About the Graduate Student Office
The Graduate Student Office is the administrative office within the ECE Department for graduate student affairs. The Student Affairs Manager helps graduate students navigate the bureaucratic maze during their studies at UCSB.
Examples of the Graduate Student Office support services:
- General "go to" advisor and contact
- Student advising from requirements to financial support petitions and forms that require the department Graduate Advisor's signature
- Degree progress checks and clearance sheets for M.S. (Study Plan) and Ph.D. (Computer Engineering only)
- Processing of administrative paperwork such as M.S. forms (Comprehensive Exam and M.S. Thesis Committee) and Ph.D. forms (Qualifying Exam and the Defense Exam).
The student office is the main resource for administrative matters for graduate students and also serves as a liaison to other offices on student affairs.
The Graduate Student Resource website pages were created to give students easy access to valuable information and frequently asked questions. Students should also refer to the M.S. or Ph.D. Milestones and Procedures pages for a timeline overview and reference information towards degree.
Most Frequently Asked Graduate Questions (FAQs)
What types of financial support are available?
- Graduate Student Researcher (GSR): a GSR is a graduate student who assists faculty members with scholarly research
- Eligibility: available to students after one year in residence but occasionally upon enrollment
- Apply / Selection process: arranged and selected by a faculty member / principal investigator (PI)
- Support coverage / length: a monthly stipend and coverage of student fees, health insurance, and non-resident tuition if working more that 35% time
- Teaching Assistantships (TAships): TAs apprentice under the active tutelage and supervision of a faculty member
- Eligibility: must be an active registered student. New applicants are automatically considered and continuing students must apply quarterly.
- Apply / Selection process: through application and merit-based with selection by the Vice Chair.
- Support coverage: a monthly stipend plus all fees, health insurance, and non-resident tuition
- Fellowships: are funds provided to support the living and educational expenses of graduate study
- Eligibility: are primarily awarded to Ph.D. students and are very competitive.
- Apply / Selection process: through application and is merit-based or reserved for students with specific needs, affiliations and goals. Selected by the ECE Department, UCSB Graduate Division and sponsoring agencies.
- Support coverage / length: ranges from full financial support (quarterly stipend plus all fees, tuition, and health insurance) to partial funding and can cover a quarter, a year, or multiple years.
- Financial Aid via the Financial Aid Office: is funding intended to help students pay education expenses such as tuition and fees, room and board, books and supplies, etc.
- Eligibility: available only to domestic students.
- Apply / Selection process: through submission of a FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) and are needs based.
- Support coverage: varies but usually loans
As a newly enrolled or continuing student, how can I apply for financial support / funding?
- Graduate Student Researcher (GSR): students may also approach individual faculty to see if there are GSR positions in their laboratories. Occasionally, other departments have GSR positions available but it is up to the student to seek them out.
- Teaching Assistantships (TAships): students can apply for on a quarterly basis. These positions pay a monthly stipend plus payment of all fees and health insurance and nonresident tuition when applicable. Availability of applications and application deadline are announced throughout the year. This information is also posted on the ECE website. Occasionally, other departments have TAship positions available but it is up to the student to seek them out.
- The Graduate Division Fellowships: funds are available and students must apply for these awards. See the Graduate Division website's financial support section for information. Typically, the fellowship application season for the following year starts around early November.
- External Sources for Fellowships: are also available such as the National Science Foundation (NSF) the deadline for which tend to be around late October or early November for the following year.
How many units are required for registration for each quarter?
The ECE Department requires its graduate students to be enrolled in 12 units of coursework each quarter. While other departments or administrative offices require only 8 units of coursework each quarter, ECE requires more. Non-compliance may result in academic probation. Please plan courses carefully.
Media Arts and Technology (MAT) and Technology Management Program (TMP) courses do not count towards the required 12 units of coursework. If in doubt, contact the ECE Graduate Student Office.
Can I take courses in other departments?
Yes, however, only courses in the science and engineering fields may count towards the M.S. degree requirements. One can take courses in the humanities and social sciences if one wishes to do so. Any upper division undergraduate courses taken as a graduate student taken for a letter grade will count towards the cumulative G.P.A. (grade point average). Lower division classes never count towards the overall G.P.A. for graduate students.
Can I take a leave of absence?
A student may only take a leave of absence for the following reasons:
- Medical (need a doctor's note);
- Parenting (need child's birth certificate);
- Military (need military orders);
- Family emergency; and
- Filing fee (only for those done with all course requirements but yet have to take the M.S. Comprehensive Exam or file M.S. Thesis) and for those PhD students who just have to file the dissertation