Information for New ECE Graduate Students

Welcome to ECE! We are very happy you have decided to join our graduate program. Below is more information to help you transition to UCSD. If you have any questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to contact an ECE Graduate Student Advisor


Please be certain to review Graduate Division’s Admitted Student Checklists, which details all of the steps you should complete as a new UCSD student:

International students should visit the International Students & Programs Office webpage for a specific pre-arrival checklist.  

For in-depth information about the ECE Department, plus graduate student requirements, policies, and procedures, we encourage you to read:


ECE Graduate Student Orientation
Attendance is mandatory; no registration required.
More information will be sent to all new students as the orientation date nears.

For Master's students: TBA

For PhD students: TBA

Graduate Division New Graduate Student Orientation


More information to be announced closer to Fall.

International Graduate Student Orientation


More information to be announced closer to Fall.


2020-21 Academic Calendar

Fall Quarter Officially Begins: Monday, September 28, 2020

Fall Quarter Instruction Begins: Thursday, October 1, 2020


Resources for selecting your courses:

  • Fall 2020 admitted students must use the most up to date Degree Planner.  ECE Degree Planners for your major: PhD Students; MS Students

Enrolling in courses:

Please note: Fall 2020 course registration for new ECE graduate students will take place during the summer before Fall. An exact date and time will be announced soon. New students will not have access to register for Fall Quarter classes until then. 

Additional enrollment details:

  • All ECE students are expected to enroll full-time and register for at least 12 units each quarter during the academic year until the completion of all requirements for the degree. 
  • Effective FA19- ECE graduate students should not enroll in more than 16 units (including waitlist units). Enrollment in more than 16 units will result in a hold on future registration.
  • The 16 unit cap makes an exception for CE students to be enrolled/waitlisted in 20 units, provided at least 8 of those units are the result of CSE waitlisted units.
  • If you plan to enroll in ECE 200, ECE 298 and/or ECE 299, make certain you select the section under the correct faculty member.  
  • You must obtain permission to enroll in any ECE class(es) for which you do not meet the prerequisite(s), you must request permission via EASy. (More Information TBA)


Ph.D. students:

The majority of our full-time graduate students are supported by faculty and employed as Graduate Student Researchers (GSRs). PhD students are encouraged to speak with ECE Faculty to determine mutual research interests and discuss opportunities for financial support. 

M.S. students:

Unfortunately, there is little support opportunity for masters students. Graduate Student Researcher (GSR) positions are rare and very competitive, as most of these opportunities are reserved for Ph.D. students. Teaching assistant positions are possible, though also extremely competitive. TAships and other in-class positions are generally discouraged for incoming ECE graduate students, particularly those in their first quarter at UCSD. Professors would like students to meet with faculty and establish a UCSD GPA before applying for these positions. 

For more information about ECE Department Support, we invite you to read the Department's Financial Support webpages. Additional opportunities outside of the ECE Department are posted on the UCSD Graduate Division's funding webpage


We strongly recommend that you arrive in San Diego early so that you can get settled in your new environment before beginning your studies.

If you wish to live on-campus, please note that graduate student housing is very competitive, so we advise getting on the waitlist as soon as you can. You can increase your odds of acquiring on-campus housing by selecting an early start date (i.e. the earliest you would be able to move in). Please refer to the following Graduate Student Housing website for more information.

UCSD has compiled a list of off-campus housing resources that may also be of use to you.


All students are automatically enrolled in the University's Student Health Insurance Plan (SHIP) each academic year.  The fall quarter SHIP start date for new ECE graduate students will be updated soon.

Refer to the Student Health Services website for more information regarding SHIP and services available at Student Health Services.

Students who are able to demonstrate they have comparable coverage may be able to opt out of SHIP via the Health Fee Waiver application available online (TritonLink). The Fall Quarter 2020 deadline to waive SHIP (without a late fee) is September 1, 2020. More information about waiving out of SHIP may be found on the Student Health Services website.

All incoming students must complete immunization requirements, including a Tuberculosis (TB) Screening Questionnaire (please see instructions on website). The TB Screening deadline is July 15, 2020. Failure to complete this by the deadline will result in a hold on future registration.


What is an estimated total cost for one year of study at UCSD?

The Graduate Division publishes updated tuition and fee costs each year. 

May I change my major / research area after I have been admitted to the graduate program?

A change into any non-impacted major may be requested via petition after the first quarter in residence in the ECE graduate program. (Machine learning and Data Science, Intelligent Systems Robotics and Control, Computer Engineering and Electrical Circuits and Systems majors are specifically impacted; major change requests to these areas are not permitted after admission.)

In other words, if you are interested in changing your major, you must wait until Winter Quarter 2020. Please see an M.S. or Ph.D. Graduate Student Affairs advisor to go over the change of major process.

How may I transfer coursework completed before I was admitted to UCSD ECE?

Once admitted, students may petition to transfer up to 24 units of credits for courses completed at another UC campus (including UCSD Extension) to a UCSD Master's degree. A maximum of 8 units of work completed at an institution other than UC may be transferred. Eligible course work may not have been used to fulfill the requirements of any other degree, and must have been completed with a B- or better grade. All transfer courses must have been taken prior to enrollment as a graduate student at UCSD. Please see an M.S. or Ph.D. Graduate Student Affairs advisor to go over the coursework transfer process.

I am a domestic U.S. student and would like to be classified in future as a California resident for tuition purposes. What steps should I take?

You should begin the process of becoming a California resident at least one year before the quarter you are seeking reclassification. This includes establishing a physical presence in California, establishing your intent by changing your ties from your previous state of residence to California, and meeting financial independence requirements. This process is described in more detail on the website “How to Change Your Nonresident Status to Resident”; all Domestic US students should read this website thoroughly and familiarize themselves with the requirements. The Residence Deputy in the Registrar’s Office is the final authority in determining the classification of resident status. All questions and concerns should be addressed to the Residency Deputy directly. 

I am an international student. When will I receive my I-20 (for F-1 visa) or DS-2019 (for J-1 visa)? 

After accepting our offer, you will be given information directing you to the iPortal. Follow the directions given in the iPortal to request your I-20.  Please allow for 6 weeks after submitting your request to receive your I-20. Questions about the I-20 or DS-2019 should be directed to UCSD's International Students & Programs Office (ISPO) at

May I defer admission?

If your plans have changed and you wish to defer after already accepting our admissions offer, please contact the department immediately (no later than the first Monday following the registration fee payment deadline). You may defer for one year to the following Fall Quarter only.

Once your deferral is processed, you should contact the department at least three months prior to the following Fall Quarter so that we can make arrangements to reactivate your admission.

How do I get my student ID card?

You will need to follow the Campus Card Office's instructions for graduate students here.

New students must submit their ID card photos through the online Photo Tool, since you will be unable to take photos in person. Please be sure to submit your photo as soon as possible.