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Graduate Student Handbook: Additional Information For All Students

Absence from School

ECE students are expected to complete their degrees in a timely manner. It is understood that professional conferences, internships, employment opportunities, vacations, family obligations, and personal emergencies may warrant time away from school. In addition, accurate student contact information must be maintained on the OSCAR system. The ECE Notice of Absence form is located in the ECE Academic Office.

Students traveling away from campus during times other than formal break periods (or who will be away from campus longer than a scheduled break period, holiday, or weekend), must file an “Absence Request” form found in the ECE Graduate Affairs Office. The form is prepared by the student and must be approved by the student’s advisor. Not all absence requests are approved. It should be noted that these forms do help us to locate a student in case of an emergency or some other valid reason requires knowledge of their whereabouts.

International students (those holding F or J visas) must check in with the Office of International Education before traveling away from Georgia Tech. Students traveling abroad should be aware of global conditions that may impede their return to Tech.  

International students should also be aware that the only term that they are able to take as a “vacation term” is summer. International students should take care to make travel plans with this stipulation in mind.

All students, regardless of their citizenship status, are expected to plan leave time based upon the official Georgia Institute of Technology calendar maintained by the Registrar’s Office.  

Graduate Research and Teaching Assistantships are part-time, temporary positions. As such, students employed in those positions do not accrue vacation or sick time. Students (including those with GRAs or GTAs) wishing to take vacations should do so in accordance with the official school calendar.  

Vacations or other non-emergency leaves should not be taken during the official period of a term. Plans should be made so that students who take leave are back on campus no later than the first day of classes and do not leave for a significant period (other than official school holidays) until after the close of the term. Graduate classes may meet in the first session of each term. Missing class can have significant consequences later in the term.

In situations in which Ph.D. students and/or M.S. thesis option students are permitted by their research advisor to be gone from campus during a term, every effort must be made to limit the time away from campus.  Students who are supported with Graduate Research or Teaching Assistantships must comply with GT requirements for funding and fulfill the commitments required in compliance with the employment opportunity they accept.


Alternative Study Opportunities

Online Master’s Degree
The M.S. degree in Electrical and Computer Engineering is also offered online. Find detailed information on the online M.S. program.

Most online students are admitted directly into the Online Master’s Degree program. Occasionally an on campus student may wish to switch to online studies. A request sent to the Graduate Affairs Office is the best way to start this process. No change from on campus to Online Master’s Degree is made until after the student has contacted the distance learning program coordinator.

Georgia Tech – Lorraine
Georgia Tech operates a graduate electrical and computer engineering program at its campus in Metz, France.  Nestled in Technopole 2000, an industrial park on the outskirts of Metz, Georgia Tech Lorraine offers a program leading to the M.S.E.C.E. and Ph.D. School of Electrical and Computer Engineering faculty members in residence at GTL teach classes. Dual degree programs with French partner schools are also available. For information about opportunities for study at GTL, please visit the GTL website.

Georgia Tech – Shenzhen
Starting in Fall 2014, Georgia Tech offers its existing M.S. degree in Electrical and Computer Engineering in Shenzhen, China, housed at the Shenzhen Virtual University Park (SZVUP). SVUP is an innovative model in China emphasizing university-industry partnerships, technology transfer and business incubation. Situated next to Hong Kong, Shenzhen has the fourth largest GDP in China. It is a clean, green city, has a young population and is very high-tech. GT-Shenzhen will serve as a platform for graduate study abroad for all GT students. A unique program - the Global Engineering Immersion Program (GEIP) - will capitalize on GT's academic presences in Atlanta, GA, Lorraine, France, and Shenzhen, China, and encourage students to complete the GT M.S. degree by studying with GT on 3 different continents as little as 12 months. More information about this program can be found on the Georgia Tech – Shenzhen website or by contacting the Georgia Tech – Shenzhen Program Coordinator Chelcea Warren at 404-385-5753.
Multidisciplinary Certificates
In addition to the specialization within electrical engineering, the School participates actively in several multidisciplinary certificate programs. These programs consist of groupings of courses that cut across existing disciplinary lines and address specific application areas. A student who successfully completes one of the multidisciplinary programs will receive a certificate from the College of Engineering in addition to the degree in electrical engineering.  Examples of such certificates are:

Graduate Certificate in Public Policy
Management of Technology Certificate

Please see a graduate advisor for any specifics on how a graduate certificate can be integrated into the ECE course requirements.


Interdisciplinary Degrees
The School of ECE participates in multiple campus-wide interdisciplinary degree programs: the M.S. in Cybersecurity, the Online M.S. in Cybersecurity, Ph.D. in Robotics, Ph.D. in Machine Learning, and the M.S. and Ph.D. degree programs in Bioengineering. New students seeking admission to Georgia Tech would mark one of these options on the application as the discipline. Existing students who wish to transfer into these programs are required to visit the academic unit of the program they wish to transfer into.

Access specific information on all degree programs involving the School of ECE.


Certification Letters
Graduate students may find that they are requested to provide documentation of their academic status or verification of employment to entities outside of Georgia Institute of Technology. The Office of Human Resources (OHR) is the official source for employment verification information. The Registrar’s Office is responsible for providing documentation related to academic matters. The ECE Graduate Affairs Office does not provide documentation of either employment or academic status.

To request documentation of a teaching or research assistantship you should follow these instructions.

Requests for certification of enrollment, academic standing, etc. can be filed through OSCAR or through the Registrar’s Office website. From the Registrar’s website, select the “Students” tab, then “Forms & Student Records” from the menu on the left and “Certifications/Verifications.” Select the option that best describes your certification need and follow the directions to file a request. Through OSCAR, log in using the Secure Access Login, then select “Student Services and Financial Aid” and “Student Records.” Scroll down the list to “Request Verification” and file your request.

Both the Registrar’s and Human Resources websites provide information about the time needed to process certification requests and assistance to guide you through the request process.


Communication with Students
  • The Georgia Institute of Technology email account is the official means of communication with Georgia Tech students.
  • All ECE graduate students are required to activate their Georgia Tech email accounts.  
  • Students who prefer to use an email service other than the Georgia Tech email as their primary account, must arrange for messages sent to the official address to be forwarded to the preferred email address.  
  • The ECE Graduate Affairs Office and other Georgia Tech administrative offices use the Georgia Tech email account as a means of conveying important information to students.  
  • It is the responsibility of each student to be aware of the information sent by email.
  • Deadline reminders are sent by the Graduate Affairs Office as a courtesy. All deadline information is available on the ECE website. Stating that a reminder email was not received is not a valid excuse for a missed deadline. It is the student’s responsibility to know of and to meet all important deadlines.
  • ECE uses three bulk email addresses as a means of getting information to our graduate students.
    • The grads@ece.gatech.edu list is used to convey academic-related information to all graduate students. This email address is built from the enrollment rolls each term.  
    • The phds@ece.gatech.edu list goes only for the Ph.D. students as they are classified at the beginning of the term.
    • The news_grads@ece.gatech.edu list is used to convey non-academic information, such as announcements about events in ECE, scholarships, career fairs, upcoming conferences, post-graduate employment opportunities, etc. to students who are interested in receiving that information. Students wishing to subscribe (or unsubscribe) to/from the news_grads@ece.gatech.edu list do so through the OIT website
    • Students may also subscribe to the Institute-wide

      GT Emergency Notification System (GTENS)

      service that will send emergency alerts to individual GT email accounts.

  • Students are required to update their personal contact information (addresses, phone numbers, etc.) with Georgia Institute of Technology through OSCAR. The ECE Graduate Affairs Office will refer to this information when attempting to contact students.  
  • ECE recognizes that personnel information is confidential and under no circumstances will this information be shared with outside parties.  Written permission must be given before personal information is released to anyone outside of ECE.


Health Insurance
  • All graduate students who are employed as Graduate Research or Teaching Assistants and all graduate students attending Georgia Tech on F1 or J1 visas are required to obtain health insurance through a University System of Georgia negotiated health plan. Information on the program can be found at the Bursar's Office website.


Mail Service
  • Due to limited resources and a large student population, ECE does not provide departmental mailboxes for students.
  • Students who reside in campus housing will be assigned campus post office mailboxes.  
  • Students living off campus may apply for campus post office boxes. There is a fee for this service. Find additional information on post office boxes.
  • Graduate students must make arrangements to have their mail sent to their local addresses or to their mailbox at the campus post office.  
  • Mail and/or packages sent to the School of Electrical and Computer Engineering for graduate students should be sent in care of the students’ research advisors.
  • Mailboxes assigned to specific classes are provided in the ECE mail/copier room (W203, Van Leer). These boxes are for use by graduate teaching assistants (GTAs) with responsibilities for the classes designated. It is each GTA’s responsibility to check the mailbox for their assigned class on a daily basis and to be sure that all materials are removed from the mailbox at the end of the term so that assignments for the next term can be made.

Last revised August 12, 2020