Degrees and Requirements

Please note that in addition to specific ESE course requirements, there may be some specific course requirements imposed by the student's associated academic department. Regardless, all these course credits fall within the minimum total course requirements.

Degree Options

  • 24 credits minimum in coursework
  • 6 credits minimum thesis research
  • 32 credits minimum in coursework
  • A total of 90 credits is required by the graduate school. The distribution between formal course credits and research credits varies across academic departments.
  • In addition, up to 30 credits from a previous Master's degree can be transferred upon review by the Program Head to meet your PhD requirement.
  • Minimum of 15 credits in thesis research (additional research may be taken)

Course Requirements

If a previous degree was not at Purdue University, transcripts will be reviewed by Program Head to identify if any previous courses (passed with a B or better) qualify to replace the required courses listed above. 


Professional Development is not required, but strongly encouraged. There are several professional development courses that may be of interest and relevant to your unique research area. Additional options include planning the annual ESE Symposium, grant writing, teaching certifications, and experiential field trips. Such courses can be identified with the help of your advisory committee.

Participating in summer session courses or a summer internship experience is recommended for all ESE students. It's recommended for students to take one of these options within the first year of study, as this follows the completion of the ESE colloquium series, which is taken by all incoming ESE students.