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Attention: Prospective Graduate Students

If you have been offered admission without financial assistance, please note that we currently do not have openings for funded teaching assistant or grader positions.

ECE Graduate Handbook

Graduate Handbook

Graduate Program Frequently Asked Questions

1. When does the department consider new admissions? What are the deadlines for receipt of applications? Do I have to mail the application materials? How do I apply?

The department accepts applications for fall. On (very) rare occasion, selective admission may be possible for spring. The deadline is 28 February for fall admission. The entire application process is managed online (go to: NDSU Graduate Admissions page for instructions).

Please do not mail application materials to the department.

2. Is the TOEFL required? If so, what are the minimum scores?

If you are an international applicant: Yes, the TOEFL is required. The Graduate School requires a minimum TOEFL score of 525 (paper-based) or 71 (Internet-based). The minimum required IELTS score is 6.

To qualify for graduate teaching assistantship (GTA), the minimum TOEFL requirements are:

















If you are a domestic applicant: Domestic GTAs and international GTAs possessing a U.S. Bachelor’s degree or higher are exempted from TOEFL provided that the degree included a minimum of two years in residence.

3. Is the GRE required? If so, what are the minimum required scores?

The GRE is not strictly required and may be waived for students who have strong endorsement from one or more faculty members. If you have taken the GRE, you may submit your scores along with the application. The average scores of accepted applicants are roughly: Verbal (144) and Quantitative (155).

4. My TOEFL score is XXX. My GRE scores are: YY and ZZ. My GPA is X.Y. Given my test scores and credentials, what are my “chances” of admission?

Admission to the program is NOT based on an automatic formula or test scores. Admissions to the program are primarily based on mutual (faculty-student) research alignment and the willingness of our faculty members to supervise you. If none of them are interested in your application, you will NOT be accepted into our program, despite your credentials. Hence, we strongly encourage you to make your case to our faculty members directly.

Each year, the ECE department receives many more qualified applications than it can accept, so admission typically requires more than meeting the minimum requirements. Every qualified student admitted to the program is selected by a faculty member willing to supervise his/her graduate work; therefore, prospective applicants are strongly encouraged to discuss their research interests with faculty members.

5. What about financial support? Do I have to apply for financial support separately?

You DON’T need to apply separately for financial support. We automatically consider you for financial support, unless you indicate otherwise.

Students with quarter-time (10 hrs/week) or more support in the form of a GTA or RA automatically receive full tuition waiver. PhD students that qualify for a GTA position are typically hired for 20 hrs/week at a rate of $1,500 per month. MS students that qualify for a GTA position are typically hired for 20 hrs/week at a rate of $1,000 per month. PhD and MS students who qualify for a grader position but not a TA will typically be paid less than the stipends above. RAs are supported by an individual faculty member’s research grant; hence, that faculty member determines the compensation for his/her RA.

For additional funding opportunities, please see:

6. What are the areas of study?

The department specializes in the broad areas listed below. For further details, please refer to each faculty member’s website:, or contact a faculty member directly.

  • Biomedical Engineering: Dan Ewert, Ivan Lima, Mark Schroeder
  • Communications/Signal Processing: Sanjay Karmakar, Roger Green
  • Computer Architecture: Scott Smith, Raj Katti, Sudarshan Srinivasan, Samee Khan, Na Gong
  • Cyber Physical and Embedded Systems:, Samee Khan, Sudarshan Srinivasan, Scott Smith, Na Gong, Jake Glower, Roger Green
  • Electromagnetics/Optics: Ben Braaten, Ivan Lima, Dave Rogers
  • Power/Energy: Rajesh Kavasseri
  • VLSI: Debasis Dawn, Scott Smith, Na Gong, Chao You

7. What are the degree options?

We offer a research-based doctoral degree (Ph.D.) requiring a dissertation, a research-based Master’s degree: (M.S.) requiring a thesis, and a coursework only Master’s degree (M.E.). All graduate degrees are in Electrical and Computer Engineering (ECE).

8. What is the M.E. program?

The Master of Engineering (M.E.) is a coursework only (no thesis) degree program. This is a self-support program (i.e., no TA or RA funding). To learn more about this option, please consult the graduate handbook.

Student Focused. Land Grant. Research University.

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Last Updated: Friday, April 04, 2014 2:55:57 PM