Common Q's

Frequently Asked Questions


What high school classes are required to be a Purdue Engineering student?

It is important to take as much math, science, and English as possible. Students who are admitted to Purdue typically have taken pre-calculus or calculus in high school. We require a year of high school chemistry and strongly recommend students take physics as well. The more rigorous the classes (AP, IB, Honors), the better prepared you will be for your first year of college. For minimum course requirements, go to Freshman Admission Criteria.

Students interested in engineering may want to consider taking a computer design or programming class. These courses can introduce you to tools an engineer might use. Although helpful, these courses should not take priority over math, science, and English classes.

What are the Average Test Scores and GPA for First Year Engineering Students?

There are a number of factors that the Purdue Office of Admissions considers as criteria for acceptance to the First-Year Engineering Program. For Engineering, standardized test scores and grades in math, science, and English are very important criteria.

Typically, those admitted to the First-Year Program are A and B students in high school. Students enrolled to the College of Engineering for 2013 had an average combined SAT in the middle 50% range of 1800-2080 (average). Of the students that enrolled, 50% had a GPA between a 3.8-4.0, and an ACT Composite of 28-32.

Do you look at advanced class load or strictly GPA?

Admissions is looking for a well-rounded student.  This means that they want to see students that: are taking the rigorous courses to prepare them for college, are solid in the areas of Math, Science and English (A’s & B’s), have solid test scores, and are involved outside the classroom in a combination of things such as sports, music, organizations (Scouting, 4H, Robotics, etc.), volunteering.   The well rounded student who knows how to balance their time and get involved tends to do better academically than the student who focuses solely on academics.  Therefore Admissions is looking to admit students who have the best skillset to succeed.  Admissions typically does not only look at GPA because schools tend to weight honors/AP/IB classes differently from district to district.  Instead they look at the course load and success in those courses.

Do you look at advanced class load or strictly GPA?

Below is a link to our website which lists AP Classes accepted by the College of Engineering.  Please note that we accept Physics C only, because it is calculus based.

The Honors Diploma is strongly advised as the top students from around the world are applying to Purdue and students who have pursued the Honors Diploma will be well prepared. 

To give you an idea of the academic preparedness of students who apply, are admitted and then enroll into the College of Engineering, here are middle 50% range and mean (Fall 2012):

HS Class Rank – Top 10%

SAT (CR+M+Writing) 1800-2080 (mean 1937)

ACT 28-32 (mean 30.0)

GPA 3.8-4.0 (mean 3.85)

Can I schedule a campus visit?

Absolutely! Many students choose to visit campus several times before applying or when making a final decision. Check out our Visit Us page, designed for future Purdue Engineering students, it offers you all the information necessary to set up a fun and informative visit to Purdue. Hope to see you here!

Are there any engineering programs or summer camps I can attend?

There are several programs offered on the Purdue campus. For a listing of Purdue Engineering specific programs go to Programs for Prospective Students for Purdue campus-wide programs go to the 12-K Portal page.

Do I need to know my engineering major when I enter Purdue?

Absolutely not! In fact, all beginning Purdue Engineering undergraduate students complete a general first-year curriculum through the First-Year Engineering Program before moving forward to their engineering specialty. This allows students time to explore engineering careers, begin learning engineering design, and get strong foundations in math, science, English, and computer skills. Students who are confident in their career choice and are well prepared academically are more likely to succeed in the engineering professional school they choose.

Do you have an Honors Program?

The College of Engineering has a challenging and dynamic Honors Program starting as early as the First-Year program.

How do I apply for scholarships?

You are automatically considered for Purdue scholarships when you apply to the University. For more information visit our How to Pay for Purdue Engineering page.

To be eligible for any merit-based award you must have your completed application submitted prior to November 1. We highly recommend that all students complete the FASFA, as some merit based funding is contingent upon having it completed.

What is the difference between an engineering degree and a technology degree?

At Purdue, we want students to find the best "fit" for them. There are excellent job opportunities in both engineering and technology and Purdue students are lucky enough to have strong academic programs in both. The bottom line for any student is to find out which career field is going to be the most interesting and enjoyable while providing the type of lifestyle that a student desires.

In general, if you really enjoy hands-on work like rebuilding engines or installing new computer components, then you might want to consider a technology degree. If you are interested in designing new engines and computers, then you may want to select engineering. Our engineering program requires higher levels of math and science than the College of Technology because of the strong theoretical background needed to develop and design new products.

Can undergraduates double major in Mechanical and Chemical Engineering?

Students who are doing well academically can double major in two engineering disciplines, but it can increase their time to graduation. Although general education courses and some technical electives for Chemical and Mechanical overlap, most of the core courses are different. A double major could easily add a year and a half or more, even with a heavy course load. Coming in with credits from high school can help, and Mechanical offers a minor that is less time consuming. If you choose not to do a double major, you can always take course work from either area no matter which major you choose. Depending on your goals, it may make sense to get your undergraduate degree in one area and then consider a graduate program that incorporates both. Your advisor will help you determine the best choice.

If I am admitted to another school at Purdue is it possible to switch into the First-Year Engineering Program?

It is possible to switch into the First-Year Engineering Program from another academic school through a process called a Change of Degree Objective CODO.

Do I need my own computer at Purdue?

It's not necessary for you to bring your own computer. Purdue maintains 20 open computer labs that are available to students at various times. This does not include the open labs that are available in each residence hall for residents. However, it should be noted that over 95% of all engineering students bring their own computers to campus.

In general, engineering students say they like to have their own computer on campus for convenience. Either laptop or desktop computers will work well depending on a student's preference. The majority of Purdue's campus is for wireless laptop computers.

Computers are available for sale at Purdue-negotiated prices through Information Technology at Purdue.

How many students are in first year engineering classes?

The average class size across the College of Engineering is 45 students. As a student progresses academically, class size decreases. Faculty led lectures in science and math range in size from approximately 150-350 students and is complemented by weekly recitation sessions. These small-group weekly recitation sessions divide students into teams of 25-30 and are led by teaching assistants. Faculty and teaching assistants are easily accessible through regular office hours, e-mail, and phone to answer any questions.

All first year students take a sequence of two engineering courses "Ideas to Innovation" (i2i) which are held in our state-of-the-art Learning Lab/Design Studios. These interactive classes will combine hands on experiential learning and theory. Class sizes range from 120 to 60 for Engineering Honors. Students will be teamed into groups of 4 where they will collaborate on projects throughout the year.

Do you have Co-Op or internship opportunities with industry while at Purdue?

The majority of engineering students choose to participate in internships, usually done in the summer. Students may complete one or more internships with a variety of companies.

Purdue has a very extensive Co-Op program thru the Professional Practice Program offering three or five-term professional development programs. Students can graduate with close to two years of engineering work experience with one company.

Both the Professional Practice Program and internships are valuable "paid" industry experiences available to Purdue engineering students beginning as early as after their first year.

Are there undergraduate research opportunities?

There are numerous research opportunities in undergraduate engineering. In fact we've create a page dedicated to undergraduate research for Purdue Engineering students.

Can I get an engineering degree in four years?

YES! With the exception of the 5-year Professional Practice Program option or dual degree programs, all engineering degrees are designed as four-year programs. Keep in mind that each major requires between 124-132 credit hours, which is a full course load (at least 15 hours per semester) for the eight semesters.

Many students, for a variety of reasons, elect to take a lighter load and graduate in 4 1/2 - 5 years. Being successful and taking advantage of all the opportunities afforded you at the University is an important part of your college experience. Keep this in mind as you determine the time it will take you to complete your education.

What is the average starting salary for Purdue Engineering graduates?

The average starting salary across engineering disciplines for Purdue Engineering graduates for 2012 was $58,306. Visit Purdue's Center for Career Opportunities for more detailed starting salary information.

Can students live in the same residence hall?

The College of Engineering is the largest college on Purdue's campus; therefore, engineering students live in all the residence halls. During the first year, there are engineering only housing options thru the Learning Communities. For more information, visit Engineering Learning Communities.

How can I transfer into Purdue Engineering?

Step 1 – When Do You Want to Start Classes? Do you want to start in the Summer, Fall or Spring semester? This decision may be made for you based on Deadlines and if Engineering is full or not. You can check dates on the Admissions site's Deadlines and Dates page. To see if the College of Engineering still has space then visit the Closed Programs page.

Step 2 – Where will you Start? While most students start in the First-Year Engineering program, there are some disciplines that allow students to Transfer in directly. For a list of the programs allowing direct admission to Transfer Students can be found on the Transfer Admission Criteria page

Step 3 – What credits Transfer into Purdue? This is a really good question because not all credits will transfer and not all credits that transfer may apply. For information on what credits will apply please use the Transfer Credit Database. Note: courses listed as 1XXXX, 2XXXX, etc., are transferred as undistributed credit and not an exact match. This means they will just be extra credit on your transcript but may not apply to your degree. It is determined by your home department (your major) if this credit can count toward degree requirements.

Regional Campus Transfer credit: Information about which courses at Purdue regional campuses (or IUPUI) are considered equivalent to Purdue West Lafayette courses, or those that are considered preparatory and may not be pertinent for degree requirements, is available on the Undergraduae Admissions website Equivalent & Non-Equivalent Course Listings. Note: when credit comes in from a regional campus you are also bringing in the grade for the course which can impact your GPA.

Step 4 – How Do You Apply? Now that you know the When you want to start and the appropriate deadlines; Where you will start (First-Year Engineering or a specific discipline); and What credits Transfer in to Purdue, you are ready to apply by going to the Apply to Purdue page.