Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently asked questions about the graduate program in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering.

Admissions

  • How do I apply? Where do I submit my application materials?
    Students apply for admission to graduate study at Mississippi State University online at the Office of the Graduate School. Since the Office of the Graduate School handles all application materials, send all materials to the Office of the Graduate School; do not send any materials directly to the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering or to the Bagley College of Engineering. Contact the Office of the Graduate School for questions regarding the application for admission process or what materials are required to be submitted with an admission application.
  • I have an undergraduate degree in Engineering Technology degree—will I be admitted?
    No. Generally speaking, an Engineering Technology degree does not constitute sufficient background for our graduate programs in Electrical and Computer Engineering.
  • Can you give me a preliminary assessment of my credentials?
    Since we receive applications from all over the world, it is difficult to assess the chances of admission and/or financial support with having a full formal application package, including transcripts, GRE scores, reference letters, etc. As a consequence, we do not make any evaluations until all of the application materials (including the application fee) have been submitted formally to the Office of Graduate Studies
  • Can the application fee be waived?
    Neither the university nor the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering will waive the application fee.
  • Does the ECE department offer conditional admission?
    Students who are fully funded by some external source (typically a scholarship program sponsored by the government of the student's home country) and who meet all other admission requirements, but lack only the TOEFL/IELTS score required for admission, may apply to be admitted conditionally, provided that the student's funding source will cover one year of English as a Second Language (ESL) study. After one year of ESL study, the student can apply for regular admission into the graduate program in Electrical and Computer Engineering providing that a TOEFL/IELTS score meeting admission requirements (7.9 TOEFL, 6.5 IELTS) has been obtained. Conditional admission is available only for the fall semester. During the time of ESL study, a conditionally admitted student may only take ESL courses; a conditionally admitted student may not take courses other than ESL courses, or engage in research activities, during the time of ESL study. To be considered for conditional admission, the student must include in their statement of purpose submitted with their application for admission a statement that they wish to be considered for conditional admission. Documentation of the source of funding indicating that the funding will cover a year of ESL study must also be submitted with the application materials.
  • Do I have to take the GRE? Satisfactory performance on the GRE is required for students with an undergraduate degree from a program that is not EAC/ABET accredited. This would include almost all institutions outside of the United States.
  • What is your GRE code?
    Our Institution Code for the TOEFL/GRE is 1480.
  • What is the minimum GRE score required for admission?
    There is no minimum score required for admission, but obviously a low score can impact your chances of being admitted. Many of our graduate students score 155 or higher on Quantitative portion of the exam.
  • Can I defer my admission to a later semester?
    An admission decision is valid for one year. You can defer your admission until a semester that is within one year of the semester for which you have been admitted. However, you will have to contact the Office of the Graduate School directly to request the deferment since they handle all admissions and deferments. You will not need to resubmit any application materials in order to seek a deferment.
  • Can I transfer course credits I have taken at another institution?
    Generally, MS students are permitted to transfer up to 9 credit hours from another institution; PhD students can transfer up to one half of the required coursework. However, the specific courses that will be permitted to be transferred is subject to the approval of the student's adviser and graduate committee; additionally, credit may not be transferred from an institution outside of the U.S. Your first step, however, is to apply and gain admission to the program.
  • My application was rejected - will you tell me why?
    In general, we do not provide detailed reasons for rejection decisions. We receive applications from all over the world, and we consider a variety of aspects of each application before making a decision. We look at course grades as reported on transcripts; standardized test scores (e.g., TOEFL and GRE); recommendation letters; personal statements; and other components of the application package as appropriate. Although we have published minimums for some quantities (i.e., a minimum TOEFL score of 79, a minimum GPA of 3.0 for MS admission, etc.), we do reject some applications with scores above such thresholds. In these cases, the application, considered as a whole, is simply judged to not be competitive with those from higher ranking applicants.

Financial Aid

  • How do I apply for financial aid?
    In terms of financial aid, we do not have formal deadlines nor an application process for financial aid. The department awards teaching assistantships (TAs) based on the needs for the classes we are teaching, matching students with appropriate backgrounds to particular classes. We consider all incoming students for TA funding; however, please be aware that priority for TA positions naturally goes to doctoral students. Research assistantships (RAs) are decided by individual faculty members based on their availability of research funding. Most faculty like to observe a student in class for one or more semesters before making an RA offer, although some may extend an offer to exceptionally qualified students before their arrival on campus. In either case, you will need to contact professors in your area research directly about potential RA positions.

Courses and Research

  • Are there any required classes?
    There are no required courses at the graduate level in the department. Rather, students devise an individualized program of study in conjunction with their major professor, tailoring the courses to be taken to match the needs of the student's research activities.
  • Will I have an adviser assigned to me?
    The department does not assign advisers to students. Students consult with faculty in their area of research and study interest during their first semester of enrollment and choose an adviser who is willing to work with them. Registration for courses takes place during a departmental orientation for incoming graduate students—you will receive information about the departmental and university orientations several weeks before the start of your first semester of enrollment.

Distance Education

  • Are the distance programs identical to their on-campus counterparts?
    Our department offers MS and PhD degrees in Electrical and Computer Engineering (M.S. ECE and Ph.D. ECE, respectively). In essence, the distance degrees are operated identically to their on-campus counterparts; distance students simply participate in the distance-campus sections of the classes they are taking. In particular, the admission requirements and the degree requirements are the same. Complete admissions requirements are at http://www.ece.msstate.edu/information-for-prospective-students/
  • Will I have to come to campus at any time as a distance student?
    The distance-education programs do not have any residency requirement. Courses use a variety of technologies to deliver course content to distance students, including websites, streaming video, and interactive video conferencing. Department-approved proctors may be required to administer examinations to distance students; such examinations include course exams as well as others such as the doctoral qualifying examination. Oral examinations (e.g., oral preliminary examination, thesis/dissertation defense) may be conducted via on-campus visit by the student, interactive video conferencing, or some other method subject to the approval of the student's graduate committee and the graduate program director.
  • Is there an orientation for distance students?
    Unfortunately, we have no incoming-student orientations for distance students at the moment. You will want to contact professors in your area of research interest for suggested courses to take. Our faculty and there research interests are listed here: http://www.ece.msstate.edu/people/faculty/
  • How do distance students conduct research?
    Students enrolled in graduate programs offered via distance learning and requiring a thesis or dissertation must meet established research requirements which include the completion of ECE 8000 and ECE 9000 hours. Distance students engaged in research will be provided the same student-support services given to on-campus students, including access to Library resources, as well as thesis and dissertation workshops. Distance students may conduct thesis/dissertation research within on-campus research facilities, or, if appropriate, through remote access to on-campus systems. Alternatively, research may be conducted at an off-campus site. The student's graduate committee must approve the procedures which the student will follow in order to ensure the quality and integrity of the research process at the proposal, data-collection/analysis, and final-defense stages.