Frequently Asked Questions During the Grad Application Process

What is the cost of attending Purdue?

For information about the cost of enrollment please go to http://www.purdue.edu/dfa/cost/grad.php

How is funding decided and am I eligible?

All applicants, whether they are domestic or international, are eligible for funding. Once you submit a formal application, 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 funding decision are separate. Not all students who are recommended for admission are offered funding. 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 options.

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. Once the CE Graduate Office has received transcripts and an applicant file is complete, we review the file. Although the Graduate School system does have a mechanism to check the status of your application, it is not regularly updated, since the materials come to Civil Engineering. If you wish to check the status of your application, please send an inquiry to cegrad@purdue.edu. We do send status updates when your application has moved forward in the process or if we find you are missing information.

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 TOEFL for international applicants who have received a baccalaureate degree or graduate or professional degree, within the last 24 months, from a school where English is the primary language of instruction in a country where English is the native language. However, 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.

What is Civil Engineering's minimum GRE score requirement?

We do not have a minimum GRE score requirement. However, as a point of reference our average GRE scores for students who enrolled last year were:

  • Verbal: 151
  • Quantitative: 162
  • Analytical Writing: 3.5

Since our evaluation considers a host of factors such as reference letters, past academic performance, program needs, statement of purpose, and TOEFL (international students) these average GRE scores should not be interpreted as thresholds for admission and rejection.

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 were not able to upload copies of your transcripts to the electronic application system, you can email the transcripts to cegrad@purdue.edu.

What is the difference between the degree objectives of Master Of Science (MS), MS in Civil Engineering (MSCE) and MS in Engineering (MSE) on the online application?

The degree objective determination is made by your undergraduate degree.

MSCE: only an option for students with a civil engineering undergraduate degree
MSE: students whose undergraduate degree was in another engineering program
MS: students with a non‐engineering undergraduate degree

Should I mail in copies of my Statement of Purpose, 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 send the updated version to cegrad@purdue.edu and we will add it to your file.

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. 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.

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 Ph.D. studies. If the faculty feel that your background would not support a Ph.D. admission, they will automatically consider you for MS admission.

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.

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.

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.

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 https://engineering.purdue.edu/CE/Academics/Graduate/Future/Apply.

What are some core courses that I will take?

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

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.

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.

What is the mailing address for the Grad Office?

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