Prospective Graduate Students

Welcome to the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering (ECE)

The department is one of the core engineering programs within the College of Science and Engineering (CSE) at the University of Minnesota. The combination of academic departments and research centers within CSE, supported by the resources of a large, comprehensive university, provides unparalleled opportunities for cross-disciplinary research and education.

The application deadline for fall semester is December 1. We begin accepting applications for admission beginning November 1. We do not admit students to other terms except for students living in Minnesota who work in industry, and plan on pursuing the graduate degree at part time status.

Our admission decision is based on a holistic review of your application file, and takes into account the following factors:
• academic record within the context of the rigor and reputation of where you received your undergraduate and graduate degrees
• statement of purpose
• letters of recommendation
• GRE test scores
• identified faculty adviser
fit within our program

BEE/MSEE or BCompE/MSEE Degree or Combined Degree Program:

The combined degree program offers University of Minnesota ECE juniors the opportunity to complete both a BEE and MSEE or a BCompE and MSEE in five years. Applicants must have a GPA of 3.4 or better and 79 semester credits. Both degrees will be granted, but the BEE/BCompE must precede the MSEE degree. Students may elect to take either a Plan A thesis or Plan C coursework only MSEE. Please visit the BEE/MSEE and BCompE/MSEE 5-year Degree plan for more information.

MSEE Degree:

The MS degree can be earned via the Plan A thesis option or the Plan C coursework only option. All master’s degree plans include a total of 30 semester credits. On average, a student completes the MSEE program within two years after the award of the bachelor’s degree.

UNITE Distributed Learning

UNITE is a College of Science and Engineering distance education office offering several Electrical and Computer Engineering graduate courses plus other CSE courses each semester.  Students may complete all coursework through UNITE toward a Plan C masters degree as well as combine courses taken through UNITE with courses taken on campus toward their degree.

PhD Degree:

The Ph.D. degree requires a total of 40 semester credits and 24 thesis credits (if you enter with an MS degree, most course credits from your MSEE degree will count toward PhD course credit requirements.) Minimum course requirements include 6 credits from 8000-level courses (the most advanced graduate-level courses offered), 14 credits in electrical engineering, and 12 semester credits in the minor or supporting program. The remainder of the course credits can be from electrical engineering or from the minor or related field. A minimum of 14 course work credits must be completed at the University of Minnesota. On average, a student completes the PhD program within five or six years after receiving their bachelor’s degree.

The Graduate School Application:  

The application process is entirely electronic and must be completed using the ApplyYourself application.

All documents must be submitted online as part of the Graduate School’s ApplyYourself application. Do not mail any documents to the Graduate School or the department. Have your electronic documents ready to upload to the ApplyYourself online application before you begin the application process.

Have the email addresses of those writing letters of recommendation for you ready to be entered into the ApplyYourself online application.

Please review the research areas prior to beginning the ApplyYourself application. You will be asked to list up to three area(s) of interest and the names of faculty with whom you would like to work.

We recommend students apply for the highest degree they would like to receive from the Electrical Engineering program.

Transcripts: Unofficial transcripts or academic records must be uploaded directly to the ApplyYourself online application BEFORE you submit the application. Non-English transcripts must be accompanied by an English translation.  Please do not submit paper or fax copies of this material; this will cause delays in the processing of your application.

If you are recommended for admission you will be asked to provide official transcripts. Official transcripts must be mailed directly from the institution.

If you have previously enrolled at any University of Minnesota campus, you can obtain electronic copies of your transcripts from One Stop student services.

Please provide a class rank statement if available.

Please review the detailed instructions on uploading transcripts. International applicants (or students with transcripts from a foreign institution) should click here for more details about transcripts (the link includes specific instructions for students from Chinese institutions).

Graduate Record Examination (GRE): GRE general test scores are required of all students applying to our program, except BEE and BCompE University of Minnesota students who have a GPA of 3.4 or greater. Note: Most fellowship competitions require the GRE general test. For more information, see the graduate school’s page on the GRE.

The institution code for the University of Minnesota is 6874. Do not use the department code.

English Proficiency Tests: A TOEFL, MELAB, or IELTS test score is required of most international applicants whose native language is not English. For more information, see English language requirements. You can check whether your GRE or English Proficiency scores have been received by the graduate school.

Résumé:  All applicants should submit a résumé with the following information: name, current address, permanent address, e-mail address, personal web address, objective/goals, education (including web address of colleges/universities) (rank within your class, if available), GRE/TOEFL test scores, academic honors, publications, research experience, and technical skills.

Applicant Statement 1: Your statement of purpose should speak primarily to your education, background, and “fit” for our program. Describe your undergraduate education, and graduate education if you have an MS degree. If you are an international applicant, provide information on how your school is ranked in your country and your grading system. If your degree is from China, tell us if your school is a national “Key School.” Describe your specific areas of interest in Electrical Engineering and your goals after your degree is awarded. If your interests are broad, state that. PhD applicants should include a paragraph on the professor(s) you are interested in conducting research with and reasons as to why you would like to work with them. If you have fluctuating grades or low GRE scores, please explain.

Applicant Statement 2: This statement is optional.

PhD applicants: We require applicants to our PhD program to submit a writing sample. If you have published, upload your publications/papers to the Graduate Program Supplementary Information section of the ApplyYourself Online Application. If you have no publications, submit a paper you have written for a class. Submit at least one paper or publication, but no more than 3.

Letters of Recommendation: The Electrical Engineering graduate program requires three letters of recommendation, which must be submitted via the online application. Before beginning the ApplyYourself application, obtain the email addresses of individuals writing letters of recommendation on your behalf so that this information is ready to be entered into the ApplyYourself application.  In most cases you can submit your application before letters of recommendation have been uploaded. Please do not have recommendation materials sent to the Graduate School Admissions Office or the department. Letters of recommendation must be submitted online as part of the ApplyYourself application.

Application Status: After you submit your materials, you will receive periodic email status updates at each point in the admission process. You will also be able to check the status of your application yourself. Your admission decision will be communicated to you through the ApplyYourself system.

Financial Support: Highly competitive fellowships and teaching and research assistantships are available through the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering. Offers are generally for the academic year and in some instances include summer support. PhD applicants are given priority for financial support.

Your application file is also available to faculty members for consideration for Research Assistant positions. Faculty will contact applicants directly with questions and information about their research group.

We also encourage applicants to apply for external fellowships. Below are links to some programs that provide fellowships:

AT&T Labs Summer Internship Program
Department of Energy Computational Science Graduate Fellowships
Fannie and John Hertz Foundation Fellowships
Ford Foundation Fellowship Program
GEM Fellowship Program (open to underrepresented groups (African Americans, American Indians, and Hispanic Americans)
The Integrative Graduate Education and Research Traineeship (IGERT) Fellowship
National Science Foundation (NSF) Graduate Research Fellowship Program
National Defense Science and Engineering Graduate (NDSEG) Fellowships
National Physical Science Consortium Fellowships
The Paul and Daisy Soros Fellowships for New Americans
Semiconductor Research Corporation (SRC) Fellowship
Symantec Graduate Fellowship Program
U.S. Department of Homeland Security Fellowships

Other Funding Opportunities (list provided by the Graduate School)

If you have any questions about applying to our program, please email