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Application Process for U.S. Citizens and Permanent Residents

Application Submission

The following application materials should be submitted online:
  1. The University application
  2. The departmental application
  3. Statement of purpose
  4. U.S. $60 application fee (credit card payment). There are no exceptions to this fee; it must be received prior to a decision being issued for admission.
  5. Optional curriculum vita or resume
  6. Four letters of recommendation. Optionally, these may be mailed to the address below.

The following:

  1. One official copy of transcripts and proof of degree(s) earned from each university attended
  2. ETS-supplied GRE score (for M.S., MSEE, and Ph.D. degrees)
  3. Proof of residency form if you are a Colorado resident
should be sent directly to:

For overnight or express mail, send to:

Submission of Letters of Reference

If it is more convenient for those writing letters of recommendation in support of your application to mail them than to submit them online, the letters may be sent to the appropriate address above.


They may e-mail a pdf of their letter to


If none of these options is possible, the letter writer may seal his/her letter in an envelope, signed with his/her signature across the seal, and then send it to you. You may then submit the letter with all other non-electronically submitted paperwork to the appropriate address above.

How You Will Be Evaluated

Your GRE scores, grade point average, strong letters of recommendation, well-written personal essay, work/research/teaching and other life experiences are all taken into account for our admissions decisions.

GRE VQA scores of 153/155/4.5+ are preferred (500+/700+/4.5+ on the former scale).
Note: scores must be no older than 5 years at time of application.

Opportunity for Underrepresented Students

The Colorado Advantage Graduate Preview Weekend provides an opportunity for underrepresented students to preview the doctoral programs of ECEE and other CU Boulder Science, Technology, Engineering and Math departments. This year's program will take place Thursday, October 24 to Saturday, October 26, 2013, with the option to stay on until Sunday.

Application review will begin October 1st and continue until the program is full. Application details may be found by clicking here.

Transferring Courses to CU Boulder

  1. Students must have completed a minimum of six credit hours as an M.S. student or have passed a preliminary examination as a Ph.D. student. Students' status must be "regular," not "provisional," at the time credit transfer is applied for.
  2. Original transcript(s) from the university where credit was earned must be provided.
  3. Course work to be transferred to an M.S. degree must have been completed within the past four years, otherwise credit must be validated by taking an oral and/or written exam.
  4. Courses may not have been applied toward completion of any other degree.
  5. Courses taken must have been at the graduate level.
  6. Up to 9 semester credit hours for an M.S. degree or up to 21 semester credit hours for a Ph.D. degree may be transferred. If you are a Ph.D. student who earned an M.S. in this department, it is possible to transfer all 30 credit hours of Master's work toward your Ph.D. in this department as long as all were taken at the 5000-level or above.
  7. Only credit hours -- not grades -- will transfer.
  8. At least a "B" (3.0) must have been earned in each course to be transferred.

Alternatives to On-campus Courses

Boulder Connect (formerly Be Boulder Anywhere) Distance Learning Option
Boulder Connect offers a number of ECEN and other courses via pre-recorded or webstreamed lectures. Many working professionals in the M.S. or M.E. program find these courses a convenient option to on-campus courses. It is possible to complete a Masters' program entirely via Boulder Connect courses, although the course offerings are not as complete as the on-campus offerings. For those interested in pursuing a Masters' degree via Boulder Connect , select "yes" for the "Are you applying to Boulder Connect?" question in the online application.

For more information about Boulder Connect , check their web site or call (303) 492-6331.

Continuing Education Option
Prior to applying for admission to a graduate program, students may take courses on campus via Continuing Education. These are the same courses taken by degree students; only the method of registration is different. After being accepted into a degree program, and after taking at least six semester credit hours in that program, students may apply to transfer up to 9 semester hours of previous course work taken through Continuing Education to their degree program.

For more information about Continuing Education, go to the web site and look for the Special Student (ACCESS) section, or call (303) 492-8252.

Useful Links

CU Catalog: Choose the current year's link. Keep in mind that catalog information may be as much as a year and a half out of date. The most current information will be found under the "Current Students" tab on this web site.

For GRE exam scheduling and information, go to the GRE web site.

Other Commonly Asked Questions

How does the application process work?
  1. Once all application materials are complete, your application will be submitted to our admissions committee.
  2. As soon as an admission decision is made, you will be notified by email.
  3. You will be emailed periodic updates on status, if necessary.
All parts of your application are evaluated as a whole, including GPA, GRE scores, strength of the statement of purpose, letters of recommendation, grades in specific courses, publications, and other academic and life experiences.

Three vs. four letters of recommendation?
Although three letters are required, four are preferred.

Online vs. postal mailed letters?
Either is acceptable. Ask your recommenders to use whichever method is more convenient for them.

Unofficial copies vs. official GRE scores?
We require official scores prior to admission. You may submit photocopies but they must be replaced with official scores before they will be considered. Scores for all three portions of the GRE exam (verbal, quantitative, and analytical writing) are required. These take about two weeks to reach us after your exam date. Be sure you use institutional code 4841.

Technical support questions about application software?
Email about any problems with completing the application online.

Other questions?
If you have questions that have not been answered by this web site, you may email the Graduate Advisor, Queries are handled much more quickly and efficiently by email than by phone.