ECSE accepts applications for the Master of Science, Master of Engineering, and the Doctor of Philosophy in Electrical Engineering and Computer & Systems Engineering.
Applications from US and international students are accepted for Fall, Spring and Summer enrollment. The admission application is also used to request financial aid and no separate form is required. The largest number of applications for admission and aid are received for the fall semester. Students applying for fall or summer should submit a complete application package no later than January 1 and prior to August 15 for spring. Please note that all supporting documentation must be sent directly to the admissions office, not the department.
A complete application package contains the following:
- On-line application (Apply Now)
- A well-written Statement of Background and Goals
- Official transcripts from all colleges attended with official English translations (if necessary); documentation showing award of degree
- Minimum two letters of recommendation (preferably from faculty)
- Resume or curriculum vitae (Be sure to list all publications and presentations)
- $75 application fee (not required for RPI students and alums)
- Official TOEFL or IELTS scores that are less than two years old. The TOEFL may be waived if the applicant has completed a degree program at a U.S. university within two years of the application deadline.
- Official GRE scores that are less than five years old (required of all applicants)
Tips for Completing the Application
It is very important that all students identify a specific area of concentration within the degree on the admission application. It is also important for the applicant to spend time researching the faculty associated with each area to determine interest and fit. This helps in matching a student with the appropriate faculty and available funding opportunities. Students should further address their specific interests in the statement of background and goals. The seven broad areas of research are:
- Communications, Information, and Signals & Systems
- Computer Engineering, Hardware and Architecture
- Computer Networking
- Control, Robotics, & Automation
- Energy Sources and Systems
- Image Science: Computer Vision, Image Processing, and Geographic Information Science
- Microelectronics, Photonics, VLSI, and Mixed-Signal Design
- Plasma Science and Electromagnetics
For complete list of faculty, please click here.
The Statement of Background and Goals is very important, and applicants should take their time with this. Ideally, it should be no more than 1-2 pages in length and should detail the reasons for going to graduate school, research interests, future goals and any other information that supports the application. Spelling and grammar do count! This would also be the place to discuss any anomalies in the application.
A resume containing up to date contact information is required. Be sure to include all publications and presentations.
Letters of recommendation should be from faculty who know the applicant well and can speak to his/her potential to be a graduate student. Letters from employers (coops or professional positions) are allowed, but they should be relevant to the intended program of study. For students working on a master's degree, it is expected that one letter of recommendation should come from the master's degree advisor.
Students often want to know their chances of being admitted and awarded aid. Applications that are complete by the deadline are considered first for admission and financial aid. Applications that become complete after the deadline will be considered for admission and any aid that may still be available. Each file is read carefully, and the admissions committee is looking for students who are academically well-prepared to pursue graduate study and whose research interests most closely match those of our faculty. It is very important that students identify an area of specialization or concentration within the degree.
Applications are encouraged from students whose undergraduate record reflects an overall grade point average of 3.3 or higher from a school comparable to Rensselaer and are strongly encouraged from those who already possess a master's degree and wish to pursue the PhD. The average GPA for the Fall 2014 admitted applicants was 3.7 and the average GRE scores were 157 verbal, 165 quantitative and 3.9 analytical. The average TOEFL score was 110 (computer based) and is well above 88, which is the Institute's minimum requirement.
All students will be notified via email when an admissions decision has been made.
If a student elects not to accept admission (either with or without aid) the first time it is offered, there is no guarantee that admission and/or aid will be awarded in a future semester. Typically we do not defer admission with aid decisions to a future semester except in rare cases. Applicants who wish to defer to a future semester must contact the Admissions office directly. They will be expected to re-apply and may need to supply additional documentation.
Financial aid is available in the form of Teaching Assistantships (TA), Research Assistantships (RA) and Graduate Fellowships. These are awarded to top applicants who are interested in pursuing the MS and/or PhD and are a good match with our research and our faculty. It should be noted that preference on aid is given to those who already possess a master's degree and are seeking the PhD. The largest amount of aid is awarded to those starting in the fall semester, but TA and RA awards may also be made in the spring as they become available. It is also important to note that financial aid is given only to full-time students and is based on previous academic performance, not on need. Students must have a minimum 3.3 GPA to be eligible for TA consideration. Master's only students, particularly those seeking the MEng, should expect to fund their own education through personal funds, student loans or other external sources.
Students who enroll without aid may apply for support in future semesters but should be aware that funding opportunities are extremely limited and in no way guaranteed. They should plan to finance their entire education on their own. International students who are admitted without aid must provide official bank documents showing they have enough funds to support their educational expenses (tuition, books, fees and personal living expenses) before an I-20 can be issued.
The amount of the financial aid can vary depending on the type of award, but all are full awards. TA's are awarded on an academic year basis and include a minimum stipend of $18,500 and full tuition. RA's may be awarded on a calendar year basis (academic year plus summer) and include a minimum stipend of $18,500 and full tuition. TA's and RA's are expected to work up to 20 hours per week. The stipends for Fellowship winners can vary widely depending on the fellowship but are usually at least $20,000 for the year with full tuition, plus all fees. Information on the IGERT Fellowship may be found here. Students who are awarded financial aid with their admission can expect to continue receiving aid in some form provided they meet all the department and Institute guidelines for continuing aid and based on the availability of funding.
Decisions on applications requesting aid consideration will be made following the application deadline so that all applications that are complete as of the deadline will compete as a group for whatever aid is available. Students who apply for aid will be notified by email as the decisions are made. Students may be informed the aid decision is pending and may remain pending until all potential for aid is exhausted. There is no final deadline date for notification of aid awards. Rensselaer and the ECSE department abide by the April 15 deadline for a response by the student on all first round aid awards. Awards made after that will have a deadline response date set by the department.
Co-Terminal Master's Program
The Co-Terminal Master's program is open only to current Rensselaer ECSE undergraduates. The purpose is to provide top undergraduates an opportunity to apply for admission to the master's program at the end of the junior year and complete both the bachelor's and master's degree in one additional (fifth) year of study. Those accepted to the program will remain as undergraduate students in that fifth year and will be eligible for up to two additional semesters (total maximum of 10 semesters) of their undergraduate financial aid package.
Students interested in applying must go to JEC 6012 to pick up an application packet and make an appointment to discuss the program prior to submitting the application.
To apply for the Co-Terminal:
- Must have a minimum 90 credits completed to apply (typically second semester junior year)
- Must have a minimum 3.5 GPA to be considered
- Submit the Co-Terminal application with all sections completed
- Submit 2 letters of recommendation (at least one must be from faculty)
- Submit a resume
- Submit a copy of your CAPP report
- Submit a well-written Statement of Background and Goals
- Submit a completed Master's Plan of Study
- Deadline to apply: October 1st for spring; April 1st for fall (late applications will not be accepted).
All documents must be returned to JEC 6012 for review. Students will be notified once a decision has been made.