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.

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 admitted to the College of Engineering for Fall 2017 had an average combined SAT in the middle 50% range of 1350-1470. Of the students that enrolled, 50% had a GPA between a 3.94-4.0, and an ACT Composite of 30-34.

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 and 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.), and volunteering. The well-rounded student who knows how to balance their time and gets 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 skill sets 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.

Which AP classes do you recognize for college credit?

The following link lists AP classes accepted by the College of Engineering. Please note that we accept Physics C only, because it is calculus based.

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 P-12 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, start to learn engineering design, and get strong foundations in math, science, english, and computer skills. Students who are confident in their career choice are more likely to succeed in the engineering major they choose.

What is the Honor's Program for engineering? 
A small percentage of our students participate in the Honors College. The Honors College is a Multidisciplinary, multifaceted experience with focus on scholarly exchange. To learn about benefits and admissions process please go to the Engineering Honors Program page.
How do apply for scholarships?

You are automatically considered for Purdue merit-based 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, along with all of your application materials. We highly recommend that all students complete the FAFSA, as some merit based funding is contingent upon having it completed.

What is the difference between an engineering degree and a Purdue Polytechnic Institute degree?

At Purdue University, our goal is to help you find the program that is the best fit for your learning style and goals. Both the College of Engineering and Purdue Polytechnic Institute offer excellent degrees, strong job placement, and high starting salaries, which can make the decision of which one to apply to a difficult one. Here is a bit of information about what makes each of these colleges and their programs unique. The College of Engineering focuses on the conceptual stages of solving societal challenges and early stages of creating products that do not exist, and therefore requires more in-depth study in math and science. Engineering students participate in hands-on labs and many experiential opportunities to design products and process. Engineering graduates (engineers) are capable of doing computer modeling to predict performance prior to the build stage as well as working through all phases of the production process. The Purdue Polytechnic Institute specializes in bringing products to life and to the consumer. Purdue Polytechnic Institute students have fewer theoretical classes, such as math and science, and focus more on the hands-on lab components with each class. Purdue Polytechnic Institute graduates (technologists) are involved in product design later in the production process and help to determine the best way to manufacture products. Both the College of Engineering and the Purdue Polytechnic Institute emphasize teamwork, problem solving, and communication. These skills can lead to similar job functions across areas of design, manufacturing, and management depending on students' interest and experience. It is important to note that some professions, like Civil Engineering, require a Professional Engineering (PE) license. The College of Engineering prepares students in all majors (except Interdisciplinary) the opportunity to work towards their PE.

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.  It is also combining two already very rigorous programs, which may stress a student out and therefore unable to enjoy all that Purdue has to offer outside of the academics, such as research, co-ops and internships, and Study Abroad, to name a few.  Depending on the two majors, the general education courses and some technical electives may overlap, but if they are very different majors most of the core courses will be 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. Many students work on getting minors in other areas rather than double majoring.  That may not add time to the degree, but students can still get experience and knowledge from other areas outside of their main degree program.  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.

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 that 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.  For more information on hardware and software guidelines, check out the Computer Guidelines for FYE Students page. 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-ITaP Shopping

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. Students will be teamed into groups of 4 where they will collaborate on projects throughout the year. Class sizes range from 120 to 60 for Engineering Honors.  

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. Each major requires 124-132 credit hours, which is a full course load (at least 15 hours per semester) for each of 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 of the opportunities afforded to 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 2017 was approximately $66,000. 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 of the residence halls. During the first year, there are engineering-only housing options through the Learning Communities. For more information, visit Engineering Learning Communities

What You Need To Know

Rigor of High School Schedule

Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN 47907 (765) 494-4600

2017 Purdue University | An equal access/equal opportunity university | Copyright Complaints | Maintained by the Office of Future Engineers

If you have trouble accessing this page because of a disability, please contact the Office of Future Engineers at