FAQ about Master's in Electrical Engineering Department @ SJSU
1. What is the minimum GRE score for EE?
  Minimum GRE score is 1150/1600 and 3.5 in Analytical Writing. People with scores close to <1100 can also apply...you might be taking a chance but it might be worth trying.
2. What specializations does the Department offer?
  The Department offers specialization in:
a) ASIC/VLSI Design
b) Digital Design
c) Digital Signal Processing
d) Analog/Digital Communication
e) Analog/Mixed Signal IC Design
f) Networking
g) Control and Power Electronics
3. Do any Professors do any kind of Research here?

No, none of the professors do research here. SJSU does not have a PhD program and hence there are no funds for research. However, most professors publish articles in Scientific Journals and IEEE papers. If you are doing your Master's Project/Thesis with them then you can get it published too.

4. How are the professors?

Speaking only about the professors in VLSI who have taught me...
Most professors are average in teaching. A few are brilliant and make you work intelligently. Some students have difficulty understanding lectures from Asian Professors.
A list of professors and their websites can be accessed here

5. Is there a concept of Reasearch/Teaching Assistant (RA/TA)?

There is no RA in EE. However, TA's are available. I think about 10 positions. There are 2 kinds of TA.

a) You get to teach a lab such as EE120, EE112, EE178 and EE153.(Look these courses up in the course list).
A TA has a fee waiver of about $1200 if you teach one course and $1700 if you teach two or more courses. There is also a monthly pay of $400. Typically you will teach for 3 hours a week plus one hour prep time and one hour for office hours. The remaning 15 hours you can work elsewhere on campus and make some more money.

b)Assist a professor in grading and/or solve homework questions in class. Here you get paid by the hour...usually about $10/hour. Typically you can get hired for 10+ hours/week. There is no fee waiver for this position.

6. Other kinds of jobs for students?

Other jobs in EE and/or other departments can be like an administrative assistant, Assistant for a disabled Professor, Jobs at the cafeteria/food court, library cataloging, patrolling etc. These typically pay you between $6.75 to $12 per hour. The higher priced jobs are hard to find.

The most easy to find jobs are in Spartan Shops, which own all the food services in SJSU and also the book store. There are jobs available in Associated Students also. These jobs pay about $6.75/hour which is the California minimum wage.

7. Is there a chance to get fee waiver/aid in the second year?

There is no guarantee for this. It depends on your rapport with the professor and availability.

8. How many students are there in the university?

SJSU has an enrollment on about 25000 students. It has a diverse student culture. In EE, most graduate(Masters) classes have many Indians. Typically 60%-80% of the class.

9. What is the fee structure?

A full time student on F-1 visa has to take atleast 9 credts per semester to be in legal status. The university fee for a semester for 9 credits is about $1700. In addition, International students has to pay non-resident fees of $339 per credit.
This amounts to 1700 + (339 * 9 credits) = $5000 approx


I have funds for a year. Can I manage my own fees in the following semesters?


This entirely depends on you. If you get a good job on campus, maybe a TA also then things will become easy. Also, if you bag an internship then there is a lot of money to be made. You may be able to support yourself after that.

11. Does the University help you in placements?

The University has a Career Center which conducts frequent seminars and training sessions to help you make a good resume, prepares you to face interviews, helps you look for a job, etc. Apart from these, the center also organizes Career Fairs twice a year in Fall and Spring.

12. Do Career Fairs help?

A lot of people get hired because of these fairs. I know a lot of people who have been placed through these fairs.

13. What about student Insurance?

Student insurance can be purchased from the International Programs and Services(IPS). It cost about $390 for the Fall semester and about $480 for Spring and Summer together.

If you have insurance from your home country then it has to meet standards ofthe IPS insurance. Most details on the IPS website.

14. GPA?

Grade Point Average is the grading system in US schools. Typically you have to maintain a GPA above 3.0, otherwise you will be put into probation. Under these conditions, you have to take courses and score A's to bring your GPA at least upto 3.0. Failure to do so can result in expulsion.

Most companies require a GPA of 3.3 or above to consider you or a job/internship.

15. What books should I get from back home?

Text books can get expensive here, so might help to get some when you come here. I've made a list of books that are being used by the proferssors here who are teaching Digital Logic/ASIC Design. EE210, EE221, EE250 are core courses and has to be taken by all students in EE. These don't make up all the books required and don't take my word for it, take a look at the professors' website to make sure before you go out shopping.

EE210 - Signals and Systems, 2nd Edition, by Alan V. Oppenheim, Alan S.Willsky, and S. Hamid Nawab, Prentice Hall Publisher, 1997 (ISBN 0-13-814757-4)

EE221 - Semiconductor Devices Physics and Technology, by S.M.Sze

EE250 - Probability and Random Processes for Electrical Engineering, 2nd Edition, by Albert Leon-Garcia, Addison Wesley Publisher, 1994 (ISBN 0-201-50037-X)

EE224 - CMOS logic Circuit Design, by John P Uyemura

EE227 - CMOS Circuit Design, Layout, And Simulation by Baker, Li, Boyce

EE270 - 1. Digital Logic Circuit Analysis and Design, V. P. Nelson, H. T.Nagle, B. D. Carroll, J. D. Irwin, H Prentice Hall 1995

EE271 - Verilog Styles for Synthesis of Digital Systems, David R. Smith and Paul D. Franzon, Prentice Hall, 2001, ISBN 0-201-61860-5

Note: All books are not listed here....do your own research---->look for them on the professors' website before you choose to ask me!

16. A new rule related to CPT as of May 2006

Lately IPS has made some rule changes which affect all international students. According to this new rule, CPT can be exercised for 2 semesters only (normally its about a year). This might cause problems for some students who wish to persure/continue working for their employers. Consider this if you want to enroll in this university.

17. What is WST?

WST stands for Writing Skills Test. For all students there is a requirement of completing English proficiency by taking an exam called WST and English 100W/200W. For EE students there was a way to avoid these two exams by taking an alternate course called EE295 - Technical Writing. However, the EE dept. wants to get rid of this course starting Fall 2006. Though nothing has been finalised yet, there is a possibility that it'll be implemented.

18. Before you can ask me anymore questions....
  Make sure you read everything in listed in the F.A.Qs. Then do an extensive search on the SJSU webite. If you still can't find it then ask me. If I feel that your questions are answered on the other pages, then I will not respond to your email. Make sure you introduce yourself. Please DO NOT ask me about other universities or to read your SOP.
  General F.A.Q about travelling to USA and other answers
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  Last updated: 17th Dec, 2006