I am an EE student specializing in Communications and Networks (actually a bit more on sensor networks/signal processing) who plans to apply for a direct PhD program in the top US universities.
I have seen some undergraduates who have been directly offered PhD programs by the top electrical engineering (EE) US universities, e.g. MIT, Stanford, and UCB.
Needless to say, they all have a super high GPA and some have very good GRE scores. (I say
some instead of
all here, because MIT does not require GRE at all!)
Besides these two characteristics, they have also published several papers whilst undergraduates. Maybe just by coincidence, they are all from Microelectronics. As a layman in Microelectronics, I heard that it would be relatively easy for an undergraduate to publish a paper in this field, because a lot of publications are experiment-based.
But it seems quite difficult for me and other peers who also specialize in Communications and Networks to publish some work during as undergraduates. It seems that publishing something in this field requires more knowledge that is out of the scope of a undergraduate.
- Do most of the EE undergraduate successful applicants have publications? What about in the Communications and Networks field?
- If an applicant has no final results (papers), but a 9-month research experience, will the experience help? By how much?
- How can a undergraduate applicant outperform a master applicant who holds some publications during his/her master study?
Remarks: Any generic answers are warmly welcome!