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Department Policy on Off-Cycle Graduate Admissions

(Adopted on June 24, 2008 following approval by faculty vote)

Normally, the Electrical Engineering Department accepts applications into its graduate program only for admission for the Fall Quarter. The main reason for this requirement is that the course offerings and the academic calendar are designed for students starting in the Fall Quarter. Students starting during the Winter or Spring Quarters can be at a significant disadvantage.

However, the Department realizes that on rare occasions faculty may need to do Winter or Spring Quarter recruitment, for example, new faculty building up their research groups. For such exceptional cases, the following procedure is followed:

  • Only students planning to pursue Ph.D. studies will be considered for off-cycle admissions. As such, they must be exceptional students and have GPAs in excess of 3.5.
  • A nomination letter from a Sponsoring Faculty member in the Department must accompany the application file. The Sponsoring Faculty needs to commit to be the student's advisor.
  • The student must show evidence of support for at least one year. The support could be in the form of the Sponsoring Faculty committing to one year of GSR support, or the student having some external Fellowship, Scholarship, or other source of support.
  • The Sponsoring Faculty should obtain a second letter of evaluation from another Department faculty with expertise in the relevant Area, and approval for admission from the Area Director.

It should be noted that the Department does not offer Fellowship support for off-cycle applicants. If the Sponsoring Faculty is a new faculty member wishing to make use of student fellowship from the startup package, he/she will need to wait till the next Fall to do so. For all other cases, the student will not be eligible for Fellowship funds reserved for new admissions either at the time of admission or the next fall quarter.

Furthermore, the clock for various academic milestones will start from the quarter that the student starts in the program. Careful consideration should be given to the fact the Ph.D. Preliminary Examination is offered only during April of every year, and the student must pass the examination by the end of the sixth academic quarter (two academic years) in the program. Extension of this deadline will not be granted on account of off-cycle admission.

Note: For timely handling of off-cycle admissions requests without burdening the regular admission process, the applicant and their faculty sponsor must ensure that the application file is complete (including the nomination letter from the faculty sponsor and a second letter of evaluation by another faculty) by November 15 for Winter admissions, and by December 1 for Spring admissions. Applications completed after these deadlines would only be considered for regular Fall admission provided they were submitted by the deadline for Fall admission (December 15).

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