Electrical and Computer Engineering

Graduate Degree Programs Overview

Electrical engineering students have the opportunity to participate in research that is propelling those changes with the potential to impact virtually every human system, from health care to education, transportation, defense and the environment. Significant research programs in electrical engineering focus on carbon, diamond and silicon nanotechnology, hybrid and embedded systems, medical image processing, photonics, radiation effects and reliability and robotics. Many faculty members are involved with the Institute for Software Integrated Systems and the Institute for Space and Defense Electronics, which support leading-edge basic and applied research important to critical commercial and government systems. In addition, several faculty members are affiliated with the Vanderbilt Institute of Nanoscale Science and Engineering and the Vanderbilt Initiative in Surgery and Engineering.

Electrical and Computer Engineering

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) and Master of Science (M.S.)

Degrees are offered through the Graduate School and require a combination of coursework and a thesis.

Program Highlights

Graduate Application Deadlines and Fees

Fall Priority Admission / Early Decision Application DeadlineNovember 15th
Spring Admission Application DeadlineNovember 1st
Fall Priority Admission OffersDecember 20th
Spring Admission OffersDecember 1st
Fall General Admission Application DeadlineJanuary 15th
Fall General Admission OffersMarch 29th

We highly encourage any international Spring Admission applicants to apply as early as possible and reach out to our Graduate Program Coordinator once your application is submitted, as visas can be a process to obtain and we need to process your application as quickly as possible.

Focus Areas

  • Nano/Carbon
  • Robotics
  • Cyber-Physical Systems
  • Big Data
  • Medical Image Processing
  • Artificial Intelligence

Visit the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering home for more about our faculty, research, student success stories and more.

Graduate Program FAQ

  • Admission Criteria

    What are the criteria for admission to the Graduate Program in Electrical Engineering and Computer Engineering?

    Academic records, letters of recommendation, GRE scores (if provided), and the statement of purpose are all taken into consideration for admission.

    What degrees are offered by the Graduate Program?

    The Graduate Program in Electrical Engineering and Computer Engineering at Vanderbilt University offers students the opportunity to earn a Master of Science (M.S.) and Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.). Currently, we do not offer a Master’s in Engineering (M.E.) in Electrical Engineering.

    Can I apply to the Ph.D. program with only a Bachelor’s degree or must I apply for admission the Master’s program first?

    Applicants who are interested in earning a Ph.D., whether or not they have a master’s degree, are encouraged to apply directly to the Ph.D. program. Students who are accepted to the Ph.D. program with a bachelor’s degree can earn the master’s degree on the way to their Ph.D.

    Do I have to choose a faculty advisor before my application is reviewed for admission?

    No. However, you are encouraged to list any faculty in which you may want to work with that are in line with your research interest.

    How do I contact professors for research opportunities?

    You are encouraged to explore the research institutes and groups in the department which have their faculty and contacts listed.

    You can also view the faculty Directory for Electrical Engineering and Computer Engineering here.

    If I submit an application to the Ph.D. program, but am not admitted, will my application still be considered for admission to the Master’s Program?

    If your application is reviewed and a recommendation for the PhD program is not submitted, your application may still be considered for admission to the Master’s program, although not guaranteed. You would have to reach out to the ECE Graduate Program Coordinator and specifically ask to switch your application to a Masters' application.

    Will there be any opportunity to transfer to the Ph.D. Program if I am admitted to the Master’s program?

    Transfer to the Ph.D. program from the Master’s will depend on the research progress and will typically need to be exceptional and beyond Master’s level. Requests to transfer programs are subject to approval from the academic advisor and the Director of Graduate Studies.

    What funding opportunities are available?

    Master’s Students:  Currently, funding is not available to students admitted to the Master’s program.

    Ph.D. Students:  The School of Engineering seeks to provide a competitive admission package to its students. Ph.D. students are typically awarded an Engineering Graduate Fellowship. The fellowship includes a tuition waiver, a competitive monthly stipend, payment of student service fees, and the premium for Vanderbilt student health insurance for an individual under the comprehensive plan. Typically, first-year students will participate in teaching experience and will serve as a teaching assistant.

    The continuation of funding is dependent on academic and research progress toward your degree.

    Does the degree program offer Day 1 CPT?

    At this time, our program does not offer Day 1 CPT.

    • Curricular Practical Training (CPT) is an off-campus employment option available to F-1 students when the training experience is considered to be an integral part of the established curriculum and directly related to the student's major area of study. ("Training" is used here to refer to paid or unpaid internships or employment. According to Immigration regulations, CPT may be an internship, practicum, or other work experience that is required for the degree program (as defined in the course catalog) or for which academic course credit is awarded)
    • For more information regarding CPT please visit:  https://www.vanderbilt.edu/isss/immigration/f-1-students/employment/cpt/
  • Application Process

    What is the deadline for submission?

    The application for both the spring and fall admission cycle will open on August 1. To be considered for admission for the fall, applications must be submitted by January 15. To be considered for admission for the spring, applications must be submitted by October 15. Please reach out to the Graduate Program Coordinator if you have any extenuating circumstances. Sometimes, spots may still be available.

    What are the application requirements?

    To apply for admission to the Graduate Program in Electrical Engineering and Computer Engineering, you will need to submit an application for admission electronically through  The Graduate School.  Application requirements include:

    GRE Scores (optional beginning Spring 2024)
    Language Proficiency Exam (TOEFL or IELTS)
    Statement of Purpose
    Letters of Recommendation

    I have taken the GRE test more than once. Will you use my best individual scores from each section or use the most recent GRE scores when assessing my application?

    All components of your application will be considered, including all test scores.

    What are the language proficiency exam score requirements?

    TOEFL: The minimum acceptable score on the paper-based TOEFL is 570, and the internet-based test, 88

    IELTS: The minimum acceptable score is 6.5

    Duolingo: The minimum acceptable score is 110.

    Can the language proficiency requirement be waived?

    Applicants are exempt from this requirement if they have earned a degree from an institution within a country where English is the primary (official) language. The waiver is granted automatically through the application based on the institution input.

    In addition, applicants who would normally be required to submit TOEFL or IELTS scores, but who have been working for at least the prior three years in the US or another country in which English is the official language, can petition to have that requirement waived.

    How do I verify that my TOEFL waiver was applied?

    The Application Checklist on the application status page will display a status of “waived.”

    Do I need to mail in original transcripts?

    You do not need to mail in original transcripts when applying. You should upload an unofficial transcript from prior undergraduate or graduate work as a part of your online application. Official transcripts are required only after an offer of admission is made and accepted.

    Is there an application fee?

    If you are submitting an application to the Master's program, there is no fee. If you are submitting an application to the PhD program. the application fee is 95.00 USD.

    Can my application fee be waived?

    Waivers of the application fee will be considered automatically as part of the application process for US citizens and US permanent residents (documentation may be required). Unfortunately, application waivers are not available automatically for international students.

    For additional questions and information about application fee waivers please contact:  GSfeewaivers@vanderbilt.edu

    How can I check the status of my application?

    You may check the status of your application through your applicant portal here:  apply.vanderbilt.edu

    Can I upload additional documents after my application has been submitted?

    You may upload additional documents after the application has been submitted.

    Can recommendation letters be submitted after the application close?

    Yes. You may submit your application even if all recommendation letters have not been submitted. However, an admission decision cannot be released until all materials, including recommendation letters, are received.

    When can I expect to hear from the program about the admission decision?

    All official decisions will be communicated by the Graduate School on or before April 15th (for fall admissions) or December 15th (for spring admissions)

    If I receive an offer of admission, what are the next steps?

    If you have received an offer of admission, the department administrator will contact you for next steps.

    How long after an admission offer is made do I have to respond?

    Typically you will have at least 2 weeks to respond with either your acceptance or rejection of the admission offer. You should complete the Admission Response Form through the application portal to indicate your response.

  • Financial Aid

    Graduate students in the electrical and computer engineering department seeking the Ph.D. degree receive a competitive stipend, full tuition waiver and health insurance. Typically, students are first supported on a Teaching Assistantship and then a Research Assistantship once a thesis advisor has been identified. Students on a Teaching Assistantship assist the faculty with undergraduate courses, typically by grading assignments and holding office hours. Opportunities to teach are available for those that wish to gain such experience. Both Teaching and Research Assistantships can be supplemented by any one of the following university fellowships, which are awarded through a competitive process to highly qualified applicants.

    University Graduate Fellowships:

    $10,000/year for up to 5 years.

    Provost's Graduate Fellowships:
    $10,000/year for up to 5 years.

    Harold Stirling Vanderbilt Graduate Scholarships:
    $6,000/year for up to 5 years.

    School of Engineering IBM Fellowships:
    $4,000/year for up to 4 years plus an award of
    $1,000 for professional development.

    In order to be considered for these fellowships, an applicant's file must be complete by January 15. Prospective applicants are also urged to apply for external fellowships or grants from national, international, industrial or foundation sources.

Contact Us

Gabriel Luis
Director of Graduate Recruiting
Assistant Dean for Graduate Education
Official GEM Representative
(615) 343-3128
PMB 351826
2301 Vanderbilt Place
Nashville, TN 37235-1826