General Info

  • Faculty working with students: 55
  • Students: 206
  • Students receiving Financial Aid: 99% of first year Ph.D. students and 97% of all Ph.D. students receive financial aid
  • Part time study available: No
  • Application terms: Spring, Fall
  • Application deadlines: Spring: October 2; Fall: December 1
Application Info


Michael Gehm
Director of Graduate Studies
Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering
Duke University
Box 90291
Durham, NC 27708-0291



Program Description

The department offers opportunities for study in a broad spectrum of areas within the disciplines of electrical and computer engineering. Research in the department is generally organized into research themes including biocomputing and biomedical devices and systems, circuits and systems, computer architecture and systems, nanosystems, electronic devices and materials, photonics, quantum computing, sensing and signals, and waves and metamaterials.  Students typically affiliate with one of four areas of specialization: 1) computer engineering; 2) engineering physics; 3) microelectronics, photonics and nanotechnology; and 4) signals, information processing, and machine learning. Detailed descriptions of course offerings, faculty research interests, and degree requirements may be found on the department's website. Interdisciplinary opportunities that connect the ECE program with other engineering departments, computer science, the natural sciences, and the medical school are available. Students in the department may also be involved in research conducted in one of the Duke centers. Further, under a reciprocal agreement with neighboring universities, a student may include some courses offered at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and North Carolina State University in Raleigh. Since an important criterion for admitting new students is the match between student and faculty research interests, applicants are strongly encouraged to indicate the specialization area(s) in which they are interested.


Application Information

Application Terms Available: Spring, Fall

Application Deadlines: Spring: October 2; Fall: December 1
Applications submitted by December 1 are guaranteed review. Applications submitted after December 1 but before the closing date of February 28 will be reviewed based upon availability of space and funding.

Graduate School Application Requirements
See the Application Instructions page for important details about each Graduate School requirement.

  • Transcripts: Unofficial transcripts required with application submission; official transcripts required upon admission
  • Letters of Recommendation: 3 Required
  • Statement of Purpose: Required (See department guidance below)
  • Résumé: Required
  • GRE Scores: GRE General (Optional)
  • English Language Exam: TOEFL, IELTS, or Duolingo English Test required* for applicants whose first language is not English
    *test waiver may apply for some applicants
  • GPA: Undergraduate GPA calculated on 4.0 scale required

Department Specific Application Requirements (submitted through online application)

Applicants must answer the following short-answer questions as part of their application:

Electrical and Computer Engineering Supplemental Questions

  1. For applicants with work experience post-undergraduate studies, please describe how your work experience prepares you for graduate studies in ways not reflected by your undergraduate academic record.
  2. List programming languages you have used in the past and your proficiency level with each.
  3. For applicants with backgrounds in fields other than Electrical or Computer Engineering, please describe your motivation in changing fields.
  4. Name and briefly describe the content of the three Electrical or Computer Engineering courses you have taken, if any, that were the most advanced or had the greatest impact on your interest in our graduate program.
  5. Name and briefly describe the content of the three courses you have taken in related technical areas (Computer Science, Mathematics, Statistics, Physics, etc.) that were the most advanced or had the greatest impact on your interest in our graduate program.

Statement of Purpose Guidelines
In addition to providing more context regarding your personal, academic, research, and industry background, you should also discuss why you are interested in Duke’s ECE PhD program. Description of specific faculty and/or research areas you are interested in is highly recommended. We are looking for applicants with the best fit for our program, so the better you can describe why this is you, the better your chances will be of standing out for admission.

Writing Sample
None required

Additional Components
Providing a recorded video response is optional but recommended. The video response gives you an opportunity to strengthen your application and in the case of some international students, can help us assess your English language skills. Completion of a video can potentially negate the need for a live language interview later on in the application process. If you choose to include a video, the video recording platform is available within the online application.

We strongly encourage you to review additional department-specific application guidance from the program to which you are applying: Departmental Application Guidance (PhD)