Graduate Program FAQ

Q: When does the department consider new admissions?

A: The department accepts applications for fall. On a rare occasion, selective admission may be possible for spring. The deadline is 28 February for fall admission. The entire application process is managed online, if you have questions please go to the:NDSU Graduate Admissions page.

Please DO NOT mail application materials to the department, they will not be evaluated here.


Q: Is the TOEFL required? If so, what are the minimum scores?

A: 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 (web based).

The minimum required IELTS score is 6.

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

A minimum TOEFL ibT score of 81 (IELTS of 7; PTE Academic equivalent of 54), a TOEFL ibT Speaking subscale score of 23 or above and a TOEFL ibT Writing subscale score of 21 or above. The IELTS equivalent scores are 6.0 for both, and the PTE Academic equivalent scores are 62 and 56, respectively. The Duolingo score is 115 or greater.


Q: Is the GRE required? If so, what are the minimum required scores?

A: 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).


Q: Based on a set of TOEFL and GRE and current GPA, what are my chances of admission?

A: 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.


Q: What about financial support?

A: 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:


Q: What are the areas of study?

A: 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, Dharmakeerthi Nawarathna
  • Communications/Signal Processing: Sanjay Karmakar, Roger Green, Ivan Lima
  • Computer Architecture: Scott Smith, Sudarshan Srinivasan, Samee Khan
  • Cyber Physical and Embedded Systems:, Samee Khan, Sudarshan Srinivasan, Scott Smith, Jacob Glower, Roger Green
  • Electromagnetics/Optics: Ben Braaten, Ivan Lima, David Rogers
  • Power/Energy: Rajesh Kavasseri
  • VLSI: Scott Smith


Q: What are the degree options?

A: 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).


Q: What is the M.E. program?

A: 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.

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