ECE Frequently Asked Questions

Table of Contents

Academics

Co-Op

Internships

Prospective Students

Registration

Scholarships

 

Academics

  • What is the difference between Computer Engineering and Computer Science at Purdue?

The focus of Computer Science is primarily on software, whereas Computer Engineering is a combination of software and hardware with additional instruction in fundamental Electrical Engineering topics.  

  • What is the difference between Electrical and Computer Engineering and Electrical and Computer Engineering Technology at Purdue?

Electrical and Computer Engineering Technology places more emphasis on hands-on components, while Electrical and Computer Engineering has a balance of hands-on components and theoretical concepts. As a result of this theoretical emphasis, ECE requires more rigorous mathematical courses. 

  • Can I take a graduate-level course as an undergraduate student?

Undergraduate students may take graduate-level courses as a junior or senior so long as they meet the prerequisites for the course. Most 500-level courses can be added by the student without departmental permission; however, 600-level courses need approval by both the instructor and your academic advisor. Keep in mind graduate-level courses are typically much more rigorous than undergraduate-level courses and require a much larger time commitment.

A maximum of 12 credit hours of graduate coursework, earned with a grade of B- or better, may be applied toward an advanced degree at Purdue if these credits are in excess of any requirements for the baccalaureate degree (other universities may have different restrictions). Students who wish to use courses as excess credit must work with their academic advisor.  

  • What research opportunities are available to me as an undergraduate ECE student at Purdue?

There are numerous ways that students can gain research experience as an undergraduate student. Some of the most common opportunities that students take advantage of can be found on our Experiential Learning and Research webpage. Students can also gain work and/or research experience by participating in the cooperative education program and internships.

  • Is it true that students are only allowed to attempt a course 3 times?

Yes, students may only attempt a course 3 times at the West Lafayette campus and grades of W or WF are included in this limit.  Per the School of Electrical and Computer Engineering's policy, attempts exceeding three taken at a regional campus or another institution will not be considered toward ECE degree requirements.

  • What does it mean to be on academic probation?

While being on academic probation is not the end of the world, it should be taken seriously and viewed as a warning that you are in jeopardy of being dropped from the University if your academic performance does not drastically improve. Students on academic probation for more than one semester should ask themselves if this major is a good fit and work with their academic advisor to identify campus resources and explore their options.

Beginning Fall 2014, all ECE Undergraduate students on academic probation will be limited to no more than 15 credits per semester to allow more time to focus on coursework and get back in good academic standing. Additional information on academic probation can be found on our Scholastic Deficiency page and the University Regulations on academic standing.

  • What is the minimum grade that I need to achieve in my ECE courses?

While a minimum grade of D- is considered “passing,” some ECE courses require a minimum grade of C to progress. These courses include: ECE 20100, 20200, 26400 (Computer Engineers), and 27000 (Computer Engineers). Note that a minimum grade of C- in CS 15900 is required to take ECE 26400.

Regardless of the minimum grade requirement, you must have an ECE and cumulative GPA of 2.0 or higher to graduate with either a BSEE or BSCmpE degree. In light of this requirement, although you may have passed a particular ECE course, it might become necessary for you to repeat it to meet the minimum ECE GPA requirement.  

  • What is the minimum grade that I need to achieve in my non-ECE courses?

All courses meeting the Foundational Learning Outcomes component of the College of Engineering General Education Program require a minimum grade of C-. Effective Fall 2014, all courses meeting the First Year Engineering Requirements require a minimum grade of C-. Additionally, MA 26600 requires a minimum grade of C- in MA 26100 and MA 26500 requires a minimum grade of C- in MA 26100 if MA 26100 is not taken concurrently. All other non-ECE courses used to meet the ECE degree requirements require a minimum grade of D-, unless otherwise stated in the course catalog.  

  • What is the minimum GPA required for graduation?

Students must achieve a minimum 2.00 cumulative GPA and 2.00 ECE GPA in order to be eligible for graduation.  

  • Is it a good idea to repeat a course I have already passed?

Repeating a course for cosmetic reasons (i.e. strictly to improve your GPA) is generally not recommended. 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- or better. 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 may be a wise choice. If you have failed a required course or did not receive the minimum grade required, you must repeat it.

Students may only attempt a course 3 times per University Regulations. A W or WF does count toward this limit. 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.

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

  • Am I able to repeat a course at another school in order to improve my GPA?

If a student takes a course at Purdue, he/she 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.  

  • Why am I required to take two science selectives?

Students are required to complete an FYE Science Selective to satisfy First Year Engineering requirements; however, this is separate from the ECE Science Selective requirement.  

  • What is the process for withdrawing from the University?

A student who wishes to withdraw from the University during any semester or summer session shall begin the withdrawal process by logging on to MyPurdue, select the Academic tab, select the “Withdraw from the University” link and complete the form. Once the form is submitted, students are required to complete the process by speaking with a Student Support Specialist in the Office of the Dean of Students in Schleman Hall, Room 207, or by calling 765-494-1747 and asking to speak with a Student Support Specialist. More information can be found at The Advocacy and Support Center.  

  • What is the process for withdrawing from a course?

Early in the semester, students are able to drop courses on their own via MyPurdue. After this period, a Form 23 (obtained from an academic advisor) with signatures is required. For exact dates and deadlines, please refer to the add/drop/modify calendar from the Office of the Registrar.

  • What if I have taken or want to take PHYS 24100 (3 cr) rather than PHYS 27200 (4 cr)?

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 ECE should take PHYS 27200. Students who were initially planning to enter an engineering discipline that required only PHYS 24100, but later decided to pursue ECE 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.  

[Back to Top]

 

Cooperative Education (Co-Op)

  • What is the difference between a co-op and an internship?

A co-op student is required to work multiple work sessions with the same co-op qualified employer. These work sessions must alternate with academic sessions which will typically extend the graduation date by one year. Because you work with a single employer, you are given increased levels of responsibility in each successive work session.

An internship is a one-time work experience with an employer and is typically conducted over the summer and does not necessarily delay graduation. While you may be invited back for future internship sessions, there is no commitment by either party to do so. You therefore have the option of working for multiple employers.  

  • Who is eligible for a 5-session co-op?

To be eligible for a 5-session co-op, you must have a 2.80 or higher GPA and have completed First-Year-Engineering requirements before the first work session. Please keep in mind that most co-op employers require a 3.00 or higher GPA.  

  • Who is eligible for a 3-session co-op?

To be eligible for a 3-session co-op, you must have a 2.60 or higher GPA and have completed the sophomore level ECE courses. Please keep in mind that most co-op employers require a 3.00 or higher GPA.  

  • Are international students eligible to participate in the co-op program?

Yes, though there are very limited co-op opportunities for international students and you should check with ISS about CPT and OPT work rules.  

  • How do I apply for the Co-Op Program?

Information on how to apply to the Cooperative Education Program is located on the Office of Professional Practice webpage.  

  • How much is the co-op fee?

Please go to the Purdue Bursar’s website for the current co-op fee.  

  • Why is there a co-op fee?

Information about the co-op fee can be found on the Office of Professional Practice webpage.

  • How does participating in the Co-Op Program affect my scholarships?

Please check with the Division of Financial Aid to determine how your financial aid package will be affected.  

  • Do I have to register for a co-op course during my summer work sessions?

Yes, you must register for all Co-op work sessions, including summers.  

  • How do I find housing while on my work session?

Some companies provide housing for their co-op employees while others provide guidance on making housing arrangements. Please check with the company's co-op human resources representative for assistance.

  • What do I do about my local housing while I am away on my work session?

On-campus housing works with the co-op program so you only live in the dorms when you are taking classes on campus. Those living in off-campus housing and who are unable to be released from their contract may be able to sublet. One resource for advertising a sublet is on the Co-Op Office website.  

[Back to Top]

 

Internships

  • What is the difference between a co-op and an internship?

A co-op student is required to work multiple work sessions with the same co-op qualified employer. These work sessions must alternate with academic sessions which will typically extend the graduation date by one year. Because you work with a single employer, you are given increased levels of responsibility in each successive work session.

An internship is a one-time work experience with an employer and is typically conducted over the summer and does not necessarily delay graduation. While you may be invited back for future internship sessions, there is no commitment by either party to do so. You therefore have the option of working for multiple employers.  

  • As an International student, how do I apply for CPT/OPT?

International students must apply for CPT/OPT in order to work in the United States. You will need to work with ISS and an academic advisor to complete the necessary paperwork.  

  • Do I have to register for the internship course?

International students must register for ECE 47000 while engaged in their internship regardless of the term. US citizens or permanent residents needing to maintain full-time status during the fall and spring semesters will need to register for ECE 47000. For the summer semester, US citizens and permanent residents may choose to register for the course although it is typically not required. Please discuss with your ECE advisor when it is beneficial to register for the internship course if it is not already required.  

  • What do I need to do to register for the internship course?

A copy of your offer letter is required to register for ECE 47000. Please see the supplemental information in the course description for a list of required information. Once you have the necessary documentation, please make an appointment in the ECE Undergraduate Advising Office.  

[Back to Top]

 

Prospective Students

  • As a high school student, how do I apply to the School of Electrical and Computer Engineering?

Admission to Purdue for undergraduate study in Engineering is handled by the Office of Admissions. The School of Engineering Education's First-Year Engineering Program is the entry point for all beginning engineering students. Students must complete the First Year Engineering Requirements before being eligible for admission into a professional engineering school (eg. Electrical and Computer Engineering).  

  • As a transfer student, how do I apply to the School of Electrical and Computer Engineering?

Admission to Purdue for undergraduate study in engineering is handled by the Office of Admissions. International students may also need to work with the office of International Students and Scholars (ISS). Transfer students should work with Admissions to see if they have satisfied First Year Engineering requirements and are eligible to apply for admission into a professional school. Additional information for transfer students can be found on the Admissions webpage.

  • What sets Purdue University's School of Electrical and Computer Engineering apart from Engineering programs at other schools?

The undergraduate Electrical and Computer Engineering programs at Purdue are internationally recognized as two of the top programs in the world. With more than 1000 undergraduates – counting only sophomores, juniors, and seniors since there is a common first year experience for all engineering students – and 80+ faculty members, it is also one of the largest undergraduate electrical and computer engineering (ECE) programs in the nation. We take pride in the fact that essentially all ECE lecture courses are taught by regular faculty.  

  • I am a current Purdue student and wish to CODO to the School of Electrical and Computer Engineering. What do I need to do to begin this process?

Current Purdue Students who are considering a Change of Degree Objective to Electrical and Computer Engineering should read the ECE CODO guidelines.

  • What research opportunities are available to me as an undergraduate ECE student at Purdue?

There are numerous ways that students can gain research experience as an undergraduate student. Some of the most common opportunities that students take advantage of can be found on our Experiential Learning and Research webpage. Students can also gain work and/or research experience by participating in the cooperative education program and internships.

  • What courses should students take to be best prepared for an Electrical and Computer Engineering degree?

Students must satisfy the minimum admission requirements outlined by Purdue’s Office of Admissions. Although not required, additional preparation for study in Engineering disciplines can be obtained through the rigor of AP coursework, a computer science course, and additional courses in science and mathematics. Information about which AP credit Purdue accepts can be found on the Admission's webpage.

[Back to Top]

 

Registration

  • What is the process for obtaining my registration PIN?

Please refer to our Registration Information page for additional information on the registration process.

  • What should I do if I lose my registration PIN?

After students use their PIN once, they may retrieve it themselves via MyPurdue on the Academic tab under “Registration Tools.” If students lose their PIN prior to using it, they should check their MyPurdue Plan notes.  

  • What if an ECE course/section that I need is full or there is a time-conflict with another course?

Students who find themselves in this situation should fill out the ECE Waitlist

  • What happens if I forget to or am unable to register during my time-ticket?

Students who miss their time-ticket must wait until Open Registration.  

  • I want to add a course or make changes to my registered courses, but my time ticket is closed. Can you re-open my time-ticket or make the changes for me?

Time-tickets are managed by the Office of the Registrar and advisors have no control over the assignment or opening/closure of students' time-tickets. Students whose time-tickets are closed who wish to make changes to their registered courses will need to wait until open registration to do so.

  • What should I do if I get an error when I attempt to register for a course?

Students who get an error when attempting to register for a course should fill out the Override Request form and they will be contacted by our office as soon as information is available. Please note that with the exception of foreign language courses, we are unable to provide overrides for general education courses. Please contact the appropriate department.

  • I am interested in taking an ECE course, but am not an ECE student. How do I register?

Students in this position should complete an ECE Outside Space Request form. Enrollment in ECE courses for non-ECE students is contingent upon space being available.  

[Back to Top]

 

Scholarships

  • How do I Apply for ECE Scholarships?

The process for applying for ECE scholarships can be found on our ECE Undergraduate Scholarships page.

  • How are ECE Scholarship recipients selected?

Scholarship applications are reviewed by the ECE Scholarship Committee. ECE Scholarships are primarily merit based, meaning that a student's academic performance as well as his/her involvement outside of the classroom (leadership, community service) is taken into account. Typically a student's academic performance alone is not enough to qualify him/her for an ECE Scholarship.

  • How many students receive a scholarship from the School of Electrical and Computer Engineering?

Only approximately 10% of students receive scholarships from ECE.

  • Why was I not awarded a scholarship this year? I received one last year.

The only guarantee of continued scholarship support from ECE is if a student receives a renewable scholarship and continues to meet the renewability criteria as outlined in his/her award letter. Most scholarships are not renewable. Scholarships are very competitive and if a student does not receive a scholarship it is due to the fact that other applicants were better qualified during this scholarship cycle.

  • How can I make myself a more competitive ECE Scholarship applicant?

Students should concentrate on doing very well academically in addition to being involved outside of the classroom. Being involved in campus organizations, holding leadership positions, participating in co-ops and/or internships, engaging in research, and contributing to the community through service projects are all examples of how students can make themselves more competitive applicants.

  • Where can I find out about additional scholarship opportunities outside of ECE?

We post the external scholarships that we hear about on our Announcements page. Questions about these scholarships should be directed to the appropriate contact person listed in the announcement. Additional scholarship resources can be found on our scholarship page.  

  • What ECE scholarship opportunities are available to me as an incoming Freshman?

ECE does not award scholarships to beginning freshmen as students do not join the School of Electrical and Computer Engineering until after First Year Engineering requirements are completed.

Incoming freshmen are encouraged to review the freshman scholarship information from the Office of Admissions as well as the Office of Future Engineers information on How to Pay.  

[Back to Top]