Undergraduate Student Guide

Welcome to the ECE Undergraduate Student Guide. The information below is for ECE students or those currently enrolled in ECE courses. This information is subject to change, so students should refer to this page for the most up-to-date information. If you have a question about any of the items below, please contact your ECE primary academic advisor or the ECE Undergraduate Office (eceugo@ecn.purdue.edu).  

Table of Contents

ECE Policies and Procedures

Calculator Policy for ECE Undergraduate Exams

The only calculator permitted for exams in ECE undergraduate courses (those at the 10000 – 40000 level) will be the Texas Instruments TI-30X IIS scientific calculator. This is an inexpensive calculator with a 2-line display, a fraction feature, one or two-variable statistics, simple conversions, and basic scientific & trigonometric functions. Students are encouraged to familiarize themselves with the use of this calculator well in advance of any exam. Of course, instructors can still choose to not allow calculators on their exams. This policy addresses the potential for academic dishonesty given the features of many advanced calculators (programmability, large memory capacity, wireless communication, etc.), thus ensuring the integrity of the exam. In addition, a common calculator provides a fair and uniform exam experience for all students.

Course Attendance and Absence Reporting

Instructors are expected to establish and clearly communicate in the course syllabus attendance policies relevant to individual courses. Students should also review the general University information for class attendance and absence reporting.

Course Consideration toward Degree Requirements

Students may request an existing Purdue course be used toward degree requirements in the categories of Advanced Math Option II, Engineering Breadth, General Education Electives, and Science Selectives. Students may request an evaluation of the course to be applied toward BSEE or BSCmpE degree requirements by submitting an ECE Course Review Request Form. Students should be prepared to provide a course description and/or syllabus. The course will be reviewed and students will be contacted as quickly as possible.

Course Substitutions

PHYS 27200 is the only approved Physics II course for ECE students and taking PHYS 24100 after being accepted to ECE is not permitted. First Year Engineering students who are planning on pursuing a degree in ECE should take PHYS 27200. If they have completed PHYS 24100 due to initially planning to enter a different engineering discipline and later decided to pursue ECE, PHYS 24100 will be accepted toward degree requirements and they must then also take PHYS 25200 (1 cr). Students in this situation who are unable to take PHYS 25200 (enrollment is limited), must then take PHYS 27200 and the PHYS 24100 credits will not be applicable to degree requirements.

Students outside the College of Engineering who plan to CODO to ECE may use MA 16010 and 16020 toward the Calculus I requirement, and will serve as the pre-requisite to Calculus II. In this instance, MA 16020 will satisfy the Calculus I requirement and MA 16010 will count as Other Math in the Complementary Elective block.

CODO Students

Current Purdue students who wish to CODO into ECE should review the ECE CODO Requirements. For further information on the policies and future planning to make a CODO to ECE possible, please contact the ECE Undergraduate Office via MSEE 140 or (765) 494-3390 to schedule an appointment with the Director of ECE Undergraduate Advising.

Computer Science Minor & Dual Degree

BSEE students are eligible to pursue a minor or dual degree in Computer Science. However, due to a significant overlap in content, BSCmpE students are not eligible to pursue a minor or dual degree in this discipline

ECE Course Section Changes

Students may change sections of ECE courses only during the 1st week of the semester. Request to switch sections after that date will be denied, even if approved by the instructor or a teaching assistant.

Email Communication

Students who wish to communicate with the ECE Undergraduate Office or an ECE Academic Advisor must use their official Purdue email due to the confidential nature of most electronic conversations. Emails sent from external email services (e.g. Gmail, Hotmail, Yahoo, etc.) may be caught in the quarantine filter or not receive a response.

Entering Sophomores

First Year Engineering students must have a minimum Engineering Admissions Index (EAI) of 2.0 to be admitted to the Elmore Family School of Electrical and Computer Engineering. All First-Year Engineering students who plan to complete their First-Year Requirements during the current semester and who have indicated ECE as their professional school choice will receive an email with information on the registration and orientation process.

Inactive ECE Course Enrollment

ECE students who have not made progress on their ECE degree for two consecutive semesters will be required to CODO to another major, not take courses at the West-Lafayette campus or resume progress on their ECE degree for the following semester. At this point, the registration process will be held until the student meets with their primary academic advisor to determine next steps.

Pass/No Pass Grade Mode

ECE students may take general education or complementary elective courses with the pass/no pass grade option. Students are not permitted to take any engineering, mathematics, or science course required for an ECE degree using this grade option. FYE Requirements, courses being used toward a minor, and courses that explicitly forbid pass/no pass are also excluded.

In the event that a student has completed all required engineering, mathematics, or science courses and wishes to take additional courses from these disciplines, they may then take these excess courses using the pass/no pass grade mode as they are then essentially complementary electives. Please note that ECE courses may only be completed in this grade mode under very limited circumstances as students must have completed all ECE requirements for their degree, including the minimum 47 (BSEE) or 49 (BSCmpE) ECE credits, prior to being eligible. Courses that are currently in progress do not count toward this eligibility requirement. Students should consult their primary academic advisor with assistance on this option.

A maximum of 24 credit hours may be taken under the Pass/No Pass grade option and a grade of at least C- must be achieved in order to receive a “Pass.” Study abroad students should be particularly aware of this 24-credit limit.

Students taking a foreign language course for the purpose of receiving back credit (i.e., taking 20200 to get credit for 10100 - 20200) cannot use the Pass/No Pass option.

Students who are repeating a course must repeat it using the same grade mode as the original attempt.

To view the deadlines for when the grade mode of a course can be modified, please refer to the add/drop/modify calendars from the Office of the Registrar.

Repeating Courses

Students may only attempt a course 3 times at the West Lafayette campus and grades of W or WF are included in this limit. If this course is required for a BSEE or BSCmpE degree, this can result in the student being dismissed from the Elmore Family School of Electrical and Computer Engineering at Purdue's West Lafayette campus.

When repeating a course, all attempts appear on a student’s transcript; however, it is the most recent attempt that is factored into a student’s cumulative GPA. If you fail the course in your most recent attempt, even if you passed it earlier, you will no longer receive credit for that course.

If a student takes a course at Purdue, they is then unable to retake that course outside of the Purdue system for the purpose of grade replacement. Students interested in retaking a course at a Purdue Regional Campus should first consult their academic advisor.

Students may not change the grade mode when retaking a course. For example, if a student takes a course for a grade, they is unable to change the grade mode to Pass/No Pass for a subsequent attempt.

Repeating a course for cosmetic reasons (i.e. strictly to improve your GPA) is generally not advisable. If you feel as if your grade does not reflect your true ability, doing well in a higher level course will likely impress prospective employers or graduate schools more than just repeating a class you have already passed with a C. Of course, if you sincerely believe that you have not mastered the material, as is likely the case if you received a D or lower, then repeating the class is a wise choice. If you have failed a required course or did not receive the minimum grade required for an ECE course (see below), you must repeat it.

  • ECE 20001 requires a grade of C- or higher in MA 16200 or MA 16600
  • ECE 20002 requires a grade of C or higher in ECE 20001
  • ECE 26400 requires a grade of C- or higher in CS 15900
  • ECE 30100 requires a grade of C or higher in ECE 20002
  • ECE 33700 requires a grade of C or higher in ECE 27000
  • ECE 36200 requires a grade of C or higher in ECE 27000
  • ECE 36800 requires a grade of C or higher in ECE 26400
  • MA 26600 requires a grade of C- or higher in MA 26100
  • MA 26500 requires a grade of C- or higher in MA 26100 if not taken concurrently

Scholastic Deficiency (Academic Probation)

ECE students who are currently on academic probation are limited to taking a maximum of 15 credits per semester. University policies and information on academic probation can be found in the University Regulations as well as in the Academic Standards section below.

Transfer Credit

A minimum of 32 hours of ECE coursework used to fulfill the ECE Requirements of the BSEE and BSCmpE degrees must be completed at the Purdue West Lafayette campus. Students who are considering taking courses at another institution with the intention of using the credit toward their Purdue ECE degree should first consult their academic advisor to ensure that their planned courses will count toward degree requirements. If the request to apply transfer credit toward ECE degree requirements is approved by their academic advisor, the student needs to become familiar with the Purdue Transfer Equivalency Guide and Transfer CriteriaIt is important to complete this entire process as early as possible and prior to paying for the course to avoid wasted time and money should the course not apply toward degree requirements. 

If a course from another institution is not listed in the Transfer Equivalency Guide, the student must first request an evaluation of that course from transfercredit@purdue.edu. Once the evaluation is complete and the course appears in the Transfer Equivalency Guide, students can then determine if and how the course transfers to Purdue. 

The Purdue Transfer Equivalency guide will list courses in two ways:  1) and exact match to an existing Purdue course, or 2) undistributed credits as there is no exact match to an existing Purdue course.  Courses listed in the Transfer Equivalency Guide as transferring to Purdue with an exact Purdue course number will count towards BSEE or BSCmpE degree requirements in that manner.  Once the course is transferred to the Purdue-West Lafayette campus, it will appear on the student’s transcript as the Purdue University course equivalency and applied toward degree requirements accordingly. 

Courses that do not have a direct equivalent Purdue course will be listed as undistributed in the Purdue Transfer Credit Course Equivalency Guide with XXXX (i.e. MA 2XXXX). In such cases, it is at the discretion of the ECE Undergraduate Office to determine if and how the credits can be applied toward degree requirements.  Students may request an evaluation of the course to be applied toward BSEE or BSCmpE degree requirements by submitting an ECE Course Review Request Form. The course will be reviewed and students will be contacted as quickly as possible. 

Add/Drop/Modify Deadlines

It is a student’s responsibility to be aware of the deadlines to add, drop, or modify a course. These deadlines are set by the Office of the Registrar and can always be found on their academic calendars page.

Adding, dropping or modifying a course could potentially have significant implications and thus the decision to do so should always be discussed with a student’s academic advisor.

Course Add & Drop Considerations

  • Adding a course after the first week of the semester should be approached with caution as some courses have already covered enough to put the student significantly behind.  Students are solely responsible for any material that you have missed. Instructors are not required to make allowances for students who start a course late. Make sure you have discussed with the instructor how missed work will be handled before you add the course.
  • Dropping a class may mean that a future term's academic load will be heavier or that your graduation will be delayed.
  • If any courses are a co-requisite to the course you are dropping, you will be required to drop the co-requisite course as well.
  • Students are responsible for understanding any potential consequences of changing to part-time academic status should dropping a class put you below 12 credit hours. For example, financial aid and/or scholarship eligibility, and auto/medical insurance rates can sometimes be affected. International students are required to be enrolled full-time in order to maintain their visa status.
  • Although a grade of W or WF does not affect your GPA, be aware that a pattern of Ws and/or WFs can blemish your academic record. Withdrawing from a class is something that should be carefully considered.
  • An Honors contract may be added to a course through the course modification process, and worked out with the instructor of the course and processed through the student’s honors academic advisor. 
  • The grade mode of a course may be changed from letter grade to Pass/No Pass, and vice versa, through the course modification process.  To determine if a course is eligible for Pass/No pass, please go to the Pass/No Pass Grade Option section above.
  • Depending on the date, several signatures may be required in order to add, drop, or modify a course. Consequentially, students should not wait until the last minute to start the process as it may not be completed in time.


Registration Process for Current ECE Students

All current ECE students are required to attend a meeting every semester with their primary academic advisor to register for the next semester courses. Prior to this meeting, students must update their Student Educational Planner (SEP) in MyPurduePlan from the current semester forward to the completion of their degree. This plan will be used by their primary academic advisor to identify how and when each degree requirement will be satisfied, or if there are any missing requirements that need to be addressed. Information and steps on completing the entire registration process are on Registration Info.

Registration Process for incoming T2M Students

All FYE students planning to transition to the Elmore Family School of Electrical and Computer Engineering at the end of the current semester are required to create a SEP (Student Education Plan) in MyPurduePlan, attend a group orientation meeting and an individual registration meeting with an ECE Academic Advisor.

T2M students will be sent an email to view a "How-To" video on how to begin this process, and can find all information and required steps on completing this entire orientation and registration process on Registration Info

ECE Wait List

If you need in an ECE course or section that is currently closed or if there is a conflict with another required course, please complete the ECE Wait List request and you will be contacted by our office as soon as information is available.

The wait list should be utilized only when you are unable to fit a course into your schedule, either due to it being full or because of a time-conflict. Every attempt should be made to work out a schedule, even if you have to choose a section that is not your first choice; you can always make changes later should a space appear in your preferred section.  You should not fill out the wait list to try to get into a more ‘desirable’ section of a course. If you need further assistance, please contact the ECE Undergraduate Advising Office at 494-3390 or stop by MSEE 140.

Override Requests

If you are an ECE student or non-ECE student who is getting an error when adding a course to your schedule, please complete the override request in Scheduling Assistant and your request will be reviewed by the ECE staff.  Once your request has been processed, you will be notified via email with the results.

  • Foreign Language Courses
    • Students planning on enrolling for the first time in a foreign language course who have taken 2 years or more of that language in high school must take the language placement exam. Students who have no previous courses in a language or who have less than 2 years of language study may fill out the override request through Scheduling Assistant to request to start at the 10100 level if departmental permission is required for enrollment.
  • Wine Appreciation (FS 47000)
    • Students can request the override through Unitime once their time ticket is open. Students must bring a driver's license or passport to the Food Science Department (NLSN Rm 2203) to verify that the student will be 21 years old by the date specified by the FS Department. If a student brings his or her ID prior to the opening of the time ticket, the override will be placed in Banner.

Entering Transfer Student

Entering transfer students should have been working with ECE and have all their transfer credits reviewed before registering for courses. Once it has been determined if and how these credits will be used toward one of the ECE degrees, the student will be provided with a schedule recommendation and their Registration PIN number. Detailed instructions for registration can be found here for using myPurdue or here for using the Scheduling Assistant.

4+1 BS/MS Program

ECE Undergraduate students may apply for the 4+1 program following the completion of their 20000-level ECE core courses, and allows students to earn a BS and MS degree in as little as 5 years. This program allows a student to count up to 12 graduate-level credits toward both the BS and the MS degree. Students who are not part of this program are not allowed to “double dip” graduate-level credits, so it is wise to plan ahead and work with an academic advisor. More program details including requirements and processes can be found on the 4+1 BS/MS page.


ECE students who are eligible for graduation must have successfully completed all degree requirements through current and past registrations as well as courses transferred from another institution and/or Advanced Credit/CLEP exams.  In addition, a minimum of 32 ECE credits and a minimum of 32 Upper-Level credits (30000-level or higher) in all coursework must have been successfully completed at the Purdue-West Lafayette campus to meet graduation requirements. 

Students must submit the Destination: Graduation located on their MyPurdue page to be placed on the candidate list and participate in commencement exercises. Students are encouraged to do this step as early as possible; however, it must be submitted no later than the end of week 8 of their final semester to be added to the candidate list.  Students who miss this deadline are not eligible to participate in that term’s graduation ceremony nor will they receive their diploma.  They will instead register for Degree Only in the following term, pay the associated fee, and be eligible to participate in that term’s graduation ceremony and receive their diploma.    

Students who have applied to graduate and are in their final term will receive an email indicating a new tab has been added to their myPurdue.  This tab has all instructions for the candidate to indicate if they will participate in commencement exercises, number of tickets needed and cap/gown information.  Please watch for this email and complete the required steps promptly.

Transfer Credits

Students who are planning to use transfer credits toward degree requirements must either have all courses transferred to Purdue and appearing on their myPurdue transcript or show proof of registration at the other institution to be considered for graduation.  These courses should be approved by an ECE Undergraduate Academic Advisor prior to registration to ensure they will count toward degree requirements and not result in a waste of time and money.   Once all courses are successfully transferred to Purdue and appear on the official transcript, the student will be cleared for graduation and their diploma will be released.

Advanced Credit/CLEP Exams

It is preferred that all advanced credit/CLEP exams be completed prior to the start of the candidate's final semester.  If the exam will be taken in the final semester, the student will not be added to the candidate list unless they are registered for and attending the class until the test results are determined.  Once the test is passed, the student will then be allowed to drop the course from their registration.  This is to ensure the student will still be eligible for graduation even if the exam is not passed.  Please note that some departments will not allow you to take the advanced placement exam if you have been attending the course past week four so you need to plan ahead.

Academic Standards

Academic Probation

A student at Purdue University shall be placed on academic probation if their fall or spring semester or cumulative GPA at the end of any fall or spring semester is less than a 2.00. A student on academic probation shall be removed from that standing at the end of the first subsequent fall or spring semester in which they achieve semester and cumulative GPAs equal to or greater than 2.00. Any grade change due to a reporting error will result in a recalculation of the GPA and determination of probation standing. Academic standing will not be assessed in summer sessions.

ECE Academic Progress Initiative (API)

An undergraduate student in the Elmore Family School of Electrical and Computer Engineering (ECE) shall be a participant in the Academic Progress Initiative (API) if their academic standing places them into one of three categories:  At-Risk, Probation, or Recovery, which are defined below.  Students have the option of not participating in the API; however, it is strongly advised as this program is designed for students, academic advisors, faculty and campus resources to work as a team to identify practices that are not working and develop strategies for better success.  If a student reaches a point of being eligible for dismissal from ECE or is petitioning for a fourth attempt of a course, their participation in the API is used for administrative decisions.  Any grade change due to a reporting error will result in a recalculation of the ECE GPA and redetermination of academic status. This policy is in addition to Purdue University’s academic deficiency policy outlined above; it is therefore possible for a student to be in good standing with the university but be identified to participate in the API. 


Students participate in the At-Risk level of the API if their overall GPA is at or below 2.30, experience a significant GPA drop over multiple semesters, or have an overall GPA above 2.3 but their ECE GPA is 2.3 or below.  These students are required to complete an assessment, work with their academic advisor on an action plan developed specifically to their needs, and are advised to enroll in no more than 15 credits to focus on becoming more academically successful.  

At the end of the semester, the student will no longer be required to participate in the API as long as they are in Good Academic Standing by the University and their GPA levels get above the minimum requirements previously stated.


Students participate in the Probation level of the API if their current academic standing by the University is probation, which occurs if a student has either a semester or overall GPA of below 2.00.  These students are required to complete an assessment, work with their academic advisor on an action plan developed specifically to their needs, and are not allowed to enroll in more than 15 credits to focus on becoming more academically successful.  

At the end of the semester, students who are in Good Academic Standing by the University will move to the Recovery level of the API to continue strengthening their academic skills and strategies. Students who do not return to Good Academic Standing and are still on academic probation will continue in the Probation level of the API for continued support.  Students are allowed to be on probation for a maximum of three semesters (do not have to be in a row), at which time they will be eligible for dismissal from ECE.  


Students participate in the Recovery level of the API for a minimum of one semester after returning to Good Academic Standing by the University.   These students are required to complete an assessment, work with their academic advisor on an action plan developed specifically to their needs as well as determine the appropriate credits to enroll in for that term.  The intent of this level is for the student to continue working on the practices they deem successful and not return to academic probation.  

ECE Dismissal

ECE students who are on probation as defined by Purdue University for a fourth semester are eligible for dismissal from ECE. Students may appeal the dismissal decision by submitting a written rationale to the ECE Undergraduate Advising Office no later than 10 business days after the specified semester grades are posted on the student’s transcript.  

Academic Drop Status

Students on academic probation as defined by Purdue University who do not make sufficient academic progress may be dropped from the University regardless of their standing within ECE.  A student on academic probation as defined by Purdue University shall be dropped from the University at the close of any fall or spring semester in which their semester and cumulative GPA is less than a 2.00. Re-admit students have the additional requirement of achieving a minimum semester GPA of 2.00 or higher at the conclusion of their first semester on re-admit status in order to avoid being academically dropped.

While students often feel that being placed on drop status is a punishment, it is really an opportunity for the student to step back from their studies and identify the root cause(s) of their academic difficulties. It is important that the student take personal responsibility for their academic situation and make every effort to form an objective evaluation of it. It may be necessary to seek major exploration or professional counseling in order to accomplish this. Once the root cause(s) of the problem has been identified, the student can take appropriate corrective action. This may include taking courses to strengthen specific academic weaknesses or taking a full-time job to learn responsibility and develop an appreciation for the educational opportunity that they may be losing. Or, perhaps the academic problems are the result of personal/family issues that need to be addressed before the student continues with their education.

If a student does elect to take courses at another institution while on drop status, there should not be the expectation that all these courses will apply towards Purdue degree requirements. Courses should be chosen primarily to strengthen academic weaknesses, not to continue progress towards a degree. Therefore, in most instances, transfer credit for technical courses taken at another institution while on drop status will not be accepted.

Every student's situation is unique and it will take a determined effort by the student to identify and overcome their particular obstacle to success. However, if the student makes this effort and readmission is granted, there is every reason to believe that they can return and successfully complete her/his degree.


Students who are dropped for the first time cannot take classes from any Purdue campus for a minimum of one semester (summer sessions do not count) and though readmission is not guaranteed, are eligible to apply for readmission to any Purdue campus after that stop-out period. If a student is dropped from the University a second time, they cannot take classes from any Purdue campus for a minimum of 1 year. Students who are readmitted are on probation and subject to all academic probation stipulations. For more detailed information about readmission, visit Purdue's website on How to Apply for Readmission.

Frequently Asked Questions

Purdue University says I’m in good academic standing; am I still a participant in the Academic Progress Initiative?

Yes, if you are identified as an At-Risk or Recovery participant.

How does being on probation affect me?

Being on probation means that you are at risk of being dropped from the University and/or being dismissed from ECE if you do not improve your grades and make sufficient academic progress. It also means that you are limited to taking a maximum of 15 credit hours during your probation semester and that you may be ineligible to CODO to another program should that be something you are interested in. Many programs require CODO students to at least be in good academic standing as defined by Purdue University.

If I take classes during the summer and perform well can I get off of probation?

No, regardless of whether a student performs well or performs poorly, academic standing is not recalculated during the summer session

Does my participation in the API show on my transcript like academic probation?

No, only academic probation standing by the University appears on your transcript.  

Will I be dropped from the University if I am on academic probation for two (or more) consecutive semesters?

Not necessarily, as in order to be dropped from the University a student's cumulative and semester GPA must both be below 2.00. It is possible to remain on academic probation for more than one semester. However, at the end of the third semester on academic probation, ECE students still on probation as defined by Purdue University may be dismissed from ECE, regardless of their academic standing with Purdue University. Additionally, students who return to good academic standing after a third probation semester (not necessarily sequential) may be dismissed from ECE if they return to academic probation in a later semester. 

Advanced Credit & Placement

There are several options available to students who wish to obtain advanced credit. Students should always consult with their academic advisor to discuss how any advanced credit will apply to ECE degree requirements. With the exception of CLEP exams, students are required to have a Form 231 signed by their academic advisor in order to attempt an advanced credit or placement exam.

For exams not specifically listed below, please contact the appropriate department for more information on test out eligibility, dates, and procedures. For general information, visit Purdue's Testing Center.

Chemistry Advanced Credit Exam

College Level Examination Program (CLEP)

DSST Exams

Fundamentals of Communication (COM 11400) Exam

Mathematics Advanced Credit Exams

Foreign Language Exams

Language Placement Testing Homepage

Reference Guide & Contact Information

Placement Credit Guide