Class Registration Guide

You should register for classes as soon as you are able, since many cla​sses fill up quickly. Purdue does not have a wait list for registration, so if the course is full, you can only register if a seat opens up. You can find when registration opens each semester, on the Registrar’s website:  Once registration opens, check your time ticket window in myPurdue for when you can register.  

It is highly recommended that if you can't register early, that you register before the first week of classes end at the very latest, as you won’t need additional approvals.  If you did register early in the open registration period, always check your schedule again toward the start of the semester to make sure nothing changed.

Tuition is billed a couple weeks before classes start and is  due in full by the first day of classes, unless you’ve made arrangements for a payment plan with the Bursar’s office.

Once registered, you will not have access to the course material, until the first day of classes.  All courses are hosted on the Brightspace platform.


Because dates can change, here are the websites that have the most recent information on the following deadlines:

Add/Drop, Refund, & Deadline Calendar:

Grad School Calendar of Events, Dates & Deadlines:  Click on Academic Calendar to see the listing.  This will contain candidacy registration deadlines, POS deadlines for graduation, defense/deposit deadlines, etc.  (See Graduation/Candidacy for information regarding candidacy.)

Academic Calendar

Registration Process

1. Remove any Holds

Make sure you have no holds on your account that will prevent registration.  You can check this in myPurdue.  You need to address the hold with the department that put the hold on your account, as that is the only department that can remove the hold. Please see that discusses holds and how to remove them.

2. PIN Number

Log in to the Engineering PIN System to retrieve your PIN number. (PINs will be released the day before registration opens, and the database is updated every Friday after that, if your PIN wasn’t released initially.)  You must have a Plan of Study in the process of approval to access your PIN. Do not try to access your PIN from within myPurdue, as you will receive an error message to meet with your advisor. If this is not your first semester, and you don't have a Plan of Study (POS) in process of approval or approved, your PIN number will not be available.  POS should be submitted between the 3rd and 6th week of your first semester in the graduate program.

3. Find course numbers & CRNs

Log in to myPurdue and click on "View the schedule of classes" to locate course numbers and CRN #s. Check if you need signature and/or approval for course overrides for courses outside of ME.  Make sure you register in an on-campus course; if it says "CMP=PWL," that means the course is available for students at the West Lafayette campus. If “Lecture” is listed as course type, that indicates that it is an on-campus lecture course.  Do not register in any course marked “distance learning” with ‘CEC’ as the campus location; that is reserved for official online students, and has extra fees involved that is not covered by RA/TA fee remits, and you need special permission for the Purdue Online department to register in their section.

Video: How to Find University Catalog Course Descriptions

ME Courses by Research Interest

ME Approved Applied Math Courses 

4. Meet With Your Major Professor (Master’s Thesis & PhD/DPhD students only)

If you are a Master’s thesis or PhD student, set up a meeting with your major professor to determine your course schedule and then enter your registration through myPurdue, using the scheduling assistantYOU and your major professor are responsible for following your Plan of Study, area exam conditions (PhD), etc.

5. Use Scheduling Assistant to Register

Enter your course registration through myPurdue, using the scheduling assistant.

How-To Videos:
How to Register
How to Add a Course to an Existing Schedule
How to Register using a specific CRN
How to Drop a Class
How to Drop the Only Course Registered (Withdraw)
How to Check your Schedule After Registering

6. Change in Grade Mode

Some courses allow you to audit a course or change to pass/no pass.  Please see as to how to change the grade mode of a course.  Please keep in mind that auditing a course, will need instructor permission, and will cost the same as taking the course for a grade.  A course taken as ‘audit’ cannot be used to meet degree requirements, and it does not count toward registered credits for international student registration guidelines.  

If you elect to change the grade mode to pass/no pass, you’ll need to receive a ‘C-‘ or higher to receive a ‘P’, but the course cannot be used to meet degree requirements (only letter-graded courses can appear on your plan of study).  Also, when changing grade-mode, per Grad School policy, you can only retake a course in the same grade mode as originally taken (ex:  If you take a course as pass/no pass, you can only retake it as pass/no pass; you cannot retake it for a letter grade.)  We recommend you consider dropping a course if needed, instead of taking a course as pass/no pass, as you could then retake the course in a future semester for a grade.

7. Independent Study Courses ("Variable Title")

To register for a course with a variable title (such as an independent study), you need to submit your request using the scheduling assistant (as of July 2021, the Form VT is no longer used). For instructions, please watch the YouTube video "How to Request a Variable Title Course."  Please only select grad-level variable title course numbers ME 597 or ME 697, as directed by your instructor, even though other options may appear in the drop-down menu.

The request will route through the workflow and your instructor will need to approve the request first, then your academic advisor and department designee will approve in the system. The registrar’s office will be the final approver. Once the registrar’s office has approved and it posts to your schedule, you need to confirm that everything posted as expected, as changes can be made during the approval process.  For instructions on how to verify your request, please watch the YouTube video "How to confirm the creation of a Variable Title Course request" and make sure that everything posted as you expected.

(Please note:  This process is for Variable Title course requests only, not Research Registration.  Please see #9 regarding the 2-step process for Research registration.)

8. Funded Students (RA/TA/Purdue Fellowships)

If you are being funded by a quarter-time research, teaching, or graduate professional assistantship or a Purdue fellowship, you are required to register for at least 8 credit hours of coursework and/or research in spring/fall semesters (6 credit hours in the summer). Registration should be completed before the end of the first week of classes, or your funding could be in jeopardy.

If your assistantship status is changing, notify the Engineering Employment Center,, as soon as you know. (Please make sure to include your PUID in the email.)

9. Thesis Research Registration

If you are a PhD, D-PhD, or MS thesis option student you are required to enroll in thesis research every semester.  You can find your professor’s research CRN in one of these PDFs: ME698/699 Fall | ME698/699 Spring | ME698/699 Summer.  You register for research by using the scheduling assistant within myPurdue.  This is a 2-step process, so make sure to do both steps!  You first have to register for research using the scheduling assistant; please make sure to add a note as to who the professor is that you will be working with, and the number of credits you plan to register for in step#2, as the professor will need to approve before the advisor can approve.  Once your research registration posts to your schedule, you’ll see that it registered you for 1 to 18 credits.  You’ll then need to go back into the system and modify the number of credits to the correct number you need to register.  (Make sure that between your research credits and coursework credits, you don’t exceed the maximum for the semester.  Funded students need to be registered full-time, which is 8 credits in spring or fall semesters.)  Check your schedule to confirm that you are registered for the research, with the correct number of credits, with the correct professor, once everything posts. (Form 23’s are no longer used to register for research, as of spring 2021.)

Here are guides to these two important steps:

You are charged for research credits just like lecture credits.  You can use the tuition calculator to determine cost. If you plan to be conducting research off campus for more than 22 days, you’ll need to request permission to do so, at least a month in advance. If you are not funded, you’ll need to complete Form 12 or Form 19, based on your academic situation. If you are funded, you’ll need to complete Form 12 or Form 19, and request a change in duty station by contacting If you have any questions, please email

10. Candidacy Registration

Are you planning on graduating this semester? Congratulations! Please see our Graduation page on how to register as a candidate for graduation.

11. Final Check

Double-check your class list in myPurdue, under "Concise Student Schedule", once your course registration and research registration has posted (coursework, research, candidacy).  It’s best to make sure there are no errors at the beginning of a semester, as things are still able to be adjusted.

Course Selection Advice for New Graduate Students

Selecting your graduate courses involves your personal career goals, the requirements of your major professor, and the ME and Graduate School requirements. Research assistants will select their courses in close collaboration with their major professor based on research needs. Non-thesis MS students, however, will select their courses primarily on their own career goals. This document is intended primarily to assist new MS students who are not research assistants, but provides information useful for all ME graduate students.

Summary of ME Course Requirements

  • MS non-thesis: 30 credit hours (usually 10 courses) that include 6 hours of applied math; 3 credits are required to be from the Math (MA) department, the other 3 credits can be from the approved applied math course listing.
  • MS thesis: 21 credit hours (usually 7 courses) that include 6 hours of applied math (3 credits are required to be from the Math (MA) department, the other 3 credits can be from the approved applied math course listing); plus at least 9 hours of ME 69800 MS thesis research. Funded students must register for ME 69800 MS research each semester.
  • PhD: 21 credit hours that include 9 hours of applied math (6 credits are required to be from the Math (MA) department, the other 3 credits can be from the approved applied math course listing.) Math credits (not courses) from your Master’s degree may be applied to the PhD math requirements. Students must register for ME 69900 PhD research each semester.
  • Direct PhD: 36 credit hours that include 9 hours of applied math (6 credits are required to be from the Math (MA) department, the other 3 credits can be from the approved applied math course listing.) Math credits (not courses) from your Master’s degree may be applied to the PhD math requirements. Students must register for ME 69900 PhD research each semester.

Note: graduate level courses at Purdue are numbered 50000 and 60000. Courses numbered 40000 or below are undergraduate level and will not be allowed on the Purdue ME plans of study.

The Plan of Study

You can begin developing your Plan of Study during the 3rd week of classes, and it should be submitted before the end of the 6th week of classes, so it has time to make it through approvals before the end of the semester. The Plan of Study is a formal document required by the Purdue Graduate School that identifies your advisory committee, degree objective and your courses. It will be entered electronically in the Plan of Study generator within myPurdue. Your initial plan can be changed, as long as the changes keep you in degree compliance.

ME requires that all courses on your Plan of Study must be “technical and quantitative in content.” They can be from schools outside of ME, e.g., from other Schools of Engineering (except Engineering Education), the College of Science, and Math Department. Technology courses and courses considered "professional development" are not allowed on a ME plan of study. When in doubt, check with your major professor and then with the ME Graduate Office.

Advice on Selecting Courses

Using the myPurdue Course Catalog, prepare a list of all courses of interest to you. Select the appropriate semesters to ‘look forward’ to the next semester, and ‘look backward’ to previous semesters to get a more complete picture of all courses offered for the whole year. Read the course descriptions carefully and take note of which semester(s) the course is offered. Organize this list into a semester-by-semester table, carefully noting the semesters (Spring, Summer, Fall) when courses are offered.

Very few graduate courses are offered during the summer. This is particularly true of ME, where typically none are offered in the summer. However, a number of Math (MA) courses are offered in the summer. Factor this into your planning. Remember that summer courses are condensed, as they’re usually offered for 8 weeks instead of 16.

You do not have to take the applied math courses first. The ME requirement for 2 or 3 applied math courses does not mean they must be taken in any particular semester. It may be advantageous to wait to take a math course, perhaps to give you options for summer courses.

If you want to do a thesis and are interested in a professor’s research (do your homework), and have not already formed a relationship with that professor, schedule a course(s) taught by this professor as early as possible. Typically, graduate courses taught by professors are related to their research. This will give you a chance to work with the professor, for the professor to get to know you, and to prepare you for research with that professor if the opportunity arises. This also will be an opportunity to discuss your graduate program with the professor and seek advice on future courses.

ME Graduate Office
585 Purdue Mall (Room 1003)
West Lafayette, IN 47907
(765) 494-5730