Usually, each year I look for one or two exceptional students to join my group. However, I will not be looking to take any new students for the Fall of 2013. This is because I will be on leave. You are still welcome to apply to the EE department of course.
Our admission is very competitive, and the typical admission rate for our department has recently been around 20%. Each year, the admission has become more competitive. In my research group, I only take 1 or 2 students a year. So if joining my group is not your top priority, I do not recommend applying as a "backup" plan.
No. Overall, about half of the students admitted to our Ph.D. program receive offers of full financial support. Historically, however, all of my students have been fully funded. Generally, these admitted students will receive a combination of fellowship, research assistantships (RA), and teaching assistantships (TA) covering all fees and tuitions, stipends, etc. for the first year. Support in subsequent years is usually not guaranteed ahead of time, but is generally provided to students in good standing by your adviser in the form of RA, or from the EE department in the form of TA or fellowship.
I am looking for students who have a long-term commitment to obtaining a PhD degree in my group at UCSC. I am not currently looking for students interested in MS degree. Of course you are welcome to apply to our department in any case.
I am looking for students who already have experience in one or more of these areas. Even if your research background is in communication systems, I do not typically find this to be a good match.
I am looking for students who are first and foremost creative. You should have excellent technical, mathematical, and English communication skills. Generally, PhD students are expected to finish their course requirements within their first year at UCSC. While I do not have a specific numerical target, PhD students in my group publish 3 or more full length papers in the highest quality journals before completing their degrees. Our group is relatively small (5 or 6 students) and runs as a team. I like to work very closely with my students, while giving them sufficient intellectual freedom to pursue their own creative ideas. While each student has well-defined research problems that they work on, these problem will have deep connections to each other. Therefore, exchange of ideas and scholarly collaboration between the students is common and expected.
The admission/funding decisions are not made by individual faculty members. Applications are evaluated by a committee of EE faculty based on (1) grades, (2) letters of recommendation,(3) input from our own EE faculty in the applicant's specific technical area of interest, and (4) GRE scores. The committee's decisions are forwarded to the university dean of graduate studies, who makes the formal admission offer. While Toefl scores are not considered as a competitive factor in EE admission, failure to meet our school's minimum requirement will keep you from getting in. Specifically, Toefl minimum scores are as follows: 230 out of 300 for the paper exam ; 89 out of 120 for the computer-based exam. If your score does not meet the minimum, you will not be admitted by the University regardless of the rest of your application.
Further information is available on our department website . Information on the rankings of our department in comparison to others in the US are available here. There is also a brief presentation for new incoming students which you might find interesting.
Please note: the above answers are provided for your information only. They do not represent, nor imply, any formal policy or position of the EE department.