • ESE585, Optical Imaging
  • ESE586A, Tomographic Imaging
  • ESE587, Ultrasonic Imaging-Systems (under development)

Washington University in St. Louis School of Engineering & Applied Science, Department of Electrical & Systems Engineering

Green Hall, CB 1042, 1 Brookings Drive, Saint Louis, MO, USA 63130
Phone: (314) 935-5565, Fax: (314) 935-7500

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