Frequently Asked Questions During the Grad Application Process

1. What is the cost of attending Purdue?

For information about the cost of enrollment please go to You can also find a tuition calculator at:

2. How is funding decided and am I eligible?

There is no separate application process for funding. Once you submit a formal application for graduate studies, it will be reviewed by our graduate committee. If you satisfy the formal requirements for admission, the committee can recommend your admission. Within Civil Engineering the admission decision and the funding decision are separate.

Only highly competitive students in the PhD and Master’s thesis options recommended for admission are typically offered funding (typically 25%). The faculty reviewers decide whether or not an applicant would be acceptable for funding and are responsible for making any offers. You may contact those faculty members that you are interested in working with to discuss funding options.

The Burke Graduate Program Office does not decide or coordinate funding and there are no department/school level assistantships.  All TA and RA funding decisions are made by the faculty who may have a position available. 

Please note that those students applying to the non-thesis/Professional Masters concentration and/or admitted to the non-thesis/Professional Masters concentration (based on faculty review and recommendation) are not eligible for University Graduate Assistantship funding. However, they may work in hourly paid positions on campus.  Should a non-thesis/Professional Masters student secure an assistantship or fellowship, we can move the student to a funding eligible concentration.

3. How can I check the status of my application?

There are two offices involved in the collection of application materials, the Graduate School and the Civil Engineering Graduate Office. You apply using the electronic application system through the Graduate School. The Civil Engineering Graduate Office then downloads this information to our own tracking system. The Graduate School system updates as official materials are received. Civil Engineering also sends status updates when your application has moved forward in the process or if we find you are missing information. You can also send an inquiry to to check the status of your application.

4. Will my application be accepted if some materials arrive after the submission deadline?

We continue to accept application materials until May 15th (for fall admission consideration) and until October 15th (for spring admission consideration), however we cannot begin a review of your file until all required materials have been received. Therefore we will still consider your application if the materials come in late, the review will just be delayed and if it is close to the final deadline, the review may not be completed in time for enrollment in your desired entry semester.

5. I submitted my English Proficiency Test Scores, however my Applicant Check-list has not been updated.

Test scores are loaded into the system once a week. The test score information (name, birthdate, and email address) must match the application information in order for the scores to be matched appropriately. Scores do not import into the system until an application has been submitted and the application fee has been paid.  It then can take approximately 5 business days (sometimes longer during peak application time) for scores to be matched to application.  You may consider uploading a copy of your official test report to your application as “Miscellaneous Supplemental Documents” (this link will become available to you after you submit your application) in order to make the scores available to the review committee while we are waiting on the official scores to reflect in the system.  Please note that uploading the test report will not satisfy the item on the checklist item automatically – this will still have to be manually updated by a reviewer or by an official electronic match.

6. Will you accept a Academic Statement of Purpose longer than 500 words?

Although the Graduate School suggests a limit of 500 words for the Academic Statement of Purpose, we will accept a document up to two pages in length.

7. My University does not use a 4.0 GPA scale. How should I report my GPA on the application?

Nearly 75% of our applicants come from institutions that do not use a 4.0 grading scale, therefore our faculty are familiar with evaluating credentials in various formats.  You do not need to convert your actual GPA to a 4.0 scale.  Simply report your GPA, as you earned it, on the application

8. What is Civil Engineering's minimum score requirement for the TOEFL exam?

  • Total >= 90
  • Writing >= 18
  • Speaking >= 18
  • Listening >= 14
  • Reading >= 19

A TOEFL score of 90 (with at least the minimums met in each of the sub scores) is required for non-conditional admission. If you have a score less than 90, but more than 85, the Civil Engineering Faculty will still review your file and it is possible to be recommended for admission. The faculty will decide, based on the review of your entire application package, if any admission conditions may be appropriate. These conditions may include (but are not limited to): requiring completion of an English course or maintaining a 3.0 GPA for the first semester of study.

The Graduate School will routinely admit students conditionally by waiving the English Proficiency test requirement for international applicants who have received a baccalaureate degree or graduate or professional degree, within the last 36 months, from a school where English is the primary language of instruction in a country where English is the native language. The list of English speaking countries recognized by the Purdue Graduate School can be found at: Then, a conferred degree or a letter stating that all degree requirements have been met,  must be received by the first day of classes in order to lift holds placed on these conditional admissions. Letters must come from the Office of the Registrar or Graduate School (or equivalent offices). If a letter from a Registrar or Graduate School is provided, the official transcript would be expected to follow later that session. Conditionally admitted students who are unable to provide one of these three documents (official transcript showing conferred degree, letter certifying completion of degree requirements from Registrar or letter certifying completion of degree requirements from the Graduate School) must take an English proficiency examination to enroll in the Graduate School.

9. Does Civil Engineering require a GRE score?

We do not require a GRE score for admission consideration. However, you can choose to provide a score with your application materials if you would like to.

10. Do I need to send official hardcopy transcripts?

For the application review process, we do not need official hardcopy documents. We will review your application using copies of your transcripts uploaded to the electronic application system (along with your resume and statement of purpose). You will only need to provide official hardcopy transcripts and/or academic records at our request. If you have updates to your transcripts after submitting your application, you can upload them to your file as “Miscellaneous Supplemental Documents.”

11. Should I mail in copies of my Academic Statement of Purpose, Personal History Statement, Resume and/or Letters of Recommendation?

These materials should be submitted through the electronic application system. The Civil Graduate Office has never experienced trouble with downloading these materials, therefore there is no real benefit to mailing in an additional copies. If you have updates to your SOP or resume, you can upload them to your application as “Miscellaneous Supplemental Documents.”

12. Is it okay if my references would like to mail in a paper copy of their letters instead of submitting them online?

The review process in Civil Engineering is completely electronic so we prefer to receive the letters through the electronic application system. Alternatively, your recommenders can email their letters directly to the Lyles School of Civil Engineering at  However, if your references would like to mail in a paper copy, we will accept them. In this case, all of the letters must be in their own sealed envelope with a signature of the reference across the sealed fold.

13. Can I be admitted to a Ph.D. program with only a B.S.?

This is in fact possible. If you wish to be considered for this option you should be very clear in your Statement of Purpose on your research and career goals relative to your PhD studies. If the faculty feel that your background would not support a PhD admission, they will automatically consider you for MS admission.  

14. Can I gain admission to the School of Civil Engineering without an Engineering background?

We have had students admitted into our graduate program whose academic background was not in engineering (e.g., chemistry, physics, agronomy). There are no formal pre-requisites for admission; however, it is not uncommon for such students to be given a conditional admission, where the condition involves the passing of a certain number of background courses that typically do not count towards meeting degree objectives. Our review process is essentially faculty-driven, so it is a good idea to communicate with faculty in your prospective area of interest to see if your circumstances are favorable for admission.

15. I am interested in a Construction Engineering and Management Graduate Degree, however I don't see that option on the electronic application.

There is not a Construction Engineering and Management Graduate Program in the School of Civil Engineering at Purdue. Students interested in CEM usually apply to the Construction Area and can tailor their coursework to have a CEM emphasis. However, there is no CEM designation on the transcripts or diploma upon graduation.

16. When do I send in a financial statement of support?

If you are accepted to Purdue University and you are an international applicant, there is information provided in your admission letter about the International Students and Scholars office. They handle all I-20 and visa issues. You will be provided links to the relevant forms to be filled out upon acceptance. No financial statements should be mailed to the CE Grad Office.

17. Is it possible for me to send the Civil Engineering Graduate Programs office information about myself in hopes of knowing my chances of getting accepted?

To properly evaluate your academic and professional preparation for our graduate program, we require all students to complete an official application. Details on submitting an electronic application are posted at

18. What are some core courses that I will take?

General course guides for the various areas of Civil Engineering are available below.

19. What is the expected duration of the MS program?

To earn a master's degree, 30 credit hours are required. Most graduate students enroll in 9 to 12 credit hours a semester, therefore the average time to complete a master's degree is 3 to 4 semesters.

20. When do I need to confirm my enrollment?

We ask all admitted students to confirm they will enroll for the Fall term by July 1. It is possible to confirm enrollment later then that, but early notification helps us project class enrollment and more efficiently allocate instructional resources. Students admitted for the Spring term should confirm enrollment by December 1.

21. What is the mailing address for the Grad Office?

CE Graduate Programs Office
550 Stadium Mall Drive, HAMP 1141
Purdue University
West Lafayette, IN 47907-2051