Graduate Programs | ECE | Virginia Tech

Graduate Programs

The ECE department uses a professional advising system in which ECE graduate advisors serve as your graduate program advisor. We will be able to help as you navigate the graduate school system, policies, procedures, deadlines, paperwork, and answer other important questions you may have.

Meet The Advisors

M.S., Direct Ph.D., Ph.D. Graduate Academic Advisor (Blacksburg)

Laura Villada
302B Whittemore
(540) 231-7494

Advising by appointment only: Please use Navigate found on the Virginia Tech Registrar's page to make an appointment:

Navigate Instructions

MEng Graduate Academic & Career Advisor (All Campuses)

Celina Gallegos
900 N Glebe Road, Arlington, VA
(517) 858-3120

Advising by appointment only: Send an email to to schedule an appointment.

M.S., Direct Ph.D., Ph.D. Graduate Academic Advisor (Washington, D.C., metro area)

Roxanne Nersesian Paul
Northern Virginia Center
7054 Haycock Road, Room 312A
Falls Church, VA 22043
(703) 538-8370

Advising by appointment only: Send an email to to schedule an appointment.

Non-ECE Students

Please email us with any questions or to schedule an in-person meeting with an advisor.

Force-Add Policy

ECE force-add requests will be accepted ONLY from students who are eligible to take ECE courses but are unable to request certain ECE course(s) during the Course Request period due to a prerequisite or class restriction. Incomplete or ineligible surveys will not be reviewed and will be deleted with no notification to the student.

Students with an approved force-add request will be added to the requested class based on availability and student’s schedule. Students will not be permitted to request specific CRNs as ECE does not add courses based on professor, time or location preference.

The force-add surveys for graduate courses will open each semester at Add/Drop and close at 5:00 pm on the Friday before the first day of classes. No force-add requests will be accepted after this date. All decisions will be made by the second day of classes. Students with approved force-adds will be notified no later than the second day of classes.

NOTE: the ECE department makes all force-add decisions. ECE faculty are not involved in the process.

If the timetable is showing a course as full, then it has reached capacity and we cannot add additional students. Note that class capacity does not always equal classroom capacity. Just because there may be empty seats, this does not mean that we can add additional students. Many factors go into determining class capacity.

ECE Force-Add Summer 2021 Survey

ECE Force-Add Fall 2021 Survey

ECE Forms Submission

Forms that need to be processed to the Graduate School and require a signature from the ECE Program Advisor “Department Contact (Graduate Staff Coordinator)”, “Department Head or authorized Graduate Program Director” must be uploaded and submitted through this Google Forms link.

Once uploaded the form will be processed by your program advisor within 5 business days. The student will be copied when the form is submitted to the Graduate School.

Independent Study

Independent Study Form must be submitted to the ECE Graduate Student Services Office, 302 Whittemore Hall, no later than the third day of the first week of class of the semester. Forms may be submitted by email or dropped off to advisor mailbox. Independent Study courses generally involve extensive reading and tutorial sessions with the faculty supervisor and also may involve written papers. The subject of Independent Study usually is a continuation in greater depth of a topic covered in a graduate course, allowing students to study topics of particular individual interest. See graduate forms.

Audit Request

Audit of ECE courses is by permission only. In order to audit an ECE course the Audit Request Form must be completed by the third day of the semester. Forms are submitted to the ECE Graduate Student Services Office.

Audits must fulfill all expectations agreed upon between the student and the instructor of the course. This may include attending classes, completing homework, projects, tests, etc. It is strictly up to the instructor of the course to determine what is required to obtain Audit credit for the course.

Plan of Study Submission

All graduate students must submit a plan of study. Plans are submitted directly to your ECE Program Advisor. Allow up to five (5) business days for department approval and processing. Graduate School processing typically takes 4-6 weeks. We recommend students plan accordingly and do not wait until the last minute to submit the plan. The Graduate School will not expedite approval of a plan due to lack of planning on the student’s part.

Note on Processing Time:
Plans of Study require a fair amount of processing for approval. From departmental review to graduate school review, the plan of study can take an average of 4-6 weeks to process. Do not expect immediate approval of the plan – it is a slow process.

Request for Reduced Comprehensive Fees

ECE graduate students located at Blacksburg campus may submit a request for reduced comprehensive fees through the Bursar’s Office. Students must complete a survey to apply for a reduction in fees. Please see Bursar policy and survey link here:

Faculty Advising

ECE graduate students have an assigned ECE Interim Faculty Advisor based on their area of interest. Students should consult with their faculty advisor for course selection and plan of study.

Career Advising

ECE graduate program advisors collaborate with the Office of Career Services to provide guidance related to:

  • Field of study/career path
  • Resume/Curriculum vitae (CV)
  • Co-op and internship programs
  • Permanent job search

Immigration Advising

International students should consult directly with Cranwell International Center for guidance related to:

  • Immigration: I-20/Visa documents
  • Maintaining status
  • CPT/OPT applications
  • Reduced Enrollment