Admissions FAQ


ECE at UCSD

How many students does the department admit each year?
We do not have an admissions quota. As a guide, we have an incoming class of 301 students out of 2835 applications to our graduate programs for Fall 2016.
 


General Application Questions

How do I apply?
Our graduate program only accepts online admissions applications. View our Deadline, Requirements, and Procedures webpage for more information about our admissions process.

Do you accept Winter or Spring quarter admissions applications?
We only accept admissions applications to the ECE graduate program for Fall Quarter. We do not accept Winter or Spring quarter admissions applications.

Based on my qualification and test scores, would you tell me whether I am eligible for the ECE graduate program?
We are not able to pre-assess admissions applicants. If you wish to be considered for one of our graduate programs, please complete an online application. Our minimum admissions requirements are detailed on our Deadline, Requirements, and Procedures website.

May I apply for both the Ph.D. and M.S. program?
No. You may only make one application, to either the Ph.D. or the M.S. You should apply for the degree that reflects your ultimate degree objective. 

Please note: prospective Ph.D. students whose only prior preparation is a bachelor's degree may earn a M.S. degree along-the-way to the Ph.D. If this describes your background and interest, you are advised to apply to Ph.D. program in your online admissions application. 

When applicants are not admitted to the Ph.D. program, are they considered for the Master's program?
Not automatically. However, you can indicate in your application that you wish to be considered for the Master's program in the event that your application for the Ph.D. program is unsuccessful. This will be taken into consideration by the admissions committee when assessing your application.

May I apply if my undergraduate major is not in Electrical Engineering?
All applicants with a B.S. and/or M.S. degree in engineering, physical sciences, or mathematics are considered for admission. You may still apply if your major is not in one of these areas, however you should compare your previous coursework to the ECE course requirements in the program of study you are interested in. The admissions committee will look at how many undergraduate courses you would likely need to complete in preparation for the program's course requirements.

I already hold a Master's or Doctorate degree from another institution/university; may I apply for a duplicate/second degree?
The University does not permit duplication of advanced degrees. (A professional degree is not regarded as a duplication of an academic degree.) Holders of a Master's or Ph.D. are therefore advised not to apply for admission to ECE for the same degree, regardless of the discipline of the first degree or the discipline to which they seek admission.

The admissions application includes a Supplemental Diversity Essay. Must I complete it?
UCSD values a diverse student body; the supplemental diversity essay allows applicants to comment on how they might contribute to diversity on campus. Departments review these essays for the purposes of nominating students for University diversity fellowships (for which international students are not eligible). In short, submitting the supplemental diversity essay with your admissions application is entirely optional. It will not negatively impact your chances of admission if you decide not to provide the essay. 

May I change my major / research area after I have been admitted to the graduate program?
A change into any non-impacted major may be requested via petition after the first quarter in residence in the ECE graduate program. (Computer Engineering and Electrical Circuits and Systems majors are specifically impacted; major change requests to these areas are not permitted after admission.)

How do I select Part-time enrollment?
The ECE graduate program only accepts admissions applications for full-time study. Once admitted, domestic students (or students considered Permanent Residents of the US by the University) may petition to study half-time.

How can I check my application status to make certain that all of my materials have been received?
To monitor the progress of your letters of recommendation, please login to your application and select section 6: "Letters of Recommendation". There you can view which recommenders have submitted their recommendation. (The "Received At" column notes the day and time the recommendation was submitted.)

As for test scores, it will take a bit of time for your official scores to be matched to your application. We will receive your scores as long as you have used UCSD's graduate institution code (4836). (It is also helpful if your name and birth date are the same in both your admissions application and the score report.) As long as you have self-reported your test scores in your application, our admissions committee will be able to evaluate it. If you are admitted to our graduate program, your official scores will be double-checked against what you self-reported.

No other materials (including hard copy documents) should be sent to UCSD; instead, they should be uploaded to the online application.

When will I be notified of the outcome of my ECE Graduate Admissions application?
Please see our Deadline, Requirements, and Procedures website for more details.
 


Financial Support

What is an estimated total cost for one year of study at UCSD?
The Graduate Division publishes updated tuition and fee costs each year. 

What kind of financial support is available to ECE PhD students?
Financial support is available to students in the PhD program in the form of fellowships, research assistantships, and teaching assistantships. The department attempts to support all full-time graduate students at the Ph.D. level. The most common form of support is a half-time research assistantship that provides a salary, plus fees and tuition (where applicable). For more information, please visit our FellowshipsGraduate Student Researcher, and Teaching Assistant webpages.

Do you provide financial support to Master's students?
Unfortunately, there is little support opportunity for Master’s students. Assistantships are reserved for continuing Ph.D. students, and they are therefore quite rare and very competitive for Master’s students.

 


Test Scores

What is the UCSD institution and ECE department codes for the GRE and TOEFL?
GRE Institution Code: 4836 (You may add ECE's GRE Department Code 1203, but it is not required.)
TOEFL Institution Code: 4836 (You may add ECE's TOEFL Department Code 66, but it is not required.)

What is the minimum GRE score required for admission to ECE?
There is no minimum GRE test score threshold. The average GRE scores for admitted students are: V. 157 Q. 167 W. 4

My GRE score is low. Should I re-take the GRE test?
The GRE is just one of a number of factors the admissions committee considers when determining who to admit. That said, our graduate program is highly competitive. It is up to you to decide whether to take the GRE test again.

I have taken the GRE test more than once. Will you use the average of all scores when assessing my application?
We use your best individual scores when evaluating your application.

May I submit my official test scores after the deadline?
All test scores must be self-reported in the online admissions application. Test scores submitted after the application deadline may not be reviewed, which could put you at a disadvantage.

I know the GRE has changed. My scores are on the old GRE scale. Am I required to retake the GRE? How will the new GRE be reviewed?
You are not required to re-take the GRE if you have a valid score (within the past 5 years). All scores will be assessed based on the scale at the time the test was taken.

My GRE score will expire soon. If I send my GRE test score before it expires, will it be considered?
As long as ETS sends your unexpired official GRE test score before the application deadline, it will be deemed valid. GRE scores are valid up to 5 years after the test date.

Do I need to submit a TOEFL or IELTS test score report?
All international applicants are required to demonstrate proficiency in the English language. International applicants have 4 options to meet this requirement:

  • Option 1: TOEFL with a minimum score of 550 (paper based test-PBT) or 80 (internet based test-iBT)
  • Option 2: IELTS with a minimum Band Score of 7
  • Option 3: Pearson Test of English (PTE) Academic with a minimum overall score of 65.
  • Option 4: Full-time enrollment for a minimum of 1 year in a university-level institution where English is the language of instruction and in a country in which English is a dominant language (e.g., USA, England, Australia, Guam, Jamaica, Ireland, parts of Canada).

I have been studying in the US for a year, do I still have to submit a TOEFL or IELTS test score report?
As long as you've been enrolled full-time for a minimum of one year in an academic degree at a university in the U.S., you are not required to submit a TOEFL or IELTS test score.

Do you accept TOEFL scores from a test taken two years ago?
As long as ETS sends your official TOEFL test score to ECE before the application deadline, it will be deemed valid.

Please confirm that UCSD has received my test scores.
We will receive your scores as long as you have used UCSD's graduate institution code (4836). (It is also helpful if your name and birth date are the same in both your admissions application and the score report.)

It will take a little while for your official scores to be matched to your application. As long as you have self-reported your test scores in your application, our admissions committee will be able to evaluate it. Your official scores will then be double-checked against what you self-reported.
 


Recommendation Letters

My recommenders prefer to submit hard copy letters, or they are unable to use the online letter of recommendation process. May they submit a paper letter of recommendation?
We do not accept paper-based letters of recommendations. All letters of recommendation must be submitted through the online UCSD Graduate Application for Admission.

My recommender has not received an email requesting a letter. What should I do?
To monitor the progress of your online letters, please click on "Letters of Recommendations" in the online application. Here you can view which letters have been submitted, and send e-mail reminders to recommenders.

If a recommender has not responded, you should check the e-mail address for accuracy. Contact your recommender to determine if a new email address should be used. Please note that it is not possible to change the email address of the original entry. Instead, select "Add a new recommender" and enter the recommender's information, including the updated email address.

May I add or delete a recommender?
You may add a recommender by visiting the "Letters of Recommendation" section in the online application. You cannot delete a recommender, and you cannot revoke a recommendation letter once it has been submitted by the recommender. 

How can I change my recommender's email address information?
It is not possible to change the email address of the original entry. Instead, select "Add New Recommender," and enter the recommender's information, including the updated email address.

I only have two letters of recommendation, will my application be considered?
Your application will be considered based on all of the information that you submit by the application deadline. However, you may be disadvantaged if you submit an application with fewer than three letters of recommendation.

Should I wait to submit my application until all letters of recommendation are complete?
No. Submit your application as soon as you have completed it. Your letters of recommendation will be attached to your application as they arrive. Once you have submitted your application you may continue to monitor the status of your online recommendations by visiting the "Letters of Recommendation" section of the online application. All application materials, including letters of recommendation, must be submitted by the application deadline.

Do you accept professional letters of recommendation?
Academic references are always preferred, since they will best indicate your ability to succeed in graduate school. However, professional recommendations will also be accepted, if these are all that you can reasonably obtain.

Do you accept recommendation letters after the deadline?
If you have listed a recommender on your application prior to submission we will accept the letter after the deadline. That said, we cannot guarantee that letters received after the deadline will be reviewed with your application. The admissions committee begins their review of applications immediately after the deadline. It is therefore possible your application could be reviewed prior to the receipt of your letters of recommendation which may put you at a disadvantage.

How may I view the status of my recommendation letters?
To monitor the progress of your letters of recommendation, please login to your application and select section 6: "Letters of Recommendation". There you can view which recommenders have submitted their recommendation. (The "Received At" column notes the day and time the recommendation was submitted.)
 


International Applicant Questions

Must I send a financial statement with my application?
No. International applicants are only required to complete a financial statement once admitted. This form is normally made available to international applicants after acceptance of an offer of admission from UCSD.

What is the UCSD institution and ECE department codes for the TOEFL? If I demonstrate English proficiency via the IELTS, what address may I use to submit my results?
The TOEFL Institution Code is 4836. You may add ECE's TOEFL Department Code 66, but it is not required. 

Since IELTS scores are not currently able to be submitted electronically, you may have them mailed to: Graduate Admissions, Mail Code 0003, UC San Diego, 9500 Gilman Drive, La Jolla, CA 92093-0003.

Do I need to submit a TOEFL or IELTS test score report?
Please see the "Test Scores" section above.

What is the minimum TOEFL / IELTS test score required by ECE?
Please see our Deadline, Requirements, and Procedures webpage for minimum score requirements.

I have been studying in the US for a year, do I still have to submit a TOEFL or IELTS test score report?
As long as you've been enrolled full-time for a minimum of one year in an academic degree at a university in the U.S., you are not required to submit a TOEFL or IELTS test score.

Do you accept TOEFL scores from a test taken two years ago?
As long as ETS sends your official TOEFL test score to ECE before the application deadline, it will be deemed valid.

I have sent my official scores to the university and my application still shows "Not Received." Have you received my official scores?
It will take a little while for your official scores to be matched to your application. As long as you have self-reported your test scores in your application, our admissions committee will be able to evaluate it. Your official scores will later be double-checked against what you self-reported.

I have a Green Card; am I considered an international student?
If you have a valid Green Card, you will be considered a Permanent Resident of the US by the University. You will not be considered an international applicant.
 


Re-Application Process

I applied for an ECE program last year and was not offered admission. If I wish to apply again this year, do I need to complete the online application again?
Yes. Applicants must submit a new application (and supporting materials) each year they apply.
 


ECE Courses for Non-Degree Students

I am interested in enrolling in ECE courses. Must I submit an admissions application?
You do not need to apply for an ECE degree to enroll in ECE graduate courses. Visit UCSD Extension for further information about the Concurrent Enrollment Program.

May I enroll in ECE graduate courses before being admitted as a graduate student?
Yes. Visit UCSD Extension for further information about the Concurrent Enrollment Program.