Ph.D. in Electrical Engineering

Notre Dame’s Ph.D. in Electrical Engineering will prepare you for careers in industry, academia, and government.

Research areas

  • Photonic Materials & Devices

  • Electronic materials
  • Nanoelectronics
  • Photonics and optoelectronics
  • Quantum computing
  • RF and THz devices
  • Electronic Circuits & Systems

  • Communications and networking
  • Systems and control
  • Signal and image processing

Degree requirements

  • A minimum of 36 credit hours of graduate coursework
  • Qualifying exam, typically taken before your third semester of graduate study
  • Candidacy exam, typically taken after the completion of all formal coursework
  • Dissertation and defense before an oral examination board

Admission requirements

  • Undergraduate degree in engineering or physical sciences
  • At least 3 letters of recommendation

The GRE is optional but encouraged for the 2021 application period.

International student applicants are required to provide test results for either the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) or International English Language Testing System (IELTS).

Financial support

  • Generous 12-month stipends
  • 100% health insurance premiums paid
  • Full-tuition scholarships
  • Funding opportunities for conference workshops/travel


December 15 for Fall.
November 1 for Spring.


Questions about the program

Prof. Michael Lemmon
Director of Graduate Studies

Questions about the application process

Christine Broadbent Landaw
Graduate Studies Coordinator

FAQs about applying to the Ph.D. program

How do I apply?

Apply online to the Ph.D. program. Start your application by setting up an account, and you can work on it periodically, saving it as needed. Just be sure to submit by December 15!

What do I need to provide with the application?

  • Unofficial transcripts
  • Curriculum vitae or resume
  • Statement of intent

Is there a minimum required GPA?

There is no minimum required GPA. However, a strong GPA of at least 3.75 on a scale of 4.0 or equivalent is recommended to be a competitive applicant (8.92 / 10.0 or 88.74 / 100.00 respectively).

Do I need to take the GRE?

The GRE test is not required; however, applicants have the option of submitting GRE scores for the general GRE test (a specific subject area test is not necessary). There is no minimum score required, but generally, to be considered a competitive applicant for admission, a quantitative score of at least 155 is recommended. If official GRE scores are not ready by the time of the application deadline, applicants may submit unofficial scores.

Do I need to take the TOEFL or IELTS if I am an international student?

If you are an international student who obtained your degree outside of the U.S., then either the TOEFL or IELTS is required. The minimum TOEFL IBT score is 80 with a 23 on the speaking section. If your speaking score is below 23, we still encourage you to apply, but we may request a phone or video interview to confirm speaking ability. The minimum IELTS score is 7.0.

If you are a non-native English speaker who spent a minimum of two academic years at an academic institution whose primary language of instruction was English, then you do not have to take the TOEFL or the IELTS. If it is not obvious that the institution’s primary language of instruction was English, a letter from the Registrar’s Office (or the office responsible for academic records) confirming English as the language of instruction is required.

Do GRE and/or TOEFL/IELTS scores expire?

Yes. ETS will not send us GRE scores that are older than five years; TOEFL/IELTS scores are valid for 2 years.

Do I need letters of recommendation?

Yes, we require 3 letters of recommendation. Enter the recommender’s name and address into a form in the online application. You may add as many as five recommenders; three are required. The recommender will receive an email providing secure access to the recommendation form and instructions to complete the recommendation electronically. Please note that as soon as a recommender is added to an application, they will receive this email. Applicants should only add recommenders when they are prepared for this email to be sent and for a recommendation to be submitted for that application.

Letters of recommendation are very helpful to us in evaluating an application. Letters that discuss your potential as a graduate student are particularly helpful, especially if those that can cover your readiness for graduate level research.

We recommend that you line up your letter writers early in the application process so that they have enough time to write a strong letter and to submit it by the application deadline.

What should go in the statement of intent?

The statement of intent is a very important part of the application. We are looking for approximately two pages that describe:

  • Your passion for research, why you want to go to graduate school, and how it fits into your career goals.
  • Your preparation for graduate school and, especially, graduate research, including past research experiences, your accomplishments, and the research skills you have developed (developing and testing a hypothesis, experimental skills).

Is it possible to request an application fee waiver?

The fee is required for each application. We do award fee waivers occasionally. We will consider a request if you exhibit both genuine financial hardship and exceptional academic caliber.

Whom can I contact if I have questions about my application?

If you are having technical issues with the application platform, please contact the Graduate School Admissions team (