Graduate Student Handbook: Academic Advisement

With approximately 1,200 undergraduate and 1,200 graduate students, the School of Electrical and Computer Engineering is one of the largest EE/CmpE programs in the USA. Because of the large numbers of both students and faculty, we have established certain policies and procedures in order to operate efficiently.  Students should consult this manual and the ECE Graduate Affairs Office staff for policy, procedure and advisement information. Guidance provided by fellow students may not be the most up to date and may be unreliable.

For graduate students, the primary contact with the administration of the School will be through the Graduate Affairs Office, which is located in Room W-208 of the Van Leer (ECE) Building. The Graduate Affairs Office is administered by the Associate Chair for Graduate Affairs, Professor George Riley. Professor David Hertling, Emeritus Associate Chair for Graduate Affairs, works part time and assists with many of the responsibilities of the office. The staff in the office consists of Mr. Tristin Carmichael, Ms. Ashley Johnson, Dr. Daniela Staiculescu, Ms. Tasha Torrence, and Ms. Jacqueline D. Trappier.

The primary functions of the ECE Graduate Affairs Office are:
  • Process and make recommendations to the Graduate Admissions Office of the Institute on all applications for admission to the graduate program.
  • Process and make recommendations to the ECE school chair on all applications for financial assistance in support of graduate programs.
  • Initiate and maintain a file on each incoming graduate student.
  • Coordinate the assignment of examination and reading committees for thesis and dissertation activity.
  • Receive, process, and validate all petitions and applications for graduate degrees.
  • Process information on graduate assistantships and monitor eligibility for tuition waivers.
  • Prepare draft requests for student (F and J) visas; assure compliance with Bureau of Citizenship and Immigration (BCIS) and SEVIS rules and regulations.
  • Provide academic advisement and guidance to ECE graduate students.
  • Make teaching assistantship assignments.
  • Issue registration permits for ECE graduate level classes.

The preferred way to contact the ECE Graduate Affairs Office is through the Contact Us form. Our fax number is 404-894-3047 and the office number is 404-894-2900.

 
The ECE Graduate Affairs Office provides academic advisement to ECE students in a variety of ways:
 
Daily Advisement Hours
  • Students desiring one-to-one advisement are welcome to visit the ECE Graduate Affairs Office.  
  • The office staff is generally available from 9:30 a.m. to 12:00 noon and 1:30 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. on Monday through Friday.  
  • All staff members may not be available during the posted office hours.  
  • Students wishing to meet with the Associate Chair for Graduate Affairs must make an appointment.  An appointment request should be requested through our Contact Us form. The appointment request should include specific information regarding the purpose of the meeting.
  • Suggesting dates and times when you could be available for a meeting could speed up the process.
 
New Students
  • New, on-campus ECE graduate students are required to attend an orientation program prior to the start of classes.  
  • Online Master’s Degree students residing in the Atlanta are welcome to attend this program as well.  
  • Students admitted into the Georgia Tech – Lorraine (GTL) program or Georgia Tech - Shenzhen participate in an advisement program on their campus.  
 
Continuing Students
  • Advisement for continuing students is provided prior to the first phase of registration each term.  Advisors are available during the hours listed above for any students needing assistance.
 
Web-based Materials
  • The ECE website serves as a means by which students may obtain information about graduate degree requirements, policies and procedures.  
  • Degree program information, frequently used forms, handbooks, preliminary examination materials are all available on the Student Resources page of the ECE website.
 
Email Communication
  • At both the administrative and the academic levels, email is the official means of communication with Georgia Tech students. The list grads@ece.gatech.edu includes the email addresses of all enrolled ECE graduate students. This list is updated after the close of registration each term and is used to send information related to academic issues—policies, procedures, registration, or deadlines, etc.—to the entire ECE graduate student body.
  • The OIT website provides access to the “GT Mailing List Services” site where a variety of subscription-based lists may be accessed. This is the web interface for Georgia Tech's mailing list server, lists.gatech.edu. Using this website, you can subscribe to lists, unsubscribe, manage lists you own, review archives, etc. (The availability of these actions for a particular list will depend on that list's configuration.) If you are a Georgia Tech student, faculty, or staff member, you can log in using your GT Account username and password. This will allow you to manage lists attached to your published email address.
 
Faculty Advisors
  • Faculty (or research) advisors are not required for students pursuing a non-thesis master's degree. Incoming graduate students and continuing master's degree students are advised through the ECE Graduate Affairs Office.
  • Ph.D. students and M.S. students choosing the thesis option must have research advisors and are expected to select an advisor early in their degree program.  
  • Students selecting advisors outside of ECE must have a co-advisor who is ECE faculty.
 
Ph.D. Research Advisor
  • Ph.D. students are expected to select an advisor by the end of the term in which they pass the Ph.D. preliminary examination.  
  • The advisor selection form is available through our website. This form should be completed and returned to the ECE Graduate Affairs Office as soon as an advisor selection is confirmed.  
  • Students in the process of choosing an advisor may use the ECE website for up-to-date information on faculty research interests.  
 
M.S. Thesis Advisors
  • M.S. thesis option students should select a research advisor during their first term and no later than the end of registration for their second term in residence.
  • The ECE Graduate Affairs Office is informed of the advisor selection by the submission of the signed “Select M.S. Thesis Advisor” form.
  • Only after the submission of the form can the student register for ECE 7000 (M.S. Thesis Research) under the selected advisor.
 
Changing Advisors
  • Circumstances may arise which make it necessary for a student pursuing the Ph.D. or M.S. thesis option degree to change advisors. The decision to change advisors is not to be made lightly. Students considering a change of advisor are urged to meet with the Associate Chair for Graduate Affairs for guidance before making a change. It is important that all involved (student, current advisor, and new advisor) are aware of the situation and that a mutually acceptable resolution results from the change of advisor.  
  • Students are expected to make good progress in completing their chosen degree program. A single change of advisor, where warranted, is understandable. Multiple advisor changes are viewed as an indication of poor degree completion progress and may have a negative impact on the student’s funding and future academic status.

Last revised August 7, 2017