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Graduate Advising

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

Laura Villada
Direct-Ph.D., Ph.D. ECE Graduate Admissions Coordinator and Program Advisor (Blacksburg & D.C. area)

Laura Villada
302-B Whittemore Hall
(540) 231-7494


Nicole Sutphin Headshot
M.S. Graduate Student Services Academic & Career Advisor (Blacksburg & D.C. Area)

Nicole Sutphin
302 Whittemore Hall
(540) 231-7539

Rebecca Stevenson
M.Eng. Graduate Academic Advisor (Blacksburg & D.C. Area)

Rebecca Stevenson
484 Northern Virginia Center

Advising Appointments

ECE Graduate Program Advisors meet with students by appointment. Students use Navigate found on the Virginia Tech Registrar's page to schedule an appointment (in-person or phone) with their assigned program advisor. NCR students must email Ms. Paul directly to arrange a time.

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. Therefore, 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.

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.

Comprehensive Fee Waiver

ECE graduate students located at Blacksburg campus may request a fee waiver of their comprehensive fees through the Bursar’s Office. Please email your ECE graduate program advisor to initiate the request. Note students must be located outside a 50-mile radius of the campus.

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 Career & Professional 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 IGSS in the Graduate School for guidance related to:

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