Q: Can a student start out in the PhD program or must one start with a Master’s degree?
A: If the student does not have a Master’s degree in Engineering, he or she must complete the M.S. and then move on to the Ph.D. Students without an M.S. who are interested in and judged qualified for the Ph.D. are admitted into the M.S./Ph.D. program.
Q: Is the fellowship only for the Master’s?
A: No. If the student has a Master’s, is admitted into the Ph.D. program, and wins the fellowship, the fellowship will cover the first year of the Ph.D.
Q: Is the fellowship only for one year?
A: Yes but it can be renewed or, if the student is making good progress in his/her program, it is likely that financial support beyond the first year will be provided by the hosting Department.
Q: How long will it take to complete the Master’s, the PhD?
A: The shortest M.S. (a courses-only program) may be completed in three quarters (9 months). An M.S. with a thesis may take 1 year or one and a half years. A Ph.D. may take 2 to 4 years beyond the M.S.
Q: Can a student specialize at the master’s level?
A: Yes. It all depends on the courses selected and the topic of the thesis.
Q: How many letters of recommendation and who should they be from?
A: At least and typically three letters. Preferably from professors familiar with the academic and research (if any) performance of the student. A letter from someone in Industry, if relevant, may be substitute one of the three letters from academia.
Q: What is the starting date for the Fall Quarter?
A: Usually the last week in September. Please see the UCI Academic Calendar for the first day of classes.
Q: Will there be an opportunity to work for an engineering company while working on the master’s degree; after finishing the degree?
A: Probably not while completing the M.S. Federal laws require that foreign students be enrolled full-time in school. However, after completing their degrees in the U.S., a student can apply for a one-year period of Practical Training (OPT) which allows the graduate to seek temporary employment in the U.S.
Q: Must applicants take the TOEFL and GRE exams ?
A: Yes. Both the TOEFL (Test Of English as a Foreign Language) and the GRE (Graduate Record Examination) must be taken by all applicants. Both exams can be taken in Barcelona. An alternative to the TOEFL is the IELTS exam.