Curious about graduate school in our department? Maybe you're thinking about continuing in the Bradley Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering to do a master's degree. Or maybe, a Ph.D. for exploring your research ideas is the right fit. 

Whatever your path, we'd love to share how our graduate program can help you achieve your career goals. So, we asked two of our favorite graduate students our top five questions to help you in your grad school decision.

Meet Murat and Venkata at our graduate info session! Register today for this virtual, completely free session and get a Ph.D. application fee waiver.

Why did you choose Virginia Tech's ECE program for your degree? What influenced your decision?

Murat: I was inadvertently registering for all the ECE classes when I was pursuing my Master's degree in the Mechanical Engineering program at Virginia Tech. I realized that my research interests and technical abilities align better with the ECE department towards the end of my Master's journey.

The curriculum and research projects offered by Virginia Tech's ECE department are unparalleled in depth and innovation. The faculty's reputation for groundbreaking research, coupled with the collaborative culture and state-of-the-art facilities, truly made it an obvious choice for me.

Additionally, the department's emphasis on real-world applications and industry partnerships provides students with unique opportunities to translate academic learning into tangible impact. The ECE department at Virginia Tech not only represents academic excellence, but also fosters a nurturing environment for budding researchers, making it the ideal place for my advanced studies.

Venkata: After my undergraduate studies in electronics and communications engineering back in India, I am planned to pursue a Master's degree in the United States.

While researching for the universities that matched my interest and potential, I got to know about Virginia Tech and joined one of the info sessions by the ECE department. It gave me a clear vision of the MEng program, their curriculum, the faculty support for the students and the collaboration of leading industries for research and development with the department. 

As a future engineer, should I do a Ph.D. or just a master's? What's best for me?

Murat: As a future engineer, I would go for the Ph.D. program again if I were to be given a chance to go back in time. The Ph.D. program in the ECE department provided me with a unique perspective, technical abilities, and research skills that I could not have recognized myself before this experience. It laid the foundation for deep critical thinking and problem-solving at a granular level.

Additionally, the exposure to rigorous research and the opportunity to contribute significantly to the field have given me an edge in the competitive industry landscape, making me more confident and adept at addressing engineering challenges.

Venkata: As a future engineer, I am doing only a Master's even though I have interest in doing a Ph.D. I prefer gaining expertise and knowledge as a working professional.

Because the MEng program in ECE taught me how to utilize the resources, professional development and the technical skills which made me more confident to become industry ready. 

Master's or a no-thesis master's: which should I choose?

Murat: I would choose the MS NT program. It is a risk-free program that enables students to see and understand the workflow of the graduate school from a close proximity. During this time, I would do two major activities:

  1. I would expose myself to all the wonders of the graduate school experience in the ECE department. 
  2. Tip my toes in research studies and lab work to decide if going deeper into graduate school is for me.

Venkata: If I am planning to pursue a Ph.D. in a specific field, then the Master's-thesis would be a great option, because the exposure and research work during this degree might be a great help for the PhD.

If I am not sure about a Ph.D., and not interested in doing a thesis, but I am interested in doing research, then I would prefer a Master's non-thesis. This degree allows you to do research work in labs as well you can study courses of your interest.

What's been the best part of your time here at ECE?

Murat: The best part of my time at ECE has undoubtedly been the collaborative environment and the opportunity to work alongside some of the brightest minds in the field. The department fosters a culture of innovation, encouraging us to push boundaries and think outside the box. Engaging in meaningful research projects and seeing their real-world applications has been incredibly fulfilling.

Additionally, the mentorship I've received, both from faculty members and peers, has been invaluable in shaping my academic journey and future aspirations. The camaraderie, shared passion for technology, and challenges I have overcome together have made my time at ECE truly memorable.

Also, I have been representing the department as a Graduate Student Ambassador for almost a year now. I can attest that this was one of the most fulfilling positions I have had throughout my graduate studies. Being able to help applicants and incoming students create their support networks was a great experience for me. 

Venkata: The best part of my time here at ECE department is the professional courses that happened during my first semester, the workshops and social networking sessions. With the professional course I learnt about the industries in the United States and I got a chance to meet their people. And coming to the networking sessions and events gave me a chance to meet the department faculty and students in-person and have conversations about their research.

After I became the ambassador of the ECE department at the Arlington campus, I learnt more about the administrative functions and was able to meet a lot of people.

What's the best advice you've ever received from yoru advisor, faculty member, or fellow peer?

Murat: Creating a solid support network with fellow peers, staff in the department and the graduate school, and faculty members in addition to one's advisor is the most crucial advice I have ever received.

Until I created my network, I felt alone, isolated, and lost in my graduate school journey. Eventually, this advice became a reality for me, after which I started flourishing academically, technically, and psychologically. 

Venkata: The best advice that I received from my advisor is to learn how to find and utilize the resources, and create a support network with the people who you see around in the college as well the people you meet from the industries.

These are the crucial things for an engineer to be successful in this competitive world. And this advice helped me a lot in real world problems that I faced.