Graduate Program FAQs

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Current Students in PhD and MS in Electrical & Computer Engineering

Is there a time limit for the completion of degree requirements?

Time limits for the completion of degree requirements begin with the date of matriculation into the program and are specifically expressed in the student’s letter of admission from the Graduate College.

Master’s degree program = 10 consecutive semesters (5 years). If a student completes these requirements and opts to continue in the program (with permission) toward a Ph.D, you are granted an additional ten consecutive semesters.

Ph.D program (with a MS program already completed) = 10 consecutive semesters to complete the requirements.

Ph.D program (without a MS) = fourteen consecutive semesters (7 years) to complete the requirements.

What happens if I do not complete the program requirements within the specified time frame?

If extenuating circumstances exist that are beyond a student’s control, a request for an extension of time limit would have to be made by the student, in writing, to the departmental graduate committee. The request would be have to be approved by the departmental graduate committee and the student’s advisor. The department will forward this request to the Graduate College, who will in turn determine the student’s eligibility for a time extension and will notify the student in writing of its decision to grant an extension of time.

What is the course load requirement for full time students with assistantships?

A student must be classified as full-time to be eligible to hold a teaching, research, or graduate assistantship and must register for a minimum of 6 hours of graduate level courses each fall and spring semester to meet full-time status. Students receiving a Tuition Assistantship must register for a minimum of 9 credit hours of graduate level courses each fall and spring semester.

Students holding a fellowship or those who are attending without any form of funding must register for at least 9 credit hours of graduate-level courses each fall and spring semester to meet full-time status.

In both cases, these graduate level courses must be taken for credit and must be maintained throughout the semester.

Students who have completed all required course credits needed for their degree (including six credits of Master’s thesis or nine credits of Doctoral dissertation credits) except for the submission of the thesis or dissertation can register for either Master’s Sustaining or Doctoral Sustaining. Students in sustaining status are considered full-time.


Is there a limit to how many graduate credits I can register for in each semester?

Generally, a maximum load is 12 graduate credit hours per semester; however, additional credit hours may be taken with the approval of the student’s adviser and the Associate Dean of the Graduate Program, Dr. Mary Martin. You will not be able to register for credit hours over the maximum as permission must be obtained from the Graduate College to carry an overload in any session. This permission must be granted prior to attempting to register for the additional credits and well in advance of the end of the free drop add period for the semester.

What happens if I fail to register within a semester of my program matriculation dates?

Graduate students are required to maintain continuous registration each fall and spring semester to be eligible to continue in a degree program. Failure to comply with the requirement either in courses, in sustaining credit or with approved leave of absence will be taken as evidence that the student has terminated his/her graduate program and the matriculated status to the graduate program will be terminated and recorded on the student’s transcript.

Do I have to take a seminar and a technical course every semester?

Yes. This information is outlined within the departmental graduate program policy statement.
All full time students who have not been granted sustaining status must register for a seminar in their area of concentration as well a technical course every semester. Seminars are listed in the course inventory as ELEG 661, 662, 663 & 664.

Can research and pre-candidacy credits be considered as a “technical course” requirement?

No. Examples of technical courses include related departmental ELEG / CPEG credit courses, foundation courses, associated Math / Physics & Science credit coursework at a graduate program level (600 or above) that are taken for credit (no auditing).

Special problem coursework (ELEG666 or 866) can be considered only twice towards a student’s degree. This type of coursework credit requires discussion with and approval from the student’s research advisor. The Independent Study and DLE Agreement web form would need to be submitted to illustrate the specific details of the coursework on the transcript.

What is sustaining status and when is it appropriate to go on sustaining status?

Sustaining status is only appropriate at the end of the course of study. Sustaining status indicates that a student in the graduate program has completed all courses and required credits.

Typically, a student may go on sustaining status while wrapping up research, dissertation writing, etc.

When a student is in sustaining status they do not have to meet the departmental Graduate Policy requirement for being enrolled in at least one technical course and a seminar within the students’ concentration area.

Do I register for sustaining status or does the Graduate College automatically register me?

The initial registration to sustaining is granted only after Dr. Mary Martin reviews the policy statement and the student’s transcript to ensure that they have met all of the credit courses, thesis credits, dissertation credits and examination requirements pertinent to their specific degree. The Graduate College may automatically roll over the student’s sustaining registration from term to term, but the student is responsible for checking their registration each fall and spring to make sure they are properly registered.

Do I have to register for sustaining status in the winter and summer sessions?

Sustaining registration is required for the summer and winter session only if the degree is awarded at the conclusion of the summer or winter session. The appropriate Application for Advanced Degree form would need to be submitted to the Graduate College by the designated deadline date issued by the Graduate College for those sessions.

If I was admitted into the program seeking a MS degree and I want to change my classification into a Ph.D. student (and vice-versa ) what do I need to do?

The student must complete and submit the required Change of Classification Form for Graduate Students.

The form requires approval from your advisor, the Department Graduate Director and the Associate Dean of the Graduate College, Dr. Mary Martin.

Current Students in Cybersecurity MS Online

Cybersecurity MS Online FAQs


I need the appropriate codes to send my unofficial test scores. What is the “Department Code" for ECE and the "Institution Code" of the University of Delaware?

GRE & TOEFL: Institution code is 005811 / no dept code is needed

Where do I send my application materials?

All applications are submitted electronically through the Graduate College application submission system.

All applications are reviewed for admission as well as assistantship. Please see the FAQ on the application page regarding questions on the application process. Questions not answered in the online resources can be directed to or Gwen Looby (

What are the minimum standardized test scores required for admission?

The minimum GRE score required is 150 for the quantitative section with a combined total of 300 for the verbal and quantitative sections (for the new test). (International applicants with low verbal scores will be considered if the applicant’s TOEFL score is acceptable and quantitative GRE score is high.)

Note that due to COVID-19, the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering is waiving the GRE requirement for our graduate programs this year for Spring 2022 and Fall 2022 applicants. If you wish to apply without a GRE score, please enter a future GRE exam date into the application when prompted. This need not be an actual exam date. Entering any future date will allow your application to be sent on to our review committee where it will receive full consideration. Reporting your scores is entirely optional. If you choose to not submit a GRE score, this will have no bearing on the competitiveness of your application. If you have any questions regarding this process, email Gwen Looby at

International applicants that have not graduated from a US institution or from a university recognized by the ministry of education in a country where English is the primary language must have minimum TOEFL scores of 550/79 (PBT/IBT) for admission and 600/100 for consideration as a Teaching Assistant (TA).

An alternative to the TOEFL test is IELTS (International English Language Testing System). The minimum requirement is 6.5 overall with no individual Speaking sub-score below 6.0 for admissions and 7.5 for a teaching assistantship.

The TOEFL Essentials will be accepted for applicants to the M.S. program in Electrical & Computer Engineering and M.S. program in Cybersecurity only. Minimum score requirements are an 8.5 overall and 7 speaking for the TOEFL Essentials.

I am an international student with an offer that says I must attend the English Language Institute International Teaching Assistant Training Program (ELI/ITA). Where can I get information regarding this training?

Information on the English Language Institute International Teaching Assistant Training Program can be found online here.

Please note that typical TA contracts include minimum performance requirements from this program.

What are the application deadlines and when should I expect to receive notice?

The application deadlines for Fall Admission are February 1 (to be considered for First Year Departmental Ph.D. Scholarships) and August 1 (final deadline to apply) and November 1 (international applicant deadline) and January 1 (domestic applicant deadline) for Spring Admission. Applications are typically reviewed after the February 1 and November 1 deadline dates. Applicants will receive an email from the University Graduate Admissions Office letting them know the Department’s decision any time after the application deadline dates, but by mid-December for spring applications and by the end of May for fall applications. Later admissions are not uncommon due to changes in funding for an increase in the number of open positions.