UC Santa Barbara General CatalogUniversity of California, Santa Barbara

Electrical and Computer Engineering

Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, Building 380, Room 101;
Telephone (805) 893-2269 or (805) 893-3821
Web site: www.ece.ucsb.edu
Chair: Joao Hespanha
Vice Chair: B.S. Manjunath
Vice Chair: Nadir Dagli

Graduate Program

In addition to departmental requirements, program applicants and candidates for graduate degrees must fulfill University requirements described in the “Graduate Education” section of this catalog.


The department offers graduate programs at the M.S. and Ph.D. levels in electrical and computer engineering. The graduate programs are open to those who have a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering, computer engineering, computer science, other areas of engineering, or in mathematics, physics, or other related fields of science. Applicants with degrees in fields other than electrical and computer engineering or computer science may be required to complete undergraduate prerequisite courses. Fundamental subject areas required include mathematics through differential equations and advanced calculus, a full year of college-level physics, and introductory computer programming.

All applicants for admission to graduate status are required to present evidence of a high level of technical skill, scholarship, and aptitude for electrical and computer engineering. This evidence normally is provided through a combination of undergraduate transcripts, scores on the verbal, quantitative, and analytical sections (required) and advanced portion (optional) of the Graduate Record Examination, letters of recommendation, and accounts of professional goals and experience. Applicants whose native language is not English are required to take the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) or the International English Language Testing System (IELTS). Exceptions to this requirement will be considered for those students who have completed an undergraduate or graduate education at an institution whose primary language of instruction is English. The minimum TOEFL score for consideration is 550 when taking the paper-based test and 80 when taking the internet-based test.  The minimum IELTS score for consideration is 7.0.

The department emphasizes graduate education at the highest level and intends that most of its graduate students will be enrolled in the Ph.D. program. Admission to the Ph.D. program is open to applicants who hold a master’s degree or its equivalent in either electrical and computer engineering or computer science or related fields and who demonstrate unusual ability and promise for professional success. It is also open to applicants of exceptional promise directly on completion of a baccalaureate degree program. Applicants with only a baccalaureate degree who intend to seek the Ph.D. degree should apply for simultaneous admission to the M.S. and Ph.D. programs. It should be noted, however, that continuation in the Ph.D. program is dependent upon proof of competency to pursue research at the Ph.D. level and upon obtaining a research supervisor.

Master of Science – Electrical and Computer Engineering (Requirements - PDF)

Doctor of Philosophy – Electrical and Computer Engineering (Requirements - PDF)

For all students with M.S. degrees entering the Electrical and Computer Engineering (ECE) Ph.D. program beginning Fall 2010 or later, at least 24 units of graduate engineering or science courses taken at UCSB with a letter grade of B or better are required for the doctoral degree in ECE with an emphasis in Computer Engineering.

Optional Interdisciplinary Emphases

Students pursuing a doctoral degree in ECE may petition to add the following Optional Interdisciplinary Ph.D. Emphases: Bioengineering, Computational Science and Engineering (CSE is available to both Master's and Doctoral Students).

Requirement sheets for each emphasis may be found on this page.