Applying to the PhD Program
- Application Timeline
- Visiting: Open House
- How to Apply
- Submitting an Application
- International Students
- Application FAQs
Plan on the following schedule of activities for an August admission.
Note: These activities begin in the year before your actual enrollment as a PhD student.
August–November (in the year preceding enrollment):
- Fill out our request for information form so that we can email you when Purdue representatives are at your university, notify you of funding opportunities and our Open House, and remind you of important application dates.
- Plan to attend our Open House in October.
- Explore funding opportunities. Many prospective students are pleasantly surprised to learn that in contrast to undergraduate studies, graduate programs typically provide tuition remission and a monthly stipend for high-quality students. There are also many opportunities to apply for a graduate fellowship.
- Examine the School of Engineering Education's research site and our research report to learn what faculty members are involved in and identify areas of mutual interest. Read some of the field-shaping reports in engineering education (e.g., The National Engineering Education Research Colloquies, The Research Agenda for the New Discipline of Engineering Education, and Discipline-Based Education Research: Understanding and Improving Learning in Undergraduate Science and Engineering), many of them authored by our faculty.
- Visit our faculty web pages to obtain contact information for faculty that interest you. Contact them to arrange a time to talk or perhaps visit the campus.
- Browse alumni profiles to see examples of what our recent graduates have accomplished.
- Browse our student testimonials or explore the Engineering Education Graduate Student Association and the Purdue chapter of the American Society for Engineering Education.
- Learn about our College of Engineering and the rankings of our undergraduate and graduate programs.
September–November (in the year preceding enrollment):
- Take the Graduate Record Exam (GRE) and use the Purdue University's GRE code of 1631 to have your scores reported to us.
- Identify three people for writing recommendation letters.
- If you are an international applicant, take the TOEFL and have your scores submitted to Purdue University.
- Come to our Open House in October.
November (in the year preceding enrollment):
- Initiate your application so that all components are completed by December 15.
December (in the year preceding enrollment):
- Ensure that all supporting materials (transcripts, reference letters, exam scores) have been received by our graduate office by December 15 if you would like to be considered for all financial aid opportunities. We will continue to accept application materials through January 1. Once we have received your complete application package, you will be considered for whatever funding is available at that time.
- Look for emails from the Graduate Coordinator about how your file is progressing through the review process. During this period, you may also be receiving competitive offers. Take time to evaluate not only the gross monthly stipends but also the cost of living in other geographic areas.
- Accepted students should visit our community links here (City of West Lafayette) and here (Lafayette-West Lafayette Convention & Visitors Bureau) and begin making arrangements for living in West Lafayette. You will receive orientation materials over the summer.
Two weeks before the fall term begins (August):
- Accepted students should be ready to start school (have a place to live, be in town, etc.). There will be a three-day orientation before the first week of school.
Each fall, typically in October, we host an Open House, where prospective students can learn about our program and meet our faculty and students.
To prepare for your visit, browse through the Powerpoint presentation from Dr. David Radcliffe, head of the School of Engineering Education. Check out the Application Timeline for August-November for pointers on additional ways to familiarize yourself with our PhD program.
There are two pathways for applying to the School of Engineering Education PhD program: one for those not currently enrolled in a Purdue University PhD program, and one for those who are currently enrolled in a Purdue University PhD program.
Both require the same planning and application materials (see Application Timeline and Submitting an Application), except that enrolled Purdue students do not need to supply new transcripts or GRE scores. If you are currently enrolled in a Purdue University PhD program, contact the Graduate Coordinator for further details on transferring to our program.
Our application process is entirely online through Purdue's Graduate School. Click here to go to the Graduate School's application page. If you have any questions during this process, please contact our Graduate Coordinator or check out our Application FAQs.
Immediately after you complete the electronic application, send two paper copies of your transcripts to:
ENE Graduate Programs Office
School of Engineering Education
701 West Stadium Avenue
West Lafayette, IN 47907-2045
You will receive email updates in the weeks following your application, until a decision is made. The timing of admissions decisions varies depending on the circumstances.
Note: Review of applications for August admission begins the first week of January, with our first round of financial offers decided mid-February. If you want maximum consideration for financial assistance for an August admission, you must have a completed application and ensure that all documents (transcripts, recommendation letters, test scores) have been received by December 15. Most financial offer letters are sent to students during the period of February 15-April 1. However, as new funding opportunities arise, a financial offer may be occasionally sent to a well-qualified student after April 1.
Our application process is entirely online through Purdue's Graduate School. For Fall admission, all application materials (including GRE scores and letters of recommendation) must be received by December 15 in order for your application to be reviewed by the Engineering Education Graduate Committee. If you miss that deadline, your application may be rolled over for consideration for the following semester.
To apply to the School of Engineering Education graduate program, complete the following steps:
- Identify three references and obtain their email and contact information. Supply this information during the electronic application process. More
- Pay the application fee with a credit card. More
- Order two official paper copies of transcripts from all institutions that you have attended. More
- Schedule a time to take the Graduate Record Exam (GRE) exam if you haven't taken it in the past five years. Purdue University's code for reporting your GRE score is 1631. More
- If you are an international applicant and have not already taken the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) exam, schedule a time to take it. More
- Submit online your 300- to 500-word statement of purpose. More
- Submit online a research statement. More
- Submit online a copy of your curriculum vitae (CV). More
- Submit online a teaching statement. More
- Submit online a Fellowship Statement/Diversity Statement if you want to be considered for a fellowship. More
You must submit original language transcripts and certified official English translations of their transcripts that are not in English. You must also provide proof of any degrees received. This proof can take one of two forms:
- statement on your official transcript that states the degree awarded and the date on which it was awarded, or
- a copy of your diploma stating the degree awarded and the date it was awarded
If you are currently in a degree program that will not be completed at the time of application, you must supply a completion of degree certificate for that degree. Each certificate must be in the official language of the institution. If this language is not English, a certified translation must also be supplied. This certificate should be a formal letter from your University that states what degree you will be receiving and the date you will receive it. Note that you will still be obliged to submit an original document that verifies the awarding of the degree once the degree is actually awarded.
What is the cost of attending Purdue?
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 our program 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 Engineering Education Graduate Programs Office. You apply using the electronic application system through the Graduate School. The Engineering Education Graduate Office then downloads this information to our own tracking system. Once the Engineering Education Graduate Programs 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. If you wish to check the status of your application, please send an inquiry to firstname.lastname@example.org. We send status updates when your application has moved forward in the process or if we find that you are missing information.
What is Engineering Education's minimum score requirement for the TOEFL exam?
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 77, the Engineering Education faculty may 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 are 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 may 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 Engineering Education’s minimum GRE score requirement?
We do not have a minimum GRE score requirement. However, as a point of reference, our median GRE scores for admitted students last year were:
- Verbal: 450
- Quantitative: 770
- 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 median scores should not be interpreted as thresholds for admission and rejection. In fact, by definition, 50% of our students have scores below these values and 50% of our students have scores above these values.
We are accepting revised GRE test scores.
Can my transcripts be returned to me?
We do not return transcripts.
Should I mail in copies of my statements, resume and/or letters of recommendation?
These materials should be submitted through the electronic application system. The Engineering Education Graduate Programs Office has never experienced trouble with downloading these materials; therefore there is no real benefit to mailing additional copies. If you have updates to your Statement of Purpose or resume, you can send the updated version to email@example.com, 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 Engineering Education 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 the signature of the reference across the sealed fold.
Can I be admitted to a PhD program with only a BS?
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.
Can I gain admission to the School of Engineering Education without an engineering background?
We have had students admitted into our graduate program whose academic background was not in engineering (e.g., physics, mathematics, sociology, education). 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's a good idea to communicate with faculty in your prospective area of interest to see if your circumstances are favorable for admission. Students without engineering backgrounds should keep in mind that they will be required to take nine credits of engineering courses at the graduate level and honestly self-assess if their past educational background will support them in being successful in graduate engineering courses.
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 Engineering Education Graduate Programs Office.
Is it possible for me to send the Engineering Education Graduate 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 here.
What is the expected duration of the PhD program?
An Engineering Education PhD degree requires 90 credit hours. The expected duration of the degree is unique to each student and is greatly dependent on their research focus; however, if a graduate student enrolls in 9 to 12 credits a semester, it is likely they will complete the minimum required courses within four semesters. This estimate does not include thesis or research work. The national average for a PhD degree is more than five years.
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 than that, but early notification helps us project class enrollment and more efficiently allocate instructional resources.
What is the mailing address for the ENE Graduate Office?
Engineering Education Graduate Programs Office
School of Engineering Education
701 W. Stadium Ave.
West Lafayette, IN 47907-2045