New Graduate Student Orientation Information

These resources are gathered to assist graduate students who are new to the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering. Questions can be directed to, or stop by the ECpE Student Services Office, 1212 Coover Hall.

Note on Dates: The dates for the events listed here will be updated between 15 and 30 days prior to the start of classes.

Planning Your Arrival in Ames 

Getting Started at ISU

Register for Classes

  • If you have one, please meet with your major professor to discuss courses to fit your focus of study.
  • ECpE Advising Sessions for New Graduate Students – required for all new ECpE grad students (including both BS/MS concurrent and INFAS students)
    Meet with an ECpE graduate advisor to learn about course registration and program of study requirements. These sessions will be offered twice, January 10 and 11; you need to attend only one advising session. Registration information for these sessions will be sent to students from the ECpE Graduate Admissions Coordinator. Please do NOT register for classes in advance of this meeting.
  • All first-semester graduate students (including BS/Masters Concurrent students) must register for Cpr E / E E 598X: Graduate Learning Community Seminar.
  • If a reference number for a course is listed as “See Dept for Reference Number”, ask for assistance from the staff in ECpE Student Services, 1212 Coover Hall.
  • Students on assistantship must take a minimum of 9 credit hours each semester.
  • ECpE Program of Study Requirements
  • ECpE Graduate Guidelines and Procedures
  • ISU Graduate College Handbook
  • ISU Schedule of Classes
  • ISU Course Catalog (for course descriptions)
  • Academic Calendars: semester dates and university holidays

For Students on Assistantship

  • Nadine Anderson (ECpE Student Services, 1212 Coover Hall, 515-294-8403) processes personnel actions for ECpE-funded graduate assistantships. Visit with Nadine if you have questions about your assistantship.
  • Non-United-States Citizens: Check in with the International Students and Scholars Office (ISSO, 3248 Memorial Union) on or before your first day of work with proof of identity and permission to work in the U.S.
    • Complete Employment Eligibility Verification Form (I-9)
    • Take the I-9 to Human Resources, 3810 Beardshear Hall
    • Learn how to apply for a Social Security Number (PDF)
    • International students: Although you may begin working without a social security number, you cannot be paid until the Human Resources office has received the letter from the Social Security Administration Office as proof of application for a permanent social security number. Please plan accordingly.
  • Payroll Sign-Up in Human Resources, 3810 Beardshear Hall
    • International students should bring the I-9 form from ISSO
  • Your Graduate College Tuition Scholarship credit will be applied to your account as soon as possible.
    • On AccessPlus, check “Yes” to authorize aid release.
    • If your U-Bill comes due prior to the availability of the scholarship credit, consider paying the minimum amount due, which will automatically enroll you in the Deferred Billing Plan (additional charges may apply).
  • International students: When available, report your social security number to Human Resources.
  • Your paycheck can be directly deposited to your checking account.
  • All graduate assistants are paid once per month on the last working day of the month.
  • Student Health Benefits – Enroll on AccessPlus
  • International Teaching Assistant Practice Opportunities from the Center for Communication Excellence
  • CELT’s Spring Semester Teaching Assistant Seminar, Friday, January 11, 2019, 10-11:50 a.m. in 2030 Morrill Hall.
    All TAs who are new to the ISU classroom, or who have received a teaching assignment different from what they have done before, are strongly encouraged to attend this seminar. Discussion will focus on topics such as classroom management, effective grading, and preparing for the first day of class. Ideas for specific types of teaching, time management, and working with students will also be shared. Register using instructions at

Things to Know

  • ECpE Graduate Advisors can assist with advice on courses, program requirements, and almost anything else.
    • Vicky Thorland-Oster and Tony Moore are the ECpE graduate advisors.
    • Walk-In Sessions are occasionally available for brief conversations (5-10 minutes).
    • Appointments are available for more in-depth conversations (about 30 minutes).
    • Inquire about meeting availability for Vicky and Tony in ECpE Student Services, 1212 Coover Hall.
  • ECpE Computer Services – Each student is automatically set up with a computer account available for use in labs across the Engineering College. This account includes printing.
  • Department Email List – is a mailing list of currently enrolled ECpE graduate students. The ECpE Student Services staff post notices here about new course offerings and important Graduate College and Registrar deadlines. It is the student’s responsibility to read these emails and to meet deadlines. If you do not start receiving Electron List email by the first Friday of the fall semester, please email to be added to the list.
  • Mailboxes – All graduate students have assigned mailboxes in ECpE Student Services, 1212 Coover Hall. Even if your research area maintains a mailbox for you, please check your departmental mailbox at least once a week. These mailboxes are for official university mail only.
  • The Graduate College’s Center for Communication Excellence offers free individual consultations with graduate writing consultants. Students working on their thesis or dissertation, journal article, research proposal, conference paper, poster presentation, etc. can make appointments with DisciplinaryInterdisciplinary, and English Writing Consultants. Students can also join graduate peer review groups, attend seminars and workshops, and access various other resources.
  • Travel Information for either professional or personal leave:
    • Absence Request Form: Students who want to leave campus for either professional or personal leave must seek approval from the major professor and department prior to departure.
    • Grants for Professional Travel: The ECpE Department provides limited travel support for students who are presenting at a conference. And the Graduate and Professional Student Senate also supports professional travel through Professional Advancement Grants (PAG). Apply for these opportunities several weeks in advance of travel.
  • Student Employment Center – look for on-campus employment opportunities
  • ISU Veterans Center
  • ISU Student Organizations and Clubs
  • Graduate and Professional Student Senate (GPSS) represents the graduate and professional students’ perspectives on campus issues and serves as a liaison between graduate/professional students and the university administration. The ECpE Department’s students have been strong leaders in the GPSS. If you are interested in such a student leadership role, please discuss the nomination with Vicky Thorland-Oster.
  • Professional Advancement Grants (PAG) are provided to graduate and professional students by the Graduate and Professional Student Senate (GPSS) to help defray expenses related to professional meeting and conference travel. You are encouraged to apply 8-10 weeks prior to departure.
  • Graduate Society of Women Engineers (GSWE) is a student organization offering leadership experiences, networking opportunities, and community involvement.
  • Room assignments and office access:
    • All registered ECpE graduate students will automatically get access to the exterior doors of Coover Hall (via ISUCard). This access will be available only after the 10th day of classes.
    • For students with a major professor: ask your major professor for a list of rooms for which you should have access. Request access at the ECpE Key Access Database. In the comments box provide: name of major professor, degree sought (MEng, MS, PhD), anticipated date of graduation.
    • For students who do NOT have a major professor: request access at the ECpE Key Access Database to the Grad Student Office Space – 3209 Coover Hall. In the comments box provide: degree sought (MEng, MS, PhD), anticipated date of graduation.