ECE Admissions Guide

Thank you for your interest in graduate study in the School of Electrical and Computer Engineering (ECE) at Purdue.

Bachelor's level students are considered for admission into either the Master's program or into the direct PhD program. Students who have already completed (or who will soon complete) a qualified Master's program may apply for admission to the PhD program.

Contact Us

Contact the ECE Graduate Office by:

Helpful hints:

  • E-mail is preferred.
  • Admission decision notifications:
    • On-campus applicants:
      • For fall applications received by the December 15 deadline, admission decisions are released in early February.
      • For fall applications completed after the December 15 and by the May deadline, admission decisions are released in June.
      • For spring applicants: Admission decisions are released in October.
    • Online applicants: Applications are processed on a rolling basis. Admission decisions typically take 4-6 weeks.
  • Check the status of your application in the online application system before emailing us:
    • Awaiting Submission: You must still pay your application fee and submit your application.
    • Awaiting Materials: Your application has been submitted but some materials are missing. Your application will indicate what is missing.
    • Awaiting Decision: Your application is complete and will be forwarded to our Admissions Committee for review.
  • Do not email faculty to inquire about your application status; use only the email above.
  • Provide the application reference number in your e-mail.
  • Sending multiple emails could have a negative result on your application.

Statement of Equality

Purdue's School of Electrical and Computer Engineering reaffirms its policy of equal opportunity, regardless of race, religion, color, sex, age, national origin or ancestry, genetic information, marital status, parental status, sexual orientation, gender identity and expression, disability, or status as a veteran. We encourage applications from all individuals.

How to Apply

Visit this webpage for information on completing your Purdue Graduate School application: How to Apply to the Purdue Graduate School.

Required Application Documents

Visit this webpage to see the list of required supporting documents required in your application: Graduate Program Requirements, Electrical and Computer Engineering.  

Diversity essay: International students are not required to submit a diversity essay.

GRE and TOEFL codes:

  • GRE Institution Code: 1631
  • TOEFL Institution Code: 1631
  • IELTS: Upload to your online application

Application Deadlines

Program

Fall

Spring

Summer

On-campus PhD and MS

December 15 – Priority*
May 1 - Final

September 1

No Entry

Online MS

July 15

December 31

No Entry

*December 15 is the deadline for priority consideration for financial support. Only a limited number of admissions will be granted to applicants whose application is completed after December 15. May 1 is the final deadline.

Positive admissions decisions for the December 15 deadline will be announced in February.  Admissions decisions for the May 1 deadline will be announced by approximately June 1.

Criteria for Admissions

While no single factor or score can characterize an applicant's probability for success, the following benchmarks may prove helpful.

GPA:

  • US applicants: Have an average GPA of 3.60 or higher.
  • International applicants: Are typically in the top 5% of their graduating class.

GRE:

  • PhD applicants: For Fall 2022 and Spring 2023, submitting GRE scores is optional. Applicants who already have scores (or can obtain them) are encouraged to submit them. 
  • Master’s applicants: The GRE is optional for master’s applicants. Be aware that applicants with a lower GPA or from a school that Purdue ECE may not be familiar with may benefit from providing strong GRE scores.

While we do not have minimum scores, the average GRE scores for admitted students in previous semesters are:

  • Verbal: 152
  • Quantitative: 166
  • Analytical writing: 3.6

English Proficiency Requirements for International Students

The Purdue Graduate School accepts either TOEFL or IELTS scores. Requirements are summarized below; full details can be found here: Purdue Graduate School English Proficiency Requirements.

TOEFL: The minimum Internet-Based Test (iBT) scores required for admission are the following:

  • Writing: 18
  • Speaking: 18
  • Listening: 14
  • Reading: 19
  • Total: 80

IELTS: An overall band score of 6.5 is required for admission with the following minimum section requirements:

  • Reading: 6.5
  • Listening: 6.0
  • Speaking: 6.0
  • Writing: 5.5

English proficiency testing waivers: Waivers will only be granted to the following:

  • International students who have received a degree from a U.S. institution within 36 months, prior to applying.
  • International students who have received a baccalaureate degree or graduate or professional degree, within the last 36 months at the time of recommendation for admission, from a school where English is the primary language of instruction in a country/location where English is the native language (see the bottom of this webpage for a list of English-speaking countries).

ECE Language Proficiency Requirements

Besides satisfying the Purdue Graduate School’s minimum scores, ECE requires one of the following writing scores for admission:

  • TOEFL: 22 or higher
  • IELTS: 6 or higher

We will not review an application where the scores do not meet this requirement except for exceptional PhD applicants with financial support. For these applicants, ECE will make an exception to the required writing score and consider them for conditional admission.

Language scores needed to be considered for a teaching assistantship (TA): If you are an international applicant, you must submit the Internet-based TOEFL or the IELTS to be considered for a TA. A minimum speaking score of 23 on the TOEFL or 7 on the IELTS is required to be considered for teaching assistantships. Highest priority for TA positions will be given to students with a TOEFL score of 27 or higher or IELTS score of 8 or higher on the speaking section. International students whose TOEFL requirement is waived MUST submit a TOEFL to be considered for TA positions.

Desired Undergraduate Background

Successfully earning a graduate degree in the School of ECE requires a strong background in certain engineering subjects. Our applicants typically have the credentials listed below.

Background in math:

Background for related graduate courses:

Application Degree Selection

Before selecting your desired degree objective on the online application, take a moment to consider your long-term plans.

  • If a PhD is your ultimate degree objective: We recommend you apply for the direct PhD program even if you don’t have an MS degree. The direct PhD option reduces your credit requirements and can accelerate your progress towards the PhD degree. If you choose to do this but your record is not strong enough to merit direct admission into the PhD program, you will automatically be considered for admission to the MS program.
  • If you are seriously considering a PhD degree but you are not yet sure: Selecting the MS track is appropriate.
  • If you are relatively certain that the MS degree is your main objective: Please select the MS program.

Funding

We award fellowships, research assistantships (RA), and teaching assistantships (TA) to top applicants at the time of admission. Applicants seeking possible funding are cautioned that successful applicants have qualifications that far exceed the minimum/average requirements of GPA, GRE, and TOEFL.

The majority of our funding is offered to students who apply for a Fall start by the December 15 priority date.

Very little funding is offered for students who intend to enroll in spring.

Fellowships

A limited number of outstanding incoming students are offered fellowships each year. The selection of fellowship candidates is based in part on academic record, recommendations, statement of purpose, and GRE scores. Visit this webpage for more information: The Graduate School Fellowship Office.

Teaching Assistantships

Teaching Assistantships (TAs) are offered to those graduate students we believe can be especially valuable in helping the faculty carry out the undergraduate teaching mission of ECE.

Those chosen must show outstanding evidence of scholarship by both scholastic record and their letters of recommendation.

TA positions outside the ECE department are the responsibility of student to apply for.

Language proficiency requirements for TAs: Since the language of instruction is English, only those with good oral and written English communication skills are acceptable for TA positions.

If you are an international applicant, you must submit the Internet-based TOEFL or the IELTS to be considered for a TA. A minimum speaking score of 23 on the TOEFL or 7 on the IELTS is required to be considered for teaching assistantships. Highest priority for TA positions will be given to students with a TOEFL score of 27 or higher or IELTS score of 8 or higher on the speaking section. International students whose TOEFL requirement is waived MUST submit a TOEFL to be considered for TA positions.

Students with a TOEFL speaking score lower than 27 or an IELTS speaking score lower than 8 may be offered conditional TA positions. Before a TA position will be assigned, these students must meet one of the methods of oral English proficiency described on this webpage: Methods of Oral English Proficiency Certification.

Research Assistantships

Research assistantships (RAs) are supported by research funding made available by the faculty members for whom the research is done.

Most RAs are offered after a student has completed at least one semester of course work on the Purdue/West Lafayette campus. This gives the faculty an opportunity to gauge the quality of a student’s academic work before making a research commitment to the student.

There are very rare cases where RAs are offered to new students prior to their arrival on campus.

As would be expected, RAs are more likely to be offered to PhD students than to MS students.

Deferring Admission

Students who have been admitted may request to defer their enrollment semester according to the following procedures:

  • Only one deferral request per application.
  • Defer only up to one year.
  • Send an e-mail to the ecegrad@purdue.edu explaining why you need to defer your admission and the term you would like to defer to.
  • Once your deferral is processed (this may take several months as these are processed in batches), you will receive a letter from the Graduate School with your new start term.

If you have been offered funding, your funding may not be guaranteed with your deferral.

Reapplication Procedures

Students who have been denied admission or whose application was incomplete may reapply for future semesters by completing a new application.

Please note:

  • Previous admission does not guarantee future entrance into ECE.
  • Previously denied applicants have only a very slight chance of a positive decision.

Transferring Credits

For Master's students: Up to 6 credits of graduate-level credits not previously used toward a degree may be transferred toward the Purdue MSECE.

For PhD students:

  • Up to 30 credits from the Master's degree may be counted toward the PhD requirements.
  • Up to 6 graduate-level credits not previously used toward a degree may be transferred.