Ph.D. Admissions | ECE | Virginia Tech

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) Admissions

Students applying for the Ph.D. program typically have a masters degree from an accredited college or university in EE, CPE, or a related field. Highly qualified BSEE and BSCPE students are also admitted to the Ph.D. program (see below).

Applicants applying to the Ph.D. program are encouraged to review the additional information provided. See Ph.D. Admissions in the Graduate Student Policy Manual for details.

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Minimum Grade Point Average

Students applying from a master's degree program must have a grade point average (GPA) of 3.5 or higher on work beyond the B.S. degree. BSEE and BSCPE applicants must have a degree from an institution of higher learning that is recognized by the ECE department and a GPA of at least 3.5 on the last 60 credit hours of undergraduate work.


Applicants must submit to the Graduate School the same application materials required for M.S. applicants, plus a one- or two-page discussion of career goals and proposed areas of study.

Completed applications are routed to faculty in the interest area most closely aligned with the applicant’s desired field of specialization. Faculty in the interest area then make recommendations to the Admissions Director or Graduate Administrative Committee regarding admission into the Ph.D. program and possible financial support.

How to Apply

Applicants applying for admission to ECE Graduate Programs at all campuses are to use the online Virginia Tech Graduate School Application Form. All documents below must be uploaded in electronic format; the ECE Department does not accept paper application materials. It is the applicant’s responsibility to ensure that all application materials, including scores and letters of recommendation, have been submitted online. After applying, contact if you have questions or to check the status of your application materials. Complete applications only will be reviewed by the EE and CPE Admissions Officers and the ECE Graduate Committee.

The complete application includes

  • Virginia Tech Graduate School on-line application form; nonrefundable application fee $75.00.
  • An up-to-date, electronic copy of all official transcript(s) must be submitted with your on-line application. Please do not mail your official transcript(s) to the Graduate School until you have received an offer of admission from Virginia Tech. (Note that the ECE department does not require an official copy of your transcript(s).
  • Three (3) letters of recommendation.
  • Graduate Record Examination (GRE).
    • This is not required for Virginia Tech undergraduate students earning a B.S. degree in ECE at Virginia Tech with a GPA of 3.5 or higher in their last 60 hours.
  • TOEFL or IELTS exam for applicants earning undergraduate or graduate degrees from non-English institutions.
  • A Resume and a Statement of Purpose submitted with the on-line application.

Applicants Earning an M.S. or M.Eng. Degree from Virginia Tech

Students who are currently enrolled in the master's degree program at Virginia Tech, and desire to continue their studies toward a Ph.D. degree, must formally request admission into the Ph.D. program by the departmental admission deadline. The request should be made by using the online Virginia Tech Graduate School Application Form.

In addition, one letter of reference from an ECE faculty member willing to commit to be the student's faculty advisor, with research funds, must be submitted to the ECE Graduate Admission/Recruiting Office.

This request must be accompanied by information as follows:

  • A letter from an ECE faculty member testifying to the student's ability to perform independent research and summarizing the student's past academic performance.
  • A letter from the student with a discussion of his/her career goals and proposed area of study.
  • A letter from the student's M.S. advisor (if different from the member above) commenting on the student's performance and potential in the Ph.D. program.

A student is expected to have at least a 3.5 GPA on the M.S. degree at Tech. The student's file and the above letters may be circulated to faculty in the area of interest just as a new student would be reviewed. Acceptance is not automatic; the willingness of a faculty member to be the student's PhD advisor is also required.

Applicants Earning a BSEE/BSCPE Degree from Virginia Tech

Direct entry into the Ph.D. program requirements are the same as M.S. applicants, with the following additions:

  • a GPA average of at least 3.5 over the first 21 credit hours of regular courses, as well as having had a GPA average of 3.5 over the last 60 hours of his/her undergraduate degree.
  • The direct-PhD student must have established a relationship with at least one faculty member of the department who agrees to be the student's dissertation advisor.