Frequently Asked Questions

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Questions About the Admission Process

  1. What are the application deadlines?
    Application deadlines are listed in Admission Procedures. Please note that they are often different from those listed at the University and College sites.
  2. Can the application fee be waived?
    No, the application fee cannot be waived.
  3. How do I pay for my application fee if I cannot pay on-line?
    Please send an email message to the ece_grad_admit [at] uh [dot] edu (graduate office), for further instructions.
  4. I sent my application to main Admissions office instead of directly to the ECE department. What will happen? Will I miss the deadline?
    If you mail the application to another office, its delivery to our office may be delayed and it could very well arrive past the deadline. Please only mail applications directly to the department. If you already sent it to another location, please send a copy to us. We will use it as a place-holder until your official application arrives.
  5. Is there an additional application for applying financial support or assistantship?
    No additional application is needed. The department will contact you if and when an assistantship is awarded.
  6. What is the institution code for UH so that ETS will report GRE and TOEFL scores? Is the department code needed? How long until the department receives my scores?
    The code for the University of Houston is 6870; no department code is needed. ETS will send your scores to the university anywhere from seven to 14 days after your test. The university will download your scores for the department to review anywhere from four to six weeks. However, the department will accept a student copy of scores during the application review process.
  7. What kind of GRE is needed for your program?
    Applicants must take the General GRE Exam. No subject tests are required.
  8. Can GRE or TOEFL exam be waived?
    No. The GRE must be taken by all applicants. For international or permanent resident students, the TOEFL exam is required unless you have an undergraduate degree from a U.S. institution.
  9. What are the minimum GRE and TOEFL scores?
    There are no official minimum scores, but the Admission Requirements section shows scores that accepted applicants typically have. Since the admission process is competitive, it is less likely that applicants with score below those shown will be accepted.
  10. I’ve taken the GRE more than once. Can parts of my previous and most recent GRE scores be combined?
    No. Only your most recent test scores will be considered.
  11. What should I do if I do not meet the minimum GRE or TOEFL scores required by the dept?
    You will have to retake your exams and reapply for admission. Notify the department that you will submit updated scores when completed.
  12. How do I find out about tuition and fee costs for your program?
    You can estimate your costs at this site.
  13. How do I check on my application status?
    Once the application has been processed, you will receive an email that outlines the next steps. You may also log into myUH at any point to check the status of your application.
  14. When are admission decisions made?
    A decision for fall admission is made in April - May for international students (F1) and June - July for U.S. citizens and permanent residents.
    For spring admission (U.S. and other type of visa students), decisions are made from late November through the early part of December.
  15. Can I apply to the Ph.D. program with only a bachelor’s degree?
    Yes. Please see the Ph.D. Degree Requirements.
  16. Can I apply for admission to more than one department at the same time?
    No. However, after receiving a decision from the department you first applied to, you may have your file transferred to another department to be reviewed for admission.
  17. Can I apply to your graduate program with an undergraduate degree is not in engineering?
    Yes, that may be possible if your undergraduate degree is closely related to electrical and computer engineering (e.g., physics). However, you should contact the department via email prior to submitting an application to see if your degree is suitable. Leveling courses may be required, which could extend the duration of your studies.
  18. May I submit my credentials for an evaluation prior to actually applying?
    The department will only consider complete applications. However, you are welcome to contact faculty directly prior to submitting your application.
  19. How do I contact the person in charge of the graduate admissions process?
    Please send email ece_grad_admit [at] uh [dot] edu (here) or you may directly contact the Director of Graduate Admissions, djackson [at] uh [dot] edu (Prof. David R. Jackson).
  20. How long does the department keep my file? May I request that my file be updated or returned?
    Your file will be kept for one year. Contact the department via email to obtain guidelines on how to update your file. Once documents have been submitted, they cannot be returned.
  21. Will I need to submit a new application and pay the application fee again after one semester has passed?
    Yes. If you wish to reapply, you must submit a complete, up-to-date application packet and pay an application fee.
  22. The M.S. and Ph.D. degree objectives require an advisor in order to be considered for admission. May I contact the faculty member prior to applying?
    Certainly. Check our website to find out which faculty share your research interests prior to making contact. Even if you have not yet found a faculty advisor, however, you must follow the department’s guidelines for application.
  23. May I enroll as a Non Degree Objective (NDO) student?
    International students on F1 visa may not enroll as an NDO. Others may apply. NDO admission requirements and deadlines are the same as for degree-seeking students.
  24. What kind of financial support is available?
    The Department offers Teaching Assistantships (TAs) and Research Assistantships (RAs). TAs assist in undergraduate laboratories, grade homework, and may assist with teaching classes. RAs assist an individual faculty member with their research projects. Obtaining financial support is very competitive, and is exclusively reserved for students seeking a research-oriented degree, with preference for Ph.D. candidates (both B.S. to Ph.D. and M.S. to Ph.D. applicants).
  25. How long does it typically take to complete a master’s degree? What about the PhD?
    Ideally, both the thesis and non-thesis masters programs M.S. will be completed in two years. This requires students to enroll in nine credit hours (three courses) each fall and spring semester. Full time Ph.D. students are also required to take nine credit hours per semester. It typically takes students three to five years to complete a Ph.D., provided they make significant progress on the dissertation research topic while taking classes.
  26. What are my chances for admission when my grades and/or scores are below the minimum guidelines?
    The department evaluates applications on a case-by-case basis, and so we cannot provide an answer to this question. Please keep in mind that the scores shown in the admission guidelines section are an excellent guide and that scores below these should be balanced with higher marks in other areas.
  27. I’m ready to mail my application materials. Do I have to pay another application fee if I have already paid it during the on-line portion of the application process?
    No, you do not need to pay for application fee if you have paid and received confirmation of payment through your credit card company.

Questions About Procedures

  1. Which research course should I choose?
    M.S. students should register for ECE6x98, Ph.D. students in the B.S. to Ph.D. program should use ECE6x98 in the first 30 hours and ECE7x98 afterward, and Ph.D. students in the M.S. to Ph.D. program should register for ECE7x98
  2. Do I have to enroll in courses during the summer semester?
    Supported students must enroll for summer courses. Unsupported students, even international students, are not required to enroll in the summer and do not have to file any paperwork to seek permission.
  3. How many courses/credit hours may I request for transfer from another institution once I have been approved for graduate admission?
    Students may request up to two courses/six credit hours be transferred from another institution. Courses used to obtain a previous degree cannot be transferred unless students participated in the UH fast-track program.
  4. Once admitted, do I need to attend orientation?
    Orientation is mandatory for all graduate students.
  5. What is DSTF?
    A Doctoral Student Tuition Fellowship provides a reimbursement of most tuition charges and is for Ph.D. students. Requirements for this fellowship can be found at the College Website.
  6. What is a general petition?
    General petition is a form that is used to process any modifications to your file and is available in the Forms Section.
  7. What is an academic stop?
    An academic stop is placed on a student’s record when he/she does not follow the guidelines given by the department over time or when the cumulative grade point average (GPA) is below the minimum requirement of 3.00.
  8. I was an undergraduate student at UH. Am I required to attend the Academic Honesty seminar as a graduate student?
    All graduate students must attend the seminar, regardless whether they earned a bachelor’s from UH or not.
  9. Where can I find the number of enrollment hours needed for my degree objective (plan) each semester?
    Enrollment hours are provided in the degree curriculum guidelines. The information can also be found on the College website.
  10. There are several different sets of deadlines. Which deadlines should I follow?
    The department deadlines should be followed. Doing so will ensure that you meet the college and university guidelines.
  11. Which guidelines should I follow when my advisor is a holds appointments in more than one college or department?
    A student should first abide by the guidelines and instructions set forth by the enrolling department (i.e., the department where you plan to earn your graduate degree).
  12. I have a bachelor’s degree and have been accepted directly into the Ph.D. Now I appear to be classified as an M.S. student. What has happened?
    For administrative reasons, students entering the Ph.D. program with only a bachelors degree are classified as M.S. students for their first 30 hours of coursework. After these have been completed, this classification will be changed. During this time, please enroll in the M.S. research sections (ECE 6x98) even though you are a Ph.D. student.