Prospective Applicants' Frequently Asked Questions
General Application Questions
- How do I apply? Answer: The Electrical and Computer Engineering department only accepts online applications. View our Application Requirements and Procedures for more information.
- How do I obtain more information about ECE graduate programs? Answer: Review the ECE website for information about our graduate programs and admissions process. You can also obtain information about ECE faculty and areas of research on this website.
- How can I arrange a visit to UCSD? Answer: Campus tours are held at UCSD Monday through Saturday. For further information.
- Do you accept applications for Winter or Spring quarters? Answer: We only accept applications to ECE graduate program every Fall Quarter. We do not accept applications for Winter or Spring quarters.
- What is the deadline for submitting my application? Answer: See Application Deadlines and Timeline for more details. You must complete your online application by this date in order for your application to be considered for Fall quarter. All relevant information, including your GRE and TOEFL test scores, must be included in your online application. Keep in mind that even if you have not completed your current academic program, we require you to submit a transcript which includes your work up to this point, in your online application. We understand it will not be a final transcript. Please do not mail any transcripts or other documents to UCSD.
- How do I select Part-time enrollment? Answer: In applying to ECE graduate programs, you can only apply as a full-time student. However, if you are admitted, you can petition to study half-time, as long as you are a domestic student or considered as a Permanent Resident of the US by the University.
- How many students are you going to admit? Answer: We do not have an admissions quota. As a guide, we welcomed 436 students out of 2687 applications to our graduate programs in 2012.
- Can I apply for both the Ph.D. and M.S. programs? Answer: No. You may only make one application to ECE.
- The online application is asking for a specialization. What does this mean? Answer: Specialization refers to your area of interest within the major that you've chosen (i.e. Electrical Engineering). You can refer to our area of research at ECE.
- When applicants are not admitted to the Ph.D. program, will they be considered for the Master's program? Answer: Not automatically. However, you can indicate in your Statement of Purpose that you wish to be considered for the Master's program in the event that your application for the Ph.D. program is unsuccessful, and this will be taken into consideration by the admissions committee when assessing your application.
- Can I still apply even if my undergraduate major is not in Electrical Engineering? Answer: All applicants with a B.S. and/or M.S. degree in engineering, physical sciences, or mathematics are considered for admission to ECE graduate programs. If your major is not in one of these areas, you can still apply, however you should compare the course requirements for your program of interest to your prior coursework for your B.S. and/or M.S. degree, since the admissions committee will look at how many undergraduate courses you will likely have to take in preparation for the program's course requirements.
- I already hold a Master's or Doctorate degree from another institution/university; can I apply for a duplicate/2nd degree? Answer: Duplication of advanced degrees is not permitted. Holders of a Master's degree or Ph.D. are advised not to apply for admission to our program for the same degree, regardless of the discipline of the first degree or the discipline to which they seek admission. A professional degree is not regarded as a duplication of an academic degree.
- Based on my qualification and test scores, can you tell me whether I am eligible for the ECE graduate program? Answer: We do not offer a pre-assessment service to applicants; therefore, if you wish to be considered for one of our graduate programs, you will have to complete an online application. You can refer to our website to determine whether you meet our minimum admissions requirements.
- Can I send copies of my resume, papers that I have written, etc.? Answer: No. The admissions committee will be looking solely at the information that you provide online. Please do not submit any materials via mail. Only materials submitted through the online application system will be taken into consideration at the time that your application is assessed. All relevant information must be included in your online application.
- I have a green card, am I considered an international student? Answer: If you have a valid Green Card, you will be considered as a Permanent Resident of the US by the University. You will not be considered an international applicant.
- When will I find out the outcome of my application to ECE? Answer: See Application Deadlines and Timeline for more details.
- Do I have to send a financial statement with my application? Answer: 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.
- Do you provide financial support to Master's students? Answer: Unfortunately, there is little support opportunity for master’s students. Assistantships are quite rare, very competitive, and certainly not guaranteed. Most of these are reserved for continuing Ph.D. students. Teaching assistant positions are possible, though also competitive. For international students, a TA position will still leave tuition unpaid (TA compensation only includes stipend and fee remission).
- Do you require submission of a GRE General Test score? Answer: Yes, all applicants must submit a valid GRE General Test score as part of their application. No exceptions.
- What is the minimum GRE score required for admission to ECE? Answer: There are no minimum GRE test scores required. The average GRE scores for admitted students are: V. 155 Q. 166 W. 4
- My GRE score will expire soon. If I send my GRE test score before it expires, will it be considered? Answer: As long as ETS sends your official GRE test score to ECE before the application deadline, it will be deemed valid. Note: GRE Scores are valid up to 5 years after the test date.
- My GRE score is low. Should I re-take the GRE test? Answer: When assessing applications, the GRE test score is just one out of a number of factors that the admissions committee consider in deciding who to admit into our programs. It's up to you to decide whether to take the GRE test again.
- I have taken the GRE test more than once. Do you use the average of all the scores in assessing my application? Answer: We use your best individual scores when evaluating your application.
- I have not taken my GRE test yet, will my application be considered without my GRE score? Answer: Your application is not considered complete if the GRE score is missing. Unfortunately, if a score is not available by the application deadline, your application is considered incomplete and cannot be submitted.
- 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? Answer: 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.
What is the UCSD institution and ECE department codes for the GRE and TOEFL? Answer: GRE Institution Code: 4836
GRE Department Code: 1203
TOEFL Institution Code: 4836
TOEFL Department Code: 66
Do I have to submit a TOEFL or IELTS test score report? Answer: 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 Academic (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. Examples of countries with English as a dominant language: U.S.A., England, Australia, Guam, Jamaica, Ireland, parts of Canada, etc.
- What is the minimum TOEFL / IELTS test score required by ECE? Answer: See Application Requirements and Procedures 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? Answer: As long as you've been enrolled, full time, for a minimum of one year in an academic degree at a university in the US, you are not required to submit a TOEFL or IELTS test score.
- Do you accept TOEFL scores from a test taken 2 years ago? Answer: 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 GRE or TOEFL scores to the university and my application still shows "Not Received." Have you received my official scores? Answer: If you have sent your official scores to the institution code 4836, they will be reviewed with your application. However, the official scores may not post to your application until you are offered admission. This is not a problem and will not affect the review of your application. Please ensure you self-report your scores into your application.
- My recommenders prefer to submit hard copy letters or they are unable to use the online letter of recommendation process; can they submit a paper letter of recommendation? Answer: We strongly advise that you submit all letters of recommendations online through the UCSD Graduate Application for Admission website. We do not accept paper-based letters of recommendations. The admissions committee will be looking solely at the information that you provide online. Paper-based letters may not be taken into consideration at the time that your application is assessed.
My recommender has not received an email requesting a letter. What should I do? Answer: To monitor the progress of your online letters go to the Application Management Page of the on-line application website and Click on the "Manage Recommendations" button. Here you can determine which letters have been received. From this site you can also send an e-mail reminder to recommenders.
If a recommender is not responding to your request you should check the e-mail address for accuracy and contact the recommender by telephone.
In the event that you need to change a recommender's e-mail address, you must re-enter the recommender information in the additional spaces provided. It is not possible to change the e-mail address of the original entry.
- Can I add or change my recommenders after I have submitted my online application? Answer: You can add additional or replacement recommenders after you have submitted your online application by visiting the "Manage Recommendations" section found within the Application Management page of the online application. You cannot revoke a recommendation letter once it has been submitted by the recommender. In the event that you need to change a recommender's email address, you must re-enter the recommender's information in the additional spaces provided. It is not possible to change the email address of the original entry.
- I only have two letters of recommendation, will my application be considered? Answer: 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 less than three letters of recommendation.
- Should I wait to submit my application until all letters of recommendation are complete? Answer: No. Submit your application as soon as you have completed it. Your letters of recommendation will be attached to your application when they arrive. Once you have submitted your application you may continue to monitor the status of your online recommendations by visiting the "Manage Recommendations" 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? Answer: 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? Answer: If you have listed a recommender on your application prior to submission we will accept the letter after the deadline, however, we cannot guarantee the letters will be reviewed with your application. Faculty will begin reviewing applications immediately after the deadline and it is possible your application may be reviewed prior to the receipt of your letters of recommendation which may put you at a disadvantage.
- I applied for an ECE program last year, and was not offered admission. If I want to apply again this year, do I have to complete the online application again? Answer: Yes. Applicants must submit a new application each year they apply.
- I applied for an ECE program last year, and was not offered admission. Do I have to re-submit my application materials? Answer: Yes. Applicants must submit all required materials each year they apply.
- I am interested in enrolling in ECE courses. Do I have to apply for a graduate program? Answer: You don't have to apply for a full degree in order to enroll in ECE graduate courses. Visit UCSD Extension for further information about their Concurrent Enrollment Program.
- Can I enroll in ECE graduate courses before being admitted? Answer: Yes. You must contact UCSD Extension for further information about the Concurrent Enrollment Program.
- Can I transfer courses completed at another UC campus or UCSD Extension or another institution? Answer: Once you have registered in your program at ECE, you may petition to transfer up to 24 units of credits for courses completed at another UC campus (including UCSD Extension) to a UCSD Master's degree. A maximum of 8 units of work completed at an institution other than UC may be transferred. Eligible course work may not have been used to fulfill the requirements of any other degree, and must have been completed with a B- or better grade. All transfer courses must have been taken prior to enrollment as a graduate student at UCSD.
Newly Admitted UCSD Students
- I am a newly admitted student and will start the ECE graduate program this upcoming Fall. Where can I find information that is relevant to me? Answer: Check out our Newly Admitted to ECE FAQ page.
Should you have questions that are not answered on this website, you should direct them exclusively to: firstname.lastname@example.org