ECE Admissions Guide

Thank you for your interest in graduate study in the Elmore Family 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:

  • E-mail:
  • Phone: 765-494-3392
  • Fax: 765-494-3393
  • Online MSECE: Contact Lynn Hegewald, Master’s Program Manager, at with questions about the online MSECE. 

Helpful hints:

  • E-mail is preferred.
  • Admission decision notifications:
    • On-campus applicants: See this information
    • 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.

Location Preference

Starting with the Fall 2024 term, ECE graduate students can choose to study at either the Purdue West Lafayette location or Purdue Indianapolis location. Please note that the admissions criteria for both locations are identical and the locations are part of the same campus.

For historical reasons, the majority of our ECE graduate students, including most of our MS thesis and PhD students, are currently at West Lafayette. However, we expect the number of students at the Indianapolis location to grow as well.

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.  

GRE and TOEFL codes:

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

Application Deadlines





On-campus PhD and MS

December 1 – Priority*
April 1 - Final

September 1

No Entry

Online MS

July 15

December 15

No Entry

*December 1 is the deadline for priority consideration for financial support. 

Timing of admissions decisions:

  • Most admission offers that include funding (Fellowships, Teaching Assistantships and Research Assistantships), will be released by March 1.
  • All final admissions decisions for applications received by the December 1 deadline will be announced by May 15.
  • Admissions decisions for applications received by the April 1 deadline will be announced by July 15.
    • A limited number of admissions will be granted to applicants whose application is completed after December 1.

Criteria for Admissions

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


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


The GRE is optional for all applicants. Applicants who already have scores (or can obtain them) are encouraged to submit them. Additionally, 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 (Purdue Graduate School requirement; ECE requires a score of 22 or higher*)
  • 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 (Purdue Graduate School requirement; ECE requires a score of 6 or higher*)

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

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

Desired Undergraduate Background

Successfully earning a graduate degree in the Elmore Family 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 program is appropriate.
  • If you are relatively certain that the MS degree is your main objective: Please select the MS program.

MS Track Selection

Applicants can specify the MS tracks (thesis, project, etc.) they are interested in on the application. However, for on-campus applicants, space limitations and other considerations may dictate the MS track an applicant is admitted to.

Tuition and Funding

Tuition rates for Purdue graduate programs are available here.

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 and TOEFL.
The majority of our funding is offered to students who apply for a Fall start by the December 1 priority date.
Very little funding is offered for students who apply for entry in the spring term. See this webpage for additional information about funding: Finding Funding.


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, and statement of purpose. 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 ECE TA positions.
For international students: TA certified students will be given priority for ECE TA positions.
  • TA certified: To be TA certified, you must meet one of the following criteria:
    • TOEFL speaking score is 27 or higher or your IELTS score is 8 or higher.
    • You have met one of the methods of oral English proficiency described on this webpage: Methods of Oral English Proficiency Certification.
  • Not TA certified: TOEFL score is below 27 or IELTS score is less than 8 (students in this category may be offered conditional TA positions).
  • To become TA certified: You 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.

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

Deferring Admission

We understand that sometimes events outside your control may require you to request deferral of admission. Please note that deferral is not guaranteed and will be considered only under extenuating circumstances. 

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

  • Two deferral requests per application.
  • Defer only up to one year.
  • Send an e-mail to the 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.

Program Details

See our program guides for full details on our programs: