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Applicant FAQs

Please also review the Graduate School FAQ before filling out your application at:

Additional Materials

On the Graduate School’s website, it’s said that some programs require additional materials such as writing samples and portfolios. Does your department require such materials? If so, what’s needed?  No other materials are necessary.

Can I upload my published papers and abstracts along with the transcripts? Yes.  We welcome such additional materials.

I am filling the online application form, however I don’t see any area for VEF nominee so I emailed you to ask where I can send Financial Support Letter and indicate that I am a VEF fellowship nominee.  On the Uploads section of the application there is a place under Additional Documents where you can upload your Support Letter.

Address Change

How do I get my address updated since I’ve moved after submitting the application?  Please submit all questions/corrections to


When is the last day to indicate acceptance of your offer – The applicant must decide by April 15 for fall admission and November 1 if applying to start in the spring semester.

How many students do you plan to admit? Typically we admit 20-22 students each year.

Do you have a rolling system in the process of application selection, in other words, does it mean that the earlier I submit my application the possibility of being admitted is higher?  Applications are reviewed by the Graduate Admissions Committee as they arrive starting in December. Thus, early submissions are encouraged.

Do you know the average of former students? (GRE, TOEFL and GPA) No individual component (GRE, TOEFL, and GPA) is crucial for acceptance. We evaluate each application holistically.

With that said, the averages for students who applied in Falls 2016, 2017, 2018, and 2019 and were offered admission to the program are as follows:

GRE Verbal: 154.04

GRE Quantitative: 166.11

GRE Analytical Writing: 3.63

TOEFL Listening: 26.55

TOEFL Reading: 27.54

TOEFL Structure / Written Expression: 25.51

TOEFL Speaking: 23.46

GPA: 3.75 / 4.00, 8.92 / 10.00, or 88.74 / 100.00

Do you admit students if they can support themselves?  We typically admit students with financial aid unless they are supported by a company.  Even in the exceptions, they must have as strong an application as those who receive financial assistance.

Advisor / Support

Can you tell me some policy about the selection of the advisor after the first year’s study?  First year students are financially supported by the department with the understanding that they will find an advisor willing to support their future studies.  The deadline is March 1st of their first year. During this period students usually talk to and work with faculty whose work they are potentially interested in and a mutual selection happens.


How many students typically apply?  For fall 2018 we had over 300 applications.

Applications / Applying

When can I start applying for Fall?  As early as June at  click the “Apply Now” button on top right corner.

Do I need a master’s degree to apply for my PhD?  This program’s emphasis is on the Ph.D program, so we typically offer financial aid only to students who wish to pursue a Ph.D.  In your application, please choose the Ph.D. program if you wish to pursue a Ph.D (including a first master’s degree, if appropriate).  A master’s degree is not required.

Application status – when will I be notified of final status?  Decisions are typically made in an ongoing fashion from March to May.

Can I apply after the December 15 deadline?  Yes, you can apply after the deadline.  However, early submissions are encouraged.

Is a BSC in computer science student eligible to apply to EE?  Yes.

Which material is the most important when you choose the applicants, GPA or Statement of Intent, or something else?  Each section of the application is important since we evaluate the application holistically.

Do I need to send paper based recommendation letters and forms if they’ve been uploaded online?  No.

In the online application system there were asterisk marked fields asking for Baccalaureate institution code and institution name. Being an international applicant, I can’t fill them up. What can be done?  Simply type “cannot find” into the space provided for the school name.  the Graduate School will find it.

After Submission

Could I change my information after I submit my application online?  If your application materials require correction or update after you have submitted, please email the new items with an explanation to, and request that the old materials be replaced by the new.

Areas of Study

Electronic Circuits and Systems (ECS)

1.  Communication, Coding, and Information Theory

2.  Controls and System Theory, Smart Infrastructure Systems

3.  Wireless Communications and Networks, Stochastic Geometry

4.  Digital Signal Processing, Image Processing, Computer Vision

Electronic and Photonic Materials and Devices (EPMD)

1.  Nanoelectronic Devices and Systems

2.  Photonic Devices and Systems

3.  RF to THz Electronic Devices and Systems

Arrival of Documents

I am a little afraid that my GRE scores which are sent by ETS may arrive later than other documents. Is that OK?  There is no problem with materials arriving at different times.

Baccalaureate Institution Code

In the online application system there were asterisk marked fields asking for Baccalaureate institution code and institution name. Being an international applicant, I can’t fill them up. What can be done?  Simply type “cannot find” into the space provided for the school name.  The Graduate School will look it up.

Codes for GRE and TOEFL

ND code?  1841

Conditional Admission

Please inform me about the possibility to get the conditional admission from your university?  We do not do conditional admissions.

Contacting Faculty

Would you encourage contacting professors who I consider to work with? Should I wait for being accepted (hopefully) and then contact them?  You are welcome to contact the professors.  However, keep in mind that faculty are very busy, so keeping questions short and focused would be best.

Course Background

I want to apply for the Master of Science in Electrical Engineering and I’m interested in the field of photonics.  I am afraid that my study background could not meet your requirement. Would you please tell me the obligatory course that I need to take during my college study?  We do not have any such obligatory courses. As required by your research interests, you will take any needed courses here.

Credit Card

My credit card payment did not go through?  What should I do now?  An applicant will receive a receipt if the payment went through.  You cannot go back into the system and try to use the credit card again.  You will have to send a check or money order to the Graduate School.


Deadline for Fall?  December 15

Deadline for Spring?  Nov.1. However, if you are an international applicant, the sooner you apply the better your chances for making the semester by mid-January while allowing time for getting your visa.

Can I apply after December 15?  Yes, however, early submissions are the most useful.


(ND) Decisions for admits?  Decisions are made in an ongoing fashion from January to May.

Will the graduate office make a selection from the application materials first according to the GRE score before they reach the EE professor?  The Graduate School does not make any pre selection so all materials are evaluated by the Electrical Engineering Admissions Committee.

Also, around when will I receive notification of my admit/reject if I apply by the December deadline?  You will receive an email from Graduate Admissions when the decision is ready to login to SLATE. The notification time is determined both by when your application was considered and the Graduate School workload. May is the latest for admits.

Department Code

Dept. code for the GRE?  1203

Dept. code for TOEFL?  66


We are an Electrical Engineering department only.  If you are interested in Computer Science and Engineering at Notre Dame, please see their website at

EE Website / Contact

EE website?

Email of DGS?  Information on EE research topics available on website.  Any questions on admission should be addressed to the Director of Graduate Studies Dr. J. Nicholas Laneman ( or the Graduate Coordinator, Christine Landaw (


I will be applying to the Electrical Engineering department is it mandatory to upload the two essays? It is stated in the site that I have to upload it in the “additional writing documents” section, but there is only one section named “writing documents” and three sections of “Additional documents” but no section named “additional writing documents”. So where do I upload the two essays if at all I have to do it?  No essays are required.

Financial / Funding

Financial/Statement (Certificates) needed?  These are needed only if bringing family as a proof required for Visa purposes of the student’s ability to support them. These are needed after the acceptance of our offer.

How do I apply for financial assistance?  Application for financial aid is automatic.

I am seeking financial assistance in the form of a TA or RA, I want to know if they are available for only Ph.D. candidates, or are they also available if I am selected for a MS?  All admits are eligible for TAs. With that said, we usually admit only students who are interested in a Ph.D.

I heard that it is difficult for International students to get financial aid.  Is that true?  That is incorrect.  All admitted students receive fully funded tuition and stipend.

Former Student Reapplying

A former student will need to reapply.  The application fee may be waived. Please contact the department.


Does the department need confirmation for a Fulbright grantee? Yes, please submit a formal letter.

Future Job Placement / Earnings

What are the companies that visit your University for campus placements?  We do not track the companies that visit.  A typical salary range over the past few years for EE graduates is $50K to $145K per year.  A list of students from various faculty members have been placed recently at AT&T, Facebook, Ford Motor Company, Intel Corporation, Micron, National Instruments, Northrop Grumman, Qualcomm, Raytheon, Samsung, Texas Instruments, Baylor University, and many more.

What would be the average salary of the EE graduates passing from your University?  $50K to $145K on average.


GPA below 3.0, still apply?  Yes. All application will still be looked at. Weaknesses in one area can be overcome by strengths in others.

What is the average GPA of successful applicants these years?  We do not release the average GPA of our successful applicants. However, no individual factor is crucial for success.

How do you calculate GPA for Chinese students?
We convert GPAs to a 4 scale depending on the system used by the Chinese University.

My institution’s GPA does not fit on the application, what should I do?  Use the top three numbers.

Graduate Curriculum

What is the graduate curriculum?  Each student’s curriculum is set by the advisor and student. However, some basic courses are common to most students.

Graduate School Website / Contact

Graduate School web address?


The GRE is optional for the Spring 2021 and Fall 2021 application periods

Can the GRE be waived if I hold a MS degree? Applicants who hold a Ph.D., J.D., M.D. or other doctoral degree are not required to submit GRE scores. However, for a MS degree, the requirement is not waived.

Does EE have a GRE requirement? We don’t require a certain number.  We require the GRE, and then evaluate each applicant individually, so there is not a minimum GRE or TOEFL score.

GRE scores?  Average or most recent?  Most recent.

I took the GRE test (paper based) on October 28. The earliest time I can inquire about my score by phone would be December 2. And when I receive the score report, it would be December 15.  However, I am going to apply online and send my application package to you before November 20. What should I fill in the blank of GRE score when I apply online, since it cannot be changed after it is submitted? Go ahead and apply now and leave the scores blank on the application. However, you need to request that a report be sent to the Grad School from the test center so they have both scores in their files.

Subject GRE or General GRE?  General GRE.  Subject GRE is not required.

How long are GRE scores valid?  5 years

How does your department or your university weigh the importance of GRE?  Is GRE score one of the admission consideration factors? How about its weight?  Or is GRE score just something needed for a complete application, that GRE score is not related to admission decision?  The GRE is only one of the factors that we look at.

As my GRE score is v:640 q:800 aw:4.5, will it add extra credit to my admission?  Or as along as meeting the minimum requirements, all GRE scores are considered the same?  A Q score of 800 (the maximum) is a good thing, but we also look at the rest of the application.

What is the GRE verbal minimum and sufficient score?  There are no minimum scores. This is only one of the factors looked at.

Should I retake the GRE after the application deadline to improve my score?  We do not advise this.

I have got a score of 145/170 (28% below) in the verbal section and 161/170 (86% below) in the new GRE and a score of 85 in TOEFL IBT. How are my chances of getting admitted with funding?  There are no hard limits.

I am taking the GRE on 1/8 and am not sure the score will be sent by the deadline….is that a problem?  It takes 10-15 days after the test date for ETS to report the scores to the Graduate School.  It can take up to another 14 days for the Graduate School to process the score into your application.  The applications are reviewed weekly with the bulk of offers being made in March.  We understand that transcripts, scores and recommendation letters take time to come in after the application is made.

Is it mandatory to provide the GRE score while applying for the program or is delayed information also accepted?  We cannot make an offer if we do not the GRE scores submitted by the ETS.

I’m an international student and I’m applying for PhD program of Electrical Engineering Department. I have noticed that the Online Application requests uploading the GRE Test Score Report. I have taken the GRE test, but I haven’t received the paper report from ETS. Could I have a screenshot of my electronic report online to replace the scan file of GRE paper report?  Yes.

I have sent the GRE and TOEFL score to your university 4837 but not your department, must I send it again?  The University code is 1841, your name and date of birth must be the same on the application as your test scores to match up.  We will not connect anything until your application is submitted.

Green Card

Do I check permanent citizen if I have my green card?  Yes, if that is your status at the time of the application.


Do you accept the IELTS test?  Yes, we do.

How long is the score valid?  2 years

What is the minimum requirement?  There is no minimum score.

My official IELTS score report has been sent electronically but when I log-in into my online application, the IELTS status is still showing “Received (Not Official)”.   Please let me know what can I do?
Contact  Also note that unofficial IELTS test score results are good for review of your application; however, we cannot make an offer without official scores.


What is the percentage of international students in the program?  About 90%


Do you offer trainee/internships?  No, all of our graduate students are full time students.

Late Scores

I am unable to take the TOEFL until Feb. 20 is there any chance for admission?  We will look at your application, but we cannot make an offer until we see the scores.  Being so late with the score does put you at a disadvantage.

I am taking the GRE on 1/8 and am not sure the score will be sent by the deadline…is that a problem?  It takes 10-15 days after the test date for ETS to report the scores to the Graduate School.  It can take up to another 14 days for the Graduate School to process the score into your application.  The applications are reviewed weekly with the bulk of offers being made in March.  We understand that transcripts, scores and recommendation letters take time to come in after the application is made.


Can we send everything via post? It must be uploaded to keep all the materials together. The Graduate School is no longer taking paper items.  Please note: all materials received by mail will be discarded.  Attach the following documents in order to submit your application:

Statement of intent,

CV (not required)

May also upload a scan of the paper copies of:

Unofficial transcripts

GRE scores

IELTS or TOEFL scores

Letters of Recommendation must be submitted online, by the recommender


Since I have not obtained a MS yet, is it still possible for me to apply for a Ph.D.?  Most of our new students do not have a MS already.  If a student doesn’t have a Masters, they get one on the way to the PhD.

Do you accept applications for the MS only?  We generally look for people interested in pursuing a PhD, but there are always special cases.

Would it be possible to apply for a Masters in Electrical Engineering if I have just graduated with a B.S. in Electrical Engineering Technology? Or would it be easier to get into the Graduate Program at Notre Dame if I transferred and graduated with a B.S. in Electrical Engineering, instead?  If you are thinking about advanced degrees, a BS in EE is much better than a degree in EE Technology. Further, at ND we give a heavy preference to students who wish to earn a PhD rather than stop at a Masters.

Is it possible for me to earn a Master’s degree in EE along the way to Ph.D. if I am admitted directly to Ph.D. program? If yes then would this program take longer than the normal Ph.D. program? If longer, then how much longer?  Yes, most of our students do that. This program usually does not take any longer.


What materials are needed?  The following will be needed when applying:
GRE general test scores, IELTS or TOEFL if international, Statement of Intent, Transcripts and 3 letters of recommendation.  A CV or anything else is not necessary but can be uploaded.

When will the materials be forwarded to your department for review?  All materials are automatically accessible by the department online once you submit.

Minimum Requirements

Minimum GPA, GRE?  There are no minimum requirements.

Minimum TOEFL?  There is no minimum score.

Multiple Programs

I would like to apply for Electrical Engineering and Bio Engineering, but I am uncertain of how I indicate that in the applications?  You have to apply twice. In the second application please enter the fee waiver code ‘REACT’ on the page that asks if you have a fee waiver. That way you only pay once.


When and how do non-admitted applicants receive notification?  When a decision is ready, the Graduate School will send you viewing instructions by email.


I would like to ask whether I can be notified of my admission result via email or postal mail?  Email only.

Institution / Notre Dame Code

ND code?  1841

PhD Program Duration

Can I finish such a program in four years?  The average time to finish is about 5 years, but again that is up to the student.  Some have finished in 4 years.

PIN / Password

How do I retrieve my PIN/Password?  If you forget your PIN or password, please use the “Technical Support” link located on the online application login screen to submit a request to our technical support staff to obtain your information.  Please include the following information in your request:  full name, email address (under which you registered your account), date of birth, institution(s) to which you are applying and what information you need (PIN and/or password).

Program Uploads

What is needed for Program Upload part of the application?  The Electrical Engineering Program does not require anything in this section.

Qualifying Examination

If the written part of the Qualifying Exam cannot be waived, then would you mind sending me a copy of this exam, so it can assist me to make the decision?  This part has now been removed.


Do I need to contact professors in order to get a RA? Is there any chance to get a TA?  RA and TA decisions and support are based on the application; no additional materials are necessary. You are welcome to contact professors; however, be aware that admissions decisions are made by the Graduate Admissions Committee


Reapplying – Do I have to resubmit everything?  Yes, you need to start a whole new application by creating a new account. You may get a warning message indicating that you have a duplicate account when you try to create a new account within SLATE. If you receive the warning message, click on “Continue and create new account.” Once you do this, the system will send you a new PIN to start your new application. Also, please be aware that the system will not let you use a PIN number to re-apply if you already submitted an application using that PIN number. Once the new application is started you will need to upload your statement of intent, CV, transcripts, etc. You will also have to list all of your recommenders again. You also need to pay the $75 application fee. and complete a new application.

Recommendation Letters

Can the recommendation letters be sent hard copy?  Recommendation letters must be submitted online by the recommender. The current form is only available online and there are a number of questions the recommender must answer before they can attach their LOR and submit the recommendation.  If these questions aren’t answered, the file will remain incomplete.

You can check your application status at any time and see who has submitted a recommendation, status of Transcripts, GRE, TOEFL etc.  It is considerably easier to follow the procedure than it is to rely on the mail. The minute the LOR is submitted the recommender is notified, and the student’s application status is automatically updated.

Can the author of a recommendation letter be changed?  If already submitted on application, notify and they can change it manually.

I have completed my on-line application and have sent my documents to your office, but unfortunately one of my recommenders is out of reach now and I want to add a recommender or change my recommender. Please kindly let me know if it is possible to change or add a recommender.   Notify the Graduate School of the change if your last name begins with:

A–L:  contact Mellisa Crisan –

M-Z:  contact Shalon McClatchey –

The recommender can be changed online by providing their email and the Graduate School will send them an electronic notification and password.

I worked in a multinational company in my country for two years. Can I submit a recommendation letter from my boss with my application? Will it be considered as one of the required recommendation letters?  Yes.


Scholarship ratio?  All of our students pursuing a Ph.D. currently receive a tuition waiver and a stipend as an RA or TA.

Is there a separate application for scholarship?  No.


I wonder if I still need to request ETS to send the scores to you if I had uploaded the scan of them?  Yes, since your test scores are sent electronically by ETS, you should have them send your official test scores to us.  They will be matched to your application.

How can I check if my official test scores are in?  Log into your application.  It will tell you if the scores are in and if official or unofficial scores are available.

Spring Admissions

Do you consider applicants for spring? We accept applications, however, spring admits are only made if the student can convince a faculty member to support her/him as an RA (or has independent funding such as a fellowship).

If I apply for spring, will my application be automatically rolled over for fall?  It can be, you will need to contact the Graduate School to have the change made.

Statement of Intent

I would like to know some information about the statement of intent for your program. Do you have some requirements (the length, subject,..) for the statement of intent. Could you please give me some suggestions?  As the name implies, in the statement of intent the applicant should tell us why they want to go to Graduate School, and what they are interested in, both in Graduate School and their career. For length, two to three pages are typical.


Here is the link to the admissions statistics for EE

Status of Application

How can I check the status of my application (checklist)?  By accessing your application online at:

I asked ETS to send my GRE and TOEFL official scores to ND at November 10th. I cannot check my application status whether my GRE and TOEFL scores have arrived at ND? Can you help me to check whether these two materials have arrived at ND?  Please note that it takes up to 14 days from the time the request is made to ETS until it is sent to the Graduate School.  With that being said, login to your application and under *Application Status* there are bullet points for Transcripts and Test Scores.  Transcripts will say *Received* when received and Test Scores will say *Official*.

In the Notre Dame site, it was mentioned that we should scan the GRE and IELTS/ TOEFL scores and upload them and I did it. The problem may be because of the recommendation letters. Can you check my application process?  You can view the status of your online recommendations each time you log into your application account.  Login with your pin and password.  The second bullet point under Application Status will say if your recommendations have been received.

TOEFL – valid for 2 years

Is it okay to apply if my TOEFL is near expiration or has expired?  A couple of months expired is not a big deal.  You can upload the paper report to your application if the score report cannot be ordered.  If expiration is beyond a year, you will need to take the exam again.

Are copies of the GRE and TOEFL accepted?  Copies are accepted until the originals arrive, but for acceptance to the program, the applicant needs to send originals from the GRE center.

Are TOEFLs required if studying in the US or an English speaking country? No, if you have studies for at least two years.

If not will any supplementary materials be required?  No, no supplements needed.

Do you pre-screen applicants for the TOEFL score?  No, we do not.

Minimum TOEFL?  There is no minimum required. The application is evaluated holistically.

Should I still apply if I am one point lower than the minimum on the speaking section but exceed the minimum total?  There are no minimum limits.

Versions accepted? ND accepts either paper, IBT or CBT.

My TOEFL is 125 total, with just 20 on speaking. Is there a possibility of admission?  There is no minimum required.

I am very interested in the Electrical Engineering Ph.D. program in your university but my TOEFL IBT score is a little low, 88 with Reading 26, Listening 22, Speaking 18, Writing 22, which is lower than the department requirement. Considering this case, if I apply for the PhD program in your university, will my application be considered?  There is no minimum score required. All applications are evaluated holistically.

The TOEFL score is incorrect, how do I remedy this?  The Graduate School regularly receives correction letters from ETS in these cases. The letter will read something like *this student’s previous scores were incorrect, the correct score is ….*  This letter will be uploaded with your application.  After allowing sufficient time, check with the Grad Coordinator to see if the letter has been received.  You might also try contacting ETS to see if the letter has been sent.

I registered on 31 Oct for TOEFL test and I’ll send it before the Application Deadline. But I also registered on 25 Dec for TOEFL test. Can I send a new TOEFL score after the Application Deadline? Whether the new score will be replaced by the former score?  Yes, as long as it is before decisions are made.  We look at the highest of the two.

Can I report my new TOEFL score in March?  We cannot make a decision without official scores. Thus, it is encouraged to submits scores early.


Do I need to send official transcripts to the graduate school in addition to uploading unofficial transcript in online?  We will require official transcripts only from students who accept our offer.  The unofficial transcript will suffice for now.

Do I send or does the institution send my transcripts?  If you are admitted, it doesn’t matter, but they need to be original and sealed.

How many official transcripts are needed?  One per institution attended.

Is it necessary to submit the original copy of the transcript or simply a photo copy of the same attested by a professor of my institution? In other words, do I need to have multiple official transcripts for the purpose of applying?  We can accept photo copies, but if you are accepted, original copies must be sent so we can verify that they are in fact original and authentic.

On the application we are required to provide a copy of our unofficial transcript at all universities attended. My freshman year was spent at Ohio University – Athens, and they unfortunately do not supply unofficial transcripts. Their transcript service is through TranscriptPlus which only provides official transcripts at a cost. Would a PDF of my Degree Audit be acceptable in this case, or should I go ahead and have my official transcripts sent?  Have the official transcript sent to the Graduate School and then you can scan and upload a copy to the application.  If you send the copy to us we won’t upload it as we are not staffed to do that.

My University does not translate, what do I do?  Have them translated by a third party, preferably certified.


Can I switch from my current university to ND with completed or incomplete MS?  Yes.

Could you please tell me where to find information on graduate student transfer and application procedure? Like what is the deadline and criteria, how many transferable credits, etc.   Whether within or outside Notre Dame a student must apply and be admitted just like students who are finishing their undergrad degree. Information re: the application procedure can be found at

When admitted, the student can transfer credits as follows after completing fall and spring semesters:

Up to 6 credit hours from an unfinished Masters for a ND MS or Ph.D.

Up to 9 credit hours from a finished Masters or Ph.D. to a ND Masters

Up to 24 credit hours from a finished Masters or Ph.D. for a ND Ph.D.

Detailed information can be found at the Graduate School Bulletin of Information, p.21:

Can I transfer my transcript and recommendation from my former application last year to Physics?  An application for each term must be submitted and documentation uploaded as required. The Graduate School does not pull documentation from former applications to upload to new applications.


Is TSE obligatory for applying?  No


Where does the tuition come from?  Overhead payments from research grants and the endowment.

Update After Submitting Application

I’ve submitted my application weeks ago but now I need to update my Resume.  If your application materials require correction or update after you have submitted, please email the new items with an explanation to, and request that the old materials be replaced by the new.

Viewing Application

How soon can the department view the application and subsequent materials after submission?  Automatically and immediately.

Waiting List

Could you give me more information about the waiting list? What shall I do to increase the possibility for admission? Where am I ranked? There is no waitlist. All applications are evaluated in an ongoing fashion.

Waiver Submitted & All Materials – System Status Says *INCOMPLETE*

The system does not automatically equate that a waiver = payment.  The Graduate School has to manually manipulate the system which may take a few weeks to be reflected in your status.  Rest assured this will not interfere in the processing of your application.

Waiver of Access Form

Where is the Waiver of Access form to print?  Forms are no longer printed.  When emailing your recommender via your online app, you are asked if you do or do not waive your right to see the letter.

Withdrawing Application

Is there any procedure for me to withdraw the application? Notify the Graduate Coordinator via email who will let the Graduate School know and they will pull your application from SLATE and Banner.