The Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) degree program in Electrical and Computer Engineering at Rice University prepares students for a research career in academia or industry. Our PhD program consists of formal courses and original research conducted under the guidance of a faculty advisor, leading to a dissertation. Students admitted to the PhD program with only a bachelors degree complete the Master of Science (MS) degree as part of their program. Our department also offers a stand-alone MS degree, but only on a case-by-case basis. Most students who have a prior MS degree with a research thesis component can directly move to the PhD program and do not have to complete a Rice MS degree (and will have a reduced coursework requirements as well). Students with a MS degree without a thesis can avail a reduced coursework load (up to 4 course reduction in requirements). Financial support is available for this program.
Students are admitted to the PhD program only in the fall semester. Electrical and Computer Engineering PhD students move through the program in stages, starting as a first-year student, advancing to MS candidate, PhD-qualified student, and PhD candidate; each advancement requires the approval of the Electrical and Computer Engineering Graduate Committee. Students entering with previous graduate work may follow a hybrid program developed in consultation with the faculty and the Graduate Committee.
Learn more about Graduate Admissions.
In the selection of prospective graduate students in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, all available material is carefully evaluated, particularly:
- the scholastic record as reflected by courses chosen and the quality of performance
- the evaluations of teachers and advisors
- the student's own statement of goals, aspirations and special interests
- minimum GPA requirement is 3.0 on a 4.0 scale. Proof of Bachelor's degree must be provided upon acceptance to the program
- GRE (optional but recommended for Fall 2022): The average GRE score of successful applicants is: V156, Q166
- TOEFL: A minimum score of 90 is required. Minimum TOEFL requirements for international applicants are 600 (paper), 250 (computer), and 90 (IBT). The TOEFL requirement may be waived for students who have received a degree from a university where English is the official language of communication.
- IELTS: For students who choose to take the IELTS in lieu of the TOEFL, the minimum score is 7. The IELTS requirement may be waived for students who have received a degree from a university where English is the official language of communication.
GRE/TOEFL Educational Testing Service (ETS) Codes:
Rice University - institution - 6609
Electrical and Computer Engineering - department - GRE - 1203
Electrical and Computer Engineering - department - TOEFL - 66
Application Deadlines & Fees
Application to the ECE M.S./Ph.D. program is free. The Fall 2022 M.S./Ph.D. application deadline is January 7. Notice of acceptance for fall admission will be no later than April 15th.
When applying, please do NOT mail any hard copy documents. Transcripts should be uploaded in the online application. Recommenders should submit letters online. The ECE Department will allow unofficial transcripts (including photocopies or non-certified electronic copies) during the admissions process. Official transcripts will be required after acceptance into the graduate program and must be submitted to the department 30 days from the date the offer letter is received.
Tuition & Fees
All enrolled full-time M.S./Ph.D. students are supported with full tuition and a stipend. All first-year M.S./Ph.D. students are supported by fellowships. Thereafter, students in good standing will be supported as Research Assistants by their M.S./Ph.D. advisors. Compensation is calculated and paid semi-monthly.
Enrolled full-time M.S./Ph.D. students do have certain fee responsibilities that can be found here. These include Graduate Student Association Fees and Health & Wellness Support services.
Additionally, all degree-seeking students are required to maintain health insurance. Students who do not complete an Insurance Enrollment or Waiver form will have their account put on hold. If you already have health insurance and want to waive the Rice Plan, complete the Insurance Waiver form indicating that other coverage is in place. More information here.
First Year & Coursework
The first academic year concentrates on foundation coursework and developing a research area as well as taking and passing ELEC 599. A candidate for the PhD degree must demonstrate independent, original research in ECE. After successful completion of all coursework, a student is eligible for PhD candidacy.
The student then engages in full-time research, culminating in the presentation of the PhD research proposal and then the completion and public defense of the PhD dissertation. Details of the PhD program requirements, the phases of study, and a timetable may be found on the ECE website.
Each incoming PhD student will be assigned two seasoned ECE graduate students, one in the student’s primary area of research and one from another area. Mentors will assist first-year students in academic matters, including preparation for ELEC 599, and social interaction with members of ECE and other departments. Mentor/mentee social events will be planned over the course of the first year by the Student Mentor Committee.
Visit General Announcements to review all our courses and requirements.
Candidacy and Completion Overview
A candidate for the PhD degree must demonstrate independent, original research in Electrical and Computer Engineering. After successful completion of all coursework, a student is eligible for PhD candidacy. The student then engages in full-time research, culminating in the presentation of the PhD. research proposal, and then the completion and public defense of the PhD. dissertation.
2021-2022 Academic Year M.S/Ph.D Faculty Committee
Ashok Veeraraghavan (Chair)
Staff: Nyetta Meaux, firstname.lastname@example.org, 713.348.3597
General questions that are not related to admissions decisions may be directed to email@example.com.