Frequently Asked Questions

Prospective students and applicants, current graduate students and previous graduate students should refer to our Frequently Asked Questions listed below. For further information and additional commonly asked questions refer to the Graduate School Admissions Frequently Asked Questions, and the Graduate School International Admissions Frequently Asked Questions.


Admissions

Current Graduate Students

Previous Graduate Students

Admissions

Program Information, Admissions Requirements & Application Deadlines

I am interested in applying to an ECE Department graduate program. What degree programs does the ECE Department offer and what are the admissions requirements?
The ECE Department offers the following PhD degree, Master’s degree, and Certificate programs. Review the Graduate Degrees webpage for information and details on our programs.
Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) Master of Science (MS) Certificate
Electrical Engineering Electrical Engineering Nano-systems Engineering
Computer Engineering Computer Engineering Renewable Electric Energy Systems (REES)
Computer Networking
Electronic Power Systems Engineering
Three Master's degrees are also offered as online programs: Electrical Engineering, Computer Engineering and Computer Networking. Refer to the Engineering Online website for more information on these programs. The ECE Department distance education degree programs are limited to those individuals who work or reside in the United States and to United States military personnel serving overseas. We accept International applications from applicants who are affiliated with a partnering corporation.

Review the ECE Department How to Apply webpage for information on ECE Department Admissions and our Application Requirements and Deadlines. Submit the online application through the North Carolina State University Graduate School Online Application.

When is the application deadline? Can I submit my application or supplemental documents to NC State after the application deadline?
Admission Semester Deadline to Apply Deadline to Accept Offer of Admission
Fall December 15 June 15
Spring July 1 November 15
Summer No admissions
*Note: The ECE Department does not follow the Graduate School Priority Deadline schedule.
Refer to the above dates for ECE Department application deadlines.*

The ECE Department accepts applications from US Citizens, Permanent Residents, and International Applicants in both Fall and Spring semesters. In some circumstances, we may make exceptions to these deadlines and accept late applications from US Citizens and Permanent Residents. Engineering Online applicants are not required to follow these deadlines or pay the Advanced Enrollment Deposit.

The online application and application processing fee must be submitted to the Graduate School by the application deadline. The ECE Department will accept supplemental documents, exam scores and the Areas of Interest after this date. Please note that the admissions committee will not be able to review an application or issue an admission decision until all supplemental documents have been received and the application is complete. Late submission of supplemental documents and exam scores may put an applicant at a disadvantage. Check the application status through the Online Application. The status of each supplemental document will update to Complete as it is received by the Graduate School. If the application status is listed as Submitted, and the status of each supplemental document is listed as Complete, then the application is Complete and is currently under review.

What are the ECE Department GRE, TOEFL and IELTS score requirements? Do all applicants have to submit test scores?
All applicants must submit GRE General Test scores. The GRE test must have been taken within four years of the date of anticipated admission. GRE scores may be waived for applicants who are North Carolina State University students.
GRE General Test Section Suggested Minimum % Scores
Verbal Reasoning 70%
Quantitative Reasoning 90%
Analytical Writing 50%

All non-US citizen applicants (i.e., non-resident aliens and permanent residents) must demonstrate proficiency in English at a level necessary to be successful in a graduate program at NC State University.

The English proficiency requirement can be met in one of the following ways:

  1. Provide Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) scores. The TOEFL test must have been taken within two years of the date of anticipated admission.
  2. TOEFL Test Section Graduate School Required Minimum Scores Internet-based Test (iBT) ECE Department Required Minimum Scores Internet-based Test (iBT)
    Listening 18 points 18 points
    Reading 18 points 18 points
    Writing 18 points 18 points
    Speaking 18 points - for admission 19 points - for admission
    23 points – for a Teaching Assistant (TA) appointment
    where the TA has direct verbal interactions with students
    26 points – for a Teaching Assistant (TA) appointment
    where the TA presents lectures in the class or laboratory
    Total Score 80 points 90 points
    *Note: The current computer-based (CBT) and paper-based (PBT) versions of the TOEFL test will be given until the internet-based (iBT) version is implemented in a particular location. The computer-based TOEFL overall score must be 213 or higher. At least three sections must have scores of at least 17, and no section score may be below 13. The paper-based TOEFL overall score must be 550 or higher. At least two sections must have scores of at least 50, and no section score may below 45.*
  3. Provide International English Language Testing System (IELTS) scores. The IELTS test must have been taken within two years of the date of anticipated admission.
  4. IELTS Test Section Graduate School Required Minimum Scores ECE Department Required Minimum Scores
    Listening 6.5 points 6.5 points
    Reading 6.5 points 6.5 points
    Writing 6.5 points 6.5 points
    Speaking 6.5 points 7.0 points
    7.0 points – for a Teaching Assistant (TA) appointment
    Overall Band Score 6.5 points 6.5 points
  5. The TOEFL and IELTS tests will be waived if the applicant is a citizen of a country where English is an official language and the language of instruction in higher education.
  6. The TOEFL and IELTS tests will be waived if the applicant has successfully completed at least one year of full-time study in a degree program at a four-year US College or University.

What is the ECE Department GPA requirement? Will I be denied admission if my undergraduate GPA is below 3.0?
The ECE Department prefers that applicants have an undergraduate GPA of 3.25 or higher. The Graduate School requires applicants to have a GPA of 3.0 or higher. Students may be granted Provisional Admission when they do not fully meet all of the necessary requirements for admission to the Graduate School, but their circumstances warrant provisional admission.

Am I qualified to apply to your graduate program?
If you are interested in our program, please apply. Review the admissions requirements on the ECE Department How to Apply webpage. If your GRE, TOEFL or IELTS scores are below our suggested minimum scores, you may want to retake the test to strengthen your application. Applications will not be reviewed on one single factor. Application materials will be reviewed as a total package. The online application, statement of purpose, official test scores, transcripts, letters of recommendation, and research experience will all be considered. If you are applying to our PhD program from a MS program, we will be pleased to see that you have research experience. You may want to consider submitting a letter of recommendation from a research advisor.

I applied after the application deadline and want to move my application to a future semester:
If you have applied after the deadline and want to request to move your application to the following semester, contact the Graduate School Admissions Office at graduate_applications@ncsu.edu.

I already have a Master's degree in Electrical or Computer Engineering. Can I still apply to a Master’s degree program in the ECE Department?
Refer to the Graduate School Handbook for more information regarding applying to a Master's degree program if an applicant has a previous Master's degree. The handbook states:

Applicants who have a previous Master's degree in the program to which they are seeking admission: The Graduate School will not admit or transfer a student to a Master's program if the student already holds a Master's degree in the same discipline.

Applicants who already hold a Master's degree in Electrical or Computer Engineering will want to consider an application to a PhD program instead of to a Master's program, or may further their education by taking classes as a Non-Degree Studies student.

May I apply for multiple programs?
We request that applicants apply to the program that they are most interested in and believe that they are the best fit for. If you apply to the PhD program and are not qualified for admission, you may be considered for admission to our Master’s program. If you enroll in our Master's program and decide to apply for our PhD program at a later date, you will have the ability to apply the courses taken in the Master's program towards a PhD degree; however, you must also maintain continuous enrollment and meet degree requirements.

I previously applied for admission at NC State but did not receive an offer of admission. May I re-apply using my previous application?
Applicants who have been denied admission into a program may apply again in a future semester. To do this, applicants will need to submit a new online application and pay another application processing fee. We suggest that applicants retake the GRE, TOEFL or IELTS test, write a new Statement of Purpose or request new letters of recommendation to strengthen their application.

Supplemental Document Submission & Campus/Unity ID

I have submitted my online application and all supplemental documents, but my application status still shows as “Incomplete” or “Submitted.” Is my application Complete and under review?
If the application status is listed as Submitted, and the status of each supplemental document is listed as Complete, then the application is Complete and is currently under review by the admissions committee.

Your application may appear incomplete, even if you have properly submitted your online application and all of your supplemental documents by our application deadline. You can check your application status through the online application. The status of each supplemental document will update to Complete as it is received by the Graduate School. You will not be able to see if your Areas of Interest form has been completed in the online application. You will need to check the status of your Areas of Interest form in GradWatch.

If you have just submitted your online application and paid your application processing fee, your application will be Incomplete until your recommendation letters have been received, and standardized test scores have been attached to your application. The Educational Testing Service (ETS) reports GRE and TOEFL scores to NC State University electronically. It takes up to four weeks for NC State to receive scores from ETS and several business days for the Graduate School Admissions Office to match supplemental documents and exam scores to the online application. If you are missing any supplemental documents, you will be notified by the ECE Department.

When will I receive my 9-digit Student (Campus) ID number and my Unity ID? What is the difference between the two?
Applicants will receive their 9-digit NCSU Student ID Number from the NC State University Graduate School after they submit the online application and pay the application processing fee. Refer to the Office of Information Technology (OIT) website for more information on Unity and Campus IDs.

Applicants will receive their Unity ID and password information in their final admission letter from the Graduate School. The decision letter will be available through the online application; applicants must log in using the application password and the personal identification number (PIN) received through email when the application account was created.

How do I login to GradWatch to submit my Areas of Interest? Do I have to do this before the application deadline?
To login to GradWatch, an applicant will need their 9-digit NCSU Student ID Number or 6-digit Apply Yourself ID, Birth Date and Email Address they entered into the online application. After submitting the online application, it may take up to three business days before an applicant will be able to access GradWatch.

The online application and application processing fee must be submitted to the Graduate School by the application deadline. The ECE Department will accept supplemental documents, test scores and the Areas of Interest after this date. Please note that the admissions committee will not be able to review an application or issue an admission decision until all supporting documents have been received and the application is complete. Late submission of supplemental documents and test scores may put an applicant at a disadvantage.

Do I submit all application materials online, or can I mail hard copies of documents to North Carolina State University?
Applications, and all supplemental documents, must be submitted online through the North Carolina State University Graduate School Online Application. Do not send hard copy documents to the ECE Department or to the Graduate School.

How do I submit my GRE, TOEFL or IELTS scores to North Carolina State University?
Official GRE and TOEFL test scores must be sent electronically from the Education Testing Service (ETS). The NC State University Institution Code for Test Score Distribution is: 5496. A department code does not need to be selected.

To submit IELTS scores, email the TRF number or a copy of the IELTS scoresheet to the Graduate School Admissions office: graduate_applications@ncsu.edu. The admissions office staff will be able to access the official score on the IELTS website and will upload the score to the online application. Or, send a hard copy official IELTS score report to the Graduate School Admissions Office at this mailing address:
Graduate School Admissions Office
North Carolina State University
Campus Box 7102 / 1000 Main Campus Drive
Raleigh, NC 27695 USA

When do I submit my transcript?
The Graduate School requires applicants to submit one transcript from each college and university they have attended with the online application. Applicants may upload an unofficial transcript or a photocopy of an official transcript. Each transcript must include all courses completed and the degrees and dates awarded, if applicable. Incoming students who have attended North Carolina State University are not required to provide an NC State transcript.

After you accept your offer of admission, send the Graduate School an official transcript including all courses taken and degrees awarded for each college or university that you have attended.

*If you are currently enrolled at a college or university, you will need to submit official transcripts to the Graduate School twice. After you accept your offer of admission, send the Graduate School an official transcript including all courses taken through your most recently completed semester and any courses in progress. Upon completion of your degree program, you must send the Graduate School an updated official transcript that includes all courses taken, your final semester grades, the degree awarded and the date the degree was conferred.

All complete, official transcripts must be submitted to the Graduate School before the beginning of the first semester of enrollment at NC State University. If they are not on file with the Graduate School by the end of the first semester, students may not be permitted to register for the second semester.

Mail official transcripts to the Graduate School Admissions Office at this mailing address:
Graduate School Admissions Office
North Carolina State University
Campus Box 7102 / 1000 Main Campus Drive
Raleigh, NC 27695 USA

My school does not use a 4-point grading scale. How do I convert my grade point average to a 4.0 scale?
North Carolina State University does not have a converter available to help convert a non-US GPA to the 4.0 scale. As a resource, Texas Southern University hosts a GPA converter on their website. This should only be used as a guide.

I would like to submit certificates of accomplishments, resume and other documents. Where should I send them?
All supplemental documents must be submitted online through the North Carolina State University Graduate School Online Application. Upload the Statement of Purpose in the “Personal Statement/Statement of Purpose” section and upload a resume or any additional documents in the “Other Documents” section. Do not send hard copy documents to the ECE Department or to the Graduate School.

Financial Support & Research Opportunities

Does the ECE Department consider applicants for financial support?
All applicants are considered for financial support through Departmental and University Fellowships, Teaching Assistant appointments and Research Assistant appointments. For more information visit the Graduate School Financial Support webpage.

Should I contact faculty or prospective research advisors before I receive an offer of admission?

Since graduate degrees are more specialized than bachelor’s degrees, prospective graduate students are expected to have an area of interest in mind when they apply for admission to the department. Applicants are required to fill out the ECE Department Areas of Interest form through GradWatch. This information is used to determine which faculty will review the application. Information about ECE Department research areas and the faculty members affiliated with each area is on our ECE Research webpage.

Applicants may note within the statement of purpose which faculty member or research project they are most interested in. Students are admitted to the ECE Department, not to specific research groups. If you are admitted to our graduate program, you may then begin contacting faculty to discuss potential research projects and explore the possibility of joining a particular research group.

All master's students enter our program as non-thesis students. After you enroll in the program, if you decide that you want to pursue a master's thesis project, we encourage you to talk with faculty members about their research projects and the possibility of completing a thesis project with them.

Advanced Enrollment Deposit (AED) & Process to Accept or Decline Admission

How do I accept or decline my offer of admission? What is the deadline to accept my offer of admission?
The ECE Department requires students admitted to one of the graduate programs to indicate their intention to enroll and Accept or Decline their offer of admission by the following deadlines:
Admission Semester Deadline to Accept Offer of Admission
Fall June 15
Spring November 15
Summer June 15
*Note: Engineering Online applicants are not required to follow these deadlines or pay the Advanced Enrollment Deposit.*

To accept the offer of admission, applicants must enter an admission decision and pay an Advanced Enrollment Deposit of $300. To enter an admission decision, complete the enrollment form linked from the Graduate School’s Final admissions offer letter, once it is available. The advanced enrollment deposit will be credited toward the first semester's tuition (or toward student fees, if the student has a departmental funding award). The deposit is non-refundable, and may be deferred if the student defers enrollment to a later term. However, the ECE Department will not approve a deferral request unless the student has paid the advanced enrollment deposit and accepted the offer of admission by the deadline stated above.

The Graduate School further explains the deposit and process of accepting admission in the admission offer letter. Related questions should be directed to the appropriate Graduate School contact provided in that letter.

Mail official transcripts to the Graduate School Admissions Office at this mailing address:
Graduate School Admissions Office
North Carolina State University
Campus Box 7102 / 1000 Main Campus Drive
Raleigh, NC 27695 USA
International applicants will receive an offer letter from the Graduate School that includes instructions on how to complete and submit a Certificate of Financial Responsibility (CFR) or Visa Clearance Form (VCF) to the Graduate School. Completed CFR and VCF forms should be uploaded with any supporting documents through the Online Application. Once the Graduate School receives and approves the CFR form and/or VCF form, applicants will be granted Full Admission and will be issued a Final admission offer letter. Within this letter there will be a link through which applicants can indicate their intention to enroll and Accept or Decline their offer of admission. Applicants should direct further questions about the CFR form, VCF form or I-20 to the Graduate School International Admissions Specialist.

To decline the offer of admission, applicants must complete the enrollment form linked from the admission offer letter, or email the ECE Graduate Admissions staff at eceadmissions@ncsu.edu to explain the decision to decline.

To request to defer the offer of admission to a future semester, applicants must complete the enrollment form linked from the admission offer letter and officially Accept the offer of admission and pay the $300 Advanced Enrollment Deposit by the June 15 or November 15 deadline before the ECE Department can consider an applicant’s request to defer. To request to defer, applicants must email eceadmissions@ncsu.edu and include their full name, 9-digit NCSU Student ID Number, the program and semester they were admitted to, the semester they would like to defer to, and a detailed explanation of the reasons for requesting a deferral. Applicants may only request to defer their admission semester for a total of one year (two academic semesters).

Defer Admission

I would like to defer my admission to a future semester. How do I request a deferral?
Applicants must complete the enrollment form linked from the admission offer letter and officially Accept the offer of admission and pay the $300 Advanced Enrollment Deposit before the ECE Department can consider a request to defer. The deadline to accept the offer of admission and submit the Advanced Enrollment Deposit is June 15 for Fall and Summer admission, November 15 for Spring admission, or within 2 weeks of an admission decision rendered after these deadlines.

To request to defer, applicants must email eceadmissions@ncsu.edu and include their full name, 9-digit NCSU Student ID Number, the program and semester they were admitted to, the semester they would like to defer to, and a detailed explanation of the reasons for requesting a deferral. The deferral must be approved by the Director of Graduate Programs and by the Graduate School.

Applicants may only request to defer their admission semester for a total of one year (two academic semesters).

Accepted Offer of Admission - Next Steps

I have accepted my admission offer. What do I do now? Who is my faculty Academic Advisor?
After applicants receive an offer of admission into one of our graduate programs, they will be assigned an Interim Academic Advisor. The Interim Advisor assignment is posted in GradWatch in the Application tab. Incoming students may consult with their academic advisor or with the ECE Graduate Office staff via email at eceadmissions@ncsu.edu with any questions about coursework, specialty areas or planning which courses to take to satisfy degree requirements. Review the ECE Department Graduate Degrees webpage for information and details on our programs. Review our ECE Course Details & Specialty Areas and refer to the PhD or Master’s Plan of Work worksheets when selecting courses.

How and when should I enroll in courses?
Each semester, before enrollment opens for the upcoming semester, students will see an Enrollment Advising Hold in their MyPack Portal. The ECE Graduate Office must clear this hold before students will be able access the online course registration system. Read more about how and when to enroll (register) in courses on the Registration & Records Registration Information webpage.

When and where do I submit my Official Transcript?
Complete, official transcripts from each college and university attended, including degrees and dates awarded, must be submitted to the Graduate School before the beginning of the first semester of enrollment at NC State University. If they are not on file with the Graduate School by the end of the first semester, students may not be permitted to register for the second semester.

Mail official transcripts to the Graduate School Admissions Office at this mailing address:
Graduate School Admissions Office
North Carolina State University
Campus Box 7102 / 1000 Main Campus Drive
Raleigh, NC 27695 USA

Where can I find other useful information for incoming ECE graduate students?
Refer to the Current Graduate Student Portal New Graduate Student Information for helpful information for our incoming students.

Previous Graduate Students

Official Transcript, Diploma and Skills Verification Letter Procedure

How do I request an Official Transcript from the university?
Transcripts can be ordered online by current students, alumni, and former students of the university after a semester or degree has been completed. Please refer to the Registration & Records Request a Transcript webpage for more information.

I am a recent graduate. When will I receive my diploma?
The Office of Registration & Records is responsible for degree certificates and diplomas for the university. Diplomas will be mailed to the address listed as your Diploma or Home/Mailing address in your MyPack Portal. Graduates can expect degrees to be posted on their transcript approximately two (2) weeks after the graduation date. Refer to the Graduation Process webpage for more details.

My company is helping me apply for Permanent Residency. How do I request a letter to verify the skills I gained while enrolled in the ECE Department?
Previous graduate students applying for work visas or for permanent residency may contact the ECE Graduate Office to request a “Skills Verification” letter. We are happy to prepare a letter for you, but ask that you comply with our process:
  1. Email your skills letter request to the ECE Graduate Office at ecegradoffice@ncsu.edu (see details below).
  2. We will compose a letter for you on departmental letterhead, have it signed by Dr. Michael Devetsikiotis, the Director of Graduate Programs, and then email a scanned copy to you. We do not mail the hard copy. If you require the original letter, and cannot come to the ECE Graduate Office to pick it up in person, you may have a friend stop by our office with approved notice to pick up your letter.
  3. We cannot verify skills in courses in which a grade of "B-" or below was received. We also do not verify skills in courses taken as AU (Audit) or S/U (Satisfactory or Unsatisfactory).
  4. It typically takes 10-15 business days for our office to prepare your letter and email it to you. We ask that you plan for this in advance and submit your letter request at least a month prior to your deadline. Our office experiences a high volume of letter requests on top of our current student paperwork so your patience is very much appreciated.
Email the ECE Graduate Office staff at ecegradoffice@ncsu.edu with the following details and we will prepare your letter:
  • Full name, 9-digit student ID number, degree obtained (plan and program, i.e. Master of Science in Electrical Engineering), and graduation semester and year
  • Course name, course number, semester the course was taken and the skill(s) gained in the course