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 Graduate Frequently Asked Questions

The Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science is a vibrant academic and research community of scholars.

We encourage you to become familiar with the research areas in the Department, to reach out to our faculty for support, and to become actively engaged in the Department community. One way we encourage our students to become involved is by attending the colloquium series we hold throughout the academic year. This is an opportunity to learn about advances in the academic community and to network with faculty and students from across campus.

We are committed to helping you achieve your career goals. Students can take full advantage of what the University has to offer by learning about the graduate resources available in the College and the campus resources available at the University.

For the most current information about your particular degree of study, you can refer to the Graduate Course CatalogThe Graduate School maintains a checklist of Graduate Requirements that all graduate students should be familiar with to ensure they are on track for degree completion. This site also has many necessary forms, dates and deadlines, and access to resources.


Engineering and Computer Science IT Support (CIT)

Engineering and Computer Science IT Support (CIT)


 Course Registration dates and issues

  • All returning EECS students (MS/PhD in EECS) are required to early register. Fall registration begins in April; Spring registration begins in November.
  • Academic calendar
  • The student is responsible for course registration.

Unable to register?

  1. If you have a hold on your account, you will see a red circle with a line through it. Click on that and it will indicate which office to contact. All registration should be completed before the add deadline. (See Academic Calendar.)

If the add deadline has passed, Myslice will not allow you register; this policy is strictly enforced.
(See Academic Calendar.)

Can’t drop a class?

It is best to drop classes before the add deadline;  after this date it becomes a manual process. (See Academic Calendar.)

If the add deadline has passed, Myslice will not allow you to drop a class on-line if you are an international student; all registrations for international students must be verified.

If it is not your last semester, you cannot drop below 9 credits if you are a full-time student.

Did you turn in your last semester memo? (If it is your last semester and you filed your diploma request when you early registered, you should have received your last semester memo during the first two weeks of classes.)


 What is the deadline to drop classes, w/d etc.?

  • Please note: when turning in forms/petitions or any type of paperwork which is time-sensitive and/or requires departmental signatures, it can take up to 5 business days to be reviewed. Do not wait until a deadline to submit paperwork.
  • Be aware, throughout the semester, of the Academic Calendar and plan accordingly. The student is responsible for adhering to deadlines.
    Academic Calendar

 Independent Study requirements?

  • After the faculty sponsor (must be f/t faculty from EECS) signs the Proposal for Independent Study, the student must email the form to
    EITHER:
    – Students in MSCS (only), send to : Dr. Nadeem Ghani
    OR
    – Students in MSEE, MSCE or MS Cyber, send to: Graduate Program Director Dr. Qinru Qiu.
    After the Graduate Program Director approves, it will be forwarded to Cynthia Salanger who will review the form and email it to the Registrar’s office (with a cc to student). Registrar’s office will post the Independent Study to your course registration.  (Please allow 7-10 business days or longer during high volume periods).
  • Proposal for Independent Study Course

 Where can I find documentation of enrollment/status?

See the following form: Full time status verification


 What are the departmental policies for going on CPT?

  • For international students looking to gain work experience, Curricular Practical Training (CPT) is designed to provide work experience directly related and integral to a student’s degree. While it is not intended for general, ongoing work authorization, it can help students build their professional network during their time as a student. For more important information about the department’s Curricular Practical Training, please refer to the CPT Departmental Policy in the below CPT Procedures and the Center for International Services.

    Proposal for Independent Study Course
    CPT Procedures

 I’m a residential student. Can I take an online course?

No, residential students do not take online courses. When searching for classes, be sure to select in-person classes from the drop down menu.


 Where can I get my core course final exam grades?

  • All core course final exam grades can be found in “Degree Works”.
  • It may take 2-3 weeks after the semester has ended for these grades to post.
  • *Note – in Degree Works, the core course final exam grades
    will show under:  Core Course Examinations.
  • Students must average a grade of B- (2.667) in the four final exams from the core courses.
  • (Completion of all core course final exams does not mean you have met the B- (2.667) requirement).
  • A grade calculator is available on MySlice which can be used to compute your final exam average.

 Master’s Thesis requirements

  • The Master’s Thesis must be started at least 2 semesters before you graduate. (It cannot be started in your final semester.) Registration must include 3 credits of thesis for your last two semesters.
    • Fill out a petition to the faculty asking permission to do a Master’s Thesis as part of your program of study.  Please include what your research will be about and the name of the full-time faculty from our department who has agreed to monitor your thesis.
      Email the petition to (based on your program):
      MSEE, MSCE or MS Cyber STUDENTS: Dr. Qinru Qiu.
      MSCS STUDENTS: Dr. Nadeem Ghani
      If approved, then email the petition to Cynthia Salanger.
  • What you need to graduate
  • Request for exam form – Before submitting your signed form to the Graduate School, email to Cynthia Salanger.
  • Graduation Deadlines
  • Universal Exam Report (to be taken to defense by student)

 Is there a waitlist for classes that are full? Can I swap a class?

  • Certain instructors may keep a waitlist at their discretion; contact the instructor. If an instructor gives consent to add you to a closed class s/he must send Rebecca Noble an e-mail with your name, SU ID, course number and section number.
  • If the instructor does not maintain a waitlist, the student must continue to check for open seats. Staff cannot register you for an open seat even if you know someone who just dropped the class.
  • The student is responsible for course registration including swapping classes/sections.

 How to transfer from one program to another within our department

  • Returning students can submit a transfer request until two weeks before the first day of classes.  You are encouraged, however, to submit a transfer request early so you can select courses based on your new program of study during the course registration period for returning students. Email the form to Tammy Gharbi
  • New students must wait until grades have been posted from their first semester to submit a transfer request.

 What should I do if my transfer request is approved, and a class in my new program is closed?

  • You will have to follow the same procedure as other students who are waiting for a seat to open.
  • Certain instructors may keep a waitlist at their discretion; contact the instructor. If an instructor gives consent to add you to a closed class s/he must send Rebecca Noble an e-mail with your name, SU ID, course number and section number.
  • If the instructor does not maintain a waitlist, the student must continue to check for open seats. Staff cannot register you for an open seat even if you know someone who just dropped the class.
  • The student is responsible for course registration including swapping classes/sections.

 What is the procedure to apply for RA or TA positions?

Research Assistantship appointments: Contact the faculty member with whom you want to work.

Teaching Assistantship appointments:  After the end of spring semester, all MS students will receive an email with instructions on TA eligibility and application instructions.

Note: Incoming/new MS students are not eligible for RA/TA appointments.


 I’m newly hired by the department. What should I do? How do I get paycheck/direct deposit?

 I’m an hourly paid student. How do I complete my timesheet?

  • If you are an hourly employee, an e-mail must be sent by the instructor to Cynthia Bromka-Skafidas BEFORE you start working.
  • Timesheet instructions are found here. Be sure to submit timesheets based on time actually worked. Submitting timesheets for pay periods in the future is not permitted.

 I have a CO-OP from the Case Centers. Who needs to sign the form in the EECS Department?

E-mail Cynthia Salanger the co-op form after you have completed it. She will sign for the Advisor and for the Department Chair.  Once the form has been reviewed, it will be sent to the CASE Center (student will be cc’d on e-mail).


 I didn't receive a scholarship when I was admitted. Can I get one now?

Consideration for scholarships was given at the time your application was reviewed. No further funding is available after admission.


 I received a percent grant/merit scholarship when I was admitted. Why was it removed from my student account?

In order to retain the percent grant you must:

Be registered for 9 credits that can be used in your program of study each semester.  You do not have to be registered for 9 credits during your final semester.

Have a cumulative GPA of 3.0 or higher after the second semester. Failure means that the grant will be permanently removed.


 What can I do if I am not doing well in my classes?

Reach out to the instructor or TA if you need help in your class.

If you are in the following MS programs: Electrical Engineering, Computer Engineering or Cyber Security, e-mail Dr. Qinru Qiu.
If you are in MS Computer Science, e-mail Dr. Nadeem Ghani for guidance.


 What can happen if I am not doing well in my classes?

At any time that a student is not meeting all of their program requirements, they are considered on academic warning.

At any time, the department can terminate a student due to lack of academic progress based on the fact that they are not meeting all of their program requirements.

You may or may not receive a notice from the department that your academics are failing. It is your responsibility to know your program requirements.  Please review the course catalog for the year and semester that you matriculated into the program and/or check Degree Works. You can access Degree Works via MySlice; it will appear under the Advising tile on your home page.
(When checking the academic calendar for your requirements, make sure you are in the correct catalog year.)


How do I obtain a Skills Letter?

Graduates of our department who apply for work visa or  permanent residency/green card often need verification of the skills they obtained during their graduate studies. We are glad to provide a “Skills Verification” letter, but request that you comply with the following procedure:

Send your request to the EECS Graduate Office: cvsalang@syr.edu, along with:

  • your full name
  • 9-digit SU student ID number
  • the degree you received and the semester/year in which you received it.
  • the courses you would like a skill for (ex: CSE 742;ELE 621; CIS 689).
  • Skill(s) associated with course you have chosen (See skill description. Note: skill verbiage cannot be changed.)

We cannot verify skills in courses taken as audit (AU) or in courses in which a grade of B- or below was earned.

The letter will be prepared on letterhead, and signed by the Graduate Records Office.

We will verify the skills mentioned in the course catalog description. Since we did not teach your courses, all we can certify are the topics/skills mentioned in course catalog descriptions. We are not able to certify skills that are not mentioned in the catalog descriptions. It is not feasible, given the volume of requests, for us to query the instructors of your courses for confirmation of additional skills taught. We will not customize your letter with specific skills beyond those which are mentioned in the course catalog description.

Sample Skills Letter

Request for Verification of Skills.

Email the form to Cynthia Salanger.


 Is there a requirement to be in class on the first day?

Attendance in classes is expected in all courses at SU beginning with the first day of classes.  Students who do not arrive and attend classes starting on the first day of their classes may be academically withdrawn by their college or departments as not making progress toward degree by failure to attend.


 I am a current student. Where can I find more information?

University Questions and Answers
International Services
Barnes Center at the Arch

 Do I have access to a copier?

Student copiers are located on the 1st and 3rd floors of CST.  Please click here for additional information: Engineering and Computer Science IT Support (CIT)

 MS Candidates: What are my final semester requirements?

Master’s Students Only:

  • Must file a Diploma Request in MySlice before classes start (preferably when you early register for your last semester).

Check Degree Works to see if you are on track to graduate. You can access Degree Works via MySlice; it will appear under the Advising tile on your home page.


 When will I receive my Last Semester Memo and OPT Letter?

  • Last Semester Memo AND the OPT Letter (only for non-domestic students) will be sent to your SU e-mail within the first two weeks after classes begin.
    NOTE: If you fail to file for graduation, you will not receive any communication related to graduation—including the Last Semester Memo and OPT Letter.
    Receiving this letter from the department does not ensure that you have met all the requirements to graduate.  You receive the letter because you filed a diploma request.

       If you  have questions regarding this memo please visit the International Center webpage

Cynthia Salanger sends the LSM and OPT letters. Email her if you do not receive one of these.


 I am a MS student graduating with a thesis. Do I have other requirements during my last semester?

  • Must file a Diploma Request in MySlice before classes start (preferably when you early register for your last semester).

Master’s thesis online via the Syracuse University ETD website

Before turning in your signed request for exam form to the Graduate School,  email a copy to Cynthia Salanger a copy for the department’s records.

Student must ask Advisor to send Cynthia Salanger an email after the exam with pass/fail information.


 What are the QE Guidelines?

QE 1 Guidelines

QE 2 Guidelines


 When is the Qualifying Exam administered?

The next QE-1 exam will be held in Spring 2022.
Once a date has been determined, notification will be sent to all students.


 QE2 information?

  • The committee consists of the advisor + one other EECS tenured/tenure-track faculty member (no formal approval needed); exceptions require department chair approval.
  • The focus is on presenting a written report and an oral critique of one or more publications, showing that the student can understand and analyze publications, as well as write and speak satisfactorily.

The reading list should be approved by the committee at least a month before the oral presentation; that’s when the request for examination should be submitted to Cynthia Salanger via e-mail.

Student must ask Advisor to send Cynthia Salanger an email after the exam with pass/fail information.


 Proposal Defense Information?

  • Preparing for Graduation – Graduate School
  • The examining committee is called the Research Committee, and consists of the advisor + two other EECS tenured/tenure-track faculty members.
  • The focus is on presenting work done so far, describing what further work is planned, and getting agreement from the committee about the same.
  • The student should circulate the written proposal (to the committee) at least a week before the oral presentation.
  • Request for Examination  Email the completed form
    to Cynthia Salanger and Rebecca Noble.

 Colloquium Presentation Information?

The objective of the student’s presentation(s) at the Department Colloquium Series is to communicate the student’s research results to the faculty and students of the department. The student must give at least one talk at this colloquium based on his/her dissertation prior to the final dissertation defense.

Request for colloquium presentation Email the completed form
to Cynthia Salanger and Rebecca Noble.

Presentation must be scheduled within the academic semester when students are on campus, and not during reading days or final exams.


 Dissertation Defense?

  • The examining committee consists of the advisor + four other EECS tenured/tenure-track faculty members + a representative of the graduate school from another department. The committee membership needs to be approved by the department chair a month before the defense. Once the committee membership has been approved, the student sends the Request for Examination  to the Graduate School.
  • Exceptions to committee membership requirements need to be approved by the department and the graduate school. The student sends the department chair the Request for Examination/CV of anyone on the committee who is not a tenured/tenure-track faculty member along with a petition explaining why they should be on the committee. No petition is needed if a prospective committee member is a part-time or research faculty member who has research experience (with publications) in the student’s area of study. Post-doctoral research associates are not faculty members and cannot serve on the committee even if they have helped advise the student and know more about the work than the student or the advisor.
  • The focus is on evaluating work that has been accomplished.
  • The student should circulate the written dissertation (to the committee) at least two weeks before the oral presentation.

Doctoral candidates with dissertation (Guidelines)

Request for Examination (Please make sure to email a copy
to Cynthia Salanger  and Rebecca Noble before sending your signed form to The Graduate School.)

Student must ask Advisor to sent Cynthia Salanger an email after the exam with the pass/fail information.


 Do I need to fill out a Program of Study?

MS students do not need to fill out a Program of Study.

PhD students: Check with Cynthia Salanger (via e-mail). The Program of Study form is usually filled out by the department and sent to the graduate School when you reach ABD status.


 Why has my insurance been canceled in my last semester?

If you are not taking 9 credits in your last semester, you are not considered full-time.

You were issued a Last Semester Memo (for international students) which indicates to immigration that, although you are not full-time, we are aware that you are finishing your program.

Part-time students are only eligible for certain insurance plans. Visit ese.syr.edu/international/insurance for other insurance options.


 I am a TA/RA. How do I get a key to the lab?

Fill out the key request form and obtain instructor’s signature. Email to Rebecca Noble.


 What should I do with my lab key at the end of the semester?

 You are responsible for keys until they have been returned to a staff member in 4-201 CST. Please do not leave them with a faculty member or another student.


 I am a TA. Will I be assigned an office for office hours?

Office space is limited and needs to be requested, please contact Rebecca Noble.


 I am locked out of my lab. Whom should I contact?

Weekdays – During normal office hours, you can contact any staff member in the department to give you access to your lab. Someone can be reached at (315)443-2652 weekdays until 5 pm during the academic year and 4:30 during the summer.

Weekends– Please contact DPS at (315)443-2224


 I'm a PhD student. How can I change my advisor?

Fill out the advisor/advisee agreement; the student, the new Advisor and Dr. Jae Oh must sign.

Email the completed form to Cynthia Salanger.


 I'm interested in applying to the 4+1 (BSMS) Program.

Eligible students apply to the BS/MS program early in the summer following their junior year and before the start of their senior year.

For more information, contact Tammy Gharbi.


 How do I get readmitted to one of the EECS programs?

Submit this form to Cynthia Salanger

Application for Readmission/ Termination of Leave of Absence


 Is the GRE required to apply?

Yes, the GRE is required for all applications to any EECS graduate program.

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